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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

State Racism in Britain

It is not very often you see a middle class, white American male speak on issues regarding the reality of racism. However, Dr. Lou Kushnick, professor of race relations and director of the Ahmed Iqubal Ullah race relations archive at the University of Manchester, does just that.

Dr. Kushnick has published many books on the subject, and is also invited to UMass every year to speak on such issues. On Tuesday, November 19, The William Monroe Trotter Institute hosted Dr. Kushnick.

His topic of discussion, “State Racism in Britain and the U.S.: The reality of Racism in a ‘Post-Race’ Era,” attracted students as well as faculty. While many sat there listening diligently to this well respected scholar, Dr.Kushnick spoke to his audience as if he was having a one-on-one conversation with each and every individual. Dr. Kushnick started off by giving some history on racism.

He explained how the Irish had to go through the same thing as Blacks when they came to America. They also were seen as inferior to the English, but as Dr. Kushnick puts it, “Fortunately, God gave the Irish the right to become white,” meaning the Irish didn’t have a physical trait that showed their heritage, unlike the African Americans.

The state has done things like fund a school with brand new books, only to take them away when the school starts to become heavily populated with lower class students. These types of actions make Dr. Kushnick blame the power of these countries for the racial issues, not everyday people. It’s all in “structure and power,” Dr. Kushnick states. “It’s not about personal relationships anymore,” he says, referring to unjust laws that have been made, or just not changed, which are completely racist. An example being, the crack cocaine law.

When comparing the consequences of possessing cocaine powder, a drug most commonly used by middle to upper-class whites, to crack cocaine, a drug most commonly used amongst the poor, lower class, you can see the system is incredibly harsh. Possessing 1 gram of crack cocaine will get you the same amount of time as possessing 100 grams of cocaine powder.

Even former president Bill Clinton, the so called “Black President,” ignored issues of racism that were staring him in the face during his presidency. Dr. Kushnick also expressed his concern about the fact our democratic candidates don’t even touch on urban issues during their campaigns, but claim they are “for the people.”

Dr. Kushnick then went on to discuss Britain. He explained how Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Britain was bringing blacks from all over the world into England, so they could work. However, there was no housing for them, or even schooling for their children. The blacks were not allowed to become doctors, or anything that would allow them to excell. There were also laws made so White women could not have any relations with Black men.

These racial issues in Britain may not be as common today, but they still exist. In fact, they exist everywhere, and people like Dr. Lou Kushnick feel by educating, you can contribute to a positive change.