“When it comes to racism, the acknowledgement isn’t even there yet” – Thandi Allin Dyani
The second part in our three-part interview series on racism features social entrepreneur Thandi Allin Dyani in conversation with journalist Mary C. Namagambe. “My whole premise of my childhood, of being in existence, was being an illegal, biracial child. So it’s always been a presence,” says Thandi, who is half South African and half Danish.
I’ve experienced [racism] in many, many levels and also the harsh things, the in-your-face stuff like being spat on, being yelled at – stuff like that. But I think actually that the subtle racism, the structural racism – that’s what gets to you because it feeds into your self-worth and the way you see yourself. – Thandi Allin Dyani
“I think it’s very predominant in the educational system and in the job market. When both I was done with high school I had a really hard time finding a job, people wouldn’t even answer when I sent an application,” Thandi says.
Thandi also shares about her family; both the family she grew up in, and the one she and her husband have together with their two young boys – for whom she wants to make the world a better place.
“I think it’s so important that we look in our own selves; what is it that I’m perpetuating, what is it that I’m amplifying in a conversation or in the way we hire people. I mean, we can be first movers, we can be front runners in the fight against racism. And I think we just need to be bold enough to look within. In some ways, we’re so much further behind than other countries in these conversations because the acknowledgement of racism is not even there yet,” says Thandi.
And this acknowledgement is necessary if we’re going to create the substantive, systemic, lasting change that’s needed to end racial injustice. It must start there, and we’re all responsible to be an active part of the solution – “first movers” and “front runners in the fight against racism”, as Thandi says.
Behind-the-scenes note: In the time since this interview was filmed, Thandi joined the Girls Are Awesome family as our head of partnerships. She’s using her 15 years of expertise as a bridge builder, social entrepreneur and impact guru to help us work towards making gender inequality a thing of the past, and we seriously couldn’t be happier to have her here <3