Another racist attack on a public transport system, another furore over the state of football today; except everyone seems to be ignoring the great big white elephant riding around on the circle line 7 days a week, 365 days of the year (despite the many ways in which we tell you it’s happening every hour of every day on Twitter, where you can all see it at any time).
Life as a person of colour living in a white world is hard (especially if you are a woman and battling sexism as well). We do not have the freedom/privilege to exist; we must navigate our days with much introspection and safety planning, so that we avoid bringing violence on ourselves. Already this is sounding like victim blaming and that’s because it is, our media and governments routinely advise victims on how to play it safe never once suggesting to the perpetrators they should stop or else face the long arm of the law (whether victims of race or rape). This is why it hurts more to see white people dominate a hashtag with their tales of shock at the state of football today, or their calls for action to ensure this never happens again.
(damaging ramifications for football but white people ok to continue being racist)
It happened to me 2yrs ago and that was the last time I boarded a bus in the night. In fact shortly after that, with the increasing fascist demos and racist discourse from our rich and famous (google India Knight for the P word and Jeremy Clarkson for the N word, Dawkins for his Islamophobia and Cobra for their double standards) I stopped going out altogether. I may have some passing privilege in some parts of the UK but on the whole I’m not willing to take that risk or bother playing white identity bingo when I am freaking the fuck out already. What flavour of racist is this, I wonder? The sort that’ll forgive me my skin tone if I make enough shared cultural references? Or the sort that thinks all Tamils are Pakis, white being supreme? Any white face in a crowd could be capable of stabbing you, even as you absentmindedly do your food shop on a Sunday. They can shout white power at you as the life drains away and the propaganda channel won’t even call it terrorism! Just theories, attacks on people of colour, not actual lived experiences we’ve been trying to tell you about. Never mind that the white leftie press routinely shuts down any objection to their increasingly right wing ‘discussions’ on our lives (by shamelessly labelling it silencing), we are not permitted to even begin telling you our experiences of our mother’s cultures because we’re being forced to accept the white supremacist’s account of it. All it takes is one token person of colour to disprove your entire life story.
What do we, as people of colour, have to say about racism in the west? It’s rampant and escalating (because we feign shock and surprise at the odd incident, it’s left to propagate whilst we focus on ISIS, or forced marriage, or FGM, which in turn confirms the racism they already feel). The politicians and media have made it so, with their not so subtle manipulation of other white people they usually hate and look down upon. Surreal, huh? Laughable almost. That’s white supremacy though, completely ignorant of the reality for the majority world.
Stop being shocked, white people, and start paying attention to us. Speaking for myself, I am not about to do to you what your empire did to us, and still does. I am asking you to challenge racism whenever you see it in the street (and the media) and call out your family members when they’re being cocks, whatever their justification for their hate (recession, snobbery, friendzoning) because excusing it the way you do, oh, they’re just working class, or unintelligent, or ignorant blah blah blah does nothing to address it but continues to perpetuate that kind of thinking.
It’s no one else’s fault if you’re a hateful, envious toad. We see you.