I’m not your n****: Young people launch hard hitting website on race

The aim is to encourage challenging conversations and uncomfortable discussions around race, inviting the public to engage, think about their own identity and talk openly about how they experience inequality in their own lives.

Today www.imnotyour.co.uk is launched, revealing the attitudes of a group of young Londoners, from Bollo Brook, West Acton, to race and racism. The aim is to encourage challenging conversations and uncomfortable discussions around race, inviting the public to engage, think about their own identity and talk openly about how they experience inequality in their own lives.

This is part of an ongoing project, supported by national charity The Equality Trust, that has seen the young people hold a meeting with Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, feature widely in the national press and have their art displayed at the Tate Modern. They were invited to be part of Steve McQueen’s Tate Late ‘Artists and the City’ in February 2020 where the work reached an audience of hundreds throughout the evening and visitors engaged in conversation with the young artists.

The exhibition has been re-worked, due to COVID19,  with the artists and turned into a website to enable these crucial young voices to reach new audiences and be heard as part of the global civil rights movement we are currently living through. The activist artwork centres on a series of recordings, rich in nuance and diversity, deep in knowledge and experience, that explore and challenge attitudes towards, and experiences of race and racism. Also key to this are the narrative portraits which explore how people’s prejudice can build narrative. Where does a person’s identity end and the identity that others assign begin?

Sonny Inglis, one of the artists said:

“None of my friends worry about what can or can’t be said, and racial terms are thrown around as insults and compliments with little concern about causing offence. To some people this can seem shocking, but maybe it is far healthier than the quiet judgements and polite keeping a distance that prevails in a mainstream society so desperate not to be seen as racist, but also so scared of young people like me.”

“These tales of modern day racism will not find easy answers in good intentions or policy changes alone. It is only by asking ourselves difficult questions about our own conditioning and the role of race in ours and others’ experiences, like we have in the project, that we can really start to understand the role of race and racism in our society.”

“What remains clear is that race is very much relevant in the lives of young people today, and racism is far from dead. And whilst there are no easy answers, we have to start asking ourselves some more difficult questions.”

Colin Brent, Senior Youth Worker, Bollo Brook said:

“A pat on the back was not what they were looking for. This was not just something to put on their CVs. Rather, they wanted to encourage the audience to continue with these difficult debates, exploring the differing takes on the use of the N-word, questioning the relationship between class and race, picking at the very concept of race itself.”

“In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, this could be described as a timely release. However, the conversations could also be seen to be 400 years late. This only adds to their urgency. The website will hopefully allow the voices of the young people to reach new audiences. More than this, we hope it will encourage people to start their own conversations, however uncomfortable

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