What Black History Month Means To Me

October is Black History Month in the UK and what better year to celebrate this than 2020. The past events of 2020 has shone a light on racism in the US, UK and other parts of the western world including China re its reactions to black people living in China during Covid19.

From the police murder of Gorge Floyd and his last haunting words, “I can’t breathe”, to the white supremacists lynching of Ahmaud Arbery while peacefully jogging on the streets, the brutal murder of Breonna Taylor while sleeping in her own bed, the disproportionate police stop and search of black people during covid19 lockdown in UK to the many Black Lives Matter protests worldwide, 2020 has indeed been that strange year of strange happenings and reckonings too.

It is not unusual for people to ask why we need black history month. My answer is, 11 months of the year is white history month, it is the default history. It is what is taught in our schools every day. White history is the creed and the tenets we are urged to learn and live by every single day of the year. Surely, it is not too much to set aside I month of the year to shine light on the history of black members of our society. It is white history month all year round, just as it is heterosexual history month all year round. I’m definitely happy to officially be able to grab the headlines with my struggles, achievements and celebrations of my whole self at least one month a year. Black History matters too.

Some have argued that celebrating Black History month further divides rather than includes. I’d say the spirit of inclusion would be fostered by the knowledge we stand to gain through engaging in Black History Month. It’s a month we make that extra conscious effort to learn, share experiences and ask questions such as – What are these hidden contributions of black people to world history? Why are Black people so ill-treated? Is Windrush scandal a reflection of disregard of Caribbean people’s contributions to British History? Who are these unsung black inventors, heroes and heroines? What does equality really look like? Why are there so many complaints because Tesco featured a black woman in its advert? Why should Black Lives Matter?

For me, Black History month is a great time to reconnect with my root as a black person, to feel the pain and the triumphs of my people amidst all the racial struggles in this white privileged society I live in.

It is so sad that Black history is not taught in British schools; history, they say, are written by victors and of course, they write it in their own favour. Colonialism and the appalling, inhuman act of 400 years of Trans-Atlantic slave trade set black people back 400 years. Cultures were lost, so many native languages wiped out and people forced to assimilate into a new culture that was deemed ‘superior and civilised’, yet, artefacts looted from my so called ‘uncivilised’ black ancestors adorn the British museum galleries. I hope and wait with bated breath that one day, these artworks that are testaments to the great empires of my black ancestors will be returned to their ancestral lands and be reunited with the descendants of their makers. Black history needs to be taught in all schools at all level. Black children need to know they have black heroes and heroines they can be proud of.

Black history is not just about Slavery. They tell us slaves were taken from Africa. This is not true. PEOPLE were taken from Africa. These people were made into slaves in foreign lands to build the wealth of empires and white slave owners. A stupendous wealth of which descendants of these slave owners still reap from today. The consequences for the descendants of African people that were taken and made into slaves include Racism, low income due to redlining and segregation, economic disparity, police brutality, disproportionate arrests and a loss of identity for many African Americans whose ancestors were displaced. Imagine never being able to trace your root and not knowing the language your ancestors spoke.

So many atrocities have been committed just because one race believed (some still believe) that they are superior to other races. White people need to acknowledge the wrong done when they engaged in trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonisation. Honest discussion about racism, its impact and acknowledging how deep-rooted it is, will pave the way for change.

My heart breaks for every Black/Brown child who has been told that their skin colour is ugly and inferior. We are taught that Black is evil. It is an appalling society that created these divisions and discrimination, and are in one way or the other, still upholding these racist beliefs and systemic /institutionalised racist structures.

The famous Educator and strong white ally, Jane Elliot, conducted an interesting experiment with school children based on eye colour. Pls, google it, everyone should watch it and read about it.

As black children we are told we are not good enough, as adults we face same discrimination at workplaces. They tell us our accent is not good enough, our faces do not fit in leadership positions, we are systematically denied promotions etc. Black History Month affords the opportunity to change the narrative. To remind our black children that they are beautiful just the way they are. To celebrate all that is black in them and about them.

It makes no sense to determine that one person is superior to the other based on their skin colour, yet that is what racism did, what slavery did, what colonialism did. Unfortunately, this is what some still seek to uphold.

Everyone is entitled to human rights and dignity of person regardless of race, skin colour, sex, gender identity, geographical location etc. Human right is an inalienable right; it is not something you give to someone out of the benevolence of your heart. It is sad that we still need to demand, scream, protest for our human rights, in this day and age. White-supremacy or racism of any sort does not belong in any civilised society. A society that thrives on racism does not deserves to be called modern or civilised. We can do better; we must do better.

As a white person, please educate yourself about how deep rooted racism really is and how the system is built to uphold racism. Stop being so defensive when we mention racism. Listen, Learn and Act. Only then can we truly begin to dismantle racism. Listening is great for understanding, Action is important for accountability. I look forward to a better understanding and accountability on racial issues.

Silence is compliance. It is not enough to just not be racist, you need to be anti-racist for progress to be made. It is not enough for white people to say they are not racist; they need to be vocally anti-racist. Every ally, every support, every voice counts.

As Black people, we need to decolonise our history and tell our stories.

To me, Black history month is

My history. My reality.

My Pain. My celebration.

My story to tell.

Your sins, awaiting atonement.

Your conscience, a lifetime to cleanse.

As we celebrate Black History Month in UK –

Think Equality,

Think Freedom.

Think Justice For All.

Stand up to Racism.

Stand up for Black Lives Matter.

It is the logical thing to do. Do not allow racists and xenophobes divide us. There is strength in diversity, together we are stronger. A better world is possible; be part of the solution, not the problem.

 

Time to get uncomfortable; Let’s talk about Racism

It is no news that white colleagues often feel uncomfortable when Black/Brown colleagues talk about racism. They fidget, try to change the subject, subtlety excuse themselves and some see it as a cue to tell us that their best friend is black. What is it about discussing racism that makes white people uncomfortable? Whatever it is, it is time to address this discomfort.

The conversation is a difficult one to have but it must be had. It is a privilege to be able to ignore racism, as a black person, I do not have this luxury. Racism has its ugly knee on my neck, even when I scream “I can’t breathe”, I am told to be silent. The people who benefits from the system which emboldens the perpetrators are the ones quick to say they are uncomfortable, you’d think they are the oppressed with the knee on their necks!

Denial of racism is itself a racist act.  When as a white person, you become annoyed whenever we speak about racism, you are being dismissive of our reality. When you say to us, “but we are nice to you, why do you keep talking about racism”, you need to understand that trying to silence us is an act of microaggression. You might be ‘nice’ to us, you can try to convince us how much you don’t see colour (which itself is problematic), however, we live in a world where we are exposed to some treatments and realities you are protected from because of your race.

Please, understand that this is not about making you feel guilty for being white. It is not necessarily about you; we are not after your guilt. We are opening your eyes to our experiences which you might not be aware of because it does not affect you. It is about creating awareness and demanding change. Look at it as an opportunity to learn and to take an active stance against racism by committing yourself to being a white ally. We want to build a better society and we want you to do your part to make this happen. So, no, we don’t need or want your guilt, we want you to be anti-racist.

Silence is compliance. We live in a society where the voice of a white person is deemed more important and more valued than the voice of someone from a BAME community. White people listen better to other white people on racism than they would black people who actually experience racism every day. This is sad but it is our reality. Therefore, it is important for our white allies to keep educating themselves so they can educate other white people.

Racism hurts and the micro aggression directed towards us in the workplace because of our skin colour, accent, hair and everything that makes us different is extremely sad and painful. As Black/Brown children we are told we are not good enough, as adults we face same discrimination at work, our accent is not good enough, our faces do not fit leadership positions, we are systematically denied promotions etc.

I always say microaggression is one of the worst type of racism out there as it is so easy for the perpetrators to flippantly dismiss it as “it was just a joke” or “You are too sensitive”. As women, society expects us to take small space, as black women, we are even expected to take less space and be “less loud” and “less aggressive”. It is a challenge to be our true self in the workplace especially when our true self is not valued. As a black/Brown person, when we enter a room or try to contribute at a meeting, people assume because of our skin colour and accent, we are less educated and just there as the token BAME to fill the inclusion seat.

I listened to a talk given by a colleague on micro-aggressions where he shared some of the heart-breaking racist experiences he had been subjected to in the workplace.  As a black man with an ‘African’ accent, he was not believed when he mentioned on the phone that he worked for the department. He was advised by his manager to go with a white colleague to verify his identity. He needed a white colleague to verify to another white person that he is legit. This started me thinking about ‘borrowed whiteness’ (for lack of a better term).

Are you aware that as Blacks, we sometimes attempt to ‘borrow’ white privilege from our white friends, spouses, partners? A white colleague mentioned that his Asian partner would hold his hand at airports to borrow his whiteness for protection. It is a scenario I understand very well.

One of my earliest experiences of borrowing whiteness was when I travelled the world as a trade union organiser. When travelling with white colleagues, I was always the only black person in the group. I made sure to stay close to my white comrades, to be associated with them, so I would be looked at less suspiciously. This gave me some sort of protection from being immediately classified as a criminal. I borrowed/hid under their whiteness to be protected from racist gaze and scrutiny, a white privilege they did not even know they possessed because they had never had to consider it.

It is heart-breaking that we need to be associated with the skin of another to afford us protection/validation because our skin colour is considered not good enough. Even at a crime scene, our words are not good enough unless a white person corroborates us. The witness evidence of a single white guy in a crime scene carries more weight than the witness evidence of three black guys at the same crime scene. Ask mothers who have been at the brink of losing their black sons to crimes they did not commit only to be saved at the last minute when a white witness turns up and corroborates what the black witnesses have been saying all along.  This is degrading and dehumanising, this is how systemic racism works.

There are reasons black people do not trust the police, every black person knows a family member or BAME friend who has been a victim of police brutality. There is undisputable evidence that Police use their Stop and Search powers to disproportionately target Blacks. During Covid19 lockdown, 22,000 young black men were stopped and searched in London. We are stereotyped as prone to committing criminal activities, we are deemed guilty before proven innocent, our skin colour used as the damning evidence of our guilt. Even the healthcare system is not immune to this racism. Blacks were used as guinea pigs in medical trials, most times in inhumane conditions, and are still used as guinea pigs to this day. Just a few months ago two French doctors made racists remarks on TV that Coronavirus vaccines should first be tested in Africa. My very first encounter with a GP in UK was steeped in racism and it almost proved fatal. However, that is a story for another day.

Discrimination really hurts. It is painful to be looked at differently with suspicion in a park, supermarkets or departmental store when all you want to do is buy a bottle of perfume. Remember what happened to Leona Lewis and her father? Even as an international superstar, she still experienced racism in a store. Her black skin did not fit the clientele. Her black skin was viewed as criminal, as suspicious, as inferior. I can tell you that Blacks have same experience every day as Leona Lewis and her father.

My sister who recently started an event planning company has become weary when speaking to white customers on the phone. She told me about a recent case where she had been communicating with a white woman via emails and had almost sealed the deal. However, when it was time to complete the transactions on the phone and exchange bank details, the woman was surprised that my sister was Black and asked where she was from. The woman then said she will get back in touch and that was the last she heard from her. Unfortunately, that was just one of such cases since she started her business. She has now put up a beautiful picture of herself on her website dressed in resplendent Nigerian attire. This way, she avoids the hurt that comes with being rejected to your face or deemed not good enough because of your race.

White colleagues, you should take time to reflect on why you are uncomfortable when we bring up racism. Listen, learn and empathise because if you do not put yourself in our shoes you might not understand the pains of Black people whose ancestors were subjected to the worst kind of man’s inhumanity to man and whose descendants are still being treated as less than human by individuals, police and the system.

Some of the things we read on social media make us wonder where our colleagues stand on Racism Some of us, both black and white, lost friends when we voiced our support for Black Lives Matter. Don’t be afraid to take a stance against racism even if you lose childhood friends. Take solace in the fact that your friends’ group is now less racist. Who wants to be friends with racists anyway. You wouldn’t want to be friends with paedophiles even if they were childhood friends, so why make excuses for racists friends who refuse to learn and are easily offended when we challenge racism?

It is sad that we work and live in a society where speaking out about oppression in our workplace is considered a brave thing to do. The fear of repercussion is real, the ostracism that comes with challenging our oppression is a price too high for some of us to pay.  How did we come to this?  Not today; it is centuries of oppressing and silencing black people. I understand just how tempting it is for us as BAME to hide away and not challenge perpetrators. However, in doing so, we gradually lose our voice and wither away.

It is time to have honest conversations no matter how uncomfortable some might find it. White colleagues need to remember that their discomfort is nothing compared to the daily experiences of their black colleagues who live with racism every day. We must hold racists accountable for their actions. We need more than placating words, we demand action.

A society where racism is still rife has no business referring to itself as a modern society. No one is born hating another for the colour of their skin, society taught this hate, society promotes this hate, it is time for us to collectively act to break the chain of this injustice. It is time to be vocally anti-racist. Time to stand up for true change and help build a better, fair and just society where no one is treated as inferior to the other or denied opportunities because of their race or accent.

Finally, pls, understand that Black Lives Matter is not about White vs Black, it is Racism Vs Anti-racist. Where do you stand?

 

Black Lives Matter Protest Chelmsford

It was a surprise when I was contacted  on LinkedIn to speak at a Black Lives Mattter protest in my local area, Chelmsford, Essex.

It was a very pleasant surprise because Chelmsford is not exactly known for its Liberal views. It is a conservative city with a white majority and very low black population density. I moved there from London almost 3 years ago and the contrast was shocking even though it is just a 35 minures train ride from Chelmsford to London.

I happily accepted to speak and offered to help the young organisers with the protest. I was sceptical that people might not turn up. I’ve never been so happy to be proved wrong!

The rally was held on Saturday 13 June, 2020 at Central park for speeches followed by a march through the Central areas to Oaklands Park where protesters took a knee for George Floyd.

RMC Event Photography

Chelmsford, thank you for turning out in large numbers to support Black Lives Mattter protest. Special shout out to the young organisers Black Lives Matter – Chelmsford and the young people who attended and marched with passion. It shows there is hope for humanity, the younger generation will do better.

Here is the video of my speech at the protest. #BlackLivesMatter.

Pictures from the event. Some from my camera, some from RMC Event Photography

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    RMC Event Photography

Your black colleagues are most probably not okay right now

As a migrant black woman living in UK, the events of the past few weeks have left me emotionally drained and mentally exhausted and I can say this is true for my family, my black friends and black colleagues. Many of us are traumatised. Black people all over are distraught by these events, and this includes your black colleagues.

These past few days and weeks, we have seen a black man, George Floyd, being choked to death on camera by a white cop, the very people who are supposed to serve and protect the community. The words “I can’t breathe” send shivers down our spines. It sounds eerily familiar. It is a haunting cry for help and now a rallying cry for justice.

I remember spending the weekend watching videos of white people just being cruel, abusive and derogatory towards black people for no other reason than the colour of their skin.

We were still reeling from the shock of the daylight murder of Ahmaud Arbery who was peacefully jogging on the street when a white man and his son hunted him down and fired shots at him like a wild animal, they killed him and waited by his dead body until the police came. And guess what, the police did not think they had done anything wrong, they went home to celebrate getting rid of another black person in their neighbourhood. It was not until the video of the murder emerged on social media several weeks after that the killers were finally arrested following public outcry.

Just a few weeks ago, Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was shot dead in her own bed by police as she slept. Turned out the police were in the wrong house, the suspect they were looking for was already in police custody. Let that sink in. As a black person, even sleeping peacefully in your own home could still get you murdered by cops.

I have seen video of a white woman calling the cops on a black man in a park while making false allegations against the man. She made sure to emphasise on the phone that the person threatening her life was a black African American. We know what happens when they call cops on black people.

I have watched a white man call the cops on young black men at a residential gym just because they don’t look like they belong there, their skin colours did not fit in the neighbourhood, never mind that they were also renters in the property.

I have watched the video of a white woman call cops on a black woman in the park while making false accusations about her. The sense of entitlement to police black bodies was very evident there.

And let’s not forget the teenager, Trayvon Martin who was murdered on the street by a white vigilante, the boy only had skittles in his pocket. The white man who murdered him said he looked like a demon. His black skin to this racist screamed “Demon”, his black skin screamed “Thug”.

I shed tears when I read the account of Steve Locke, a black professor, who was stopped and searched by cops on the street and treated like a criminal. He was not believed when he said he works at the university few blocks away and just came out to get lunch. They said he looked like a suspect, during the ordeal, he feared for his life, as he should.

All these victims were killed, attacked, dehumanised for one major reason, the colour of their skin. As a black woman, I know any of the victims could have been me. It could have been my son. It could have been my family members, black friends, black colleagues.

I remember walking into the office after a heavy weekend of sadness and anger, thinking, I have to leave that part behind and let it be business as usual in the office. Put on a smile and tell people you had a good weekend because that is what we have learned to do.

However, how do you compartmentalise such pain? It is not as if you can leave your skin colour behind and put on a brand-new identity at work. These issues follow us everywhere; we as black people have just learned over time not to bring that to our workplace especially when it is a white majority workplace. We stand the risk of being labelled the “sensitive aggressive black person” and be told to “get over it”.

Racism kills. It kills us physically. It kills us mentally. It dehumanises our existence. It thrashes our dignity and humanity.

Imagine you were going to work and came across a fatal accident, as a human being, you feel sad. Also, you feel thankful that it wasn’t you or a family member. Now, imagine that the fatal accident was simply due to the colour of the skin of the victim, as a white person, you think, that is sad, you might even think that is bad but you go about your normal duties. However, imagine your black colleagues came across same fatal accident scenario. They feel sad but that is not all, they feel traumatised, devastated and angry. They know the victim could have been them, their black son, black partner, their children, their father, mother, sister, black friends, all because it is targeted at people that look like them. See, we do not feel these racially motivated killings the same way. We know it could definitely be us next. It hits too close to home for black people.

Some might say “but these horrible things only happen in the USA, we are better here in UK”. No, we are not. Most importantly, it is not enough to simply be less racist; the goal is not to be racist at all. We see the way black people are disproportionately stopped and searched on the streets by cops, how black people are disproportionately arrested, how black people die in police custody. We see how black people are portrayed in the media.

In London, Sean Rigg died in police custody in exact same condition as George Floyd. Racism, Racial profiling and police brutality are contributing factors in the deaths of Joy Gardiner, Leon Briggs, Christopher Adler, Rashan Charles, Olaseni Lewis, Stephen Lawrence, Mark Duggan, Dalian Atkinson, Sheku bayoh etc.

As a black person in UK, I have been shouted at in my local shops and on the street to go back home especially following Brexit. I know what it feels like to walk into a store or venue and immediately be made to feel you do not belong there. We have lived this experience; we are living this racist nightmare.

It does not matter whether it is in USA, UK, Germany or China, the ordeal is real and painful. To be judged everyday solely on your skin colour is traumatising. To be deprived of your humanity, dignity, rights and respect because of your race is devastating, infuriating and sad. Being black should not be a death sentence.

To our white colleagues, please know that your black colleagues are not okay right now, acknowledge their pain. Reach out to them, speak out. We have all being watching the news and reading the newspapers, there is no need to pretend we do not know these things are happening. Silence is not the best policy in this case. If we truly want people to be themselves at work, it is important to acknowledge who they are, their total package.

We say Inclusion is not just being invited to a party but also being asked to dance. However, it is not always about the dancing, it is also about sharing the pain. Right now, it does not feel like we live in the same world. I step out from my world and walk into another world every morning I go to work. Yet, I carry with me the trauma, unrecognised, unacknowledged by people who tell me I can be me in my workplace. They tell me that they are serious about Diversity and Inclusion, yet I sit in my corner of the office feeling very isolated in these unfolding global events. How do we feel included when our struggles are not acknowledged or when we are cautious about raising the issues because it could make our white colleagues uncomfortable? Some of us are even afraid to bring up the topic at work for fear of being accused of stirring the pot.

The question is, how can you as a white person be a good ally to your black colleagues?

First you need to sincerely Ask them how they are feeling.

Listen to them, don’t talk over them.

No, it is not the time to tell them you are not racist because you have a black friend or you married a black person. You can do all these and still be very racist.

Educate yourself about race issues. Read about white privilege, structural racism and understand that you as a white person benefits from institutional racism. Pls, do not expect your black colleagues to educate you on racism. We talk enough about this already, it is emotionally draining. We have the talk with our black children, we have the uncomfortable but necessary talk with our black sons to keep them safe. We talk about this on social media, it is exhausting.

Donate to Black Lives Matters groups. Donate to organisations that are committed to combating racism.

Talk about racism with your family and friends. Develop your understanding of the struggles of black people and aim to do better.

Please, do not say you are Colour blind. We live in a world that sees colour. If you do not see my colour, you will not see my struggle. Saying you do not see colour is a cop out. You need to understand that racism is not just an individual thing, it is embedded in the very fabric of our society. We need to do more than sing Kumbaya to disintegrate racism.

It is not enough to be quietly non racist; this is the time to be vocally anti-racist. This is not the time to be silent, this is the time to reach out to your black colleagues and inquire about their wellbeing. Show that you care. Show that they matter.

When we say Black lives matter, pls, do not counter this with All lives matter. Understand that we wouldn’t be saying black lives matter if all lives already matter. White lives have always mattered; we are calling for black lives to matter just as much. As we have been trying to explain to the All Lives matter brigade, if one house was on fire, you wouldn’t insist that the fire fighters spray all the houses on the street, because all houses matter. Your house is not on fire, let’s spray the one on fire. Also, when we raise funds for cancer research, we do not scream All diseases matter. Why do some people think Black Lives matter is a dirty word? If you are one of these who immediately say All Lives matter, you need to take a very deep look at yourself and ask yourself why you are unable to just say Black lives matter. Check your white privilege.

We need to have honest conversations. We should be part of dismantling racism. Let’s do our part. Racism is not going to go away overnight. However, we can chip away at it by doing our part. This can be our legacy when finally, our grandchildren and great grandchildren are truly free from the evils of racism. A better world is possible, it starts with you and me.

The Deafening Silence of White Privilege

What happened at this conference in the name of entertainment is outrageous, demeaning and reeks of blind white privilege. Unfortunately, some white people never seem to understand that racism is not entertainment. Racism is not Art. Racism is not something you intellectualised or play devil’s advocate with. Re-enacting a slave auction is certainly not something you entertain your mostly white audience with. The oppression of my ancestors is not your entertainment. When I read what happened at this conference in this article, I could not help but fume with anger, and to think there were people defending such appalling behaviour on twitter. You need to read the article to understand why the anger.

A quote from the article that resonates with me –

Slavery is considered an egregious human rights violation, alongside torture. The prohibition of both constitute the only two absolute, fundamental human rights which can never be justified or derogated from. Both can amount to crimes against humanity. This is for a reason. The gravity, horror and the harm of slavery, and its continued legacy, is important to understand–not intellectualised, minimised, sanitised, denied or dismissed as ‘that was in the past’ or ‘nothing to do with us’. The oppressive weight of Whiteness lives on, and its manifestations in individual, institutional, overt and covert, indirect racism are all around us, in us and in our practices. Racism and complicity in racism are always wrong. Racism is brutal. Racism is always an assault. Never entertainment.

It is also sad that most white people who consider themselves as not racist or ‘woke’ just sometimes get it so wrong. Also, it is important to bear in mind that fighting racism is not the sole responsibility of people of colour.

This reaction below was the response of a rather well-meaning white friend when I posted this article on my Facebook page

This is not the time for decorum anymore. Instead of walking out and issuing a statement the next day, why on earth didn’t those who object not stop the auction, physically, and denounce the audience for its passive acceptance of such an outrage? I’m fed up with objecting from the side-lines. If necessary, trash the place by throwing the chairs around. Get in their faces and dominate. It works.

While I was finding the right words to respond to such short-sighted statement from an online friend, another friend chimed in with her well thought out response.

I imagine that people walked out because they felt vulnerable and traumatised. I imagine that a direct response such as the one you describe did not feel available precisely because of the power dynamics and context described in the article. It would have been an option for the members of the majority white audience to take that action. Apparently they chose not to, or didn’t see the need. As white people, it’s on us to challenge racism because we have the privilege to do that. To leave it to those being oppressed to challenge that oppression by themselves is profoundly unfair because they are already vulnerable and traumatised. That’s my understanding anyway.

His response-

I see it in a somewhat different way. Sure some people will feel vulnerable and just want to get out of there. That’s understandable. However if you want to change things then you have to have the courage to challenge other people there and then, that reaction gives leadership so that other people will join you. This particular event is typical of what happens daily in many different forms. It must be met with immediate response and a readiness to escalate. It is not easy to do and often the moment is missed, but is has to be done.

Though to tell the truth, more often than not in the past, to my shame I haven’t reacted quickly enough in the moment. Sometimes it somebody totally unexpected who speaks up and demands solidarity from us all. Thank goodness for them. I suppose we have all experienced that.

When I finally found the words to respond, I wrote-

This is a white privileged view of the situation and very similar to blaming the victim rather than addressing the behaviour of the oppressor,.

You have focused on the reaction of the victim. Very tantamount to asking a rape victim…”but why didn’t you fight back or attack your rapist?”

What you have done here is blame the oppressed for the continued action of the oppressor and for not reacting the way you as a privileged white man would have preferred them to react to their oppression.

What’s wrong with this was actually highlighted in the article. You have failed to take into consideration factors such as shock, power dynamics, class and race privilege and the minority factor amongst other things.

Black people at that conference were in the minority as mentioned in the article, and the article mentioned that in that particular profession, that is the norm, which also translates to, the black people at that conference could probably only attend because they got a sponsorship or part sponsorship so as to not make the conference appear all white. I have seen this in action, I have been a beneficiary of such superficial equality action for conference organisers to look good and to tick the equality monitoring form.
Most probably the black participants were junior colleagues hoping to use such conference to network and climb up the ladder. They do not have the power luxury to start throwing a tantrum and chairs around or grab the microphone to disrupt the event to protest a play that offended them.

Walking out itself was a protest tool they felt comfortable using and I applaud them for taking a stand. They also forfeited their rest hour to come together to draft a response and insisted it was read at the conference the next day.

However, did they get support for the statement from the white audience? Nope. They were met with silence. A loud silence of white privilege who wondered why the black people could be offended by something so entertaining. To them the black people there had no sense of humour, no wonder their ancestors were enslaved.

Look , there was a time when if I was at such a conference I would have jumped on stage and disrupted that event, but that was a younger me. Would this me that is a civil servant do such a thing now? I doubt so. I would walk out, I would silently protest outside if possible, I would draft a statement and insist it be read, same thing they already did. However, I know I wouldn’t jumped on stage to stop the play. Power dynamics, civil service code of conduct, immigrant status, race factor which definitely has and would affect my getting another job or a promotion and the need to pay my Bills are factors that would deter me from reacting in the way you as a white man suggested.

Instead of being angry that the black people did not react aggressively to stop this racism that continue to happen, why not direct that anger to the people that keep doing this act of racism and the white audience who enjoy such and the white audience who maintain a grave silence in the face of such outrageous racism.

In other words, don’t tell people to fight their rapist, tell rapists to stop raping. Tell racists to stop being racists and don’t blame black people for not fighting back the way you as a white man would want them to. Finally, remember fighting and stopping racism is definitely not just the responsibility of the oppressed, it is a collective responsibility and white people needs to take a huge part of the responsibility.

From his response below, it is good to know that he has at least had a rethink

Thanks Yemisi Ilesanmi and****** for your your well considered replies. Yes I am speaking from white privelege. It is a different power dynamic. It means that I can fire back at those who offend me and if necessary go down with all guns blazing. That is a freedom I assume, wrongly as you point out, that every citizen has – no matter their race, gender or sexuality. At any rate that is the ideal, even if doesn’t exist in practice. The accusation of blaming the victims for their non-aggressive reaction rather than focusing on the oppressors – stings – and I shall remember my mistake; though I suspect I shall probably repeat it when I next try to wave the flag for more militant, break-the-limits-of-convention type of action that I am in favour of. In the last few years I have increasingly lost patience for a safe/tolerant/polite approach with my opponents. The Amazon burns, Brexit disaster looms, Trump is doing his stuff, the Tories are about to be re-elected, Racism is so much more overt, Religion is even more unbearable, Fascism manoeuvres into the mainstream and we have only a handful of years left to stop runaway climate change. We are losing, not winning. Whether I have a privileged position or not, my attitude is to slap back. The only real question is how best to carry the majority of the people with us. And in that respect my non-too-subtle approach may be counter-productive. I suspect you both have your own ideas on how, but how does it chime with the times?

It’s good to know that at least they got part of what I was getting at. However, it reiterates the saying-He who wears the shoes knows where it pinches most.

No matter how much white people think they get racism they cannot really feel the tragic impact as Black people who know and understand their history do. Even when I organise equality events , now neatly and ‘conveniently called inclusion events, with white people, I am so conscious of how they only want to speak about the ‘feel good’ part of inclusion which comes with phrases such as “We are all one”, “We all bleed same blood”, “let’s all just get over things and just get along”. However, they get very uncomfortable when words such as white privilege, class differences, race power dynamics are mentioned. Surface equality is not enough to dismantle the power structure of racism. People with the power must learn to speak out against racism and call it out, Afterall their white voices still hold more power that the people affected by racism.

All I ask is that, beware of your white privilege and use your voice when most needed to condemn racism.

Liam Neeson: The face of white privilege and the advert for “Power-walking” as a cure for racism

The confidence of Liam Neeson casually confessing without any prompt that he went out with a weapon for a week looking to kill any black man, without even thinking there might be repercussions, reeks of white privilege. Just imagine if this was a black man confessing to going out every day for a week looking for a random white person to kill, just imagine.

In the interview with UK independent, Liam Neeson said

I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody- I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could… kill him.

On Good Morning America, he explained:

I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so I could unleash physical violence, and I did it maybe four or five times until I caught myself on and it really shocked me, this primal urge I had.

The fact that Liam Neeson could confess to this is not really about the bravery, it’s about his cluelessness, about him not even realising a black man, a Muslim, an Asian man cannot just casually confess to this without serious repercussion , and not just from an angry populace on social media, but from the legal arm of government, starting with a knock, if not a kick , at his door from police officers ready to haul his black ass in for questioning for planning terrorist attacks. Liam Neeson is blissfully oblivious to this, Afterall it is normal primordial urge to want to murder black bastards, he really deserves a cookie for overcoming this very normal urge through power-walking 2 hours a day for a few weeks. Talk about white privilege!

Well, the power-walking worked, until he suddenly felt the need to refer to black people as “black bastard” during an interview, a case of repressed racism bursting out to show his inner racist, perhaps? Why on earth did he use that racist term and tone in that interview? Maybe we have the power-walking to thank for his not adding to the long list of black men who were killed and lynched by white men just because they can, think Emmett Louis Till, and all the black men that were lynched under the guise of protecting white women’s honour.

To all white people defending Liam Neeson, keep doing so, you are showing your low-key racism. Hand Liam a medal for his ‘bravery’, give him a cookie because we live in a society where it is such a heroic thing to no longer feel the primal urge to murder any member of a whole race for the alleged crime of a member of that race, and when that race is black people, damn, give that man an extra cookie…what restraint he showed!

It is one thing for Liam Neeson to acknowledge that it was wrong for him to try to seek revenge on behalf of a friend, but he never acknowledged it was racist of him to want to machete, in his own word. a “black bastard” to death. What Liam portrayed in that interview and what he continued to miss in the nonpoplogy, ‘I am the Victim here’ interview he later granted on Good Morning America, was that while he acknowledged that wanting to take Revenge is not the solution, he failed to acknowledge that his rage for revenge was further fuelled by the skin colour of his friend’s alleged rapist. Why was he concerned about the colour of the rapist anyway? Why did he not ask for the age or height of this alleged rapist and why didn’t he feel the urge to hunt down any man of same age and height? If she had said the rapist was white, would he really have gone out every week to look for a white man to kill?

His rage to want to lynch any black man to protect or avenge the honour of a white woman is one that is unfortunately very much entrenched in black history as one of the horrors committed by white people against black people. This horror is not a distant, past memory, this white man’s fantasy for black lynching still lives with us today. Remember Trayvon Martin, and George Zimmerman’s confession of seeing a young black boy walking on a white populated street, and immediately thinking he was a demon. Zimmerman admitted he saw a demon, not a human being, not a young boy, but because of the boy’s skin colour, what he saw was a demon and that cost Trayvon Martin his young life. Liam Neeson’s casual confession while promoting his revenge themed movie, is tasteless and even more so was his attempt to convince us he is not racist on a day that would have been the 24th birthday of Trayvon Martin who was murdered by a white man with same urge as Liam Neeson, to kill a black man, any black person. Only George Zimmerman did murder, he got away with it, and till date, has no remorse.

Liam Neeson has obviously not identified the Hate crime element in his confession. It is impossible to acknowledge and deal with something when you have not even realised it is a problem. After one week of going out 4 to 5 days to hunt down any “Black bastard”, he finally realised his primal urge was wrong, but did he realise it was a hate crime? Didn’t sound like it.

Did he realised just how much hurt based on real lived experiences his confession brought black people, myself included? It is a confirmation of what we as black people already know, we are not fully seen as humans of same status by many white people. We still have every reason to have that doubt, even if it’s the tiniest doubt, about how a white person truly sees us, no matter how open minded or progressive the white person claims to be. Liam Neeson’s confession confirms what we as black people have always known, we are not safe, hence why we march with the placards ‘BlackLivesMatter’, why we bend a knee during national anthems, why we use the hashtags BlackLivesMatter.

In this Black history month, Liam Neeson has unintentionally reminded us that we are not safe, that we can be the target of hate crime just because of our skin colour, that we are easily demonised because white people painted the devil and all that is evil in black colour. If Black is the face of evil, it is perfectly understandable when white men see evil when they see a black man.

Liam Neeson claimed-

I was trying to show honour, to stand up for my dear friend in this terribly medieval fashion.

If every black person went out to take revenge for what white people did to us, our families and dearest black friends, there wouldn’t be any white person alive today. Yet they tell us it was all in the past, that we should move on, if only they would let us truly move on and not have to live with their everyday racism.

London says, “Duck Off, Donald Trump!”

Londoners turned out in their thousands to give Donald Trump the welcome he deserves, a big ass whooping. Tens of thousands of Londoners took to the street in central London to show Donald Trump in very clear terms that he is not welcomed. British humour was creatively on display in the many anti-Trump posters and banners at the march.

So glad I was able to join the beautiful, diverse people of London to protest the visit of the racist, sexist, anti-immigrants, child grabbing, grab them by the pussy Donald Trump. Trump off with your divisive inhumane politics, asshole. When you are the embodiment of racism and so sexist you say shits like “grab women by their pussies”, don’t be surprised when all we want to do is punch your putrid face.

It dd not take long for Trump to upset his host, British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Just after touching down in UK, Donald Trump gave an interview where he criticised his host Brexit deals, and went as far as saying her Former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who just resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet, would make a great prime Minister.

During his visit to Windsor castle to meet the queen, Donald Trump upset Monarchists and non-monarchists alike as he was seen walking ahead of the queen, in what could only be described as rude, arrogant and ill-mannered.

Glasgow and Scotland have also given Donald Trump the middle finger, telling him exactly where to duck off to. The protest posters were hilarious as well as straight to the point. Loch him up, they said.

Enjoy the pictures and videos from the UK Protest.

Evils of Colonialism, Slavery, Racism and Colourism continue to fuel Poverty and Hate

This video of the strained relationship between Haiti and The Dominican Republic broke my heart, and the comments on the video further tore it apart…and I thought I was over human’s inhumanity to human.

The evils of colonialism, slavery, genocide, racism, xenophobia, colourism and capitalism continue to fuel bile, hatred and unhealthy competition for basic human needs such as food, shelter and freedom to human dignity, which no human should have to compete for in this day and age.

The world has enough to provide basic human needs for everyone, however, sadly we live in a world where 1% of the population own such stupendous wealth that could help eradicate poverty if redistributed to build a better world for all, while the remaining 99% scramble for what is left in a bid to make ends meet.

Unrepentant, non-remorseful former colonial powers would rather put their former colonies in debts than pay repatriation for all the economic, political and human rights abuses they committed against these people they terrorised for decades.

The people who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives are expected to somehow have miraculous super powers to fight their way out of poverty caused by centuries of colonialism, slavery, economic and environmental exploitation, which today are still fuelled by racists policies, xenophobia, colourism, corrupt politicians and contempt for anyone they thought of as below them. it is indeed a sad world we live in.

Treating fellow humans like animals, using sticks on them, denying them basic human rights just because you view them as different than you, denying them employment or treating them unfairly because you are in a position of power speaks volumes about the kind of person you are.

What makes us decent human beings is not measured by how well-spoken or how well dressed we are, it is how we treat people who are less privileged than us, especially when no one is watching. It is not just how we treat them but what we truly think of people we consider different from us because of their race, colour, class, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

As a black woman who live and work in mostly white dominated areas, it is shocking how different one is treated even by those who would never consider themselves racists but whose conscious or subconscious actions towards me reek of pure discrimination and racism.

Humans, we’ve got a long way to go to be truly an equal society, however every step toward that goal matters. Take a step and several more today towards creating a better world for all and that include your neighbours, colleagues and these immigrants you consciously or subconsciously view as beneath you.

Examine and check your White privilege.

Examine and check your class privilege.

Examine and check your gender privilege.

Examine and check your sexual orientation privilege.

Treat people different than you the way you would want aliens to treat you if they ever came and colonised this planet we call home.

 

White Privilege: The existence of poor white people doesn’t erase Racism

Around 2:00am this morning, I was woken up by a WhatsApp message from an ex. What did he want in the middle of the night? Well, it turned out he has just seen a homeless white couple and he wanted me to know racism is a figment of my imagination.

Just saw this drug couple sitting in the street in front the train station with a two years old daughter. It really breaks my heart. Not all children are born equal

Alert – Assumption that all homeless people are drug addicts.

His conclusion –

In Ipswich, skin colour is the least problem

I was like, “White Satan, get thee away from me this ungodly hour!”

I refused to be dragged into that discussion again, especially at such hour. However, the message kept nagging at me, I really wanted to ignore it but thought i should not. So, first thing in the morning, I sent him a few lengthy responses about what the reaction would have been if it was a homeless black couple with their two-year-old daughter sitting outside a train station, and in Ipswich of all places. The reaction would more have been around the line of-

  • “WTF is a black person doing in our white neighbourhood”
  • “Those immigrants are filthy and have bought their poverty to our dear Ipswich”
  • “Go home niggers, we don’t need your type here.”

Unfortunately, I’ve had this type of discussion with him so many times. He thinks because he was a cash strapped German who came to UK about twenty years ago, and had to do some menial jobs to survive, black people cannot blame anything, including their economic circumstances, on racism. In fact, to him it is not racism, it is a class struggle issue. Unfortunately, he is one of those white people who think that racism is a thing of the past and that Classicism is the problem.

I cannot reiterate enough that White people who claim not to see colour while benefiting from systemic racism are part of the problem.

While on a date with a nice, white gentleman who identify as a progressive, I told him his white skin was like winning a lottery. He immediately thought I wanted to be white and that I had internalised self-hate for my black skin! I tried to explain how being a white person can be a lottery you did not even sign up to play, but I doubt he got the point. Also, he wanted me to put a label on his sexual orientation because as a cis, upper middle class white man, he dated a very feminine Asian trans woman. I point blank told him i don’t put label on anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. However, I think if as a cis man you date a trans woman, this would not in any way affect your sexual orientation or gender identity. You dated a woman, that is all there is to it. No, it doesn’t make you queer or means you can now identify as LGBTQ, not if you truly believe you dated a woman, anyway.

Well, back to the issue of my ex and his erasure and denial of racism because of the existence of poor white people. My attempts to make him consider that he probably reacted that way because they were homeless white people and not homeless black people only made him angrier than see sense. He responded that it was about the girl, not my egoism. Yeah, my lived experience of racism as an immigrant black woman in a western country is all about my ego. Racism is a figment of my egoist imagination.

I was like okay, if you can’t take my black ass word for it as i am an egoist black woman, maybe you will consider the word of a white person. Then I googled some articles on white privilege and immediately the beloved article, ‘Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Personby Gina Crosley-Corcoran came up. I thought yeah, I’d share that, but then I thought. “Shit, a white woman wrote it”. I know a white man would stand a better chance of getting to my ex than a white woman, but well, I sent him the article anyway. Unfortunately, all he saw was that it was a Huffington post article, and before he even read it, he responded that Huffington post is conformist propaganda. I told him he probably was confusing it with Daily mail or Fox news.

Anyway, I wanted to share this enlightening article by Gina Crosley-Corcoran with you. The article was her reaction to the acclaimed academic piece by Peggy McIntosh titled- ‘White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’.

Excerpts from Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person by Gina Crosley-Corcoran

I, maybe more than most people, can completely understand why broke white folks get pissed when the word “privilege” is thrown around. As a child I was constantly discriminated against because of my poverty, and those wounds still run very deep. But luckily my college education introduced me to a more nuanced concept of privilege: the term “intersectionality.” The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others. There are many different types of privilege, not just skin-color privilege, that impact the way people can move through the world or are discriminated against. These are all things you are born into, not things you earned, that afford you opportunities that others may not have. For example:

Citizenship: Simply being born in this country affords you certain privileges that non-citizens will never access.

Class: Being born into a financially stable family can help guarantee your health, happiness, safety, education, intelligence, and future opportunities.

Sexual orientation: If you were born straight, every state in this country affords you privileges that non-straight folks have to fight the Supreme Court for.

Sex: If you were born male, you can assume that you can walk through a parking garage without worrying that you’ll be raped and then have to deal with a defense attorney blaming it on what you were wearing.

Ability: If you were born able-bodied, you probably don’t have to plan your life around handicap access, braille, or other special needs.

Gender identity: If you were born cisgender (that is, your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth), you don’t have to worry that using the restroom or locker room will invoke public outrage.

As you can see, belonging to one or more category of privilege, especially being a straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied male, can be like winning a lottery you didn’t even know you were playing. But this is not to imply that any form of privilege is exactly the same as another, or that people lacking in one area of privilege understand what it’s like to be lacking in other areas. Race discrimination is not equal to sex discrimination and so forth.

And listen: Recognizing privilege doesn’t mean suffering guilt or shame for your lot in life. Nobody’s saying that straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied males are all a bunch of assholes who don’t work hard for what they have. Recognizing privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all).

I know now that I am privileged in many ways. I am privileged as a natural-born white citizen. I am privileged as a cisgender woman. I am privileged as an able-bodied person. I am privileged that my first language is also our national language, and that I was born with an intellect and ambition that pulled me out of the poverty that I was otherwise destined for. I was privileged to be able to marry my way “up” by partnering with a privileged, middle-class, educated male who fully expected me to earn a college degree.

There are a million ways I experience privilege, and some that I certainly don’t. But thankfully, intersectionality allows us to examine these varying dimensions and degrees of discrimination while raising awareness of the results of multiple systems of oppression at work.

Excerpts from –White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh –

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since
hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon of while privilege
that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about
racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see on of its
corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to
recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white
privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can
count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White
privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports,
codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.
Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable.

She further wrote-

I usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck.
Yet some of the conditions I have described here work to systematically overempower certain
groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure renting or purchasing housing in an area
which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed
or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my
race widely represented.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that
people of my color made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the
existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a
supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a
hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work
against the appearance of financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like
them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people
attribute these choices to the bad morals,the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the
world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior
without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person
of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t
been singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and
children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in,
rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job
suspect that I got it because of race.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in
or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or
situation whether it has racial overtones.
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match
my skin.

I would encourage reading the two articles in full if you have not, and if you have, it is refreshing to read them again.

Also, don’t be like my Ex.

 

The Terror attack on Muslims in London and the appalling Muslimphobes

On June 19, 2017, I woke up to the news that there had been a terror attack at Finsbury park Mosque, targeted against Muslims in London. I was shocked and appalled by the barbaric act. I posted on my Facebook wall to condemn the terrorist act. A valued facebook friend from Australia responded with such surprising views that I was really taken aback.

As I have been meaning to write about the Darren Osborne terror attack on Muslims but have not been able to, I thought I should share the exchanges I had with my Australian friend here as the comments basically covered what my thoughts are on the terror act.

I posted on my wall-

Oh no, a counter terror attack in London! This is a dangerous ground to tread, London is too diverse for this appalling act. Londoners are proud of our diversity and tolerance, this is barbaric. I’m just tired of all the bad news. Humans seems to be going downhill.

My Australian FB friend commented-

People can only be murdered for so long before someone stands up and fights back. The English have a history of putting up with shit for so long before taking action. Thankfully someone has chosen to do so.

Needless to say I was appalled by his line of thinking –

That is a very appalling, horrible thing to say. Going around murdering innocent people because you do not like their religion or because a few religious extremists carried out terrorist attacks in the name of that religion is barbaric and very inhumane. There is nothing that can justify murdering innocent people. I have no respect for Islam neither do I have any respect for Christianity nor any other silly religion out there, but I will never advocate for the killing of religious people. Human rights guarantee the right to freedom of Religion. I am appalled by your hateful comment here and I will say NEVER leave such a comment glorifying and justifying the killings of innocent people on my wall.

He refused to put his thinking cap on and responded with –

If these Muslims were not attacking every corner of the globe, every day of the week there would be no reprisals, no trillions spent on security, you would not know they were part of any community. They would be under the radar such as Hindu, Buddhist etc but they are not. They created this situation so they need to suck it up and accept the responsibility for their dogma which has turned the world into chaos.

When some of my British friends tried to set him straight, he was not having it –

Perhaps if you pom’s were as aggressive at actually controlling your social failure with Islam as you are with someone who is please to see someone in your cuntry have the spine to actually stand up and fight instead of hiding behind a keyboard you might not be in decay. After reading all the rubbish you have thrown at me ‘good ridden’s’ to you all.

 

 

 

 

His fellow Australian who has known him personally for about 10 years also stepped in to talk some sense into him-

hate speech like yours is the very reason why people drive their car through innocent people who are simply participating in the deity of their religious beliefs!

You’re stereotyping all Muslims as being murderous terrorists which is bullshit!!

Wake up man!!! What you’re doing is no fucking better than what the terrorist does! An act of terrorism is to incite fear, hate and to terrorise.

I actually know a lot of Muslims and they are wonderful caring beautiful people.

They’re not saying things like your saying. !!!!!

I also thought I should talk more sense into him –

How on earth does attacking and committing terror acts against Muslims solve terrorism? That line of thought is indeed very barbaric, primitive, ignorant and retrogressive.

Were the Muslims killed by this far right English man terrorist the Islamists extremists who are committing terrorists Act?

How is the action of this silly, primitive, barbaric Western terrorist any different from the actions of the Islamist terrorists you loathe?

How is your glorification and justification of this heinous act any different from the jubilation of ISIS and Islamist terrorists after a terror attack?

How is the killing of innocent people targeted solely for their religion any different from killing westerners in the name of Islam?

Today this man targeted Muslims, tomorrow it will be some westerners with extreme far right ideology that will start targeting migrants. And who next, black people living in Europe?

Look, let’s get this straight, there is no justification for hate crimes or any kind of terrorism

Innocent Muslims do not need to convince you or anyone that they have the right to life, live and coexist in any society without fearing for their lives. Muslims should be judged on their individual actions in the society, like every other human being, they should not be collectively held responsible for the heinous crimes of a few others.

I continued-

***your comments are disgusting, appalling, Muslimphobic, hateful and a danger to humanity. I am more than disappointed that you hold such disgusting views as i really did consider you a friend. This is not a simple matter of difference of opinion, i will not let you use my platform to spread such hate. I will block you the same way i block anyone one who spouts homophobic, biphobic or transphobic nonsense on my wall. Pls, kindly stop ANY kind of justification of this heinous act ON MY WALL. Any further comment hinting at all at justification or encouragement of this hate crime and terrorist action get you blocked immediately.

***I am really disappointed that an intelligent man like *** who I consider a friend would hold such extremist views. So sad. I hope he let go of such hate and understand that as evolved human beings, we have no justification for killing or encouraging the murder of innocent people for the crimes of others simply because they share a religion, skin colour or race. How barbaric!

His Australian friend seemed as confused about his line of reasoning as I was , she wrote-

Yemisi Ilesanmi and yet, yesterday he posted a video of the barbaric treatment of Irish by the English in the early 1800’s!

Now here he is defending this barbaric behaviour!! I just don’t understand his thinking.

I’m very disappointed 😔

However, our mutual friend wasn’t budging on his hate-filled murderous views-

Winge all you want as I really don’t care. Neither of you understand my point of view or respect it. I’m labelled a hater when you are both spitting venom at me, throwing hate speech at me. Yes I did load up a bit of English history but I don’t hate anyone over it. I don’t hate anyone, don’t hate Muslims but I am entitled to a opinion to what you believe is right or perhaps in your case ‘left’..

I had to let his fellow Australian know just how shocked I was by our mutual friend’s views-

*** When I first read ***’s comment, I almost thought his account was hacked! I find his comment so out of character. As an Atheist, I never hide the fact that I loathe religion, all type of religion. I and criticise Islam openly, just as I criticise Christianity which actually harmed me a lot while growing up and still harm me cos of my sexual orientation. However as an adult with a functioning brain, I know it is OK to criticise an ideology without calling for the death of innocent people who have done no harm to the society, just because they share or practise their ideology or religion. *** is sadly misguided.

I tried to call him out on calling his murderous, genocidal, oppressive view just an “Opinion” –

Get it into your head, it is not an OPINION to deny a whole group of people the Right to life because of their religion. That is a gross violation of their human right. You are sick in the head if you think you have the right to debate the right to life of innocent people who have committed no crime just because of their religion. You will not use my platform to spread your hate.

His fellow Australian tried to appeal further to his sense of reasoning-

*** you stated that Muslims created this situation.

Muslims did not create this situation, EXTREMISTS did.

I think you are so full of hate for a minority that you’re now persecuting the majority.

I’m not a believer in Religion but I certainly don’t hate those who are.

Also I want to refresh your somewhat lacking memory here. Not all terrorists are Muslims!!!!!

However our mutual friend wasn’t having any of it, logic was lost on him-

I don’t use the word hate as it is a vicious word. Calling me a hater, racist is offensive and wrong. There are 1 billion Muslims so they are not a minority. If they were a minority they are causing way to much death for such a group. If it was a peaceful group the world would not be on terror alert due to Islamic attacks I am aware of this problem, perhaps you are not but back to the original post before I was attacked. Did it actually cross your mind the act of retaliation by a member of the host nation may have been besotted by the grief of someone close to him who was killed, beaten, raped by one of these poor so called minority groups? You are also aware the location of the reprisal was a hub for Islamic haters of Western society?

At this point I was fed up with him –

What nonsense are you spewing, sounds like you’ve totally taken leave of your thinking faculty.

How has the supposedly 1 billion Muslim population you quoted harm you as a person or the society as a whole? How is the killing of innocent Muslims the solution to Islamist terrorism?

I asked you pertinent questions earlier, obviously you have not taken the time to logically ponder these questions or you are just too clouded by your hate and alarming ignorance to logically and honestly answer these questions.

I come from a country of about 120 million people and half of that population are Muslims. Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group who have been terrorising the country have killed more Muslims than Christians or people of other religion. Muslims, who are predominant in the Northern part of Nigeria are integrated into the western, southern and Eastern part of the country.

There are many cases of families where one parent is Christian and the other Muslim. Do we now say because of the atrocities of Boko Haram, we should start killing Muslims in the country? Wouldn’t that lead to another civil war? Of what good are wars? Why advocate for the genocide of innocent people because you loathe their religion?

Your reasoning is very barbaric, ignorant, retrogressive and very inhumane. As *** said, you posted a video yesterday on your wall condemning the Irish genocide by British, now you are advocating for the genocide of Muslims. What a hypocrite you are.

Or is it OK to kill Muslims because you think they are sub-humans? Or you view Muslims as ‘Brown people’ therefore you think they are sub-humans?

You say you know your UK history, are you aware that IRA is classified as a terrorist group that carried out terrorist acts in UK? Was that a good enough reason to murder innocent Irish people? You clearly don’t think so as you condemned the Irish famine as genocide just yesterday. However, the hypocrite Musimphobe and possibly racist that you are is not willing to give Muslims same consideration. You cannot find it in your hate-filled heart to see Muslims in the same way as you see the Irish. I guess the Muslims are too brown for you to deserve basic human right.

You said the location of the terror attack was a hub for Islamic haters of western society. Are you aware that the Mosque in Finsbury Park was the first Mosque to win a National Award in UK? Until a few months ago, I live in North London, just a few stops from Finsbury park, and I can tell you it was a lovely place to live, A hotbed of London diversity.

You are a disappointment. I sincerely hope you will let logic cleanse your beclouded brain and not let hate to consume you so much. What you are advocating is genocide. There is no justification for genocide. I am greatly disappointed in you and disgusted by your comments. Pls, stay away from my wall until you learn how to behave like a decent human being again.

Did he get it? Did he find his brain and conscience again? No, he simply responded with this gem-

What a load of crap. Goodbye

Well, my parting shot was-

Good riddance to bad rubbish, Thanks for unfriending your Muslimphobic, subconsciously racist, ignorant ass from my Facebook page. I don’t need friends that call for genocides. Hate and ignorance fuel violence and you are now obviously a violent man. I hope you get the help you need before you constitute a nuisance to the society. You sound like a terrorist in the making. Goodbye.

Oh well, that was the end of that. Another friend lost to ignorance and hate. Probably many more will be lost as Brexit and Trump embolden people to show their inner racist, sexist and bigoted selves. Hopefully my now ‘ex-friend’ sees the errors of his ways before it is too late.

 

The First Time I Realised I was Black

I didn’t know I was black until I relocated to the UK in 2009 at the ripe old age of 34, before then, I thought I was just a human being.

Settling down in the UK, I quickly realised my skin colour mattered. It matters a lot.

I relocated to the UK in 2009 to study for my Post graduate degree in Law, specialising in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights.  Even though I had contemplated my gender, sexuality, globalisation and the catastrophic effects of unbridled capitalism, I had not given my skin colour much thought.

From the overt racism, which I encountered from the University Surgery GP, the subtle racism of some of my white lecturers (who ironically taught equality classes), the white co-workers who turned their noses up at my African accent, to the ‘behind the back’ racist stab by the white, female principal officer in my workplace, which cost me a much needed, very good job offer, I quickly realised that my skin colour mattered. [Read more…]

Donald Trump’s America: A Win for Sexism, Racism and Misogyny

Today is undoubtedly one of the saddest days of my life, and I am not even American. I might not be American or even live in America, however, I am human and Donald Trump is the very embodiment of everything I stand against.

Every vote for Donald Trump was a vote for Sexism, Racism, Xenophobia, Misogyny, Bullying, Sexual Assault, Bigotry, Tyranny and every other thing appalling.

A win for Donald Trump was a rude awakening that majority of Americans would rather see a very horrible, inept man lead the country than a very capable, humane woman.

A win for Donald Trump is a reminder that so many Americans are not as appalled by sexism, racism, xenophobia, bullying, sexual harassment as any decent person would be. [Read more…]

No one should have to choose which racism they would rather endure

I was having a phone conversation with my 21-year-old son while watching the Williams sisters’ doubles match the other day when our discussion veered towards racism which the Williams sisters have endured over the years.

I mentioned that I didn’t get why the British audience booed Serena during the match. My son said something about the British always supporting the underdogs and maybe they were just rooting for the player that Serena had defeated earlier who was also playing in the doubles.

However, we both agreed that there was an obvious case of hostility towards Serena during a match last year in Wimbledon when Serena defeated British player, Heather Watson. The audience were indeed unruly and very hostile towards Serena and even the commentators expressed their shock. My son said he was quite surprised as British people are not usually very open when they are being racist. [Read more…]

UK Black Pride 2016: Transforming Our Community

UK Black Pride was held on Sunday 26, June 2016 at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London, with the theme “Transforming Our Community”. It was a blast with positive vibrations, diversity and thousands of vibrant people.

It was such a joy to be at UK Black Pride, 2016. It was fun in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with lots of foods and drinks to share, great music, great dance steps, lots of twerking and yeah, sexy, lovely people! LGBT BMEs do know how to party!

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Did someone say Why Black Pride?” [Read more…]

Online Dating: Serving up Choices and Confusion

Dating in this generation has a whole new meaning. It is all about choice or rather the illusion of choice, leading to confusion, pain, and a life wasted on swiping profiles for the next hit. This Facebook note by a Facebook friend, got me thinking about dating. As a single woman, i must say, i agree totally with his take on it. In this age of online dating, it is all about the illusion of choice and the uncertainty that comes with it. dating

Back when i was a teenager growing up in Nigeria, 20 something years ago, dating was not even a thing. You were either in a relationship with someone or you were not. It was straight to the relationship phase. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy asks girl, “Will you be my girlfriend?”, if girl likes boy, she plays coquettish long enough to not appear desperate, then says yes, and bingo, they are in a relationship. No dating as it is known today, no testing the waters, that was done at the ‘eyeing her/him up’ stage. The courtship stage did not normally involve alone time together. Maybe time with friends and families where you both sussed each other out, until one of you makes the move. [Read more…]