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The Bracton Law Whatsapp Group: Why Discrimination Is Never "Just Banter"

The Bracton Law Whatsapp Group: Why Discrimination Is Never "Just Banter"

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Derogatory terms, racial slurs, as well as rape ‘jokes’ are evident in the Whatsapp private messages @arsaIanm/Twitter

You've probably already heard about the shocking incidents of racism that have been taking place in Exeter University's prestigious law society - revealed when a whistle-blower exposed a series of WhatsApp messages. Like any respectable institution would do, the University has launched a "major investigation" and informed authorities after the racist comments were publicised on a social media account.

Parts of the conversation that were exposed included screenshots of comments such as “he is such a dirty arab”, “this is why we need a race war” and “he’s such a stupid little a--- licking paki”.

It was Arsalan Motavali, a University of Exeter law student who came forward to say how he had provided evidence of the comments to the University and the Guild for further investigation.

He allegedly stated that he felt obligated to open up about the “racist and vile” statements made by his course mates.

Motavali, additionally went on to say how, having created the WhatsApp group last summer for just a few people, conversation last summer initially for six people, explained how “the content became increasingly racist and deplorable” as more and more students were invited to join.

As a former BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) officer, I am compelled to flag up this instance of the obnoxious and racist conversations that have been recently taking place on Streatham Campus.

It's a terrifying prospect to fathom that a few of the individuals that elite institutions are raising up, are given a platform, form a vicious minority of the supposed "crème de la crème".

Cases such as these are what cause students from ethnic minority backgrounds to feel unsafe: the targets of abuse and oppression. We go to university to grow as an individual, both socially and intellectually. And yet the presence of an ignorant few prevent it from forming this kind of nurturing space.

It is in times like these, especially, that citizens and students of BAME heritage should speak up about cases of marginalisation and discrimination. If we do not point the finger at the micro-aggressions, and oppressive behaviours that evidently still occur in our society, then we will not be able to correct the age old prejudices that, clearly, are still fixed in society today.

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