Hit enter to search or ESC to close

The Unconscious Racial Bias

Wedzera

Aidan Bungey – 23 and born and raised in South London to a white mother and black father. Now living in Bristol, Aidan is working in the Aerospace and Defence sector as an engineer after studying for a Masters in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool. An advocate for diversifying theatre and the arts with more faces of colour to ensure that every child is represented as well as a STEM ambassador hoping to bring girls and more POC into positions where they were once a minority through education.

The UK isn’t racist.” “I am not a racist person.” “I’ve never used the n-word even though I have black friends.” I’ve heard a lot of things these past few months. In fact, I have heard most of these things for decades. No matter how many times you repeat these sentences, it doesn’t make the truth change, and it doesn’t mean you are a saint. 

I was raised by a white mother with my brother in a small flat on a council estate in South London. My mother was arguably in the minority as a white woman in our area and I was surrounded by black faces and culture, but it didn’t stop me from feeling scared of large groups of black teenagers walking around when I was little. It didn’t stop me from feeling safer in my majority white primary school, and it didn’t stop me from holding a bias of my own. As I got older, BBC morning news before school filled my head with images of young black men being stabbed or murdered. Some in gang related crimes, and some where these poor men were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. My white school was a safe place for me, and the news was telling me that my home was in the epicentre of crime because of the black faces that populate its streets. 

But I didn’t actively dislike black people. How could I? My own father was a black man. Surely, I, a young mixed-race girl, was completely impartial to this racial bias because I was black and white. Right?

I was raised by a white mother with my brother in a small flat on a council estate in South London. My mother was arguably in the minority as a white woman in our area and I was surrounded by black faces and culture, but it didn’t stop me from feeling scared of large groups of black teenagers walking around when I was little. It didn’t stop me from feeling safer in my majority-white primary school, and it didn’t stop me from holding a bias of my own. As I got older, BBC morning news before school filled my head with images of young black men being stabbed or murdered. Some in gang related crimes, and some where these poor men were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. My white school was a safe place for me, and the news was telling me that my home was in the epicentre of crime because of the black faces that populate its streets. 

As a young girl, I would colour my drawings in with the ‘skin-coloured’ pencil. I had called this peach colour ‘skin-coloured’ for my whole life until one afternoon my father had told me that you could colour in a person with more than one pencil. I had been so young, and I had told my black father that they only made one pencil for skin. A colour that did not match either of us. Now I realise that not even white people match that peachy colour, but back then I had been so confused by the notion that I could colour in skin with more than one colour. My favourite characters were all this colour. My morning cartoons were all this way. My films and books were all presented to me in this one ‘skin-colour’ and no matter how many black and brown faces I saw in my real life, the media would always dictate the way I pictured my art and ideas.  This racial bias dictated the way I saw myself in the mirror, the way I would cry if I tanned in the sun and let any of my skin become darker because dark skin wasn’t what I wanted. Even now I struggle to find a shade of makeup that suits me without finding myself leaning towards something that makes me paler – something that makes me more like the white women I see on billboards and in magazines, and it’s not a conscious choice.

So yes, you can claim you have never been racist or prejudice in your life towards Black people, but you’ll be lying to yourself and to others. If there is one thing to learn from the BLM movement, from the voices of today and the voices of yesterday, it is that modern society has been built up to show white figures in positions of power.

Society has given us an unconscious racial bias and to learn from it we must first understand that we have it.

And even though things are changing, we have generations of children who have grown up without a face like theirs on television. We have millions of young adults who never had a hero in a book like them, who never had superheroes in the pictures for them to dress up as, and who never had a prime minister or leader to look up to like them. Therefore, we cannot stop fighting for a positive image of Black faces and people. We cannot stop the fight for diversity, and we cannot turn a blind eye to our own problematic biases. The moment we stop the fight against this bias, we let down another generation of children and we let them begin to find shame in their skin colour by not finding faces like their own.

– Aidan Bungey


  • Name: Aidan Bungey
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Bristol, UK
  • Industry: Aerospace & Entertainment
  • Heritage: Australian/Somali/Jamaican
  • What does being Black mean to you? Being black to me means doing my best and trying to make my ancestors proud. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *