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What should I know?

There will also be more academic content included than in many other BLM resource collections, as this is an issue in which people need to educate both themselves and others, and we feel detailed academic sources are highly useful, particularly in an academic environment like UoY. This will also ensure the content learned has been peer approved and assessed to give your knowledge backing. These sources should all be accessible using student log-ins, either through the library or other journal resource sites.
If you want anything added, please contact - Steph Hayle or YUSU.

YUSU recognises that the recent murder of George Floyd has caused great distress and anger, not only in black communities, but in communities across the world. 

We share this anger and believe this is not about party politics, but human rights. We stand in solidarity with our black students, coworkers and neighbours in York and beyond.

Racial injustice is an inherent part of the social, political and legal structures of this nation and the world. 

These aren’t one off events, nor are they just down to a few racist individuals. It is our duty as individuals and as those with a platform, to stand up and speak out using the privilege these systems have given us, against systemic and structural racial injustice. We know racism occurs in York and at our University, and we are constantly striving to make progress on being actively anti-racist, so we can reflect the values we all hold personally within our organisation. Together, we as a community must reflect on our own practice and educate ourselves on how to be proactive rather than not tokenistic allies.

This is understandably a particularly difficult time for our black and BAME students, and we want you to know we are here to listen and support you:
If you have experienced racism and wish to take action, or just need someone to talk to, please contact:

What caused the current action?

George Floyd's death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis last week has sparked outrage and disgust across the world. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died as a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes. After his death, protests began in Minneapolis, which saw peaceful protests escalate, and led to the fires at the city's police station. These protests soon spread to other cities across the US. 

Thousands of people also chose to march across the UK,  protesting the killing of black people by the police here in the UK as well as the US. More protests are set to take place this week and at the weekend.

The Black Lives Matter movement links back to the early 2010’s - learn more about it’s origins here.

(We must also use this time to reflect on wider racial inequalities in society, for example, BAME people are also more likely to die from Covid-19 according to a Public Health England review.). 

What is happening in the UK?

Police Brutality is also a huge problem in the UK.

Sean Rigg, Sheku Bayoh, Mzee Mohammed, Leon Patterson, Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner and many others have died following their contact with British law enforcement.
“BAME people are disproportionately represented in those deaths involving the use of force or restraint. Of the 74 people fatally shot by police since 1990, 20 of those people have been BAME, meaning those communities are proportionately twice as likely to be shot dead by an officer. The UK certainly has its own case to answer for regarding police brutality, and the inherent racism that underpins it.”
There are also huge problems with BAME deaths in police custody, and Stop and Search cases in the UK.

What is White Privilege?

Every single white person has White Privilege. It does not matter if you yourself have come from hardship, it does not matter if you have been discriminated against in other ways. White Privilege is a separate entity, and is present in the very structure of society.

Before the US Civil Rights Act of 1964, “white privilege” was less commonly used but generally referred to legal and systemic advantages given to white people by the United States, such as citizenship, the right to vote or the right to buy a house in the neighborhood of their choice.
It was only after discrimination persisted for years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that people like Peggy McIntosh began to view white privilege as being more psychological—a subconscious prejudice perpetuated by white people’s lack of awareness that they held this power. White privilege could be found in day-to-day transactions and in white people’s ability to move through the professional and personal worlds with relative ease. (To learn more, check out “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, an essay written by Peggy McIntosh and published in Peace and Freedom magazine in 1989.)

You can utilise this checklist, to explore more about how White Privilege infiltrates everyday life.

On the subject of privilege, this quote is particularly relevant.

“We need to be clear that there is no such thing as giving up one’s privilege to be ‘outside’ the system. One is always in the system. The only question is whether one is part of the system in a way that challenges or strengthens the status quo. Privilege is not something I take and which therefore have the option of not taking. It is something that society gives me, and unless I change the institutions which give it to me, they will continue to give it, and I will continue to have it, however noble and equalitarian my intentions.” − Harry Brod, “Work Clothes and Leisure Suits: The Class Basis and Bias of the Men’s Movement,” in Men’s Lives, ed. Michael S. Kimmel and Michael Messner (New York: Macmillan, 1989), 280.