“Double standards in liberation”

I decided to write this article for two reasons; one because I truly care about liberation and two because I want to highlight something that I think might come as a surprise to some people.

So let me start at the beginning for those who don’t know me. I am a 25 year old black student with caring responsibilities and currently study at the University of Derby. I am very proud to be a Derby student it is a place where I feel included, heard and even more importantly listened to. I entered Higher Education at the age of 22 having been away from the learning environment since I was 15. I am the first person in the Jamaican half of my family to go to university and this is something I am pretty chuffed with especially as I have recently found out that the reason I was an ‘underachiever’ in school is because I am dyslexic.

So you have some background. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, liberation is something I truly care about and liberation within the student community is the most important aspect of the movement.

Black Students deserve to feel that a University is a place without prejudice where they feel free to express themselves without the fear of their name being a barrier to success.

Women deserve to feel that a University is a safe place to study; without objectification, sexism and gender based stereotyping.

Disabled students should not feel like the surroundings they are in are built for anyone but them, I am a firm believer that it is only the surroundings that make a person disabled and these people deserve a voice so that they can speak up for themselves!

Finally LGBT Students should not feel disadvantaged by their sexuality; they should not hear the sexuality they were born with used as an insult by heterosexual people.

All of these points I have made are very basic and to my mind should be everyone’s opinion. They seem like the sort of thing that should be human nature. Well as we know they sadly aren’t. I would like to give you some quotes that occurred during a family party, everyone had drank a bit of alcohol and I was trying to explain to a senior member of my family why liberation is important. Prepare to be horrified…

“How can dem chi chi men (Gay men) expect to be treated da same when they all get f***** in the batty and behave like women”

“But Dom you’re not a proper r****d, you don’t even have a wheelchair. You should make sure your daughter learns to read right and she want end up like you”

“Feminite (I think he meant feminist) women are jus a bunch of lesbian, dey all get vex (angry) cus they never learn to cook food good”

“When you was growin up we were so worried you were a batty boy we sent you to talk to the pastor”

Four comments there, I hope they shocked you as much as they shocked me. I do however believe that these comments are exactly the type of thing that Caribbean/African heritage children are used to hearing if they bring up the ‘taboos of homosexuality’, try to explain they have a hidden disability or profess that objectifying women is wrong.

Discussions on Black Liberation were met with happiness and a determination to make changes for future generations. My response that evening was simple, ‘If you cannot embrace the truth about the need cross liberation understanding, you cannot make the changes you want to see’.

I don’t believe my family are evil people; they are just in an unfortunate position that is propagated by their lack of understanding for those who are unlike them. My challenge for them as black people who HAVE faced racism is ‘how did you feel?’

As a Black student I feel the most important thing I can do for my community is to learn about liberation and understand the struggles that other groups are met with. I perhaps will never be able to say that I understand and know everything about liberation, but I want to be able to say I know enough to educate my daughter and more importantly encourage her to educate herself. So anyone out there who believes Liberation is not for them need to remember that statistically one day it will be.

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