Why does ‘White Students View’s on Race’ matter?
Whilst in my final year of University, I was watching this MTV documentary with my friends Michael and Jesse.
I really liked the idea of someone speaking to the knowing or (unknowing) perpetrators of racism (white people) about their personal views, and completely destroying the stigma that people can’t speak to others who hold different views to oneself at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised because I’ve never seen someone respectfully but truthfully engage with white people about issues that aren’t usually discussed openly (if at all).
I wanted to replicate this feeling, so thanks to my friend’s encouragement I sought to film white student’s views on race. The 8 episode series sees me talk to white students about their views on race, how and if, race has played a part in their lives growing up in Britain. The episodes discussed topics varying from is white privilege real? ; The Brexit affect on race?; is the UK justice system racist? or the not so easy question of what can be done to end racism?
Now I know some of you may be confused, or maybe even annoyed about why I spoke to white people about such a personal issue that black people face whether its daily microaggressions or systemaic racism perpetrated by white supremacy, nonetheless the whole point of doing this wasn’t to suggest white people’s views about racism are more important than black peoples, but to make clear that their views are important and need to be heard out- because when they’re not extremist ideologies are left to harbour.
Let’s all face it often when discussing race it’s framed from black people’s and other ethnic minorities perspectives, but since racism is a systematic power-dynamic relationship, involving more than one race doesn’t it make sense to hear what white people also have to say?
At the end of the day, as a black man, I want racism to end as much as the next brother, but this can’t just happen with black people, white people need to be actively involved as well- and as I write this I have to thank all the white student’s who agreed to partake.
Without being too idealisitc, black unity is of course, paramount for black liberation, but creating white allies when possible should be aspired to for both black liberation and race relations.
Of course, race relations are a long way off from where they can be, and I can’t sit here and act like my YouTube series will lead to white supremacy vanishing overnight, but I’m happy I was able to exchange points of view with white people.
If you’re a person of colour reading this and you have white friends, speak to them, educate them, let them know what they can do to help from a perspective of love. If you’re a white person reading this who has friends of colour listen to their struggles, their experiences and try to have a perspective of understanding.
If you are a white person who has never engaged with a person of colour in your life, don’t believe serotypes of us, do some objective research about black people (we existed before colonialism as well), and don’t let, knowing or unknowing, misconceptions turn into prejudices.
So let’s all try to have more empathy, and openly speak more about this issue that affects all of us.
Chijioke Anosike TWN Editor