In Critique of Blackface and institutional indifference to racism

In Critique of Blackface and institutional indifference to racism

Who is this Neanderthal that dons Blackface,

Disrespecting my people and mocking my race?

The imbecile that when challenged, says “I’m not racist, I have Black friends”

Yet is ignorant of, or indifferent to what offends,

The fool that does not know the history of racial oppression, cultural appropriation or misrepresentation,

But perhaps worse of all, is that this took place at the Bournemouth University Summer Ball,

Where Black students had to suffer upset,

Because of a climate of disrespect,

Despite the protests there is no action,

So for people of colour there is no satisfaction,

Through critical race theory I have come to realise,

That racism has been normalised,

Such an affront makes a mockery of any claim to value diversity,

So don’t talk to me about your Dignity, Diversity and Respect Policy,

Until there is some action on racial equality,

As a Black academic, united I stand with students of colour in pursuit of social justice,

And people of all ethnic backgrounds willing to challenge injustice.

To the universities we say, we will not tolerate racism forever,

It’s time to get your act together,

Higher education should be a culturally democratic space,

Whatever your ethnicity or race,

That is why I have resorted to poetic words of resistance,

To address the growing institutional indifference,

Passive victims we will never be,

We are self-determined people seeking true equality.

By Dr Deborah Gabriel, CEO, Black British Academics 

Permission granted to share and reprint this poem with credit to the author and with link to the original URL  


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Dr Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel is a Senior Academic based in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her work is largely focused on embedding social justice and equality into teaching, research and professional practice. Her background is in journalism and strategic communication, especially in terms of critiquing inequalities within the media, social activism and counterhegemonic practice. She specialises in social justice pedagogy and critical race pedagogy, teaching from a critical race/gender standpoint. She developed the 3D Pedagogy Framework to decolonise, democratise and diversify the higher education curriculum and is expert in qualitative-interpretative research using critical, transformative and emancipatory paradigms, heavily informed by Black feminism and critical race theory. She is the Founder and Director of Black British Academics, and leads on strategic, whole institution approaches to advance race equality at the university as Co-Chair of the Race Equality Steering Group.

3 thoughts on “In Critique of Blackface and institutional indifference to racism

  • 6th July 2016 at 12:02 am

    Eloquently expressed showing vehemence through every chosen word…this is disgraceful and in the 21st century has no place – No matter how many 'friends' are claimed WE have come WAY too far to accept this foolishness….Unite for action! Let us use our knowledge and intellectual power collectively to protect and prevent destruction of the positive developments made!

  • 6th July 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Well done penning this poem, it highlights the injustice of what is a disgusting act of insensitivity on the part of the white student; a person who clearly does not know/does not care to understand what has been perpetrated by his ancestors upon ours. Cheers to resistance Amanda

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