The racial injustice that goes beyond the USA
by Sara Quattrocchi Febles
4th June 2020
Find information and resources on cases of racial injustice present in other countries and in other languages here.
I’ve spent the last week thinking about what I could do beyond sharing donation links, donating money, and informing myself properly on what the media doesn’t tell us and on what history at school doesn’t teach us. I know this is already something but I’m frustrated because I want to be at the protests, supporting PoC (People of Color) with the fight for racial and social justice. But instead, I’m in front of my computer sitting at a desk in my parents’ house, hoping I can reach as many people as possible with this article.
I began wanting to write this not as an article, but as a short text showing The Courtauldian’s support for PoC and linking to various donation funds, as many magazines, publications, and newspapers have already done. But I’ve come to realize that besides being a show of solidarity, this wouldn’t do much else, which is why I want to write this not from the perspective of the editor of The Courtauldian and student at The Courtauld, but solely from my personal perspective as a half Spanish and half Italian 19-year-old.
I want to make things clear from the start. The only thing that I’m hoping for with this is for you, the reader, to feel motivated to research and learn more about your own community; to question the morals of those around you, as well as your own. I don't want to ask you to do this. Instead, be motivated to do it independently.
You might be thinking, “but what’s happening in the USA does not apply to me here in Europe.” Still, we both know, deep down, that that is not the case. Let’s face it, as white people, we are unaware of the racial disparities within our own communities. We can choose to be unaware of it. The fact that we often don’t notice anything and have the option to not notice anything is down to our privilege. We live behind a curtain that we’re actively choosing not to undrape.
So, the first step to this undraping process is to inform ourselves, specifically starting in our own countries. Don’t get me wrong-- of course, it’s helpful to read the list of recommended books focused on the racial injustice in the USA that have been flooding Instagram, but the way you can most directly promote social change is if you inform yourself on your own community and then to constructively share that information with those around you.
I have to warn you though, it is not as easy as clicking on the first link that appears on Google. I know it took me a while to find articles and information that addressed systemic racism in both Spain and Italy. But honestly, this is an issue that deserves unprecedented research and attention. We have become so accustomed to trusting the first piece of news we see, that we don’t go beyond the first thing that is thrown at our faces. We are made to believe that things have changed-- actually let me rephrase that, we make ourselves believe that things have changed. In this way, our moral conscience is sufficiently satisfied because of course, as long as what’s happening doesn’t affect us then it must mean that it’s not happening, right?
I’m hoping that with this, you, members of the Courtauld community, members of the international community, feel encouraged to inform yourselves. Do your research on your country, become aware of the racism present within your community (however covered up and concealed it might be), and act. Don’t think that reposting a link or some videos is doing your bit. Go beyond that. Inform yourself and constructively help others inform themselves. Be the one to call out your friends for saying that ‘harmless’ racist joke. Be the one to make your apolitical friends vote on election day. It might make you uncomfortable. But by no comparison does it make you more uncomfortable than how black people feel on a daily basis, knowing that they are consistently discriminated against, at individual and institutional levels. We need to actively be anti-racist for this system to change. As Trevor Noah said, George’s death was just the most recent domino to fall. We must prevent this domino effect from being propagated any further and this must directly start with those of us who have the platform and privilege to change things, you and me.
I have linked some of the different information that I have read specifically on Italy and Spain in the document linked at the top of this article and here. My dear friend Aida also added information on the UK, France, and Brazil. If you have your own research on your own country, feel free to add it to the document. I am hoping that the list will expand so that information can be more easily accessed and so that you can learn about racism in your country specifically.
sara quattrocchi febles
Editor in Chief
Sara is a second-year BA student and she is this year’s Editor in Chief of The Courtauldian. Being Spanish and Italian and having lived in Japan and China has allowed her to develop a cultural awareness that she constantly tries to channel and communicate in her writing. One of her main journalistic interests is photojournalism as she loves combining writing with images taken with her Pentax camera. @filmbysaraqf