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As a white person living in Jersey I am not about to sit here and lecture people, pretending to be an expert about racism. As a white person living in Jersey I am going to hand over the virtual microphone to those who have experienced racism, right here on our small island, first hand.
I have spoken with three black citizens and they have all given me an insight into the racial discrimination that is (somehow) still alive and kicking in 2020 here in Jersey.
They have been open, honest and have emotionally told me their stories and opinions, as well as giving people, just like me and you, advice on how they can help change the mindset of so many who see people as lesser, just because of the colour of their skin.
I asked them questions, they answered. I hope that through their answers, people will open their eyes about just how dehumanising such acts are, and it will encourage conversations in households, friendship groups and even zoom calls, making racism less of a taboo.
Sit down, read and observe. It really is a emotion grabbing read. This is where my voice will be muted, and the important voices of this piece take centre stage.
Up first you will hear stories and opinions through Jersey U18 footballer Ryan Tshepiso Marcinko. Here is what he said:
How does it feel as a black human being, to see that hate and other inequality is still, in 2020, clear to see for black citizens?
It’s a difficult one. Times are changing and people are being aware of what is happening but still it’s not enough. There are still errors in the world and these errors need to be fixed. But as my mum says not everybody is racist.
Does it hurt even more knowing people aren’t born racists, they are taught it, or does it give you hope that they can be taught to love and change just the same?
You are right, people aren’t born racist. It is a generational thing. Children pick it up from their parents and influence other children and that’s how problems come around. However, teaching children when they are young is important, that way they know what is right and wrong, and understand that people are the same.
Do you think that the educational system needs to change to teach people more about systemic racism from a young age – including stereotypes which some may say as a joke, but cause significant offence?
It depends what school you went to. I went to a multicultural primary school in Liverpool and we used to learn about black history month so all the pupils could be taught to understand what is right and what was wrong. However, after speaking to people who went to other schools, some schools don’t do enough, and some don’t do anything at all. I believe that worldwide it should be addressed as an important subject like Maths, English and Science, so children of the future can have a voice.
As an individual living in Jersey, have you experienced any racism or uncomfortable situations due to any comments made towards you?
Yes, in many cases I have received racist comments and been left in uncomfortable situations. These problems came from a range of pupils within school however they have been addressed by the school and those students did get dealt with. Not only me but my mother has also experienced racism in Jersey.
Do you think there is racial inequality in Jersey?
From my experience and asking my mother we haven’t received racial inequality. However I cannot be the one to judge as other people may experience other things that I haven’t.
How can Jersey move to support the movement, from those in power to the general people of Jersey – to make talking racism less of a taboo?
For those affected they should speak out to spread awareness. Even with help from family, friends or peers they can help to make it easier for them. The main thing to do is educate the younger generation. The next generation are the ones who are going to make the next set of changes so it’s better to guide them in the right direction.
Do you think this could be the shift that we have been waiting for, for many years now? Could it lead to equality?
Like I said before it’s a generational thing. In two to three generations from now things could be completely different. Each generation learns something from the last. The Dr. Martin Luther King generation stood up to inequality. They moved forward. Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. Apartheid collapsed. They moved forward. Barack Obama moved into power. Another sign to say that we can move forward. We just have to teach our next generation about equality and they can teach the one after. Anything can happen as long people change first. There will always be racism and inequality but the goal is to limit it to near to nothing.
A massive thank-you to Ryan for speaking so openly about such personal events, and I hope it encourages people to talk about racism, and to take action to encourage change.
Below is a link to ways of how YOU can help. Please click on it and see. Also, please share this interview so more people can read it, and learn why the protests are happening, and that it is happening right here, in Jersey.