A year on from the death of George Floyd and the rise of the BLM Movement, we’ve been reflecting on the way systematic racism has an impact in our own lives.
As a hijabi woman of colour, I feel disheartened to say that I have lived experience of the deep-rooted racism present in our society. From teachers treating me differently based on stereotypes of my race, to not applying to a certain job position because of the fear of not feeling welcomed, to old white men mumbling “go back to your country, scum” as they walk past me. All these seemingly “low-level” acts of racism have had an effect on factors such as my confidence and feeling accepted in the country I was born in.
Growing up in a diverse borough like Hackney, I have the privilege to say I haven’t experienced racism the way my friends of colour living in less diverse areas have. However, knowing that racism is present and not always “visible” in our society - that it is often passive - is enough to add discomfort into our daily lives. It’s something as “small” as feeling anxious walking into a cafe if I can’t see any people of colour inside, out of fear of feeling out of place - to the extent where I would choose not to walk in at all - even if I was really hungry!
According to gov.uk, 84% of people aged 16 and over in England said they felt strongly that they belong to Britain in the year to March 2020. However, 6,243 out of 7,820 participants were white individuals. A survey by YouGov shows that, two-thirds of black Britons have had a racial slur used directly against them or had people make assumptions about their behaviour based on their race. It’s hard to believe statistics such as the former when the latter exists and is a better representation of how people of colour in our society truly feel.
We recognise that racism is integrated into our systems and society and thus something that would require time and effort in order to see change. But before that, it is an issue that needs to be acknowledged and understood. We must make personal commitments to this cause in order to sincerely become the changemakers that society needs to tackle inequality.
As an organisation, we have committed to celebrating and supporting PoC voices along with listening and learning from the people around us. A way that we’re doing this at Telescope is by featuring the wonderful work of People of Colour in our industry on our social media. We hope to expand our network of partners and collaborators to reflect the diversity in our society. We will continue to base our work and impact on a truly anti-racist and inclusive foundation.