Iremember my first few weeks living in Exeter. The observations made by so many, including non-PoC (people of colour), that this city is very “white”. It’s easy to observe, especially as a student of Modern Languages. Thus, it would be statistically impossible for such ignorance not to exist here. Nevertheless, Arsalan Motivali’s brave act of exposing such disgusting racist and misogynistic language has inspired me to share my thoughts on the matter.

Firstly, why the hell does racism still exist? I’m not naïve but, given that this is the 21st century, as I’m frequently told, why do I still have such anxiety about going outside? Because I know people are going to stare at me like I’m an outsider, a foreign person who doesn’t belong here. I’m avoiding using the racial slurs that have been directed at me in the past, there’s a certain level I don’t want to sink to. We respect our elders, our bosses, our royal family – why do I get disrespected over something that I can’t control? God created me too.

We have all had our cultures attacked by fellow members of our “civilised” society

Speaking of things that are out of our control, why do we insist on defining each other by our skin colour? There are albino black people, pale-skinned people of colour… So many teams are running in the human race, and all of them of different skin tones. Besides this, ethnicity should not be a defining characteristic – the screenshots exposing the racist language (not ignoring the misogynistic comments) of those students serve to demonstrate that there are those who are colour-blind, and those blinded by colour. I had to research some of the slurs they used, and I’m so shocked that other human beings raised these boys to have an active knowledge of this vocabulary. I’m not naïve or innocent, I’m disgusted.

These boys, and many like-minded people, think that there would be less racial tension if people weren’t so “PC”. Yet the aim of being politically correct is to avoid offending people – how does that have negative connotations? PC language is there to censor those who think minority groups are an easy target, who find it amusing to encourage prejudice towards the historically marginalised. Instead, it brands people as social justice warriors, making their goal of inspiring positive social change seem ridiculous, or inflammatory. Maybe this incident was the last straw, a very necessary push towards altering our nationwide perspective on institutional oppression.

To summarise my thoughts: the campus setting of the film and Netflix series “Dear White People” may be fictitious, but the content is honestly a reality for people of colour. We have all had our cultures attacked by fellow members of our “civilised” society, or experienced some form of prejudice or discrimination, so when racists are publicly named and shamed, it’s not surprising. If you get stung by a wasp, do you think it won’t happen again? Of course, it will. It’s the law of nature. Nosce te ipsum.

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