Jamelia has spoken out in a new interview on racism and discrimination in the UK, saying that “it’s not enough to just say ‘I’m not racist’ because you’re not a purveyor of overt racism”.
The Birmingham singer was speaking in the wake of the ongoing anti-racism protests worldwide which have been sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire yesterday (June 9), Jamelia said that the UK “has a serious issue” with racism “that goes far beyond the overt”.
“It’s the covert racism that is so damaging and it’s insidious because it’s literally woven into the fabric of society,” she said. “The ignorance and indifference of white people allows a level of complicity, so you contribute by not being aware. It actually serves the racial bias.”
"It's the covert racism that is so damaging" in the UK, says singer Jamelia
"The ignorance and indifference of white people allows a level of complicity… to be anti-racist you have to be actively part of dismantling the systems that you benefit from"https://t.co/sQs8AGqUf0 pic.twitter.com/j69VWmraSA
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 9, 2020
Jamelia continued by saying that the UK “has issues at the heart of its education system, its healthcare system, in the judicial system, when it comes to loans and insurance, house [and] home ownership, opening a small business,” adding that “there are so many things that affect black people on a daily basis”.
“I don’t know if it’s ignorance [or] indifference,” she continued. “But I need to speak and I need to say these things so white people do become aware that your privilege allows you to benefit from a system that chronically affects and damages black people. And now that you’re aware of that, it’s not enough to just say ‘I’m not racist’ because you’re not a purveyor of overt racism.
“If you benefit from the system, knowing that people are being oppressed and affected by it, then you are racist. To be anti-racist you have to be actively a part of dismantling the systems that surround you and the systems that you benefit from.”
Yesterday also saw Taylor Swift calling on Americans to tackle racial injustice by electing people “who will fight against police brutality and racism of any kind” at both local and state government level.