When you see images of French daily life or French people in magazines, films, or other media, what do you see? Usually, it’s white people, with perhaps a few visibly non-white people depicted. But this is odd for multiple reasons.
If we are to assume the Shakespearean platitude that ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’, then it is not beyond our comprehension that visual images used by NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in their advertisements are carefully curated ideas over who or what is ‘seen’, and more importantly ‘how’ it is seen, and for whom.
The disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the UK (both within and outwith the medical professions) have sparked critical commentary, an evidence submission, and an official inquiry (headed by a ‘controversial’ figure largely discredited in antiracist, trade union and equality third sector circles).
At a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, last month – the city where Breonna Taylor was murdered by police on 13 March – Chanelle Helm, a leading organiser in the local Black Lives Matter group, turned to the white protesters with a loudhailer. ‘If you are going to be here,’ she said, ‘you should defend this space.’