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"HTGAWM" Star Alfred Enoch's View On Racism Changed When He Came To America

"For what I think will be the first time in your life, you will not just be aware, but conscious of your ethnicity."

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But before landing the big role, the 28-year-old London native was acting as Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series.

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And once he moved to the US to steal hearts and break the law on Shonda Rhimes' crime drama, Alfred's life changed in ways he never expected.

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In a letter he recently penned to his younger self for Metro, Alfred (or Alfie) opens up about seeing racism differently in America and how he was blind to his own privilege growing up.

"Really the difference between us is not a spattering of knowledge about black America in the 20th Century, it’s that I’m in the early stages of a journey that you are yet to conceive of. It will begin in 2014."

"You’re going to get a job in America. It will change your career. It will change you. More specifically, it will change the way you see yourself."

@howtogetawaywithmurder / Via instagram.com

"For what I think will be the first time in your life, you will not just be aware, but conscious of your ethnicity. You will become conscious of how that affects the way you are perceived, the way you are treated, and of a wider narrative of which you are a part."

@fault_magazine / Via instagram.com

"Your lack of consciousness is a result of your very specific circumstances. Having a black Brazilian mother and a white English father has given you two very distinct models for your two nationalities."

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Alfred grew up watching his father, who's also an actor, onscreen. He enjoyed privileges like an extensive education and never really questioned his place in society.

Alfred's mother, Balbina Gutierrez, is a Brazilian-born doctor of Barbadian descent. She grew up under a military dictatorship in Brazil and moved to England in the '80s after finishing her master's degree. Alfred wrote about her facing racism "neither you nor I could fathom."

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

"What our mother has given us is the freedom to capitalise on our unusual set of circumstances and form an identity outside of the perception of blackness as otherness."

"But in America, it is precisely your identity as an outsider, as a foreigner, and a person of color that will give you a new perspective on your ethnicity."

"You will begin to ask, for the first time, what it is to be black in a predominantly white society. You will be challenged by people dear to you, emboldened by people more desperate than you, and welcomed by people unknown to you."

"It was America that helped me first to begin to see racial injustice, and then to see my own blindness. All I ask of you is that you open your eyes."

@fault_magazine / Via instagram.com

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