John Boyega has explained why he doesn’t want to be lectured by white people on racism, because he ‘can’t be educated’ about his own experiences.
The Star Wars actor has been one of the most vocal stars in the Black Lives Matter protests this week, and delivered a blistering speech at the Hyde Park protest on Wednesday in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a white police officer named Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for over eight minutes during an arrest.
And Boyega has said things will not go back to normal, no matter how much people want them to.
The 28-year-old was asked by Buzzfeed News about George The Poet’s viral interview with Emily Maitlis, with the BBC broadcaster suggesting that racism in the UK was not on the same level as the US.
Maitlis said to George, full name George Mpanga: ‘You’re not putting America and the UK on the same footing… our police aren’t armed, they don’t have guns, the legacy of slavery is not the same. We had a report many years ago looking at institutional racism and you would hope reversing or aiming to open that up, it’s not the same is it?’
George responded: ‘If it’s not the same then you have to explain to me why Julian Cole is not an exception, what happened with Nuno Cardoso, what happened with Edson Da Costa, what happened with Sarah Reed who died under very similar circumstances with Sandra Bland in the American context.
’This is contemporary, when you talk about the history of race relations, you have to consider the role of the British empire, as I’ve spoken about extensively, on the African content. The political and economic consequences of that interaction.
‘I hope this is a learning point for many people who think along the lines that you just expressed, that this is an American and not a British issue.’
Boyega told Buzzfeed that broadcasters, ‘especially if you’re white’, need to ‘shush your mouth’, as he can’t be educated about his own experiences.
The star, from Peckham, said: ‘You are white — meaning that when you leave your house, you don’t get judged about the colour of your skin.
‘It ain’t as intense for you. Why are you lying? You’re lying because you’re scared. Someone with that mentality, I believe 100% you’re a racist.
‘And racism to me, it shows in various different ways, and the more and more I read deeper into man, the fear that they’re showing because they want their normal world.’
Boyega added: ‘They want things to go back to normal. That ain’t happening.’
The Attack The Block star delivered a powerful speech on anti-racism in Hyde Park, remembering not only George Floyd, but Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in Eltham in a racially motivated attack in 1993.
He said: ‘We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence.
‘I need you to understand how painful this s*** is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case anymore, that was never the case anymore.’
He also admitted he was concerned that his activism would affect his career, saying: ‘Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that.’
However, producers, writers and directors have been taking to social media to confirm they would be delighted to work with Boyega, with LucasFilm also sharing their pride.
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