RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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Moving from resistance,
to action

Timi Sotire

Rare Rising Stars is our way of showcasing the talents of young Black people and giving them a platform to share their work. This year we have invited Timi Sotire, a Target Oxbridge alumna and recent Cambridge graduate, to share her personal response to the events of 2020.

When this lockdown started, we envisioned a worldwide downturn, expecting everything to be put on pause, whilst we sit and wait, hoping for the global health to recover. Yet, unbeknownst to us all, the complete opposite has happened. This pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities that are rampant within our society. Reports have been made regarding the disproportionate Covid-19-related death rates amongst black people in the UK, another wave of Black Lives Matter protests have been kick-started around the world, and despite our reliance on essential workers in this period, the government is still choosing to go ahead with their immigration plans.

What all these trends have in common is that they reveal how, as members of the public, we are made aware of inequalities through a specific lens, a lens that is controlled by those who want us to view this subjugation as a natural part of life. This results in people failing to imagine a world outside of these oppressive ideologies, creating space for these ideologies to proliferate and reproduce. Despite statistics saying otherwise, the media tells us that we need the police and prisons for law and order, health experts explain the black Covid-19 death rates with essentialist racial logic to have us believe that race is rooted in biology, and discussions surrounding Brexit and immigration serve to establish racism towards immigrants as culturally acceptable. These are just a few cases of how the information we consume is rooted in power structures designed to benefit a select few.

People are finally noticing the fallacy that underpins the rhetoric that is thrust in our faces by those in control of our society. The sense of personal and collective trauma experienced by those within the black community in the past couple of months has made us fed up, angry and tired. I’ve been focused on trying to turn this anger and frustration that I’ve been feeling into something positive. I’ve been reflecting on the information that I receive, thinking about all of standpoints that I take for granted and view as common sense.

During this period of reflection, I’ve realised that cultural consumption is so important at times of crisis. How we choose to engage with the news, media publications, social media, music, TV etc. needs to change. On an individual level, critical thinking must be at the centre of how we digest information. It’s important to be actively critiquing parts of society that remain unquestioned, because most of the time, it is this supposed neutrality that allows their brutality to permeate. I’ve embarked on journey of critique in relation to how I see the role of prisons in society, and I hope to carry it into more areas of thinking.

But this reflection and critique is only the first step of generating real change. With reflection must come action, and with action comes renewal. It’s easy to be consumed by the cycle of thinking, educating and reflecting, and never do anything about it. Without action, we aren’t going anywhere. Now that I know more than I did earlier this year, I’ve been seeing which organisations I can support that have been doing the work already. If that means engaging with their content, donating to their causes, or attending their events (which at the moment are all virtual), it’s important to translate that education into real action.

I’m not saying I have all of the answers, because I don’t. I’m still learning about how I as an individual can make real change. Reflection is a continuous process; we need to continue to speak out and learn. It just starts with refusing to be a passive recipient of the information around us and widening our gaze.


Written by Timi Sotire
Timi Sotire (she/her) graduated with a BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and is currently working in Marketing. As a freelance writer, her work focuses on issues pertaining to music, culture, and societal issues.