Racism is still an issue. I wrote about some of my experiences in The Salisbury Review earlier this year. As a mixed race individual, I’ve been party to my fair share of horrific attacks because of the colour of my skin, and I’m sure many others have been through much worse than I have.
And what happened to George Floyd in America was terrible. That video sent chills down my spine. But what’s worse is it’s not a unique situation, we’ve seen this happen time and time again, and the American police officers in question tend to get away with it. There does seem to be an issue of institutional racism in some police forces in the United States.
However, these online protests we see as a result are nothing short of virtual signalling. White guilt in and of itself is unhelpful. I’ve no doubt some of the people on social media may care about the issue, but what’s become pretty obvious is that they seem to care far more about looking good. Everybody wants to appear woke and on the ‘right side of history’.
You only have to look at the condescending slogans that are being thrown around, “Educate yourself”, “Read these 20 books”. It does make one wonder how many of them the poster has read. Regardless, these lists are nearly always entirely made up of extremist left-wing titles. ‘White saviour’ this, ‘White fragility’, that. They’re offensive if not outright racist, themselves. Oh, the irony.
“Fuck racism” is another popular slogan. Yes, very good, problem solved! It’s an empty platitude. Not many people are going to disagree with that statement, but how does posting it on your social media feed help change the world for the better?
And the veiled outrage towards people who haven’t yet posted a BLM meme on their timelines is ridiculous. How dare they not fall in line? They must be closet racists! This fascist mentality has to stop.
The protests in London are even worse than those on social media. Thousands of people are swarming around Hyde Park during a global pandemic, that seems like a sensible way to get one’s message across. The UK has suffered the highest death rates in Europe, and these selfish individuals want to put the lives of vulnerable people at even more risk, by holding mass gatherings and become super spreaders, all in the name of signalling their virtue.
Even if the virus weren’t in the picture, these protests wouldn’t be helpful. They’re counter-productive, the protests rapidly evolve into violent riots and end up causing a lot of noise that drowns out any productivity. Instead, campaigners could be fighting for new legislation to enforce more prosecutions against rogue police officers, or even to weaken the stronghold of the unions who are often at the centre of protecting corrupt cops.
It’s difficult to tell whether these protests are organised by the extremist leftist thugs seen beating police officers and chasing journalists around London, or if it’s just a case of these masked rent-a-mobs are turning up to hijack events. Either way, by spraying red paint all over the cenotaph they seem to believe they’re fighting fascism, proving that Anti-fa remains completely blinded by the irony of their name and their actions.
What are these people doing to make a difference? There is an alternative to violent thugs holding mass gatherings and screaming “Fuck the police” at the top of their lungs toward the same police officers who they would call at the drop of a hat to protect them under different circumstances.
If these protesters cared about ending racism, they’d be more politically engaged than their black display picture on social media shows them to be. How difficult is it to join a pressure group, donate to a good cause, or write to one’s local MP? More time consuming than posting a black square meme though isn’t it.
As for the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’. All I have to say to that is all lives matter! If you want to end racism, stop dividing people based on the colour of their skin. If hearing “all lives matter” offends you, good, I don’t need you to unlock my potential, thanks. I know my life matters, as does yours. We’re all children of God. Don’t patronise me by claiming mine matters more, that’s simply untrue.
What seems to have escaped people during this horrendous debacle is that racism is not defined by white-on-black discrimination. Anyone can be racist. Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Telling white people to stop being so white is racism. Saying all white people are racist is racism. Saying white people are not allowed to voice an opinion on the matter is racist. If that offends you, perhaps you’re racist.
I’m not saying that historical racism isn’t a thing. Rather, that you cannot hold someone accountable for the actions of their ancestors. And if you try to judge someone based on the colour of their skin, for the action of someone else of the same skin tone, that’s racism. You don’t get to redefine racism to suit your purpose.
It might be worth mentioning that most of the racism I receive these days is directed at me from black people. I don’t do my hair the way they think I should. I don’t vote for the parties they believe I should vote for. I don’t dress how they’d like me to or talk how they think I should sound. Because I don’t subscribe to their idea of how a black man should be, they offer me abuse. No white person has ever called me a coon, an uncle Tom, a house nigga, but I’ve lost track of the number of black people who have. White people may have once owned my ancestors, but black people seem to think they own me now. If that’s not racist, I don’t know what is.
For that reason, nobody should be bowing down in front of black people and kissing their feet. You do not need to apologise for your ancestors. Even if you feel like you must, have some dignity about it.
What we really must get to the bottom of though, is why are we importing all of this US drama to the UK? Why are Brits yelling “fuck the police” and punching British police officers in the face over an incident that happened in a foreign land? It’s unfathomable. I understand the idea of solidarity, but this isn’t that, this is using a horrendous incident as an outlet for pent up rage and misdirecting it toward an authority figure, much like a toddler throwing a tantrum.
It’s saddening to hear that the rioters in the US have killed four black men during these protests. How’s that for solidarity and proving that Black Lives Matter? Surely not the appropriate way to memorialise the life of poor George Floyd, may God rest his soul.
The truth of the matter is these riotous thugs don’t care about George Floyd any more than they care about black lives. They just want a fight. You can see this by the way they conflate issues, with tweets like “We have a dictator because you didn’t vote for the woman”. That’s an Anti-Trump stance and a pro-feminazi stance. A typical woke statement, but not particularly pro BLM.
My good friend Dr Rakib Ehsan wrote in the Telegraph recently about how the incredibly divisive US culture war isn’t relevant to the UK. Here, “Black” isn’t used as an umbrella term with the same meaning as it has in the US. Black Caribbean and Black African people in the UK have very different lived experiences and tend to have entirely different political views. It’s insulting to group two very different demographics together based on skin colour. In fact, it could almost be considered racist.