By Nadine Batchelor-Hunt
AT present, Donald Trump is tear gassing peaceful protestors for photo opportunities.
And people are protesting, both in the US and around the world, because they are devastated about the racism black people face in societies across the world.
When black people across the world watched the life leave George Floyd’s body as he screamed for his mother – who was already dead – with a white knee on his throat, the black community saw their fathers, the sons, their grandsons, their uncles, and their brothers.
Yet, as Trump wages war on his people protesting this, the UK says nothing – and it is clear why.
Black people are twice as likely to die in police custody than white people in the UK.
The British criminal justice system is notoriously harder on black people than white people, and there are more back people in prison by percentage of the population than in the US.
During the Windrush Scandal, victims died after being deported or denied health care, put in chains and deported to the Caribbean in a way reminiscent of slavery; now they die waiting for compensation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to black people as “picanninies” with “watermelon smiles”, said black children make him “turn a hair”, and allowed his closest advisor to hire a eugenicist that believed black people have lower IQs.
MPs use the word “nigger” in select committee meetings and retain their jobs, and other MPs joke unapologetically about having blacked up – saying the hardest part of it was getting it off afterwards.
Indeed, anti-black racism has always been a cornerstone of Conservative governments – one need to only look back on when they reportedly ran on the slogan “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour” in the 1960s.
And, for the avoidance of doubt, all of the above is cold, hard, homegrown white supremacy. So, when the UK’s government look at the US, they – consciously or unconsciously – empathise with the white establishment; they see the British legacy.
After all, the hatred and white supremacist values we see in the US are the remanence of the British Empire; the US learned everything they know on racial hatred to the black community from the British.
So, as the Trump wages war on his people in an overtly dictatorial and authoritarian way for protesting racial injustice, of course the UK remains silent.
Some MPs even condemn British protestors for saying “fuck the police” – yet do not comment on the fact that police are up to 28 times more likely to stop and search black people in London, are more likely use disproportionate force on black people, and are even prosecuting black people at a disproportionate rate compared to their white counterparts under COVID-19 legislation.
Protecting whiteness at all costs is all the British establishment has ever known and – when push comes to shove – it will always do, until it is made to change. This is why the UK will wilfully – and almost paternalistically – condemn the teargassing and brutality of protestors in Hong Kong, yet remain silent why Donald Trump does the same to his citizens.
When non-white dictatorships brutalise protestors, attack journalists, and murder minorities abroad they are seen as savages – when white countries do it, their whiteness prevents this dehumanisation.
However, like the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s, this could be a turning point – a moment of meaningful change both in the UK and the US.
The fact the government had to U-turn on plans to delay the release of the BAME COVID-19 report – the original justification being they could not trust us not to riot – demonstrates an awareness that it is no longer so easy to ignore black people. And, as this movement progresses, the masks of the US and the UK will begin to slip – and their white supremacist values will be laid bare.
And it is then, and only then, that we can smash white supremacy once and for all – and truly make black lives matter.
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