Some black lives matter more than others

Black Lives Matter misses the point—we should highlight the progress we have made, not split society and trap ourselves in victimhood

Standpoint Magazine

Anyone still campaigning under the banner of Black Lives Matter must surely subscribe to the neo-Marxist ideals being put forward in its name. The mask has long since slipped and there has been plenty of media coverage of BLM’s aims so no-one can now claim ignorance. If someone supports this movement or organisation—whatever you want to call it— we must also assume that they are on board with what it stands for.

And what does it stand for? It is clear from its published statements and manifestos that Black Lives Matter is anti-capitalist, anti-family and antisemitic. Among other demands, it has called for the closing of prisons and the defunding of the police and accused British politics of being “gagged of the right to critique Zionism”, a ludicrous claim which plays into absurd conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the media and political life. These are extreme positions that, paired with its violent activities, should see BLM labelled a domestic terrorist organisation. It is not some benign campaign simply seeking justice and racial equality. This is a group intent on destroying our way of life.

Interestingly, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” seems to come with caveats. Not all black lives matter to BLM as I found out recently when supporters attempted to “cancel” me following an appearance on Good Morning Britain.

Taking what I assumed to be a mainstream stance, I spoke about the divisive nature of BLM and its obsession with “othering” people and splitting society into us versus them, black versus white. I suggested that instead of trapping ourselves in a victimhood mentality, we should free ourselves and give each other permission to think differently and express different ideas.

I believe that we should highlight the progress we have made in race relations. There have undoubtedly been great strides forward. Of course, there remains work to be done but I can’t think of a better time or place in which to live as an ethnic minority. I believe 21st-century Britain is the most tolerant, inclusive and diverse nation in the world.

We should celebrate our successes. Life was tough for my paternal grandfather, who emigrated here as part of the Windrush generation, but a couple of generations later we have nearly eradicated racial inequalities. We all face challenges in life but I can honestly say that I don’t think my race has been a significant barrier to getting a job, joining a club or anything of the sort. Certainly, no more so than my class or upbringing.

Yes, there are still elements of racism in our society. I suspect there always will be but that does not make this a racist country. For instance, people with foreign-looking names on their CVs have a harder time getting to the interview stage when job hunting. Research by the University of Oxford suggests ethnic minorities have to make 60 per cent more job applications on average. Clearly that is not acceptable. But these issues are being addressed. “Blind CVs” and “blind hiring”—removing irrelevant personal information from the recruitment process to allow employers to make a hiring decision based on ability alone— have made a huge impact in this area. If the UK was a systemically or institutionally racist society, would we really be coming up with proactive solutions to these problems?

We’re not passive observers in our lives. Our actions help shape society. If we want to live in a country with equal opportunities for all, it is up to us to shape the country in that way.

The “oppression” narrative can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you tell someone that they’re oppressed, that they have all these barriers to overcome, that they’ll never make a success of their lives because they live in a racist society, the more likely they are to believe it.

We need to flip the narrative from negative back to positive. Instead of telling our young people that they’re downtrodden, why don’t we tell them how fortunate they are to live in a free country? Why can’t we emphasise how great it is to be a part of a tolerant, inclusive, diverse nation, in which they have every opportunity to make something of themselves. Let’s stop focusing on the colour of our skin and shift attention back onto our shared values and beliefs: democracy, rule of law, mutual respect, tolerance. These values aren’t exclusive to the UK, but they’re certainly not universal.

My views on these issues are quite moderate. I’m talking about more unity, less division. Inclusivity and equality as positive attributes to strive towards. However, when I shared these views on morning television I was lambasted by my fellow black and minority ethnic people on social media and in the tabloids.

I was a “coon”, “race traitor”, “Uncle Tom”, “house nigger”, “Bounty”, “coconut”. The racial abuse from people who claim to be anti-racists wasn’t surprising—what was interesting was the fact that they were proving my point about the divisiveness and toxicity of Critical Race Theory—the name of this ideology, born in US universities. They couldn’t appreciate the irony.

“Ish” was a new one, for me. The suggestion that I’m black-ish, not quite black. This is a great term for highlighting the fundamental problem with their understanding. It wasn’t just people from the hard left hurling abuse, it was ordinary, everyday black folks who consider their skin colour to be the core element of their identity. It was people who have been unwittingly manipulated by a neo-Marxist regime. By identifying as black first and foremost, before their nationality or religion, these people are redefining skin tone as a personality trait. The idea that “blackness” and “whiteness” are anything more than melanin count, the idea that they indicate personalised characteristics is bizarre and should be considered insulting.

For example, the American academic Robin DiAngelo argues in her awful book White Fragility that time itself may be racist, and that clock time is a construct of “whiteness”. The problem with looking at the world in this way, however progressive one thinks one is being, is that it is actually incredibly patronising. By suggesting that timekeeping is a sign of whiteness, DiAngelo is implying that black people either cannot tell the time, or cannot be expected to be punctual.

One of the insults hurled at me was the suggestion that I am experiencing “temporary white privilege”. Because my views are not in line with the approved narrative—not acceptable to the hivemind “BAME community”—I am obviously experiencing a moment of “whiteness”. This attempt to split views and opinions into white or black is ridiculous. It is a form of oppressive control. Some on the left seem to genuinely believe they own the thoughts and opinions of minorities. Anyone with a right-of-centre opinion is fair game. The irony is that my father’s side of the family moved to the UK from the Caribbean, a part of the world where small-“c” conservative views are the norm. It would be interesting to see how some of these hard-left extremists would fare in Jamaica if they try to claim there that by being black you must think a certain way or vote for a particular party, especially one on the left. Jamaica’s conservative party (oddly named the Labour Party) won 76 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the general election this year and has been in power for a majority of the time since independence.

When comedian Sophie Duker appeared on television recently and declared capitalism to be a form of white oppression, her view was left completely unchallenged. Intolerance and racism is accepted if it’s from the hard left or an ethnic minority. In his book The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray suggests we are going through an “overcorrection” in racial politics. There’s a consensus among some ethnic minority communities that the answer to historic racial inequality is to simply reverse the balance. But you don’t fix inequality by implementing further inequalities of a different kind. Surely, we should all be fighting for equal opportunities for everyone. Either racism is wrong or it isn’t. We can’t continue to overlook racism so long as it’s coming from a person of ethnic minority status. It’s not a kindness to treat people differently based on the colour of their skin. Even if we think we are addressing a past wrong.

Where does this idea of homogenous thinking and vote-ownership come from? It has been imported from America. A country where the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden can declare during a television interview that, if you don’t vote for him, “you ain’t black”. Forget for a moment how patronising that is, it is quite clearly a form of control. By design, socialism thrives on people being dependent upon others and that is what we’re seeing here. Parties of the left have a vested interest in ensuring black and minority ethnic people subscribe to a group-think mentality. So long as black people are keeping each other in check and ensuring they all think and vote the same way, the Democrats and Labour have a shot at power.

The parties of the right, however, believe in individualism and freedom of expression, seeing the person, not their colour. The Conservatives and Republicans alike, will tend to see the individual as a potential vote, rather than assume a block vote based on the colour of their skin. That’s something to be encouraged, but also something that needs highlighting more. It was the Republicans that ended slavery through emancipation, not the Democrats. It was the Conservatives that brought in the British Nationality Act, which ensured all Commonwealth citizens had the right to vote, regardless of race or creed.

One of the best things about living in this great nation is the fact that we are all individuals, yet we all belong. We’re all subjects of Her Majesty—there is a beautiful equality in that. We must be very wary of any political party that pushes identity politics, and focuses on our immutable characteristics as defining factors of our personalities. These are dangerous political games that stifle freedom. Instead, let us remind our politicians that the colour of our skin does not define us—neither the way we think, nor the way we vote. 

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