Bishops Diocesan College. Picture: Facebook
Bishops Diocesan College. Picture: Facebook

WATCH: Bishops matric class calls out systemic oppression, racism

By Theolin Tembo And Chelsea Geach Time of article published Jun 7, 2020

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Cape Town - The young men at Bishops Diocesan College have taken a stand against, racism, discrimination and systemic oppression demanding that the school take active steps to reform and end discrimination and inequality.

On Friday, the matric learners at Bishops Diocesan College took a stand against racism, discrimination and systemic oppression by holding a protest and drafting a memorandum documenting a list of their demands and experiences which they handed over to the school. The protest come in the wake of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement.

"Racism has loomed over Bishops since its inception. While we, as the matric group of 2020, applaud the individuals who have actively taken steps to dismantle this underlying discrimination, we are forced to realise that greater strides need to be taken. 

"Racism is a systemic issue, and not one overcome by superficial Codes of Conduct and disengaged reminders of zero-tolerance, but rather through a united desire for change. In order to achieve such change, this desire needs to be felt in every corner of our school," the memorandum reads.

"Bishops is an institution that commands the respect of not just the educational sphere, but society as a whole. This is because we have achieved excellence in all explored avenues, and have delivered to the highest standards since our genesis. However, once inside our gates, racism runs rampant. 

"It is perpetrated by the boys, staff, and parents, with the whispers of inequity echoing through the corridors and classrooms. While many choose to remain blissfully ignorant of this reality, the damage it has wreaked on the psyches of those subject to its wrath, is inexplicable," reads.

"It is a stain. However, despite the deep-rooted nature of such a threat to our community, we believe that Bishops is still able to achieve tangible change. 

"We are all immensely proud of our school, and in protesting, we are not trying to hold a single individual or authority responsible, but rather accepting that we are all to blame for perpetuating a system that has undermined boys and staff of colour at our school for years. It is the duty of Bishops, as an establishment, to pursue such changes in social equality, as it holds a responsibility to ensure that the environment they promote is accepting of everyone within it. This is not the current reality."

The memorandum, which is addressed to Guy Pearson, outgoing principal of Bishops, firstly commended for him for "everything you have done for Bishops, and regret that it must come at this time".

Pearson said his executive team had received the memorandum.

“This will be an ideal opportunity to continue the engagement with all members of our community regarding these issues in our school,” Pearson said.

“We are committed to making Bishops a welcoming environment for all who learn and work here, irrespective of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.”

View this post on Instagram

A student-led protest against systemic racism at Bishops Diocesan College. We want change in the school policy and accountability to be made prominent in our disciplinary system.

A post shared by Bishops Diocesan College(@boysofbish) on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:06am PDT

Read more about other Cape Town schools: "

Pupils use social media to expose rampant racism at top Cape schools". Read the full memorandum here, "

Cape Argus

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