LUCU Statement on Anti-Racism

LUCU Statement on Anti-Racism

12.06.2020

Black Lives Matter protests in the past week across the United States and worldwide have demonstrated international resistance to, and outrage against, police and white supremacist murders of Black people, most lately George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, as well as David McAtee and Jamel Floyd who were killed by police during the protests. Many people who want to condemn racism and show support for the Black Lives Matter cause have been asking “What can I do?”

First, it is important that we do not tell ourselves that this problem exists only in the USA.  As a colonising nation Britain has a deeply problematic track record with race relations, which is far from over, as evidenced by the recent Windrush scandal, ongoing police brutality and racism, racialised unequal COVID19 health outcomes, including the condemnable deaths of Belly Mujinga and Trevor Belle, Black British essential workers, both of whom were assaulted at work and later died of COVID19. We should recognise that the legacy of colonialism, including structural and interpersonal racism (overt and covert), anti-Blackness, shadeism and colourism, lives on across Europe and worldwide.

Second, we can call attention to the issue. In particular, we believe it is the role of white people, and those whose racial backgrounds put them in closer proximity to whiteness, to use their relative privilege and safety to amplify Black voices and advocate for change. The ability to ignore this issue and believe it does not concern you is one way that structural racism is perpetuated. In response to this moment, it is not enough to be “not racist”.  We must be “anti-racist”.

Third, we can acknowledge and understand the history that has made it necessary to demand in this moment that Black lives do matter. Racial inequality in the world today is the outcome of historical processes, producing structural racism benefiting white people, while othering and discriminating against those who are not white. 

Finally, we can recognise that many Black colleagues and students, and those of mixed Black heritage are currently experiencing trauma, anger and exhaustion, as a result of the combination of everyday racism, the disproportionate health impacts of COVID19 on communities of colour, and the heightened racialised violence, pressure and anxiety of this moment. The LUCU committee extends to them our care and concern, and we urge supervisors and peers to please be mindful of and compassionate to these circumstances.

We welcome the articulate response from Loughborough University and its commitment to recognise its part in the problem and dedication to being part of the solution, as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s recent statement in which he centres the importance of challenging racism, and positioning the university as anti-racist. LUCU are also committed to (1) working closely with the BME staff network to address issues of racism within the union, and (2) continuing to engage with university management to improve staff experiences in a way that is cognizant of the specific issues faced by Black staff, staff of colour and minority backgrounds. In addition to anti-Black racism, we also wish to speak out against the everyday Sinophobic and Islamophobic racism against Asian and Muslim colleagues and students on campus and in Loughborough, which has increased due to COVID19, and the ongoing challenges of the hostile environment for immigration that affects our international colleagues.

We invite all members of our University community, but particularly those who are white, to respond to this opportunity to listen, learn and take action.  Below we provide a range of suggestions, some which can be done for free in seconds, others which ask you to invest some money or time. While some of the resources were developed in the US, this does not mean they are irrelevant to us in the UK.

More recommended books available here.

Resources for teaching staff

Educators have a special role to play in tackling racism in the curriculum, in the classroom, and in the student experience as a whole.  These resources will support you in doing this.

Resources for Black/BME Colleagues

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the individual members of the BME, International, and LGBT staff networks, many of whom are UCU members, who co-developed this statement on our behalf. Thank you also to all the Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and white ally thinkers, activists and content creators whose excellent work we draw upon here.  

Anti-Trump and Stand Up to Racism Events

Anti-Trump and Stand Up to Racism Events

There are two political protest events coming up which have wide support from the Trades Union movement including UCU.

The first is on Friday the 13th of July to oppose Donald Trump’s visit.

The second is to oppose racist and fascist groups, with a focus on Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, a former leader of the EDL with links to other vile organisations such as Pegida and the so-called “Football Lads Alliance”. A man even Piers Morgan has condemned as a “a bigoted lunatic”. Since his imprisonment in May “Free Tommy Robinson” has become a rallying cry of the far right.

The Anti-Trump Protest is on Friday 13 July 2pm Portland Place, London W1A 1AA followed by a rally at 5pm in Trafalgar Square. Please be there to show Trump he is not welcome and that we in the UK trade union movement oppose his divisive and racist policies.

There are coaches available from Nottingham, and Derby and further information at the Stop Trump website.

The Stand Up to Racism ‘Oppose the Nazis and Tommy Robinson’ event is on Saturday 14 July 2pm Whitehall, London SW1A. It is vital we mobilise against the pernicious ideology peddled by Tommy Robinson and his friends in the so-called Football Lads Alliance.

Further details on the Stand Up To Racism Facebook page.