(CMR) After years of keeping silent, one Caymanian student at Kings College in the UK recently shared his personal experience with racism at the prestigious institution.
According to the student he encountered racial discrimination during his first year of dental school when he was paired with a senior member of staff who was to supervise his technical model project.
The Caymanian student said the staff member repeatedly taunted him, often mocking him in what he described as a “fake Jamaican accent”.
“Unfortunately, my experience with the member of staff I was assigned was not great, to say the least. Whether it was him repeatedly making fun of my Caribbean roots, giving me feedback in a fake Jamaican accent, or making statements implying that I was going to go home and tell my family that I want to drop out of university, ” said the student, who shared his story with the Humans of King’s College London, a photoblog.
The student said that the teasing was often done in front of his peers, which made him particularly uncomfortable. However, he said the verbal assault he experienced in private was even more disturbing.
“All of this in front of my classmates, too, – I’ve been through it all. In private, he once told me that he knew what my ‘people’ were like, and proceeded to make a motion mimicking someone smoking a joint, ” recalled the student.
According to the dental student, the senior member of staff was so wrapped up in poking fun of him that he had not properly assessed his technical model – a project that would be vital to his success in the second year of his studies.
The student said in his second year of study he was forced to escalate the matter and, seek assistance from other members of the faculty, who seemed to be aware of the problem.
” By the time I reached the end of the year, it was evident that he had paid very little attention to my technical model, to the point that in my second year of dental school, I actually had to approach a different member of staff and get them to correct it, “said the student
The student said that he came to realize that others within the faculty were well aware of the senior staff member’s behavior and seemed to be afraid to do something about it.
“I wouldn’t say this is what affected me the most. Rather, the biggest thing that stood out to me throughout this entire experience was a statement my original supervisor directed at me – ‘Oh, go and complain if you want, I’m not scared,” he added.
Josh said as he began to share his experience with his peers in higher years, he learned that the staff member was ” notorious for being racist” and had behaved in this manner with so many other students.
“It was almost like it was common knowledge,” he said.
“To make matters worse, once I raised a formal complaint within the dental school, I was quite surprised to notice that every member of the Faculty that I spoke to knew who I was talking about without me even having mentioned his name,” he added.
Josh said that the most alarming thing about his experience is that the college has still not addressed the incident and the staff member is still employed there.
The Humans of King’s College London is a photo blog similar to the Humans of New York captures street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City.