Albert Duker

Upon conception, it was evident to us that in the soft relaunch of this magazine, interviewed and written during Black History Month, that it should be about just that; black people. We traded, back and forth, ideas. How to make this the best edition? What do The People want to read? The result of the discussion was to open this edition to the wider community of colour. BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) edition? POC (People of Colour) edition? All possible names for our first edition. All detractions, I felt initially, from the focus of the project.

This magazine aptly named Voices, is a powerful tool, in that it does what it says on the tin; gives voice to those from whom the larger community might not hear from. Though it is important to share platforms with other POC, it is important to note the name of the month; Black History Month. It is reductive and problematic to squash the lived experiences of a wide range of ethnicities and cultures under one acronym. Whether that label was BME, BAME or POC, these words encompass a multitude of people whose identities intersect but are their own independent stories.

I am still of the opinion that ‘political blackness’ is an idea/label that only serves to further reduce the experiences of POC to an inclusion quota. I am not offended by the labels themselves, just the instances in which they are used as part of a ‘negative identity’. I believe that in this day and age it can be counter-productive to group people together when their only similarity is that they're not white. To be frank, if we were at diverse universities I would not be for ‘sharing the microphone’ but as we aren't, I think it is important to give a voice to students who haven’t been allowed one before. In this community, it is important for POC to support each other as the impact of the whole is stronger than that of the individuals. 

According to The Times ‘Good University Guide 2020’, Falmouth University ranked 121/128 in the percentage of ethnic students {6.2% of students are ethnic students} and The University of Exeter ranked 102/128 in the percentage of ethnic students {10.2% of students are ethnic students].

I could try and make assumptions about your race, age, social-political leanings, but that would be incredibly reductive. Instead, I will applaud you, not only for getting this far in a scattered article but also for picking up this magazine. In its final form, this magazine is bound to spark a little bit of controversy, as few people like discussing race, and even fewer like being called a racist. It is vital that as we read through the stories of the magazine, we think to ourselves: Can I relate? Why do I feel uncomfortable? What am I learning? Have I done that before? This edition centres POC with a focus on Black people. That does not mean that this is the anti-white edition. In fact, turn to the back of the magazine and you’ll see the majority of the names belong to white people. I hope that when finished with the magazine you’ll have learned about an experience that you may have dismissed as someone else’s problem. 

 

- Albert Duker (Managing/Web Editor)

"In this community it is important for POC to support each other as the impact of the whole is stronger than that of the individuals. "

© Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union