I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates our experiences. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals like they can no longer hear us.
This emotional disconnect is the conclusion of living a life oblivious to the fact that their skin colour is norm and all others deviate from it. At best, white people have been taught not to mention that people of colour are ‘different’ in case it offends us. They truly believe that the experiences of their life as a result of their skin colour can and should be universalised. I just can’t engage with the bewilderment and the defensiveness as they try to grapple with the fact that not everyone experiences …
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By Professor Kalwant Bhopal, Professor of Education and Social Justice & Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham
“If we are serious about addressing such inequalities and how white privilege works, we must look to improving the lives of BME communities…”
Recent figures released from the ONS suggest that the number of COVID-19 deaths amongst members of the BME community is much higher compared to those from white and other backgrounds. A report published by Public Health England yesterday confirms this. The unsurprising consequence of the global pandemic seemingly accentuating inequalities that are already present in society. Marginalised and poor communities from BME groups are being further disadvantaged, as government responses to COVID-19 mirror the same inequalities that inform all aspects of social policy.
I argue this is no accident but rather, an extension of the perpetuation of structural and institutional racism in a neo-liberal society. Some commentators have appeared bewildered by evidence the virus is having a greater affect on BME groups. Frankly this suggests they are unaware of many aspects of daily life in the UK. Unaware for example that BME groups are more likely to be employed by the NHS …
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