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An actual headline (today’s, btw) from an actual British paper (@thetimes). I will spare you the full article except that in an attempt to explain the apparent moral degeneracy of black people, black mothers +black culture that has apparently led to a number of young black and brown kids being murdered in London, the author laments that “poverty and racial inequality” are “comfortable answers” and ultimately “PC rot”. He also kindly tells us that “it [I assume he means black culture] is a culture that needs to change, for the sake of the children”, before going on to talk about the “gangsta rap vids, posted on YouTube”. He concludes with this, to describe the life and death of 14 year old Jaden Moodie who was stabbed to death last week in London: “Born into utter hopelessness, with few prospects, because of a culture that another culture – the dominant, white, liberal culture – insists must not be gainsaid.” If that last paragraph does not piss you off then please just unfollow me now. It is ignoramuses like this who are given the opportunity to put pen to paper (or hand to computer) on a regular basis and shape public opinion with their paternalistic, know-it-all, intellectually lazy, logically unsound, uneducated gibberish; repeating the same stereotypical bullshit we have been hearing forever, and that has allowed westerners to justify their exploitation and degradation of people of colour for centuries. Can you imagine being a mother/family member of one of these deceased youngsters and having to read that? BTW- There are some people on this platform who have either questioned or even mocked why I talk about racial issues or stand so strongly against racism. Pls do not ask me again because I won’t smile at you politely like I did last time. If by now you refuse to see what I see, that’s just too bad. I stan for me and mine, even if no one else does. @thetimes hid this behind the paywall, I suppose not expecting certain people to be paid subscribers. but I still read UK publications even from here. And I have subscriptions where necessary. Yah, black people read too. when we aren’t watching gangsta rap vids on YouTube. #canracismdiethisyearplease
The wonderful instagram community @disruptivewoman – which features dynamic, pioneering women – was kind enough to feature me as one of their interviewees. The question they asked was “what problem in the world do you want to solve?”. What a great question! I had a lot to say on that one. See my answer is below:
I want to see an end of racism. Racism needs to be returned to the trashcan from where it came. I am a staunch anti-racist, and I despise racism as a concept, a phenomenon, a philosophy and a reality.
The need to judge, categorise and assign value to people based on the colour of their skin (which none of us are responsible for, nor can we do anything about) has caused – and continues to cause – untold problems in our world, as has the need to make racially-based determinations about whose culture is superior to another.
Racism is full of so many logical inaccuracies and fallacies that if we really sat down to unpick it intellectually, it would soon be exposed for the nonsense that it is.
Unfortunately, we don’t do that. We don’t unpick why racism is a false, and utterly flawed, ideology. We don’t unpick what makes it illogical and nonsensical. Instead, we talk about racism like it’s an issue solely of opinion or morality, when it really just comes down to an illogical, incorrect and ignorant understanding of humanity and the world.
For example, let’s think about this seriously… Is there a correlation between your eye colour and your behaviour? Or the colour of your hair and your intelligence? So, why should there be a correlation between the colour of someone’s skin and the level of their intelligence? Or their behaviour? Or the value of their humanity?
From the ages of 3 – 11, I went to a great co-ed, multicultural prep school in South East London. In that school, there were children of all ethnic backgrounds, hence kids of a variety of shades of skin. We all played happily together, we were friends (as much as children of a certain age can be friends!) and we studied alongside each other without problems.
My closest friends were English, Scottish, Irish, Ghanian/English, Indian, Japanese, Jamaican, and Nigerian. Some were Hindu, some Christian, some Muslim some of no religion. I grew up knowing that we were all just kids, all unique individuals with different personalities, all coming from families with different cultures and heritages. The differences in our skin tones were just due to where our families hailed from – the closer to the equator your family was, the darker your skin would be. Melanin is function of human biology function, designed to protect us from the sun. It’s that simple.
No child is born racist. Racism is learned, and it is taught. It is man-made. If you put a bunch of babies together and had them interact with each other in a non-racist environment, I am confident that they would not start hating each other on the basis of the colour of their skin.
The good thing is that since racism is created, taught and learned, we can also un-teach it, un-learn it, and create a world without it.
It wasn’t until I was about 12 that I really started to understand that there are people on this earth who think that having darker or lighter skin makes you a better or worse human being, and that that idea literally can be the difference between life and death.
I first went to South Africa in 1996, not long after the end of apartheid and then lived in South Africa in 2006. I have seen the ravages of apartheid, which saw black people subjugated and treated in such despicable and wicked ways on the basis of this mental illness which we call racism.
I went to the Apartheid Museum in Joburg, one of the most compelling and moving museums I’ve ever been to, and saw the long list of laws which had been put in place under apartheid to stop South Africans from participating fully in their own land. I was struck by the undertone of fear, insecurity and a need to dominate which underpinned those laws and that system.
I have also lived in America for a number of years, and similarly have seen the deep, deep damage that racism wreaks on individuals as well as to society as a whole.
I continue to see the stark differences in education, in the application of the law, in life expectancy, in healthcare, in how the police treat African Americans and in professional settings between those that the racist system has deemed worthy and those that it doesn’t.
I will never forget the murder of Stephen Lawrence in the UK, a man who would be 40 years old today if a bunch of racists had not cut his life short – simply because they did not like the way he looked. I remember thinking “wow, he was just on his way to school – something which I do every day – and he was killed because his skin was dark”. And then to see the police totally bungle the case, resulting in a total lack of justice for his murder, simply because THEY also believed that the colour of his skin meant something untoward… I mean, WTF?!
Racism has been used to justify the exploitation of millions of people around the world. It has been used to justify the pillaging of countries (see: the transatlantic slave trade/apartheid/the holocaust/colonialism/imperialism). And it continues to be used as a tool by self-serving people and politicians to justify their fears, insecurities, ill-treatment and bullying of others. That’s on a state and systematic level.
On a micro level, there is still everyday racism. The question is: why should my life, as a black woman, be inconvenienced because other people are unable to police their own imagination, or to challenge their own stereotypes and thinking? Why should I be asked to leave a bar because the waiter does not believe I deserve to be there (something which has actually happened to me?). Why should parents have to cry over children brutally murdered? Why should kids not be entitled to a quality education because they have darker skin? It’s ludicrous and it gets to the point where enough is enough, really.
Economically, racism has enriched much of the western world. The west would not be what it is today without racially-based exploitation. But – I often wonder how much richer the world would be if people were just allowed to fulfil their potential and self-actualize without such interference.
Racism is an evil, and an ill. It is a symptom of a very warped way of thinking, and I hope that we can eliminate not only its fruits, but its very roots as time goes on. Education is part of that. We have to start telling the truth in the world about history in its entirety.
We also have to teach people to ask questions and to think critically about things in front of them. To ask the why’s and the hows’, and not to jump to easy conclusions, nor to seek simple answers to complex issues.
Part of the problem is that, as well as having been legally segregated in some places, people self-segregate, and by doing so, don’t get an opportunity to even get to know people from other ethnic groups on any kind of friendly level. You can’t properly get to know groups of people from the news or from mass media – not when the majority of what the western media writes and shows about other countries, ethnicities and groups is mostly negative. People have to get out of their bubbles, but in a way that’s genuine and comes from a place of humanity. Don’t come to my church in Harlem and gawk at me. Talk to me, on a one-to-one level, as a person.
For people of colour, we have to do what we can. I believe in inspiring one another, and providing positive images, positive role models and stories for collective worth and esteem, and to show what we can and have done. We have done a LOT that we simply don’t get credit for.
We also should forge ahead without waiting for validation or acceptance from those who might not be interested in giving it to us. That’s one of the reason why I started @motherlandsmasterpiece – There is SO much good stuff being done and created by black people all over the world, but where do we go for that kind of news and information?
At the same time, I don’t believe in being ‘colour blind’ per se. My skin IS dark brown. And it’s gorgeous 🙂 I am very proud of my ethnic culture (Nigerian/Yoruba), my racial culture (“black”, “black British”), and I don’t want people not to recognize those things about me nor to pretend that they don’t matter. I just am not interested in negative stereotypes / discrimination/prejudices about those things because there’s just so much more to it than that.
I believe that we are all created with potential, and my fundamental desire for all humans is that we get to enjoy and fulfil our potential without unnecessary restrictions or constraints. Racism is a man-made constraint against the fullness of humanity – and for that reason, it must GO! Aluta continua! 👊🏾
This is bad, bad, bad news for America.
In addition to upholding this Muslim ban, this court has also a) upheld racial gerrymandering in Texas and North Carolina (where voting boundaries are re-drawn, effectively making votes of minority voters less important) and b) upheld voter purging in Ohio allowing them to remove the names of people who haven’t voted for the past 2 years which is simply a form of voter suppression which tends to affect lower income and minorities more than any other group due to people moving more. In the past, in one county in Cincinatti, 10% of eligible African American voters were purged from the voter list!
This is all designed to disenfranchise brown and black people while at the same time promoting racist theories and ideas about which people are deemed to be dangerous and unworthy (ie Muslims), not to mention essentially trying to rig forthcoming elections.
It’s really very sad to see politics and the law being used in this way, taking the country back to a place that many millions fought for a long time to move on from. This is an endorsement of prejudice. It’s a thumbs up to discrimination. This is a BIG deal.
The culture war is in full effect, the corruption is real, and I genuinely shudder to think how much this ruling will embolden Trump and his ilk. Trump thrives on stuff like this.
I don’t really have words for this today, apart from that it’s just a damn shame and I actually literally feel quite sick about it. 😬😬😬
At times it can be hard to believe there’s light at the end of this Trump tunnel. Innocent children are being ripped away from their families, placed in detention centres and cages – yes, cages – like animals. There’s no regard to their well being and even worse, we don’t know how or if they will be reunited with their families. Just how much lower can this administration go?
So how to feel about all of this? It’s disturbing for sure. Maybe I’m being naïve when I say this but I believe that this is a period America must go through in order to get to a better place. It would be nice if it could become a culturally progressive nation in a matter of years, but anyone who has tried to change their lives just on a personal level knows that not only is change is hard, but it can sometimes be painful, even temporarily destructive.
So, in the context of a nation with a deep, long, and often nasty history, change is going to take longer than we want. We’re going to have to fight harder for longer against the shadow aspects of America’s psyche.
I feel for every person and every family that has had to bear the brunt of this immoral administration thus far. I hope that every child will be reunited with their parents, with minimal psychological trauma and damage. I applaud every single person involved in doing the right thing at whatever level. I wish I could do more.
What I will keep doing is keeping the faith, while facing facts. This shouldn’t be happening — but it is. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it always will. The reality is that many things – including demographics – are not on Trump and his people’s side. If demographics are destiny, they have already lost the culture/race war they are trying to fight, and at this point are trying to inflict maximum suffering in an attempt to claw their way back to a past that’s gone. It’s very sad to see, especially when decent and innocent people are getting caught in this attempt at a power grab. They don’t want us to think that way though. They want us to be overcome with fear, to be intimidated and to give up.
That’s why we must keep the bigger picture in mind and keep on doing whatever we can towards a better, brighter, more humane future, until these mofos and their backwards views are well and truly gone.
Stay strong. The fight goes on. ✊🏾
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#Repost @marlonhill Tune in tomorrow Saturday 10am for #amjoyshow on @msnbc to discuss the State of #Immigration discourse in America w/ a learned commentary panel @lolaadesioye 🇳🇬 🇬🇧, Jennifer Mendelsohn and yours truly 🇯🇲 🇺🇸 Who comes? Who stays? Who goes? Why and why not? #familyimmigration #meritbasedimmigration #DACA #Dreamers