Posted on Tue 12 Nov 2019 at 12:13 by Ruqia Osman
As October just ended, and we are moving to the end of term at a dangerously fast pace, I thought it is of upmost importance that we take some time to reflect on what October taught us. Whilst bringing us Halloween, the start of term, it also brought us Black History Month.
This time of the year is important for many reasons, not just because it allows us to reflect on how ‘white’ the curriculum is, or the struggles the Black community faces in terms of toxic stereotypes, western beauty standards or racism. But it is a time for us all to take some time to educate ourselves and become more aware of the experiences that our peers on this campus have. It’s unfortunate to say that the color of your skin will affect the experience you have on this campus, and outside this campus too.
This month is the time for us to realize that slavery isn’t the single story of Africa and that the term ‘Black’ is problematic. Yes, all of us may share a similar skin tone but that doesn’t mean that we all fit in the same box. Our identities aren’t just based around being Black. For me personally, I am Black but I am also Somali.
All of us, despite the melanin or lack of melanin in our skin, have an obligation to become aware of the experiences that others face. We have an obligation to become allies, and be that person to call out a racist, or homophobic comment. But we can’t be that person unless we go out of our way to have conversations surrounding these topics no matter how uncomfortable those conversations may be.
There are so many incredible student groups who are there to facilitate those kind of conversations, like race equality and our other diversity and Support groups. The fact that October has passed doesn’t mean that these conversations should end, if anything it becomes more pressing and urgent for us to keep talking about race.
Going back to what happened in Bath, I am still so inspired by the events that took place. I am so inspired by how everyone came together, and the work that our students put into making this happen. I am completely in awe of the amount of passion and talent that there is on this campus and I hope this year provides us with many more opportunities to showcase that. Every single person who took part in this, has been part of something truly incredible and I will forever be beyond grateful for the time that you all took to make this month happen.