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A statement from your sabbatical officers on current events in the US

As a Union that believes in equal opportunities and freedom for all, we find it imperative to add our voices to the events in Minnesota and across the USA. We are deeply saddened by the events and project our support to those calling out the very system that has oppressed and discriminated against black people. Black Lives do Matter!

We speak against the systemic injustice that has fuelled this incidence in our society. No one should be treated differently because of the colour of their skin. We want our leaders and educational institutions to reflect and work on their policies to ensure that black individuals are not victims of societal injustice. All hands must work to ensure our students are not victims of discrimination, unconscious bias, microaggressions and other racist attacks.

It is important that individuals work to understand and admit the root of these issues and take action to educate themselves on issues faced by the black community to eradicate racism and the notion that black lives are inferior.

There is no place for racism in society and we stand in solidarity with black students, staff and alumni across our communities. We condemn racism, discrimination and prejudice in all forms, and we will continue to work with the BAME students’ community to tackle inequalities and take action against intolerance.

We believe it’s important that students are made aware of issues faced by BAME students, and are able to assess their own behaviour, and the behaviour of those around them in order to challenge discrimination and racism. Assessing your behaviour and educating yourself on the ways we approach race is crucial to stop the actions that preserve injustice.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases are stereotypes that we hold against certain groups of people that we form outside of our conscious awareness. You can learn more about unconscious bias here. We have to be open to the idea that we are all inherently biased. You can help, by becoming consciously aware of this, and asking yourself questions about your behaviour e.g. ‘Why do I feel this about this person?’

White Privilege

Put simply, when we talk about white privilege, we are talking about the set of societal benefits automatically granted to white individuals based on the colour of their skin, as a result of unequal hierarchies in favour of those racialised as white. It does not mean that white people do not face hardships and struggles, but that these struggles are not based on the colour of their skin. Again, it is important to reflect and be aware of any privileges you may have over other groups in society, and challenge the parameters of your advantage.

Microaggressions

Writer on microagressions, Derald W. Sue, defines the term as: "The everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that people of color experiences in their day-to-day interactions with people." These instances accumulate and further marginalise the individuals experiencing them. You can help tackle microaggressions by:

  • Not being defensive. If someone says you offended them, listen and learn their perspective.
  • Considering the impact of what you say and do.
  • Seeking out books, podcasts and other media to learn about race & culture.

We know that the events that have unfolded are incredibly distressing, and for students who may wish to seek support during this time, we want you to know that wellbeing services are still in operation, mostly via remote access.  If you would like to talk to a Counsellor or Mental Health Advisor, you can email: counsell.ss@coventry.ac.uk

If you would like to do more to support BAME Students you can join the BAME Students' Community.