We asked for your reactions to Kent Union’s Black History Month gaffe

‘I don’t know how they’re going to come back from this’

Kent Students’ Union came under fire last night for using Zayn Malik and Sadiq Khan to promote their Black History Month campaign. The Facebook posts have consequently been removed and the Kent Union Facebook page has plummeted to a 1.3 star rating in light of the blunder. Here’s what you have to say on the matter:

Liam Airley, 21, Social Sciences, third year

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It’s always a good thing that Kent Uni are involved in BHM, but they’ve messed this one up I’m not gonna lie. I initially thought Sadiq Khan and Zayn Malik being the faces of it was a joke, one of my initial thought processes behind it was that there could have been blurred lines between what minorities constitute, in regard to Pakistanis, Indians and blacks. Maybe if it was a minority history month what they did would be justified, but I’ve seen the pictures and they don’t look very black. This wasn’t Martin Luther King’s dream.

Alexi, 22, Computing, third year

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I think they’re complete idiots to be honest. How many people did that thing go through? The graphic designer, the person who commissioned that, then the five sabbatical officers too? I wouldn’t call it racist though, it’s far too easy these days to label things discriminatory – I just think it’s complete stupidity.

Duncan Wanza, 23, Civil Engineering, first year

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They’re not from African descent, so I see why it has become a ‘colour’ issue. But I see Pakistanis, Indians and Africans all as individual minorities, and I would like to see all of those minorities celebrated in the way that BHM is celebrated. I wasn’t personally offended by it though, let’s celebrate all of us as individuals.

Sam Insley, 23, Civil Engineering, third year

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I think it’s all been a bit blown out of proportion. They’ve made a mistake and obviously they have to apologise for it. I’m not sure who approved it, but in terms of anyone resigning I think we should just see this as a stupid mistake they made. Over-sensitivity is rife at the moment, people just need to get over it now.

James Ogunsanwo, 20, Computer Science, second year

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It’s not really a big issue to me. I’m not personally offended. If I was to say why it was wrong though, I’d say that choosing a different ethnicity to represent BHM it feeds into the idea that black people don’t have enough political representation.

Bolla Akani, 21, third year

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I’m very disappointed in Kent Union, I don’t feel proud to call myself a student of Kent. You have eleven months to celebrate the histories of other ethnicities, we have one month to celebrate our achievements and it falls into the ‘all lives matter’ rhetoric too much. The response has been entirely reasonable, I don’t know how they’re going to come back from this.

Daniel Dunne and Greg Los, Business and Criminology, 21, third year

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It’s very ignorant and it doesn’t take people’s feelings into consideration. I am quite offended to be honest. I’m not triggered, but I’m quite offended.

I think it’s a stupid mistake but it’s not racist. I don’t think the Union President who apologised should resign.

Anita Nkonge, Journalism, 21, third year

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It was disappointing and poorly thought out. I have no idea why they did it. The month is specifically allocated for black history, it’s not good to use that space to incorporate other ethnicities too.

James Lamb, American Studies, 22, fourth year

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Despite the Union’s best interests, the month was supposed to be a celebration of black culture. This has definitely put a damper on proceedings

Holly Jimenez, Biomedical Sciences, 21, fourth year

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I don’t understand how someone even thought to put men who are both pretty famously pakistani-british on a black history month poster. It
completely takes away from the whole point of specifically celebrating and remembering black history to include people of very obviously different ethnicities

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