UCL Faculty of Laws


Race Me Too: Institutional Anti-Racist Declarations, but are they listening?

15 November 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

decolonising law

Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Dean, Oxford Law Faculty

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UCL Laws Events

Race Me Too: Institutional Anti-Racist Declarations, but are they listening?
Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Dean, Oxford Law Faculty.

Convenor: Ralph Wilde

About this talk

Educational institutions love to display people of colour in their websites and glossy brochures, as they loudly declare themselves anti-racist or non-racist. But such ‘colour-washing’ and self-declarations are cheap. Every person of colour can detail innumerable instances of racist treatment conscious or unconscious, small or large, that cumulatively inflict significant injuries to their persons and their circumstances; the axe forgets or doesn’t even notice what the tree remembers.

How can well-meaning institutions and individuals in the majority group go beyond empty self-certifications of virtue?

  • The saying often deployed to oppose change is: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. But, whether something is ‘broke’, depends on who you ask. So, the first step must be to listen. Just listen. And, to do so without rationalizing, excusing, avoiding, defending, or gaslighting.
  • The second is to validate people of colour; to be able to say: “I see you; I hear you; I respect you; I acknowledge your pain.”
  • The third is critically to reflect, read, discuss, and action anti-racism measures.
  • What is the nature of unconscious bias? How does it affect people of colour in educational settings? What can institutions and individuals do? How can we be good allies?

Do you care?

About the speaker:

Mindy Chen Whishart
Mindy Chen-Wishart is Dean, and Professor of the Law of Contract at the Faculty of Law at Oxford University and a Fellow of Merton College. She holds a fractional Professorship at the National University of Singapore and is the Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University. She has also visited and taught at Law Schools in, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. She is author of Contract Law (6th ed), and of numerous articles on the theory, doctrine, and comparative law of contract. She is an Editor of Chitty on Contracts (now 33rd ed), and of the six-book series on Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia, of which the first three have been published. Mindy was a member of the Advisory Group on A Restatement of the English Law of Contract, and has lectured to the Judicial College of England and Wales, and the judiciary in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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