Shit’s really going down, ain’t it? You know shit’s going down because some big shops are shutting down. These shops didn’t shut down during a virus that’s currently been responsible for 376’000 deaths worldwide (watch this space!!), because, seriously, fuck these people, right? But now these multimillion dollar companies that have long built their success on the suffering and oppression of others are actually losing products on a scale absolutely insignificant to their wider wealth. So this shit’s important, yeah? COVID-19 testing centres are also being shut down in some areas because, well, some people don’t deserve to be safe, do they? In 2020, you really have to earn the right to not die, and we have to make it clear that certain people don’t deserve that right, yes?
I’m currently listening to a great album by Backxwash called ‘God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It‘. Real good record. Just thought I’d mention it. No reason.
Of course, shit isn’t going down where I am, specifically. I’m blessed enough to live in the UK, where we can all look towards the US with a pitying shake of the head and thank our stars that we live in a country untroubled with racism. The UK never indulged in slavery, of course. The country has no history of colonising and subjecting entire groups of people to inhuman and degrading treatment. Our police force has a unblemished and impeccable record of positive race relations. Our biggest selling newspapers aren’t just word salads of vile hatred and unsubtle dog whistles. I mean, our head of state isn’t a horrifically privileged black hole of unconcealed bigotry, is he? No, this is all America’s problem.
But, the USA remains the world’s biggest country, its cultural centre and the centre of Earth’s consciousness and the crazy reality TV show that the rest of the world is thoroughly enjoying. Liked Tiger King? Then you’ll love the crazy shit they get up to in the USA!! Imagine if the producers actually went all in and made Joe Exotic the actual leader of a country!? That shit would be mental!! The whole world keeps tuning in to see what crazy hi-jinks the show’s protagonists will get into next, and whatever happens in that excessive, outrageous and brutal reality show is always consumed and debated by the wider world.
You already know about the widespread and completely justified protests and outpourings of anger across the United States of America. I’m not going to talk about that. I don’t need to talk about that. There’s really nothing to debate- there’s a clear right side and a clear wrong side. From this distance, there’s not a great deal more many people can do aside from be staggered at how America’s police force seems to still largely consist of Mark Fuhrmans*. I’m a fat, middle aged, pale skinned ginger sat in my flat, dipping slices of white bread straight out of the packet into a cereal bowl full of sunflower oil and tomato ketchup- what can I do? How can I support the good guys? I’m being constantly told by my white friends on Facebook and the white people I follow on Twitter that I have to speak up. If I don’t make my opposition to racism as clear as day then I’m on the side of the bigoted power structure. If I don’t say that I’m against them, then I’m as good as with them.
(*aside from donating money, of course. Don’t listen to the bullshitters, I work on the other side of this and I know how any donation makes a massive difference. You might have reasons for not giving to ‘charity’, but just know that you’re merely intellectualising your miserliness. As long as you’re fine with that. There are, like, thousands of ways you could help, I’m not going to list them all. Have you ever heard of the internet? Do I really have to walk you through all this shit? This is not other people’s job!! Also, you don’t necessarily have to announce your donation to all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers)
Firstly- and you might want to sit down to hear this- my opinions on the matter are likely to be irrelevant, unhelpful, and fucking useless. And- guess what?- if you’re a white person then your views are probably fucking useless as well. Not necessarily all white people, of course. Perhaps you’e the CEO of a disgustingly large company making a statement on how recent events have forced you to take a long look at the institutionalised racism in your company and enact change. Maybe you’re the head of a police force that has noticed the urgent and desperate need for reform. Maybe you’re, I dunno, the leader of the free world with the power to set into motion real change. Are you any of those though? Are you a white person of any real significance?
You’re probably no different than me, you’re a likely angered but extremely likely insignificant white sack of bones and nerves. I know, right?? So frustrating! There’s something important going down, and we all want a part of that, right?! White people on social media are saying that your silence on the matter is actually damning! How can you show people that you’re not one of the bad ones?! If you’re a white person not retweeting reports of police brutality or writing long Facebook posts about how you once sat next to a black person on the bus in 1997 and he seemed perfectly charming, then you’re on the side of the racists!!
This next paragraph is solely for white people. If you don’t consider yourself white then maybe scroll past, I’ve go some great knob jokes coming up soon, don’t worry:
Hey, white people, how are you doing? Getting a sunburn while enjoying a brewski? Far out. Fraiser really went downhill after Niles and Daphne got together, ammi right?? Anyway, onto more serious matters- maybe this isn’t for you, yeah? I know, I know, white people really hate being told that things ‘aren’t for them’- you all really want to use the ‘N’ word, don’t you?!- but the vast majority of you, of us, really don’t need to have a dog in this fight. This is an opportunity for black people’s voices to be heard, for us white idiots to stay fucking quiet for five fucking minutes. We can listen to stories of oppression and ingrained unfairness against black people that is unfortunately deeply rooted in an obviously broken system. Stuff that, I’m sorry, we will never fully understand. When you post endless news stories about the tragedy that’s growing in a country you’ve probably never visited, you might think you’re somehow doing the honourable thing, maybe you’re raising awareness. Guess what? People are already pretty fucking aware and there are literally billions of people who can offer a far more legitimate and experienced take on the events than you. Are you suggesting that somehow you should be the authority on this? Are you disregarding the experiences and views of other people because you don’t believe they could properly interpret events as well as your eloquent white brain could?No, of course not, you would never do that. You post these things to ‘prove’ that you’re one of the good ones. The other white people are racist. You’re so woke and progressive. #NotAllWhitePeople, yeah? Who are your trying to convince? You’re not confident that your white friends believe you’re not racist? Why on Earth would they question that? The fuck is up with that relationship? Is it to convince your black friends? You have one black friend. Paula, who you worked alongside at Greggs in 2004. You’re 38 years old. Maybe look into the reasons behind that? You’re take on the situation better be absolutely essential, or you otherwise really need to be questioning the reasons behind posting.
Some of the worst examples of white people posting ‘support’ betray a lazy, ignorant and potentially dangerous misunderstanding of what the racism being protested against actually looks like. Look at this video of a young white woman complaining about how black people suck at the Sicilian Defense when playing chess! Check out this photo of a Somerset granddad has spent the last fifty years growing marrows in the shape of swastikas! Have you heard this recording of a homeless guy sleeping in Colchester whose snoring sounds remarkably like he’s saying ‘Jim Crow’ with every breath??
Well done you. You’ve found clips of people being horrible online. That’s amazing. I didn’t know you could use the internet to do that. Clips from 2018, 2011, 2001, 1995, 1974, 1833… Funny how you didn’t give a fuck about these things when they were actually happening. This is some hardcore, Hollywood inspired bullshit. Whenever racism is portrayed in movies, it’s always an exaggerated and flagrant hatred. The racists in movies are obvious and cartoonish*, cackling monsters with soliloquies on how foreign people smell funny and Adolf Hitler’s face tattooed on their bum cheeks. You’re not like these people, right?! You have loads of black friends (one. Laura), and you always ask their permission before you use the ‘N’ word!
(*in the beginning of ‘Green Book‘- fucking Oscar winning shite!!- the white protagonist throws two tea cups in the bin after a couple of black people drink from them. That’s not racism, that’s psychotic. The guy obviously has deep psychological issues that are hardly going to be cured by driving around with a black gentlemen who’s good at jazz. Fuck, I hate that film and I’ve not even seen it!)
This over the top, near performative racism isn’t the problem. Yes, there are far too many of these hideous racebaiting trolls, but these pricks are often using racism as a cheap roflcopter in order to ensure attention and spark engagement through obscenity, These people find it hard to make friends and have decided that disgust is at least a reaction to fill the empty loneliness in their lives. Yes, we all know they’re being terrible, but they also know they’re being terrible. Performative racism is an ugly aggravation, but the real problem is the racism we don’t even consider racism, the racism that’s subtle, systematic and just accepted as the fucking norm. Which brings us nicely to:
If you’re white, no matter how many Black Life Matters tweets you post to friends, no matter how many videos of black people being brutally beaten by police you share, you are complicit with the bad guys. Yeah, sorry, it’s, like, totally bumming out news, no? It’s not necessarily your fault, it’s almost definitely not your choice, but every white person has at some point benefited unjustly from a system that is unfairly weighed in your favour. It’s fine, it’s cool, and nobody’s saying that white people have easy lives, there are just certain things- both big and small- that have ensured that no matter how shit your life is, it was often saved from being considerably more shit by virtue of the paleness of your skin. I’m not going to list them all here- can you not do a little bit of research by yourself??- but just remember that George Floyd was arrested for using a supposedly counterfeit note. When I was a teenager, a few friends and I went around town with a colour photocopy of a £20 note to see who would take it. I can exclusively reveal that not one of our pale white necks ended up being choked to death by a policeman. I can also exclusively reveal that the local Chinese chippy actually accepted the note, which… I dunno, is that racist….? Derek Chauvin is almost definitely not the cartoon, heil Hitler, ‘Make America Great Again’, why-isn’t-there-a-white-history-month?, Hollywood racist that people are spending so much effort demeaning. He probably has some black friends. John Boyega was his favourite part of the new Star Wars films. His favourite album is actually ‘The Score‘ by The Fugees. He’s not consciously a racist. He obviously is though, as some aspect of his upbringing and the surrounding culture led him to consider a black person’s life and safety as markedly less important. Subconscious racism. It’s likely somewhere deep inside you that you daren’t confront. Inside me as well. Instead of pointing fingers at random strangers making outrageous racist statements, and questioning if a white person’s relative silence means they’re obviously less not racist than you are, why not examine the dormant toxins inside of you inspired by growing up in such a imbalanced society. You’re likely part of the problem, and need to recognise and admit that.
To be clear, I am not saying that white people can’t do anything to help- you can always do more help right now in many more ways than has ever been possible before. If you’re in the USA, join in the demonstrations, get on your feet and physically show your support. There are hundreds- thousands! Millions!- of ways to donate money to any cause you see fit to (again: money is always helpful!!). Write to your MP, support the countless charities and community projects in your area (ahem, cough...), double check that your group of friends aren’t actually closet racists, educate your kids, be a better person. If you’re in the UK, look at all this useful shit that you can do. But, Jesus, do it quietly, yeah? Don’t turn other people’s struggle into your Instagram story, don’t do good things only to signal your goodness on social media, don’t fall for the useless guff of slactivism
Get shit done. Quietly. This isn’t your moment.
Please don’t break my comments section…