You know when white people insist that racism isn’t a problem anymore, ignoring the fact that they just don’t see it because of the white privilege that they constantly deny they have? Yeah, that. One horrendous instance of racist abuse made headlines in the UK this week, because the victim of gross racial harassment filmed it and shared it on Twitter.
Warning: this video is horrible. It was filmed by a young black woman, alone in her room in student accommodation at Nottingham Trent University.
yoo I’m fuming, the way people in the same uni halls as me are chanting “we hate the blacks” outside my bedroom door. Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel, in this 2018 people think this is still acceptable😤 pic.twitter.com/XUiYqNIWQT— Ruu (@rufarochisango_) March 7, 2018
I can only imagine how awful that must have been to hear firsthand. (That’s white privilege for you.) I had naively thought that this sort of aggressively overt racism was a thing of the past. But then I read replies like this:
We can't even act surprised. It's the black experience.— Michael Karlin (@MikeyKarlin) March 8, 2018
Times being what they are, a lot of those racist voices feel empowered to spew their bile everywhere again. If they ever stopped. Maybe they just did it quietly for a while or felt a little ashamed. Maybe some of us have just been kidding ourselves.
These particular racist scumbags might be ashamed again now. Even though it took longer than it should for action to be taken, two 18-year-old men were arrested “in connection with racially aggravated public order offences” by Nottinghamshire Police, and Nottingham Trent University issued a statement saying that the “suspected perpetrators have been suspended immediately pending a full investigation.” It should not have taken a tweet going viral to make that happen. And you know what? It should not take a video like this to make people aware of the horrific abuse faced by people of colour on a daily basis, to take it seriously, and to take action against it.
At one point in the video, you can hear a lonely voice shouting “Leave her alone.” If you are not likely to be in Rufaro’s position, please make sure that’s you. If it is not safe to film or challenge this behaviour, then my god, report it, listen and take it seriously when others report it. Dear white people: Stop burying your heads in the sand about racism. It’s right outside the door.