May 5, 2017
Ideas of race and racism are often misunderstood within our society. Many discussions on the subject tend to ignore the structural and historical elements of what we know as race, reducing these wider issues to mere name-calling. Instead of asking why Black Britons are up to seventeen times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than anyone else or why people of colour are hit harder by austerity, perform worse at universities and suffer higher rates of unemployment than their white counterparts, pundits debate whether we live in a post-racial world or not, within conversations that have no context of colonialism.
But after centuries of colonial rule, which was underpinned by racial pseudo-science, it is fair to say that Britain (and subsequently much of the world) as we know it is built upon ideas of race and racism, which informs many of our common-sense understandings of contemporary society. But race is not real; it is a colonial invention. Contrary to popular beliefs, that often unconsciously recreate the norms of eugenics, there are no biological differences between us despite the differing colours of our skin. Although, it should never be forgotten that there are real life consequences due to these perceived differences. Ideas of race may be socially constructed, but the impact of racism is very real. Nevertheless, will we ever be able to think of race as the social construction it is or will certain racialized bodies always be privileged at the expense of the oppression of others?
This event will feature two back-to-back panel discussions exploring ideas of race. The first panel will discuss the historical constructions of race and racism, including examination of the life-threatening implications of racism. The second panel will be more ambitious in scope, asking: if we accept that race is not real and is socially constructed, can we move beyond racial categories in a bid to create greater solidarity, or does our racialized existence make it impossible to imagine the world as we know it without race?
This is a ticketed event but as always if you can’t pay email us email@example.com
Kojo Koram (University of Essex), Dr Adam Elliot Cooper (Kings College London), Representative (London Campaign Against Police and State Violence), Chi Chi Shi (Writer and activist), Wail Qasim (Writer and campaigner), Dr Gargi Bhattacharyya (University of East London, author of Crisis, Austerity and Everyday Life) Barbara Ntumy (London Met SU)