Race relations are a lot less tense in England than they are in the U.S., according to “Seven Seconds’ actress Clare-Hope Ashitey.
Ashitey, 31, stars in the new Netflix drama as a prosecutor tasked with investigating the police cover-up of a Black teen’s death in New Jersey.
In an interview with TMZ last month, Ashitey, who’s considered the show’s breakout star, gave some insight into race relations in the U.K., saying folks are just more empathetic there and that race isn’t such a big deal.
“I think the conversation is different. The racial landscape at home is different, and I don’t think it’s as tense as it is here [in the U.S.],” she said. ” … Race seems to be a much more prevalent consideration here. It seems to be the lens through which subconsciously or otherwise, everyone sees the world and each other, and I’m not so aware of it at home.”
“I think one of the biggest issues here is that there is a shared traumatic history in slavery that we don’t have at home — so America is working at this huge disadvantage on how to deal with that gaping wound that hasn’t been healed,” she added, noting that empathy isn’t something usually afforded to Black folks in America like it is in England. “The legacy is still affecting people today.”
Ashitey’s comments came a little over a week before a student at Nottingham Trent University filmed two men shouting racist chants outside her dorm room. Student Rufaro Chisango uploaded footage of the frightening March 5 incident to her Twitter page, during which two voices are heard shouting “we hate the Blacks” and “Blacks and whites will never be together,” on the other side of her door.
“Yoo I’m fuming, the way people in the same uni halls as me are chanting ‘we hate the blacks’ outside my bedroom door,” Chisango wrote. “Words can’t describe how sad this makes me feel. In this 2018, people still think this is acceptable.”
yoo I’m fuming, the way people in the same uni halls as me are chanting “we hate the blacks” outside my bedroom door. Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel, in this 2018 people think this is still acceptable😤 pic.twitter.com/XUiYqNIWQT
— Ruu (@rufarochisango_) March 7, 2018
Chisango, who is the only Black student in her hall, said she reported the incident to reception, but no one ever got back to her. News of the incident made it to university officials two days later, after which the two culprits were arrested and suspended.
” … This kind of vile behavior will not be tolerated at Nottingham Trent University,” the university said in a statement. “Those suspected perpetrators have been suspended immediately pending a full investigation. We have contacted the student who made the complaint and are providing support to her and others affected.”
The university said it’s also investigating why the incident was only brought to their attention Wednesday, March 7, when the attack was reported to dorm officials that Monday.
The two men have since been released from police custody.