07 March 2022

Catherina Quinn, from the Anthony Walker Foundation, recently delivered a thought-provoking lecture on the topic of race as part of our weekly Nicholls Lecture Series for Sixth Form students.


By Anoushka Kapoor, Lower Sixth student

Catherina Quinn, from the Anthony Walker Foundation, started off her talk by introducing us to her aim which was to provoke thought about the topic of race and encourage open conversations as she believes that knowledge is the vaccine for racism. She talked about how the idea of different races weren’t real and that the suggestion of racial categories was a man made strategy created to treat people differently when in reality we can not distinguish between people.

Mrs Quinn then explored different ‘barriers to anti-racism’ such as colourblindness, white privilege, micro aggression and unconscious bias. She then shared her own personal experiences of being mixed race and how being part of different communities was very difficult. Her first encounter with racial abuse which was when she was eight years old and she had mentioned how her headmaster had poorly dealt with the issue.

Catherina then went on to mention many famous victims of racial abuse such as Charles Wotten and Anthony Walker in addition to making the point that even today, racism is far from being eradicated by presenting us with many government statistics indicating the impact of racism within our society today such as 50% of Black and Minority Ethnic teachers experience racism within school.

In order to make her point that because of race we are not all given the same starting point, Mrs Quinn played us a video of children competing in a race but before starting had to take steps either forwards or backwards depending on different situations due to their race. What happened was that many of the children were not on the same starting line due to their various backgrounds emphasising her argument that we are not all given equal opportunities in life and that it was because of our ethnic backgrounds. She suggested that equity was a better solution of dealing with this than equality as it helps people to get into the same starting line.

Mrs Quinn then finished with the belief that we should standing up to any racial abuse encountered or witnessed quoting ‘Change won’t come if we are waiting for other people. We are the ones we have been waiting for and we are the change we speak’ by Barack Obama.

Following the lecture, Catherina Quinn was joined by Sixth Form Students as lunch guests who further discussed the concept of micro aggression. This was due to it being a common form of racism experienced by students, and she advised students to question other people’s comments in order to make them think about the origins of their words. I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the Sixth Form to Catherine, for giving such an important and pertinent lecture that each student will be able to apply to their own lives.