EAGLE-EYED watchers of Sky Sports will have noticed that pundits Jamie Rednapp, Gary Neville and Patrice Evra removed their Black Lives Matters badges in a recent broadcast. This came after the UK branch of the organisation tweeted criticism of Israel’s proposal to annexe parts of the occupied West Bank, expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause and claimed that mainstream British politics were being “gagged of the right to critique Zionism”. This was followed by much questioning and hand-wringing as to whether the organisation had wider political objectives.

As long as Black Lives Matter was seen as purely a moral movement to end racial injustice and inequality, it was worthy of supportive gestures and actions by sports personalities, celebrities and world leaders alike, but as soon as it stepped out of that precipitous space into politics, it overnight became suspect for some. Pretty quickly we saw how opportunities, some self-inflicted, to derail or distract from the central message of striving for equality can appear. Let’s face it, no previous fights for equality have ever been clean. Plenty of mud was thrown at the Suffragettes, and gay rights activists in their struggles across the decades, so black rights activists know to expect the same.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter: Every Scottish street linked to slave-trade revealed

Perhaps there shouldn’t be such a reliance on actions and gestures. They are performative and fleeting – very much made for the likes-accumulating digital world. Within seconds the taking the knee shots, the wearing of badges and logos are seen all over the world. But what if these actions are not taken any more, or stop abruptly? Does that mean the Black Lives Matter moment, as Sir Keir Starmer called it, is over? Not at all, not this time anyway.

There have been other “moments”. The Macpherson Report prompted by the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence was meant to change the UK forever. Macpherson said there was institutional racism in the Metropolitan police force, and that there should be zero tolerance of racism going forwards. The tragedy at Grenfell Tower and the scandal around Windrush are another two examples, both still unfolding. Even in Scotland we had our moment in 2001 when the Lord Advocate admitted institutional racism existed over the handling of the murder of Lanarkshire waiter Surjit Singh Chokkar. And whilst each event brought with it some learnings for the institutions concerned equality of opportunity is still, it seems, some way off. Of 2,500 schools in Scotland there are only 2 black, Asian or ethnic minority headteachers, for example.

For someone who is old enough to have seen many moments, this does feel different, and I’m still wrestling with why. As actor and theatre director Kwame Mei Armah says, it feel like “the quality of listening has changed”. When having discussions with colleagues, friends or neighbours instead of them saying “yes, but…” and reeling off other inequalities and injustices that were happening in the community or even around the world, they are now saying “yes, and….” accepting that racism is one of many wrongs and they would like to be part of the movement to fix it along with the others.

It feels like there is a realisation that this is not a competition where one race has to take over and dominate another, but more a levelling up, and equalisation. It seems like there might be systemic change stirring. In education conversations have started, looking at the curriculum – what we teach about slavery, empire and power and how they feed into modern day narratives. We’re talking more about the role of black and Asian soldiers who fought and died for the British Empire. We’re talking more about immigration and whilst not shying away from challenges, understanding the positives that have come from from it, like the high numbers of key workers and NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds.

READ MORE: In pictures: Black Lives Matter protests across the UK

We are seeing the ordinary lives of people whose stories haven’t been told before unless it was about a crime, a riot or terrorism. For the first time in a long time there is an acknowledgement that the experiences of other groups in society matter if we are to make the whole country better. For the first time I look at my mixed heritage children with a real sense of hope and expectation that they won't go through some of the issues that my siblings and I did growing up, like having NF spray painted on the dining room window after my dad turned a few gate crashers away from a party.

This does feel like a genuine movement, more than just another moment. Even when the badges are removed, the Black Lives Matters organisation criticised and the outraged twitterati have focussed elsewhere, this movement will continue. The seeds were sown with the killing of George Floyd but they were thrown on to fertile soil and they will be fed by the waters of time taking us relentlessly forwards into a post-racial world. And what an amazing thought that is.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.