With the launch of #MyRacistCampus, many of you might be asking how you can help fight racism both on and off campus.
The campaign aims to tackle the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, ways universities uphold racist ideas and interactions but we've put together a quick guide of things you can actually do to help challenge racism. These go beyond liking and sharing something on social media and include things that you can do when you're on campus and also when you're off campus.
"The campaign is very direct in its framing.
Whilst this can be discomforting in the institutional space,
being direct about the nature of social inequality and power is crucial."
Dr Shona Hunter, Dep. Director - Centre for Race Education & Decoloniality
Actually talk and listen to people!
Yep! It sounds silly but it's a good place to start... and we mean this more offline rather than online. While it can be a lot harder to talk about race and racism offline and not hide behind a screen, it can often be more productive. People have their pride at stake and tone is hard to convey in online settings.
You can do this in multiple ways, whether it is actively listening to the experiences of your black, asian & minority ethnic (BAME) classmates and peers, or not letting rants from your racist uncle at Christmas go unchallenged.
When you're listening to others, try and take the time to consider what they're saying, instead of just thinking about what your reply or contribution could be. Stepping aside to allow others to be heard and recognising that you don't always need to have an opinion can be very valuable.
When trying to tackle racism and misconceptions, try to explain concepts around race and racism in understandable, relatable ways. It's not about dumbing it down; it's about breaking down barriers and not trying to score points because you know the most terminology.
The goal is to move people towards better positions by telling a better story than the ones that foster racism.
Make hearing BAME voices on your course the norm
Ever looked at your reading list and noticed it is all white authors or researchers?
You might not think it's that important, especially if you're on a hard science based course, but actually that is not the case.
If you're on a social research based course, think of all the different perspectives you're potentially missing out on. Hard sciences... think of all the amazing research that's going on globally that might get skipped over.
Diversifying your reading list is about giving you better access to a broader, more global and diverse education whilst also recognising the vital contributions people of colour across the world are making to all academic fields.
You can help out by auditing your reading list here.
Empower others and yourself
One of the best ways of fighting racism is to build collective power.
Not only does it help to challenge racist ideas and narratives by fostering cooperation, it also empowers us to change the things that disproportionally affect people of colour.
Luckily, as students of Leeds Beckett, you're already part of an organisation that's all about that... the Students' Union!
However, our power to fight is only as strong as the amount of people involved. By getting involved in #MyRacistCampus, our other campaigns such as Hidden Fees and Tenants Rights as well as other local, national and international campaigns, you can help us achieve meaningful improvements to people's lives and fight back against racism.
No really, just turn up.
People = Power = Change.
Whether it’s one of our events for #MyRacistCampus, talks, campaign meetings, demonstrations, or even that pint and a friendly chat you’ve been meaning to have with that friend who has spent a bit too long watching far-right conspiracy videos on Youtube and sharing them on facebook.
We need you to show up for us.
If you would like to know more about diversity and inclusion and race related topics in society, Unspoken is an online series which provides a space for solution based conversation hosted by Presenter & Psychologist Cici. Subscribe to the Unspoken Youtube channel here.
Leeds Beckett's, Dr Shona Hunter is featured on the episode below which explores academic research into whiteness.