They tell us we are paranoid. They tell us we’re being irrational, it isn’t because we’re not white, it’s because we’re stupid or we don’t have a sense of humour (please ensure you click on this link, it speaks for us all succinctly). We have no agency so any white people supporting us are attacked for leading us into battle; they are accused of manipulating our cause for their own gains. Who knows, there might even be some like that. Except we know it’s because of the colour of our skin, the fact our mothers were born elsewhere, because we look different and we don’t eat what they eat. I know, it’s really stupid to feel this way about millions of people, simply for being slightly different. They’ve tried to add weight to their prejudices with eugenics, blaming God for making them the chosen ones, y’know, other ridiculous claims, anything but admit they are stupid enough to discriminate against another simply for the way they look, and their own delusions of grandeur.
Once in a while though (maybe a handful of times a decade) they cannot avoid being so blatant in their nonsensical approach to people like me i.e. ‘The Others’. They simply change the meaning of words. They change the meaning of actions. They do what it takes so that they are right and we are wrong. Protest all you like, when white people at a senior level can change the meaning of self-defence to acting with impunity because they feel like it, then we are ALL in trouble. An UNARMED man was murdered by the state but the courts have ruled it was a ‘lawful killing’. I won’t ever understand why (if for one second we believe they thought they were defending themselves) they didn’t shoot him in the leg or arm or both. Aren’t they trained to do this? If we are to believe the cop shows, they’re not shooting to kill, you want to take your suspects in alive and let them languish in a cell for the rest of their lives. No, instead, they killed a man who can never tell us what really happened. We cannot bring him back.
Mark Duggan was the same age as me. If you believe any of the news reports he was a thug and “one of the most dangerous criminals in Europe” and there was no choice but to take him out. Except.. The gun he was accused of holding, there was no evidence of his DNA on it. The jury were specifically told this. Mark’s DNA was on the box that was allegedly carrying this gun but not on the weapon itself. The jury concluded that he was unarmed when he was murdered but it was still lawful to kill him. They believed he threw the gun from a taxi before the police standoff. An eye witness was able to confirm Mark was not in possession of the gun but was holding a mobile phone in his hand. He testified that it appeared Mark was about to surrender when he was cruelly executed by the Met. The taxi driver that had driven Mark to the scene, his testimony was disregarded also. As @justinthelibsoc put it “The #Duggan taxi driver wasn’t believed. The anon witness who claimed it was an execution wasn’t believed. I wonder what they had in common?” An all-white jury sat in for this case (led by a South African – let’s think in the language of our oppressors for a moment) and chose to believe witness statements by the police over the damning eye witness statements by PoC. We are not surprised, we are livid.
This incident describes perfectly the way we are treated in society. It is the most brutal and extreme examples but it is perfectly allegorical. A person of colour is identified as a problem. They are monitored and treated suspiciously, feared even cos of course many people do believe we are still in the savage stage. The white oppressors make a plan to take said coloured person out, in this instance it was an execution but for many of us it’s being sacked, it is being denied opportunities, it is being monstered and silenced and they create the narrative around you and your character, people will believe them when they say you are a liar or aggressive because of course non-white people just aren’t civilised. Evidence to the contrary doesn’t even hold water in court! Institutional racism is endemic at every level of British society. The courts, the police, we must not trust them. The journalists, the BBC, we must not trust them. Bosses, doctors, nurses, some of our friends; we cannot trust them. It doesn’t matter what we do, they will use our words to hang us with. When Tariq Jahan appealed for peace in the aftermath of his own son’s murder during the riots in 2011, racists accused him of being unfeeling and typical of the sort of brownie whose son deserved to die if he really didn’t give enough of a shit about him to cry. When Mark’s family reacted with tears and anger last night, racists accused them of being undignified. You see how we cannot win?
Britain is no less racist than when my grandparents came over in the 60s. The only thing that has changed is the reaction you can expect from PoC. My late grandfather believed in assimilation; he believed in not making yourself a target by keeping your head down and working hard. It didn’t make a difference, he was still racially abused, he just did not have the self-esteem/confidence to fight back. We do. We are sick of the fact that our British passports and birth certificates don’t make the blindest bit of difference to the way we are perceived. It is because society views us this way that they can murder us with impunity and we cannot challenge them. Something has to change.
Solidarity with Mark Duggan’s family.