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Trump, Brexit and Beyond - tackling institutionalised racism:
By Sophie Hack
A summit was hosted by NUS, in the hope to build bridges, not walls.
Held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the summit was born out of an enraged passion from the government, both here and across the pond.
The conference acknowledged, and attempted to tackle, racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism and Islamaphobia.
Reported hate crime has risen by 41 per cent since the results of the EU referendum. Last year, nearly 50,000 international students were wrongfully deported after they allegedly cheated on their English tests. These harrowing statistics, along with the tension created from the ‘Muslim ban’, police conflict in the US and triggering Article 50 has created a normalisation of scapegoating governmental decisions by villainising minorities and international students.
Speaking at the event, NUS President Malia Bouattia said “racism is seen as a valid platform of debate”, showing that an urgent discussion is needed.
She added: “In the space of a year, we have seen a rise in racist populism and remobilised nationalism. We have seen the sharpest spike in racist attacks in the streets which many of experience daily on our campuses whilst politicians and media outlets lead with more demonising pieces directed at migrants and muslims.
“This is not a time of despair, apathy, of keeping our heads down. Business as usual is simply not an option.”
Trump, Brexit and Beyond urged students, union members and staff to look at their practices against hate crime, opening the conversation towards protection of those venerable in the current political climate. Students especially can be affected due to institutionalised patriarchy, racism and homophobia.
Featuring discussions from author Gary Younge, Black Lives Matter representative Cazembe Jackson civil rights organiser Yasser Louatti and many more guest speakers and experts,
Speaking on Black Lives Matter and the inauguration of President Trump, Cazembe said: “When Trump called for the Muslim ban, we understood it as an issue for all of us. I have black queer and trans friends who are also Muslim and immigrants to the United States and they don’t have the ability to separate their identities or experience. We came to understand that the Muslim ban is an immigration issue but also it is a black issue as well, it’s also an LGBTQ issue. It’s a human rights issue.”
Hate Crime Prevention: What you can do
In the current whirlwind of political tension, vulnerable members of the community and minority communities may feel, or may be threatened. This first thing you can do in response to this is open up a dialogue. Acknowledging there may be a problem of hate crime in your area, or your university, and opening a discussion for both sides. Creating a space for these discussions, or a space of safety, will also be beneficial.
Hate crime should be reported to the police and your university if appropriate. Some people may not feel comfortable speaking to the police, but those can visit http://www.istreetwatch.co.uk or www.report-it.org.uk to log the incident.
There is an emergency demonstration on Monday 13 March at 5:30pm, outside Parliament in defence to EU migrants whose futures may be uncertain post-Brexit.
I'm currently studying Media and Communications at Birmingham City University, studying journalism theory as well as the practical side. I specialise in entertainment and music journalism, one of my highlights was interviewing Wheatus last year in a Steakhouse! I'm currently the editor of my university's magazine The Scratch, which covers fashion, sport, entertainment, tech and all aspects of student life. I'm really interested in writing opinion pieces on governmental and social changes that affect young people, as well as students. I believe that more than ever young people have a voice on things that will change their life, and we should utilise this opportunity. After I graduate university, I really want to expand my skills and hit the ground running, and I feel like writing for NUS will help me take that step from student life to real world issues. I want to get out of my comfort zone and explore new fields within the industry and find out what other people's views are. In my spare time, I love playing video games and I'm currently trying to teach myself Japanese.