By John Smith • 19 June 2020 • 10:41
An early BLM protest in St. Paul, Minnesota
Credit: Fibonacci Blue CC
I HAVE no idea where to start in responding to Leapy Lee’s article
Where do you pull this idea that BLM has created racial divisions from? You mean that it’s provoking white people to feel personally attacked and hostile? Don’t people always feel defensive when they’re called out or called to action? Let alone more division than “any other movement in living memory”.
A smidgen of evidence to back up your feeling would be nice. Sure, it’s causing arguments in families etc, just like Brexit did. Politically polarising topics of all stripes do this. Polls show Britons largely support the movement. Confused as to how you get from that to “racism is now rife”. Are you talking about some kind of reverse racism or about racist white people now feeling empowered to complain about black people who are making a fuss?
Because I can’t fathom that white people “without a racist bone in their body” could suddenly become racists due to what’s been going on. Non-racist white people support and approve of racial equality and peaceful protest even when they disagree with rioting or feel that to do it in a pandemic is dangerous and irresponsible. Including my own conservative parent. But racists being created out of thin air? Nah.
Nobody is presenting George Floyd as an example of black “culture”. He is presented as an example of a victim of systemic racism. Guess what? You don’t have to be a perfect person in order to be a victim or for your suffering to be legitimate. In fact, I’d argue that the very fact that he wasn’t a perfect person is a good thing- the last thing we all need is to be subtly representing that only black people who are middle class model citizens deserve to not be discriminated against for their race. And FYI he was convicted of theft and not of armed robbery. “Thug” has an awful lot of racist undertones.
Non racist white people should have “sympathy and support” for the cause of racial equality because it’s the right thing to do. Not because the racism happens to black people you deem acceptable.
As for what they want in the UK, there’s plenty. Not only are black people more likely than white people to be convicted of crimes and receive longer sentences than white people after controlling for all other factors (class, income etc), but the entire reason why we have affirmative action for opportunities for racial minorities, as well as disabled and trans individuals, is because of very well documented racial biases tending to exclude them from employment and promotion.
There have been so many studies. Even having a non-white sounding name on a CV biases employers and recruiters in offering interviews. Again, studied and documented. The reason they are highlighted for opportunity is to counteract racial discrimination which already exists. There is so much evidence I don’t know where to start with it. To call it some kind of reverse racism is absurd to the point of wilful ignorance.
And stop and search? You claim black men have a higher likelihood of being criminals, so stop and search (racial profiling) makes sense. You know why they have a higher likelihood of having criminal convictions? Literally because of stop and search in the first place. Not to mention those lovely studies they’ve done demonstrating how much more likely they are to be actually convicted of a crime than a white person in the exact same situation, and to receive prison sentences, and longer sentences. Have you ever even considered that any racial lean towards black people committing crimes which could still exist if you managed to get rid of all these biases and profiling, could be related to all that evidence of racial bias in hiring practices?
Not to mention the wealth of academic studies on bias in schools plus poverty at home resulting in black children, especially boys, having lower achievement. Systemic racism and disadvantage strips away people’s futures. That’s why BLM march in the UK.
And the statues; oh boy. They may not be exhibited to glorify slavery, but they represent it nonetheless. Michael Jackson was a paedophile- sure you can still enjoy his music, but it would be pretty off-taste to erect a memorial next to a primary school. It’s not about eroding British culture, it’s about working towards a better culture where all British people can feel safe, comfortable and valued. Britain is multicultural now, has been for longer than people want to admit seeing as the presence of racial minorities was swept under the rug for decades, that’s just the way it is and complaining about it is not a good look. You talk about British culture… Nobody is going to take away your right to eat Yorkshire puddings and drink too much tea. What are you even worried about? What staples of our culture do you think are seriously going to be snatched away?
Change is not a threat. You find it uncomfortable to hear other languages spoken around you? What is it that is actually putting you on edge? If you fear that a society without systemic disadvantage and hostility towards minorities is going to be one without free speech, I hate to inform you that our “free speech” laws here do not cover hate speech. In any case, it seems to be you demanding that minorities shut up and sit down. Luckily, I imagine that you’ll always be free (legally) to be rude about minorities and write this sort of bilge. Just don’t expect to be given a platform for it.
The “unbiased and democratic way of life our ancestors fought and died for” is only now beginning to hopefully come to fruition. Because we are a far cry from a racially unbiased society. And it’s been minorities all along who have been the pioneers for an unbiased and democratic society. Your democratic ancestors, you reckon? The democratic right to vote wasn’t kindly bestowed by a few virtuous white people. It was fought for. Equality continues to be fought for. These are the people who deserve statues and to be remembered.
You’re clearly feeling quite paranoid and threatened by change. Minorities aren’t coming for you. They’re not taking your culture or your freedom like your ancestors deprived theirs of. They’re people. This is their home.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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