“People Have More Empathy In England” Seven Seconds Star Compares Race Relations Between U.S. And England
Clare-Hope Ashitey, one of the stars of Netflix’s new drama series Seven Seconds, said that race relations are a lot more tense in the U.S. than in England, something that the actress believes contributes to people being less empathetic here in the States.
I watched four episodes of Seven Seconds this weekend (don’t worry – there are no spoilers coming), and the series is quite good. It is a drama centered around the cover-up of a Black teenager’s death by New Jersey police officers. Clare Hope-Ashitey plays the assistant prosecutor tasked with finding out who killed the teen, and as she continues to dig into the details of the case, she comes across information that shocks her to the core.
This show was definitely inspired by the murders of Black men and women by cops like Trayvon, Sandra, Mike, Philando, and Eric, to name a few. We’re all a part of this burgeoning woke generation, but for Ashitey, cops shooting unarmed people just doesn’t happen where she comes from. Despite the perfect American accent on the show, the actress is British-born and -raised.
TMZ caught up with the 31-year-old at LAX yesterday, and when they asked her about race relations in her home country of England, she said some things that might surprise those who have never been to that part of the world.
“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 [The U.S.]. I feel different here than I do at home. I feel much more comfortable there,” 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.”
Facts! Although Ashitey isn’t rooted here, her comments are on point. That is exactly the type of country we live in. But she clearly knows her history because she mentions that the legacy of slavery still has a firm grip on the U.S.
“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 said. “The legacy is still effecting people today.”
And because the histories between the two countries are different, Ashitey says that she thinks people have more empathy in England, something that isn’t always afforded to Black people in this country.
And this is made clear in Seven Seconds, where the story attempts to draw the empathy out of people for a Black teenage boy left to die by police officers. But because this happens in the U.S. rather than in England (perhaps), people have to be convinced that the kid is worthy of such a thing. SMH.
You can watch the full interview below.