Don't Close Your Eyes to the Racial Discrimination of Modern Society

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I’ve been interested to see a flurry of activity and debate over the past few weeks within our local community regarding Black Lives Matter and racism in general. I have contributed my opinions and debated with people, been pleased that so many are actively discussing issues and ways to eradicate racism and equally dismayed to realise that some people are opposed to the fight against racism.

Once again, I have been told “f you don’t like this country, why don’t you leave?' as a supposedly reasoned response to a rational argument. Non-white people disproportionately have to live with the idea that we are being judged on whether our behaviour is consistent with having the right to be in our own country. Being told to leave your own country has become a normalised response suggesting that if you don’t say the things that people want to hear then you should probably leave. This insidious racism is engrained in society and often difficult to identify and eradicate. It infiltrates every aspect of our society and can go unseen by anyone who is not on the receiving end, anyone who is not a black or minority ethnic person.

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Within this context, it should come as little surprise then, that in light of the recent Black Lives Matter and anti-racism activity, the ‘less-tolerant’ amongst us are starting to feel uncomfortable. After all, ‘racism’ is a word that most people don’t want to be associated with. So, instead, we hear phrases such as ‘this movement is divisive’ ‘it will set race relations back by decades’. If people standing up for equality is leading to greater racial divisions, then the implication is that any racial harmony we may have had must have been based on oppression.

Some opposers have quoted a study published in 2019 that suggested Britain is one of the ‘least racist countries in Europe’, expecting a pat on the back. Well, the fact is that least racist is still racist. Instead of point-scoring, let’s channel our passion and awareness into real change.

I feel that those who have criticised the recent Black Lives Matter protests have somehow completely missed the point.

Black Lives Matters is against racism and systemic injustices against the Black Community. The slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that Black Lives matter more or non-Black lives don’t matter. It is that Black Lives Matter just as much. The goal being - equality for everyone. Reactionary cries of ‘White Lives Matter’ or ‘All Lives Matter’ demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of Black Lives Matter, creating an absurd false equivalence. Such cries also have the effect of diminishing the plight of a community that has suffered violent subjugation in the past and continues to feel the residual effects of history, with overt and subtle racism still evident today.

Institutional racism permeates through every facet of our society. We have heard a lot recently about examples of this within our criminal justice system. Hate crime rates have more than doubled since 2013. Stop-and-search became more common against all ethnic minority groups apart from white and Chinese people between 2014 and 2019, and Black individuals are almost ten times more likely to be searched than white individuals. This is the country where, in the last 10 years, the Windrush scandal, the Grenfell fire and the hostile environment are symptoms of a very deep-set racism.

Systemic racism is also deeply embedded into our education, our housing and our healthcare systems. The latter being most evident recently with the disproportionate number of BAME coronavirus deaths in the UK.

It’s all well and good for a white person to oppose the protests and dismiss the impact of racial injustices in our society, but unless you have been the victim of racism throughout your life, can you really judge what its like to live that life? Should we not take this opportunity to let those who are suffering speak out and for us as a caring and supportive community to listen and rally round that particular group? It doesn’t diminish or discredit any other group. It is not an exercise to make any other group feel guilty or less important. It just serves to bring awareness and support to the group that needs attention.

Our forward-thinking Stortford schools have already committed to making changes and to create an agenda for action to tackle racial inequality within schools and to decolonise the curriculum. Surely it is time for the rest of the community to follow suit?

This doesn’t mean that other groups of people don’t suffer in different ways. Let’s not divert the conversation by saying ‘what about me?’. The Opinion article in Independent felt the plight of white working-class men was being glossed over. Well, these white working-class men (and women) are part of the same fight. We are on the same side. Our goal being equality which by definition applies to all.

The reason these injustices remain is because people have continued to turn a blind eye and say ‘they are not me’. Well we are all society. We all live among each other. Being quietly ‘not racist’ is not enough. We have a duty to each other to shape the kind of society we want to create for future generations.

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Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Racial Discrimination of Modern Society. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/dont-close-your-eyes-to-the-racial-discrimination-of-modern-society/
“Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Racial Discrimination of Modern Society.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/dont-close-your-eyes-to-the-racial-discrimination-of-modern-society/
Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Racial Discrimination of Modern Society. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/dont-close-your-eyes-to-the-racial-discrimination-of-modern-society/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Racial Discrimination of Modern Society [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/dont-close-your-eyes-to-the-racial-discrimination-of-modern-society/
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