Jun 3rd, 2020
In this special episode I talk to Victoria Omotoso, PGR in Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, about being a BAME researcher in Higher Education and the world today. During the podcast we reference:
- AdvanceHE Equality in Higher Education Statistical Report 2019
- An article from the American Psychological Association about Unmasking Racial Microaggressions
- Noughts+Crosses, a BBC adaptation of the novel by Malories Blackman and I was wrong, Malorie Blackman was not the first black woman writer for Doctor Who – she was the first black writer in the show’s 50+ year history
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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Hello and welcome to R, D and The Inbetweens.
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I'm your host, Kelly Preece, and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between.
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Hello and welcome to this special episode of Researchers Development and the Inbetweens
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I recognise it's slightly strange to have a special episode of a podcast when your one episode into the series,
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but I wanted to provide a response to the events going on across the world and particularly in America and the death of George Floyd.
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One of the things I want to do with this podcast is provide a platform to discuss the real lived experiences of our researchers.
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And it would seem remiss to let this opportunity go by to talk about the experience of being a BAME researcher in higher education.
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I'm delighted to be joined by one of our PGR, Victoria Omotoso
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to discuss being a BAME researcher in higher education and generally in the world today.
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I want to point out that I have not edited this conversation.
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And the reason for that is I don't want to use my privileged perspective to change or alter Victoria's voice.
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So, Victoria, are you happy to introduce yourself? Yes. Hi, Kelly.
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Thanks for having me. So my name is Victoria. Omotoso. I am a PhD Theology candidate and just recently submitted. Congratulations.
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Thank you. I'm currently
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at the University of Exeter. Yes, my research kind of looks into the Jesus films and yeah,
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it touches a lot actually on ethnicity in films and how Hollywood has whitewashed a lot of stuff.
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So yes. Thanks for having me. Thank you.
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And the so to start with is really, really big an open question, which is just about what is it like to be a.
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BAME researcher in higher education. What's the environment like for you?
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What's the experience? Yeah, definitely being a BAME researcher.
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I think one of the main things you kind of come out from is that, you know, that there is there is an underlying thread, right.
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Of kind of inequality and discrimination. And a lot of that comes with stereotyping as well.
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And it does kind of lead you when you do occupy these white spaces.
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Makes you so much more conscious, actually, of the colour of your skin. And even though that shouldn't be a thing and, you know, in this modern age.
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But you do feel that especially in, you know, we enter a room and you are the only,
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you know, BAME researcher, you know, whether it be at a conference many times.
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Many of times I've entered conferences. I'm the only the only BAME researcher there.
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Or, you know, seminars. And sometimes when you.
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You know, Ia lot of the times when we're talking about things, you know, in the humanities,
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for example, you know, we're talking about, you know, histories and stuff like that.
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And you're always conscious of how people can respond.
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If I speak out, they're just going to label me as an angry black woman.
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Or are they going to, you know, just say, oh, she's just another person that's just trying to make a point.
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So all those things just come into play and you're constantly just aware on how you have to navigate yourself through these,
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you know, through the walls of of H-E really. And.
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You know, there's always a sense of. Trying to over perform.
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That's a big thing that always just comes up because I think we all. No matter what race you are, we all experience imposter syndrome.
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Right? You know, we all have that. We all have that thing.
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But it's somehow always heightened because you feel that I need to prove.
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To the white people that I'm good enough. Oh, gee, I'm like, you have to almost.
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Kind of prove that as a point. That, yeah, I, too, can engage in, you know, intelligent conversation, because, to be honest,
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I have experienced, you know, some people that, you know, would just kind of pass me by.
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But when I open my mouth. They'll be like, wow, I, I have no idea.
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You know, you were educated like that. Oh, seriously.
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You know. And and it's just again, it's just this kind of this underlying kind of like I said,
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this underlying thread that so, you know, just building up stereotypes that.
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You know need to be broken down. Really, for people to be able to actually break through those walls.
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And look, I will acknowledge that personally, I acknowledge that I'm privileged to be able to study.
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You know, in institutions. Everyone that's able to study in HE is a privilege.
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Absolutely. Exactly. And but, you know, I am also aware that.
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The colour of my skin, may, sometimes acts as a barrier for me.
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And, you know, I think. It comes to a point of trying to just dismantle those.
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Structures that have been set in place, but they can't be done by BAME researchers alone.
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And I think for me, some of the things that I found really striking in the past few years are not necessarily some of the instances of racism,
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which, you know, we we we will talk about kind of some of those in a bit, but some of the more structural things and the more subtle things.
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So, for instance AdvanceHE did an equality report a couple of years and it said that
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So you UK professors by ethnic group. Ninety one point two percent of professors in the U.K. are white and Nought.
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Six are black. Less than one percent. Less than one percent.
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And the you know, and we know that there is a black attainment gap.
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We know that at both a level and at degree level.
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And we see, you know, there's some. I'll share in the show notes, some of these statistics.
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And I linked to this information because they've done infographics and I think they're really powerful
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and they've done one that sort of shows the amount of white and BAME students in academia starting at
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undergraduate level and how that changes as you go through kind of into postgraduate research, lectureships
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and professors and the amount of white people goes up and the amount of BAME people goes down.
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And it's really striking because you can just I think in that see that structure.
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Yeah, and how it is. Like you say, it is a white space. Yeah.
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Yeah. So one of the things that we can't really ignore is what the University of Exeter is geographically located.
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Yes. And this is something we've discussed before.
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We are in the south west of England, which is and I think the politest way to put it is not the most multicultural area of this country.
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Was that a consideration for you in coming to study in the south west?
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No, because if I'm honest, I mean, I came from King's College in London.
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And when I first was, you know, just making a trip, I didn't I didn't really know much about Exeter.
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It wasn't really a place I'd considered. I knew of the university had a great reputation, of course.
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But I you know, and I've heard that all is a beautiful part of the world.
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But in terms of, you know, the city itself, I never really had much information on it, on it at first.
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I will be honest, it was not a concern for me.
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But when I did my first week, we got a little cottage somewhere where we were waiting for, you know, getting ready for the new academic uear to start.
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And that was when I was like, oh, OK, this is the Southwest.
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Yeah. You know, I mean, it was just so like I grew up I grew up in South Africa.
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Right. OK. So so, you know, we know everyone knows, you know, the history of of that nation.
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Right. Major racial tensions. So it wouldn't be what would it be anything new to me if I were to experience, you know,
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some form of either kind of injustice, like kind of very subtle injustice or subtle discrimination.
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But when I moved to the Southwest, it was almost like a new can had opened for me.
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It was just.
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Microaggressions, stares, people trying to touch my hair because it was something it was was something I have never experienced.
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I moved down here and it just at first I was just like, very confused.
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The whole thing. I'm like, is it that they actually have never seen a black person before?
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Or that they feel that they've never seen a black person before or that they don't have any interactions?
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Do I look like some kind of museum artefact to them?
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Like, you know, it was just it was just it was just crazy to me.
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Like, I would be you go into the shop and I would genuinely get people genuinely just stopping and staring.
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And, you know. And then it just for me, you know, it's just as kind of I feel that there's a sense that.
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For black people, again, this is kind of I know I don't want to call it ownership but it's almost s like if a black body enters into the room,
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it's like, you know, what's gonna happen next? You know, and even just the whole thing of touching hair, like, you know,
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just going up to someone and touching that a stranger and touching their heads.
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It's the most kind of invasive part of. Incredibly, you know.
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But again, what is it about? I asked that question.
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I like, what is it about black bodies that white people think that that's OK?
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You know, that some white people think that that's OK. To be able to come and just, you know.
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Place your hands on them, say, you know, things like that walking, you know you do, you just so much more aware.
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You know, the conscious ness of it all is very daunting, I think.
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And like we said, I think you were saying, you know. A lot of the racism is not aggressive.
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A lot of it is formed into the subtle ness of it.
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And. And I think that is. Like you said, that is what actually brings a lot of impact because you're just like it's just the everyday.
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The ordinary everyday where these experiences continue to happen because of the colour of your skin.
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And there seems to be a lot in what you're saying about othering.
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Yes. Oh, the other. Yes. Honestly, it's yeah, you're completely right.
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Because I think I don't know. It is just kind of I think it also goes back to year to year.
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If we go back decades ago when this whole thing of, you know, exoticism and like the fetishising of black bodies and all of that.
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I think it all kind of plays into that rhetorically. Right.
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Of the other of this otherness that is actually, you know, it does form from the same system that has, you know,
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used used it as a form of, you know, almost as I don't want to say, you know, like of almost a form of entertainment in a way.
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Absolutely. I mean, I, I see it you see it so often with attitudes to disability as well, like the the kind of othering or the kind of freak show.
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of the early 20th century. Yes, definitely.
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And you can say and I've heard a lot of people talk to me about kind of that again, that fetishisation, I can't say that word.
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Fetishisation of disabled bodies. Yes.
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And and and it it certainly seems to me
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from my perspective on the situation that it is there seems to be the underpinning of the attitude
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of the freak show or of exoticism that just seems to be still so embedded in our culture.
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Yes. Yes. And I I think, like you said, it's those micro aggressions, it's those those subtle forms of racism that we are not.
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When I say we, I mean as myself, as a kind of privileged white person, we don't know.
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We don't see. No, we don't see in the same. Well, we certainly don't see in the same way.
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And there's been lots of discussions in the sector.
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So there's a podcast called WonkHE.
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And there was a really interesting episode where they talked about how they were gonna deal with a level grades and predicted grades and the argument
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And somebody tried to argue that this was gonna be a great leveller for people.
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And actually, the someone said, well, no.
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Because we know statistically that predicted grades for black students in the UK are much lower than what they actually achieve.
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So this is a system that's gonna work against them.
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Yeah. And and it's those sorts of I think it's those sorts of structural.
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Discriminations are underpinning everything we do. Yeah.
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Yeah. Know you're completely right. It's the thing is, it's it's this is generations like we see what's happening right now.
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This is generations upon generations of trauma.
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I mean, my grandmother would tell me stories of when she was working in London in the 60s of people screaming.
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I heard the N-word actually down the street. And she said there's no way she can raise her children.
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And like, you know, she you know, she is fighting for equality in the 60s.
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Here I am. Her granddaughter is still talking about this today. So this is I mean,
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this is a generational thing of we've hit we've heard the stories of what of our parents or what our grandparents
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have gone through and now their children are still having to face these same battles in our own way.
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And again, you know, like you said, the structure of it needs to be completely broken down.
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But I think it is like you said, you know. priviledge, people that come from a place of privilege.
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Need to be away, and I think what's happening right now with this whole you know,
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with the whole George Floyd we've been the brave movement is that you are seeing thousands and thousands of people and a lot of white people are.
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Recognising, you know, say that, hey, I'm so sorry that I took me this long to recognise my my privilege.
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But, you know, I think I think they've always known that there was a privilege. Right. I mean, I think I think we all are aware of white privilege.
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I think we're all aware of the systems that are put in place that are able to benefit some more than others.
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But when it benefits you, it's easier to it's very easy to ignore. Exactly.
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Exactly. And I think it's in your favour. Exactly.
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And and that has is that's been the story, hasn't it?
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For so long. And it's not even the whole
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You know, this whole inequality of everything is the kind of society we live in.
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Yes. Especially in the UK. I have seen people be abused, racially abused on public transport.
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And nobody no, I mean, it's another person of colour that's having to step in.
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Yes. And, you know, there's nobody is standing up.
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No white person in that bus was, you know, was able to stand up and say, hey, that's not OK.
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So, you know, it's it's just this. I think the the passiveness of it all, I think is actually what?
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What's that way when it starts to arose? We almost become desensitised to the whole
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Yeah. And I saw something Will Smith had actually posted a couple of days ago that said.
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So if there isn't some. It was something like there hasn't been a resurgence of racism.
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It's just being filmed. Yes. Yes, I saw that. Yes, exactly.
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Exactly. I just I find that really powerful, just as a kind of reminder that just because you aren't seeing something.
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Exactly. And if you if you are white and if you are privileged, you're not going to see it.
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Not not that regularly as it occurs. That's so true, that's so true.
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You go, you go, sorry, I was just agreeing with what you said.
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You know, it's it's some. This is not new to black people.
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No. These experiences aren't new to us. We.
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We mean, we know of people this has happened to you. I guess you know of family members who've been detained just because of the colour of their skin.
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We know you know, this is not this is not.
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I've got two brothers that are black men. Yeah.
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And. I even just going to our local shop down the road.
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I have to tell him, take your hoodie off, like, don't wear a hat because you're a black man.
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And they will be watching you. So, you know, it's just things like that that whereas if his white friend, you know, wore a beanie or hoodie,
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you know, no business, no suspicion, you know, or he's going for a walk even when we're in Africa.
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He's going for a walk. And if he's detained because he's black, because he shouldn't be here, it's a white space.
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Why are you here? So, you know, this this these things, these experiences, It's not new to us.
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You know, these stories are not new to black communities in the US.
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They have been they have been going through this for generations, for years.
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But it is finally coming into light.
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And and yet, you know, I think, again, it is it's finally.
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Dawning on people that we have a serious problem.
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And I think a lot of, you know, white people saying we have a serious problem and we are the ones to fix it.
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Because to be honest, they started this problem in the first place.
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If I'm if I'm can be quite frank there. Absolutely. And like you said before, you know.
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And there's a lot of discussion about this at the moment in various different groups,
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that it's the people with the privilege have to speak up and start the change because we're the ones with the power and the privilege.
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This is what you know what this is. I think I literally sent this to my mother yesterday and I said, this is it.
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All this is great. All this change is great. I said, but we need the white people because they are the ones in power.
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They are the ones sitting on those boards. They are the ones making those policies.
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And I said, you know, we need them. To be able to step up and activate, you know, what is started at grassroots.
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And only then can we start to see the dismantling of white supremacy, you know.
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Yeah. And. I've had a lot of people talk as well about the emotional labour that gets put on people from discriminated groups in general,
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where they are the people that have to fight for change. You know, when they're already fighting just for their existence.
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Yeah, yeah. And the the impact of that on mental health and physical health, it's very true.
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And like you say, you know. You go into most, you know, senior boards of senior management of universities across the country.
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It's statistically unlikely to see a woman, let alone a black woman.
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Yes. Yes. And, you know, there's been lots of.
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And I know that the BME network at the university have been saying a lot about actually, you know,
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it's it's our it's our responsibility as white people when we're in a room and we realise
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that our BAME colleagues and students aren't represented to actually speak up and say,
00:21:58,000 --> 00:22:04,000
you know what? This is not good enough. Yeah, I'm definitely.
00:22:04,000 --> 00:22:08,000
I mean, that's what we've been fighting for. We fight to to be in the room.
00:22:08,000 --> 00:22:17,000
Yeah, to be in the room. I mean, there was a time they wouldn't even let us in the building, you know, way in the building.
00:22:17,000 --> 00:22:24,000
You know, now what? Now we're fighting for to be in the room. And I'm not saying that I'm not trying to undermine.
00:22:24,000 --> 00:22:30,000
I don't want to undermine history. You know, I don't undermine, obviously, the impact of what has changed.
00:22:30,000 --> 00:22:37,000
But it's 2020 and we are still fighting for it, you know,
00:22:37,000 --> 00:22:44,000
for against the injustice and discriminations of people because of the colour of their skin.
00:22:44,000 --> 00:22:56,000
And that is baffling and on every level. And I think a lot of people are still finding that baffling, that the colour of my skin is not a weapon.
00:22:56,000 --> 00:23:03,000
And the colour of my skin should not make me more suspicious than my white girlfriend.
00:23:03,000 --> 00:23:14,000
So this kind of. This, you know, these these these retorts that have been kind of passed down, passed down, passed them continue.
00:23:14,000 --> 00:23:21,000
They continue and. Yeah, and I think we're just finally, I think.
00:23:21,000 --> 00:23:27,000
I said, Mom, black people we are tired
00:23:27,000 --> 00:23:31,000
We're tired. We're tired. Enough is enough.
00:23:31,000 --> 00:23:36,000
You know, that's that's and I think that is what is happening right now. I don't think we.
00:23:36,000 --> 00:23:41,000
We're tired. White allies are tired, you know.
00:23:41,000 --> 00:23:45,000
Everyone is tired right now of all of this, and this needs it needs to.
00:23:45,000 --> 00:23:48,000
There needs to be a change. It needs to be a change.
00:23:48,000 --> 00:23:54,000
And I think what you're saying is there's a particular cultural moment that's happening right now.
00:23:54,000 --> 00:24:02,000
And. I want to talk a little bit about how what's going on in the world now, both in terms of the COVID 19 pandemic,
00:24:02,000 --> 00:24:09,000
but also the the events with George Floyd and the incidents in America and the protests
00:24:09,000 --> 00:24:15,000
and the march and how that impacts on your lived experience as a black woman,
00:24:15,000 --> 00:24:21,000
but also as a black and BAME researcher because.
00:24:21,000 --> 00:24:26,000
I know that a lot of these things can seem very distant if they're happening on the other side of the world.
00:24:26,000 --> 00:24:30,000
But that doesn't mean that they don't they don't change things for us.
00:24:30,000 --> 00:24:39,000
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, the day the day I heard about him, I cried because for me,
00:24:39,000 --> 00:24:45,000
even though I was on the other side of the world, I'm like, this is I felt like my brother.
00:24:45,000 --> 00:24:56,000
Yeah. And I spent I was I was absolutely emotionally distraught and exhausted and.
00:24:56,000 --> 00:25:00,000
And I just kept thinking to myself, like. Why?
00:25:00,000 --> 00:25:07,000
You know, and it and it has an effect on you, because you say, you know, this is someone of.
00:25:07,000 --> 00:25:12,000
This is someone that could have been my uncle, that could have been my cousin.
00:25:12,000 --> 00:25:19,000
And, you know, you really do feel like you genuinely do feel like it's a family member when these things happen.
00:25:19,000 --> 00:25:29,000
And I notice that it's hard to understand, but because you know that this is what's happening to your brothers and sisters across the pond.
00:25:29,000 --> 00:25:32,000
It's just it does make your mental health.
00:25:32,000 --> 00:25:39,000
How you navigate your space. Just a bit more difficult.
00:25:39,000 --> 00:25:44,000
Really. You know, you just.
00:25:44,000 --> 00:25:49,000
You know, you just it's like there's a big target on your back.
00:25:49,000 --> 00:25:56,000
When you're walking through the streets like that is sometimes that is what I've been feeling actually the past couple of days.
00:25:56,000 --> 00:25:59,000
I just feel like there's a massive target on my back.
00:25:59,000 --> 00:26:06,000
And not to say that people haven't been supportive or, y'know, know, my white friends haven't been supportive and,
00:26:06,000 --> 00:26:12,000
you know, and active about, you know, you can only know your own pain.
00:26:12,000 --> 00:26:19,000
Yeah. So, yeah, it's just it just.
00:26:19,000 --> 00:26:26,000
Yeah, sorry. I know I'm feeling as well, I, I am.
00:26:26,000 --> 00:26:30,000
It's interesting what you say about the way that it hits home is something very connected.
00:26:30,000 --> 00:26:34,000
So my nephew is mixed raced. Yeah.
00:26:34,000 --> 00:26:40,000
And I grew up. I do have mixed race cousins actually. But, you know, they live in London and I grew up in Devon.
00:26:40,000 --> 00:26:46,000
So even though we're a close knit family, we we grew up quite separated in terms of those experiences.
00:26:46,000 --> 00:26:50,000
Yeah. And when my nephew was sort of around five,
00:26:50,000 --> 00:27:02,000
there were the sorts that was the start of racist incidents towards him at school because he was the only non-white child in his entire school.
00:27:02,000 --> 00:27:15,000
And I remember at the time. I mean, being so completely furious and devastated and you know that.
00:27:15,000 --> 00:27:21,000
But this had started for him already, but there was and there was a shift, I think,
00:27:21,000 --> 00:27:29,000
in my perception, because all of a sudden it was very personal in a way that I had always.
00:27:29,000 --> 00:27:34,000
You know, although I would never have known this language at the time, but I had always considered myself an ally.
00:27:34,000 --> 00:27:39,000
But my response to it was different. And it has in, you know, over time made me think.
00:27:39,000 --> 00:27:49,000
But that's how angry I need to be. Whenever it happens, whoever has it, not just when it happens to my nephew, when it happens to anybody.
00:27:49,000 --> 00:27:55,000
And I think we do we do respond differently when it's closer to our experience.
00:27:55,000 --> 00:28:04,000
Yes. And therefore. Isn't the answer for us as privileged white people as a homogenous group
00:28:04,000 --> 00:28:12,000
Yeah, to to learn more about the lived experiences of black and BAME people.
00:28:12,000 --> 00:28:17,000
Yeah. And it's just this thing, isn't it, of just human human values.
00:28:17,000 --> 00:28:24,000
Yeah. You know, it is. It is is this past, you know, whether you're black, whether you're white.
00:28:24,000 --> 00:28:28,000
It's human value. And this is why you know.
00:28:28,000 --> 00:28:36,000
You know, this is why we're saying like this is why people say, you know, black lives matter, because they have told us that our lives don't.
00:28:36,000 --> 00:28:43,000
You told us that, you know. Oh, it doesn't. It doesn't it doesn't matter that we have to.
00:28:43,000 --> 00:28:48,000
You know, a black model on a beauty campaign.
00:28:48,000 --> 00:28:53,000
Like, it's fine. We'll just cater for one group, you know, or, you know, they've told us for so long,
00:28:53,000 --> 00:28:59,000
they've told us it doesn't matter that you're not beautiful enough. It doesn't matter that, you know, it does.
00:28:59,000 --> 00:29:09,000
Does it matter like it does? And that is I think that is what has become the shift that, yeah, our lives matter enough to live.
00:29:09,000 --> 00:29:13,000
You know, we matter enough to be treated with respect.
00:29:13,000 --> 00:29:25,000
We matter enough to not just be, you know, fawned over or, you know, just to not be viewed as as the other, but as a fellow human being.
00:29:25,000 --> 00:29:32,000
And I think that kind of again, I've seen a lot on social media about, you know, the notion of Black Lives Matter.
00:29:32,000 --> 00:29:38,000
Doesn't mean that white lives don't matter or lives matter.
00:29:38,000 --> 00:29:46,000
It just means that. Like you say, this is a group of people who have been consistently told throughout history.
00:29:46,000 --> 00:29:55,000
Yes. That their lives don't matter. Yes. And actually and, you know, even though we you know, we I'm not I don't contest that.
00:29:55,000 --> 00:30:00,000
We've made a lot of progress. Yes. But we know that things aren't.
00:30:00,000 --> 00:30:08,000
We know that we're not there yet. And you see that the you know, the thing that springs to mind to me is about representation of.
00:30:08,000 --> 00:30:13,000
Yes. Yes. Kelly. Because.
00:30:13,000 --> 00:30:21,000
You know, I know from my perspective as a woman that I love science fiction and superheroes and all that sort of stuff.
00:30:21,000 --> 00:30:28,000
And it's only sort of in the past five years that we've started to see, you know, things like Star Wars with a strong female lead.
00:30:28,000 --> 00:30:31,000
Yes. Yes. You know Captain Marvel for me.
00:30:31,000 --> 00:30:37,000
Yes. Oh, my gosh. We've got a superhero that's not wearing a tiny skirt.
00:30:37,000 --> 00:30:40,000
And and all of a sudden, you know it.
00:30:40,000 --> 00:30:45,000
And I've had, you know, male friends say to me, but, you know, Captain Marvel is my one of my favourites of all time.
00:30:45,000 --> 00:30:48,000
And they go, but it's not it's not the most amazing film. Why do you love it?
00:30:48,000 --> 00:30:52,000
And it's because it's it it feels like it represents and speaks to ,e.
00:30:52,000 --> 00:31:04,000
Yes. And my experience and I've heard a lot of people talking recently in my own kind of quest to educate myself,
00:31:04,000 --> 00:31:13,000
somebody that operates in a position of privilege. And about the you know, we've we've come quite a long way with that.
00:31:13,000 --> 00:31:20,000
Yes. We've got a long way to go. But, you know, in terms of.
00:31:20,000 --> 00:31:25,000
BAME stories and narratives.
00:31:25,000 --> 00:31:30,000
We're so woefully behind. Yeah, yeah.
00:31:30,000 --> 00:31:35,000
There has been I mean. You want to take it right into every spectrum, right?
00:31:35,000 --> 00:31:38,000
I can go to. You can go to our education system.
00:31:38,000 --> 00:31:50,000
You can go to, you know, on television, just like there has been this almost like a ratio of black stories and.
00:31:50,000 --> 00:31:58,000
In the case that even black people don't even know we don't even know our own stories, you know, because because there is no platform,
00:31:58,000 --> 00:32:06,000
there is no representation for us to be able to express these stories and say, hey, like there is this is another side of things.
00:32:06,000 --> 00:32:11,000
You know, there is this you know, this is, you know, how black people have contributed to science.
00:32:11,000 --> 00:32:19,000
That. Yeah, I did, too. Medicine and technology and, you know, you know, in the arts.
00:32:19,000 --> 00:32:30,000
And these stories are so, so diminished. And, you know, it's we need to start shining a light on these stories, shining a light on modern black stories.
00:32:30,000 --> 00:32:36,000
You know, our own stories. Yes. As black people living now. And who knows?
00:32:36,000 --> 00:32:39,000
And representation. You know, seeing a representation is key.
00:32:39,000 --> 00:32:48,000
And I think I think it's it's great now. I mean, I knew when I was growing up, there wasn't that many black dolls for little girls to play with.
00:32:48,000 --> 00:32:53,000
Yeah. And it's great that, again, like you said, we've made some progress that, you know,
00:32:53,000 --> 00:32:59,000
little little black girls are able to play with like those if they want to have, they can.
00:32:59,000 --> 00:33:05,000
You know, just having the option, I think has been has been the biggest thing.
00:33:05,000 --> 00:33:13,000
I mean, honestly, I could walk into boots and I will not have an option and I'll just walk straight back out.
00:33:13,000 --> 00:33:17,000
You know, it's just things like that which kind of represent a society.
00:33:17,000 --> 00:33:22,000
In fact, whether they like the fact that they aren't aware of it, I think is part of the problem.
00:33:22,000 --> 00:33:26,000
That doesn't say that they are not you know, that doesn't say to, oh, you did.
00:33:26,000 --> 00:33:32,000
This group of people are racist. But the fact that they are just so unaware is part of the problem.
00:33:32,000 --> 00:33:40,000
The fact that they are so unaware that, oh, there is a part of the demographic of people that might not all be one team needed.
00:33:40,000 --> 00:33:44,000
I remember there was a whole thing a couple of years ago, right on nude and what that meant.
00:33:44,000 --> 00:33:49,000
And nude basically just meant white skin. Yeah. Yeah.
00:33:49,000 --> 00:33:56,000
And we were just like, yeah. Hi,
00:33:56,000 --> 00:34:01,000
Remember me? I exist. Yeah. Like, you know, we exist too, you know.
00:34:01,000 --> 00:34:07,000
So I think, you know, I think, you know, we're starting to see I think I remember a couple months ago I was in it with
00:34:07,000 --> 00:34:12,000
Tesco bringing out kind of shades of new plasters and all those things.
00:34:12,000 --> 00:34:18,000
I think, you know, it's it's a long mountain to climb.
00:34:18,000 --> 00:34:22,000
But I. I don't want to be pessimistic about it.
00:34:22,000 --> 00:34:32,000
I think there's hope. I think that there's enough people who are starting to recognise what is going on and care enough to be liked.
00:34:32,000 --> 00:34:42,000
Yeah, we need to be able to, you know, highlight highlight these stories and let them because, you know.
00:34:42,000 --> 00:34:46,000
Yeah, I'm remembering as you're talking, I think we did.
00:34:46,000 --> 00:34:50,000
I think we had a conversation on Twitter actually about noughts and crosses. Yes.
00:34:50,000 --> 00:34:54,000
Oh yes. Oh, I love that show. I know. Yes.
00:34:54,000 --> 00:34:58,000
Yeah. So the thing that's the thing that really struck me as we're talking.
00:34:58,000 --> 00:35:03,000
I mean, so this was a TV show that was on the BBC a couple of months ago.
00:35:03,000 --> 00:35:09,000
Yeah, I think it was on BBC two, though, which in and of itself is an interesting thing worth noting.
00:35:09,000 --> 00:35:19,000
Yes. But I, I actually read that book when the the first one of the series when it came out and I just Googled it now and it came out in 2001.
00:35:19,000 --> 00:35:26,000
Wow. How was it taken. And it was funny. It was fabulous. And I loved it the first time I read it.
00:35:26,000 --> 00:35:34,000
And, you know, as same as happens with so much in our lives, you know, those kind of fictions and stories are educational.
00:35:34,000 --> 00:35:38,000
Definitely. And how was that taken? 20 years. Yeah.
00:35:38,000 --> 00:35:52,000
To be made for television. I mean, irrespective of the ways that it problem arises and challenges the sections of race and.
00:35:52,000 --> 00:35:56,000
Yeah, and the way that our society is structured. Yes.
00:35:56,000 --> 00:36:00,000
Just an amazing story. Yes. But it didn't get made.
00:36:00,000 --> 00:36:05,000
Yeah. Yeah. And I think Mallory Blackamn, who writes it.
00:36:05,000 --> 00:36:09,000
She wrote an episode of Doctor Who. A couple of years ago.
00:36:09,000 --> 00:36:14,000
And I think I've I think and I will double check this and correct myself in the show notes, if I'm wrong,
00:36:14,000 --> 00:36:20,000
that she was the first black woman to ever write an episode of Doctor Who in a show that's been running for over 50 years.
00:36:20,000 --> 00:36:25,000
Wow. This is the thing. It is the thing. We're still hearing of black firsts.
00:36:25,000 --> 00:36:29,000
Yes. And it's twenty twenty. Yes.
00:36:29,000 --> 00:36:33,000
We're still hearing of first that passage to see this first.
00:36:33,000 --> 00:36:41,000
I mean, up until last night, first black mayor in Ferguson, first black female mayor in Ferguson last night.
00:36:41,000 --> 00:36:46,000
So, you know, it's it's. You know. It is. It is.
00:36:46,000 --> 00:36:50,000
Yeah, it's you know, it's amazing and how. Yeah.
00:36:50,000 --> 00:36:56,000
Society has just kind of set that up, isn't it? And just really.
00:36:56,000 --> 00:37:03,000
It becomes so blatant now, I think. To draws to a close.
00:37:03,000 --> 00:37:09,000
I wonder what. Thinking of the right way to phrase.
00:37:09,000 --> 00:37:16,000
So, you know, thinking about coming back to higher education and the structural inequalities that we know exist.
00:37:16,000 --> 00:37:25,000
The you know, the things that you've said about walking into a conference paper or a seminar and being the only BAME person in the room.
00:37:25,000 --> 00:37:31,000
What what do we need to do, as you know? I'm talking about that homogenous group of white people again.
00:37:31,000 --> 00:37:42,000
What do we need to do? If we've got the power and we've got the privilege, what do we as white people and H.E. need to do?
00:37:42,000 --> 00:37:47,000
To help change this. For your perspective.
00:37:47,000 --> 00:37:54,000
So I know I'm asking you as a black person for the answer, I'm aware of that in my question.
00:37:54,000 --> 00:38:11,000
Yeah. I always say education, education, education, and educating yourself doesn't just mean reading off lots of books about that people.
00:38:11,000 --> 00:38:19,000
Yeah. Also means actually speaking to black people or, you know, and actually accepting them.
00:38:19,000 --> 00:38:27,000
And I know and I mean and I always just said, like just me be genuine about wanting to accept them into the room.
00:38:27,000 --> 00:38:33,000
You know, it's not a front. It's not a thing that, you know, we're just trying to tick a box or anything.
00:38:33,000 --> 00:38:39,000
It's just genuinely treating them with.
00:38:39,000 --> 00:38:49,000
You know, with the same honour and dignity as anyone else, and I think, again, you know, like you said, a lot people are kind of, you know,
00:38:49,000 --> 00:39:00,000
recognising their privilege, recognising, you know, the steps, the extra steps that have been put in place or the less obstacles they have.
00:39:00,000 --> 00:39:10,000
And that's great. But I think. The main thing that we all say needs to do is just.
00:39:10,000 --> 00:39:23,000
Have an ear to listen. I guess, I mean, you know, the people that are in power need to get BAME researchers into the room and listen.
00:39:23,000 --> 00:39:33,000
They need to get BAME researches into the room and let them voice out their story.
00:39:33,000 --> 00:39:42,000
Let them voice out their concern and just be genuine in.
00:39:42,000 --> 00:39:47,000
Listening. Be genuine in wanting to help.
00:39:47,000 --> 00:39:55,000
Because they are in a position of power and privilege. And those are the things that, you know, I think we can start to at least see that,
00:39:55,000 --> 00:40:02,000
you know, the people that are making these policies, the people that are.
00:40:02,000 --> 00:40:10,000
You know. Kind of in in those positions are the ones to really stop to make that change.
00:40:10,000 --> 00:40:17,000
To be honest. Yeah. And I think that's a really an important and powerful note to end on.
00:40:17,000 --> 00:40:25,000
Actually, I love that phrase. Just have an ear to listen. Yeah, and actually the simplicity.
00:40:25,000 --> 00:40:33,000
Of that as an act. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about.
00:40:33,000 --> 00:40:37,000
I didn't think about just something about incredibly emotional.
00:40:37,000 --> 00:40:43,000
I've felt it. As we've discussed it from my own experiences with my family.
00:40:43,000 --> 00:40:58,000
But just hearing your lived experience and confronting my own biases and assumptions with that is is really important to me as an individual,
00:40:58,000 --> 00:41:05,000
but also to everybody else working in this sector and being a human being on this earth.
00:41:05,000 --> 00:41:09,000
So thank you so much. Thank you for having me. Thank you.
00:41:09,000 --> 00:41:18,000
Hey, thanks. Thank you, Victoria, for a difficult, emotional and truly illuminating conversation.
00:41:18,000 --> 00:41:24,000
I'm making a commitment now to make sure that I do have an ear to listen.
00:41:24,000 --> 00:41:31,000
Like many white people, I believe in equality and condemn racism wholeheartedly.
00:41:31,000 --> 00:41:39,000
But I am the product of white privilege and my perspective on the world is embedded with unconscious bias.
00:41:39,000 --> 00:41:46,000
I recognise that it's not the job of black people to educate white people about racism and about the lived experience.
00:41:46,000 --> 00:41:53,000
And so I recognise and thank Victoria for taking the time to talk to me today.
00:41:53,000 --> 00:42:00,000
I'm going to include some links in the show notes, to different things that Victoria and I have discussed.
00:42:00,000 --> 00:42:06,000
But if there is anything you think is conspicuously absent from that or other stories or
00:42:06,000 --> 00:42:11,000
other research about BAME experiences in higher education that you think needs adding,
00:42:11,000 --> 00:42:18,000
please do let me know. And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me.
00:42:18,000 --> 00:42:45,174
Next time where I'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.