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MINDSET CHANGE NEEDED

Blacks face bias they are dirty, lazy criminals — Julie Gichuru

She is grateful that exposure led one man to change view but wonders how many others still hold it

In Summary

• In her university years, she met a white man who confessed to the stereotype

Julie Gichuru
Julie Gichuru
Image: COURTESY

Media personality Julie Gichuru has shared her experience with a white student she schooled with in college, who thought all Africans are criminals.

This comes after the much-publicised death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a policeman pressed his knee on his neck.

This has given rise to protests that have turned chaotic across the US.

 
 
 

On her Instagram page, Julie narrated how the white student confessed to having believed that all black people were not only criminal but also dirty.

"It was the first week of university, we were in the Games Room (the snooker/pool room and gaming area) at Students Union on Park Place. It was a Sunday afternoon and the busy entertainment spot started to empty at about 2 pm, we played on," she narrated.

Julie recounts being in a group of four to five blacks. They had all moved from pre-university at Warwick University to their respective graduate degree courses at University of Wales College of Cardiff, now called Cardiff University.

"Michelle had been my housemate in pre-Uni law for one year, we were good friends. With us also were our friends and classmates, Terence who was from Singapore (Michelle, too)," she said.

There we were, talking, laughing and enjoying a few epic games of pool. A tall white man then approached Julie and her friends.

"He had been playing with friends at the next table and was eventually left on his own. He seemed to be watching us. Maybe I was imagining it, I thought to myself."

Eventually, he came up and asked if he could join them.

 
 

"We happily welcomed him to the group and had a few games together. After about an hour, the room was closing and we all had to leave," she said. "We headed out of the Students Union, down the union steps and onto Park Place, laughing and in great spirits."

 

Unknown to Julie, letting the man into their table had helped him get rid of misconceptions about Africans. He said, ”I am really happy to have met you all and spent time with you. This was an eye-opener for me. I was brought up to believe that black people are dirty, lazy criminals, but I was so stunned when I heard you talking," she said.

"You are so different from what I expected. Thank you for letting me spend time with you. You have forever changed my perspective.”

They all went quiet as it was rather shocking. "I felt uncomfortable yet thankful that at least one mind had been opened. But how many others were out there?"

Julie concluded by saying that they bumped into him many times later and he was a good guy. "But it was a painful reminder that this is a very prejudiced world. Spread some love today. Smile. Reach out and bridge a divide. We all need it," she said.

Edited by T Jalio