Black Lives Matter: A statement
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is committed to equality, inclusion and creating better lives for all. We condemn the brutal killing of African-American George Floyd and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement protesting his killing and wider injustices.
The RCSLT stands with the Black community and other BAME communities against all forms of racism, whether overt, insidious or structural, and we encourage our members to do the same.
Racism and discrimination are faced by BAME community members every day, and the speech and language therapy profession is not immune from these scourges. It is therefore no longer enough for us simply to stand up and condemn racism: we must be actively anti-racist.
We therefore encourage our members to engage with members of the BAME community, whether colleagues or service users, to understand their reality and to understand the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. It is essential that we as professionals take it upon ourselves to research more into these issues, for example by engaging with hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter on social media platforms. The onus should not always be on people of colour to educate others on issues.
It is no secret that diversity within the speech and language profession is an issue and has been for a very long time. BAME people have always been underrepresented in the profession and continue to be underrepresented.
There are no easy answers, but the RCSLT continues to engage our membership and continues to learn in order to address this issue. The RCSLT as an organisation, and the speech and language therapy profession as a whole, must be part of the solution and so we will continue to address this head on.
What are we doing?
We’ve made the diversity pages on our website open access so that members may see the work that is currently underway.
Members have also been in touch and suggested a number of actions, which the RCSLT has already committed to undertake:
- To promote greater visibility of BAME members across all RCSLT communications channels in order to improve representation across the website and social media channels.
- To create a platform/safe space for BAME members, including SLT students, to express the challenges that they face without judgement or fear of repercussion.
- To hold a profession-wide online event, led by members of the BAME community, in order to have a candid conversation about racism and discrimination, to support cultural change within the profession.
- To encourage our membership to learn and engage more through literature to support greater understanding, awareness and active change of racist and/or discriminatory practice and to create a culture of challenging those behaviours.
The RCSLT pledges to actively work with our members to stand with the Black community and other BAME communities against all forms of racism, to be anti-racist, and to do everything we can to bring about a positive change.
We encourage members to get in touch with further suggestions and feedback.
Putting in the work: An anti-racist reading and resource list
- The Guardian: Young, British and black – the voices behind the UK’s anti-racism protests
- CNN: Employees are tired of companies paying lip service to diversity
- Fast Company: How to be a less biased version of yourself
- Fast Company: How to confirm bias without alienating people
- Harvard Business Review: How leaders around the world build trust across cultures
- Medium: How to make this moment the turning point for real change
- Medium: Letter to a white man
- The Atlantic: America’s racial contract is showing
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- Medium: Where do I donate? Why is the uprising violent? Should I go protest?
- Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement documentary (2016)
- TED Talks: Baratunde Thurston – How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time
- TED Talks: Megan Ming Francis – Let’s get to the root of racial injustice
- Unfiltered with James O’Brien: Rapper, poet and scholar Akala deconstructs race, class, and Britain’s modern myths
- CrashCourse: Racial/Ethnic prejudice and discrimination
- The New York Times: A conversation about growing up black
- Big Think: Robin DiAngelo – Being nice is not going to end racism
- Color of Change: Tell Black stories
- Springer Nature research publisher – A collection of books, articles and journals that endorse the statement Black Lives Matter
- Cambridge University Press – Protests, policing and race collection
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla F Saad
- Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
- Whitewashing Britain: Race and citizenship in the postwar era by Kathleen Paul
- White Fragility: Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin DiAngelo
- How to be less stupid about race by Crystal M Fleming
- Natives: Race and class in the ruins of Empire by Akala
- So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo
- White Rage: the unspoken truth of our racial divide by Carol Anderson
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
- The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
- Raising Free People: Unschooling As Liberation and Healing Work by Akilah S. Richards
- Speech and Language Therapy and Professional Identity: Challenging Received Wisdom by Jane Stokes and Marian McCormick
For families and children
- NYU Langone Health: Talking to children about racism
- TED Talks: Biz Lindsay-Ryan – Why we need to talk to children about race and difference