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John Amaechi gives powerful account of how individuals can fight racism
6 June 2020, 13:42 | Updated: 6 June 2020, 14:43
Part one. Part two of John Amaechi's interview is below.
In a powerfully eye opening call, a psychologist told LBC listeners how they can fight racism in the UK.
As protests in the USA have intensified after the death of George Floyd, solidarity movements have sprung up across the globe to address the systematic issue of racism. In the UK, this weekend sees some of the largest anti-racism demonstrations the country has seen.
John Amaechi is a former NBA basketballer and he joined Matt Frei on air in a moving call which motivated listeners across the country to do their bit to fight racism. "There is no other discussion in america at the moment other than this" Matt said, and asked Mr Amaechi "what are the things that need to happen in Britain for things to change."
The former basketballer told listeners that there are "things that individuals have to do" to fight racism in their world. "You look around at your sphere of influence" and told people to be sure that those people around them behave in a way that is anti-racist while devoting themselves to the same practice.
Mr Amaechi insisted that there will be moral conflicts for some people and many will be torn to address the bigotry of their family and friends. He assured listeners that "they do have to meet some standards in this world."
Mr Amaechi told listeners that nobody will recognise the work that are people are doing to combat racism in their homes, but assured people that "your work will be invisible and it will be invaluable" he said.
The psychologist went further and explained that organisations have a responsibility to combat racism too. He said that "change is a science" and that "understanding the status quo must be the first step" for companies and institutions to address racism.
Matt addressed the fact that much of the conversation in the UK has revolved around comparing racism at home to that present in the US. "Comparing ourselves to a bad example is a disaster" Mr Amaechi said, adding that the UK must look at itself objectively, before he went on to share the subtle racism he experiences on a daily basis.
"No amount of education of eloquence can protect you from this every day bias" Mr Amaechi said, and urged that a recognition of these issues is a first step. Matt asked the psychologist how people can educate themselves. "Education is not something that should be done by black people for white people" Mr Amaechi said, but people can begin by embracing "those moments where they know they've screwed up" pointing out that the pain of knowing what you've done is a start to educating yourself and bettering yourself.
He also told listeners to "demand that the people around you hold you to account" and through this practice you can learn about your own prejudice.
"This is a boring process, thats why change doesn't happen very often it is an inglorious process that leads to a glorious end."