Many people nowadays believe that racism is no longer a problem in the UK, nor is it worthy of comparison to racism in the USA - I would like to challenge this thought. Systemic racism. What is it? Systemic racism is a form of racism expressed through discrimination in social and political institutions; reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, education, and other significant areas of society. Some examples of this are as follows: Black Caribbean and Mixed Caribbean children have rates of exclusion about three times than that of the pupil population as a whole, Black workers with degrees earn approximately 23.1% less on average than White workers, Black people who leave their school with A-levels typically get paid 14.3% less than their White peers, and the statistics go on. When racism has manifested itself in society, it becomes almost invisible to those who do not experience it and it is all of our responsibilities not only to be educated on this topic, but to actively pursue change with a policy of anti-racism. Everyone, especially those in positions of authority, must question themselves as to how they express their policy of anti-racism - neutrality is not acceptable. We are all able to invoke change in our society, whether it is through protesting, or using our positions to change mind-sets; whatever way we choose requires an attitude of more than just passive sympathy. The abominable murder of George Floyd has sparked a mass movement against racism of all forms and we must all play our part in ensuring that his death was not in vain. So, how will your response go down in history?
Joshua Azubuike, Afro-Caribbean Society President, Senior Prefect
The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward
After the exposing of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police brutality, people have taken to the streets of major cities to proclaim the statement “Black Lives Matter”. Through largely peaceful protest, we as people have managed to make our voices heard all over the country and, hopefully, we will continue to enact real change. However, the problem of systemic racism goes much deeper than what we have seen on video. From personal experience, I have seen that through systemic racism, many children of colour are persuaded into abandoning dreams and goals they strive to achieve, as they are told the roles of CEOs, judges, scientists - the roles of people that have an impact in society - are simply meant for someone else.
As a result, the devastating impacts of systemic racism can continue to rage rampant in positions of power. This unequivocally shows that although we see these protests on the streets, the real struggle starts in classrooms. Education is the biggest factor in making real change. We as a society must teach young people of colour that their goals are valid and are achievable. Some white people may be asking, what does all of this mean for me? Understand that success and achievement for people of colour will not victimise you, but actualise a world where our level of success is not predetermined by the pigmentation of our skin, and we can create the change we so desperately wish to see.
Grace Gbadamosi, Afro-Caribbean Society Vice President