Coaching & Leadership Development
Racial Literacy: What does it mean?

Racial Literacy: What does it mean?

This blog comes from educator at The Black Curriculum and Head of Equality, Inclusion and Culture at the British Medical Association, Aishnine Benjamin (@aishnine). What is your first memory of racial difference? Mine is when I was 5 years old. My family had recently moved to Brighton from a small town in Surrey, and I was the only black child in my school. Some of the other children called me names (like ‘poo face’). I cried a lot. I was very sensitive. What is your first memory of racial difference? The diversity of responses always fascinates me. I am amazed at how different people’s experiences of ‘race’ are. It ranges from white people who went to multi-cultural schools. Who, are very racially aware and confident in the language they use and their knowledge of cultural difference. To white people, who didn’t encounter racial difference until they interacted with people from different cultures in university or their first city-based jobs. To black Africans, who also didn’t experience the concept of ‘race’ until they moved to the UK and were othered for the first time, no longer in a black majority. What Is Race?   Literacy is defined as knowledge or skills in a specific area. The legal definition of race as defined by the Equality Act 2010, can mean your colour or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. That sounds simple, but it’s not really. Firstly, because all these things are not the same. Nationality is completely different to ethnic origin, and colour is...