Yesterday was such a productive day for me, and I am so glad to share with you.
I’m about to start my second year at university and, at the moment, there are so many activities going on at the Student Union that it would be a shame not to get involved. So yesterday I went to the BME (Black Minority Ethnic) group debate and I learnt so many things: we talked about what is common wisdom, about how black people perpetuate the “black stereotype” tag and if black (or better to say BME people) are “close minded” in achieving higher and better.
I was really happy to be in the midst of such thoughtful people, who have at heart the needs of those people who are left some steps behind when it comes to the social ladder of the society in which we live in. A great amount of people shared their experience as “minorities” and what it means to grow up in a place where one is defined by its appearance rather that its being and doing. I felt understood and not forgotten. I felt good and grateful to be there.
Problem. Talking about the approach that black people encounter, we tried to understand what is and where the line between racism, ignorance and curiosity can be found and what we, as people who struggle every day, can do to make our voice heard loud and clear.
Solution. As BME community it’s our duty, perhaps unpleasant, to educate those who often fall into racist/ignorant situations, transforming what could be an angry and unproductive confrontation, into a moment to learn and correct one’s social behaviour and manner.
The sad truth is, although we live in a world (at least in our society) where information is absolutely accessible, as black people we have to take that burden of demonising those old-aged stereotypes that are consuming our social relationships, without feeling obliged to fulfil the common wisdom.
Problem. Discussing about the statistics that show the achievements of BME people, I commented that, although opportunities are not always given to BME’s, I feel BME people are often reluctant in pursuing higher goals.
Solution. It’s not about reluctance, instead it’s the insufficient presence of BME role models in those places of the society where there is need, and in this issue the media plays a big part. On tv, in magazines, on the news and other places, I do not see people like me; they never appear, or if they do, it happens once in a while, you know, for diversity sake. Think about this: how many black women in the movie industry are given top roles? How many black women are given the not-sassy role? See, even the word “sassy” doesn’t feel right; it’s that kind of word you would use for one person and not for another. Why do I have to look for “black” magazines to find someone that looks like me?
So many topics came up and I am forever grateful to be part of this community.