Vice-Chancellor Professor Irene Tracey introduces event to help end everyday racism in Oxford
Everyday racism – no matter how apparently subtle, polite, or unintended – continues to have serious and long-lasting effects on the lives of racialised minority individuals and communities.
It is prevalent even in higher education institutions – including Oxford – that pride themselves on their diversity and inclusion practices, and ending it starts with listening to the people who have experienced it.
This was a key message of the launch of Help End Everyday Racism (HEER) at Oxford, introduced by Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Professor Irene Tracey at Saïd Business School on 8 February 2023 during Race Equality Week. The initiative is a collaboration between the medical and social sciences divisions that seeks to replicate and learn from End Everyday Racism, a witnessing platform and solidarity-building project led by Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa, Associate Professor in Sociology, and Ella McPherson, Associate Professor in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology, both at the University of Cambridge.
‘What we want to create is a space of validation and of recognition,’ said Moreno Figueroa. ‘Although there are formal ways to complain and make reports, we wanted to create a place of validation where people can tell their story, collect their emotional landscape, and gather a communal experience to generate knowledge about how everyday racism works. And now we’re very excited to share that knowledge with Oxford and compare it as we continue this dialogue.’
Joining Moreno Figueroa and McPherson on the panel were Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Oxford University, who started the #RaceMeToo hashtag as another means by which experiences of everyday racism are shared and heard, and Professor Kam Bhui, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, whose research looks at reducing ethnic inequalities in the experiences and outcomes of severe mental illnesses.