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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 two 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.
Today we hear from Dami Williams. Here is what he had to say:
How difficult was it to see the George Floyd murder, if you did see the video online?
As terrible as it will sound. I was just numb watching it. I’ve seen the same thing happen in so many countless videos of police brutality against black people. The Ahmaud Arbery murder video was really the one that broke me. That murder happened on 23rd of February and no one was even arrested until May.
How difficult is it to see systematic racism still occurring, not just in America but all over the world?
Extremely difficult, it makes me sad, angry and upset all at the same time. What make it even worse is that there are people, usually white, who will proclaim it doesn’t even exist when they will never have had to experience it.
How does it make you feel, as a black human being, to see that hate and inequality for black citizens is still clear to see in 2020?
It makes me feel physically sick. I was simply born with black skin and the fact that some people judge me because of that and criticise me when I don’t live up to their stereotypical expectations, or outright hate me because of the colour of my skin is baffling.
People aren’t born racists, therefore do you hope that their views can change?
There definitely needs to be more education around the subject of racism, but there are people who are and always will be racist because the system allows them to be with no consequences, until very recently.
Do you think the educational system needs to change to teach young people about systematic racism, so they can learn what is right and wrong from a young age?
Yes, education is the most powerful tool we have. When people are aware of injustices that occur/atrocities that have occurred, they will often be outraged. A prime example of this is how much everyone hates Nazi’s, because the history of WWII and the actions of the Nazi’s are so widely taught throughout Europe.
As an individual living in Jersey, have you experienced any racism or uncomfortable situations due to any comments made towards you?
All of the time ever since I moved here. I am constantly judged by the colour of my skin for what I say/don’t say, how I say it – literally everything. I can’t even tell you the amount of times I have been told that I don’t ‘act black’ or ‘speak black’ and that I am ‘black on the outside but white on the inside’. These people just see the colour of my skin as a novelty. Everyone needs to realise these statements implying that the colour of my skin defines who I am/how I fundamentally act are racist stereotypes that are a significant part of problem.
Do you think there is racial inequality in Jersey?
Yes, I have always been treated differently because of the colour of my skin. Jersey should not be separated from the rest of the UK when it comes to racial inequality as there is the same lack of education in terms of black history. If there were more black people on the island, racial inequality would be much clearer to see.
How can Jersey move to support the movement, from those in power to the general public of Jersey – to make talking about the topic of racism less of a taboo?
Education. We are taught about the Romans, Ancient Egypt etc. in school but nothing about the UK’s colonialist past. For example, Bristol and Newcastle were slave ports, but I can guarantee the majority of the population of these places will have had no idea of that part of their surrounding’s history until very recently.
How pleasing it to see the support and togetherness of people of people on social media, and through protests over the past few weeks?
It is pleasing, simply because the scale of the protests/outrage has led to the arrest of the officers responsible for George Floyd’s death; this would never have happened without the video evidence and the protesting.
What can non-black citizens do to properly support the movement?
Signing petitions, share videos showing police brutality/police instigating violence at protests and educating themselves and their friends about white privilege.
Could this be the start of the shift we have been waiting for, for many years?
We are a long way from equality, but it is a small step in the right direction.
In your own words, can you sum up the current situation and what/how you want things to change?
To start, I want a minimum standard of behaviour to be enforced within the police. Many officers in America and the UK have had many cases of excessive force on file and are still allowed to stay in their roles. In no other role would this be even remotely acceptable, e.g. one malpractice suit and a doctor will lose their medical licence. This is this first of many thing that needs to change, as these are the people meant to protect us.
This is a very powerful interview, and one you should share to your friends and family.
A big thanks to Dami for his time, and his honesty over his own experiences and how he wants things to 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