Finished our outreach project and afterwards I decided to tell J and K that I felt there was a problem that only white people were the workshop leaders, that in future things have to be different. I said that at least we must have a black person as the assistant and told them about the mentoring idea. They then said said that that area has loads of different minority ethnicities - South American, for instance. I insisted that this person should be black, that over half our participants are black and so our workshop leaders should be black.

I was then assured that a black person was asked for the non-paying role of assistant but he couldn't do it this year. I said that was fine but next year we will change it, we will guarantee it - and pay for someone as well. I was then told that some kind of mentoring was part of the original idea for the project but that 'the ideals' had been dropped because of the practicalities of getting it off the ground (! ). I insisted that next year we won't let 'practicalities' stand in the way.

They then proceeded to discuss TM's lack of black people working in any but the most menial roles. Yes I had to agree - but kettle/pot/black????

What I don't understand is why do I have to be the one to point these things out? Why am I their conscious?

Later that evening when I was relating this incident to S, he said that someone we both knew and have worked for had, in a different context, let another employer 'off the hook' by saying she was 'just as bad' because she doesn't have any black people on her team either. Now I realise I am not their conscious - they have one of their own. I don't have to wonder why educated white people who have read all the theories from post-colonialism to post-structuralism act in a racist manner.
They choose to act that way because they can't be bothered to act otherwise...

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