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Changing the Structures of Racism

Changing the Structures of Racism

Friday 19 June 2020

Changing the Structures of Racism


With George Floyd's death still prompting protests around the world, Equality Guernsey has said the Black Lives Matter movements is highlighting inequalities everywhere that need changing - including in our Bailiwick.

The organisation has provided links to educational resources so that people can read for themselves about the racist discrimination some people face, which they have written about below:

Equality

Pictured: Equality Guernsey is a consortium of local third sector organisations and individuals "united by a shared vision to develop a 'rights based' culture in Guernsey". You can read more about their work HERE. 

"It is hard to watch the civil unrest unfold in the United States in reaction to the brutal killing of George Floyd and the ongoing police brutality towards people of colour, but as a spectator, we can’t help but ask ourselves if this is just about the US and their turbulent history with racial inequality?

Europe’s history with racial inequality is different from that of the US for sure and in Guernsey, our history is unique to us too. 52% of our population identify as from Guernsey and of that remaining 48%, 24% identify as not from the UK or Ireland which means that here in Guernsey, we have a diverse society. Diversity comes with both challenges and opportunities, and we manage these challenges by becoming more culturally aware and sensitive to structural inequalities that disadvantage certain groups.  

When we look at inequality we have to first recognise that racism is a system, of course, there is overt racism with people voicing their prejudice but largely the systems are subtle and mostly unseen by those that do not experience it. Race is a lived experience and depending on the stereotypes that exist about the race and culture we are from will determine how people treat us. The vast majority of racism is subtle and unconscious, created by long term socialisation to certain ideas and images.

Reflect for a moment what the image of a pilot looks like in your mind, chances are it is a middle-aged white man. So how come we have this shared idea of what a pilot looks like? It is because it is the image that has been repeated again and again to us, thus anyone who does not look like this who wants to become a pilot will have hurdles to overcome as they need to pass recruiters unconscious bias. To overcome this, systems need to be put in place to challenge unconscious bias, encourage people that do not fit the mould to apply and overall work to having a fairer representation of the population across all areas of society.  

Like all the different communities across our islands people’s experience are unique, some will be thriving, while others will struggle. The role we can play towards creating a fairer society is…

  • Accepting that our current system is unfair and disproportionately benefits white people.
  • Reflect on our own bias and how it affects our actions.
  • Taking steps to address the equality gap creating a fair playing field.
  • Educate ourselves about racism.

Change starts from within, it is an uncomfortable, but necessary process if our goal is equality. We must listen to and take seriously everyone’s lived experience. We need to create structures and legislations that protect the most vulnerable people in our society.

The US situation was born out of building upon a system that further disadvantaged communities of colour. We might not be in the same situation in the US, but we still have structural inequality that needs to change.

Equality Guernsey has created a resource list of films, books, and podcasts to support your educational journey - you can access those HERE. 

Equality Guernsey 

The above is the view of the author and not Bailiwick Express. If you wish to have your own article, readers letter or other material considered for publication please email editor@bailiwickexpress.com.

 

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