divide rule and conquer

You are exactly like all the others, whatever they say

If you were one of those people who insisted it is not Islamophobic to scrutinise Islam and Muslim people when you are neither of those things yourself then you personally contributed to the actions which led to a Sikh man being identified as a Muslim terrorist (by Gamergate trolls who exist only to torment vulnerable people cos ethics) and reported to the rest of the world before the information was even verified. This happened beacause the western world is largely ignorant of the rest of us and experiences it as a sort of quaint skewed little fairy tale which best fits their centuries old prejudices. The media were fooled because they are perhaps the most ignorant of the bunch and a brown face to them is always a terrorist. When a poc is probably responsible, as it is whenever there’s a disaster then due process becomes a privilege only afforded to white people. It’s consistent with the experience I have of the western world, where it doesn’t matter what you do to distinguish yourself from all the others, you’ll always be a paki, regardless of whether or not you are actually from Pakistan.

I’ve been asked where I’m from more times than whether I’ve had a good day, I know this much without doing the maths. Once upon a time I humoured it and asked people to guess and they did; Maltese, Greek, Arab, Iranian, Afghani, Latina, the list goes on and on. White people literally see colour before they see anything else and depending on your answer to this question draw conclusions before you need say anything further. I was always wary of saying Pakistani because I’d grown up feeling like the proverbial shit on one’s shoe for no apparent reason, it was just a feeling that was ever present. I used to say I was Kashmiri and this was partly true, my mum hails from there but I always had a sense it was preferable to identify as Indian, as all the Muslim Indians I knew liked to rub it in, for why, I had no idea, but it was there, this unspoken rule. I imagine now it was the residual tenets of divide rule and conquer which had passed down the generations, infecting us before we were even born. It’s apparent in the token few who deny our existence and experiences of the world so that white people can write us off as bullies and attention seekers, this idea that we must only object because we are jealous and not genuinely critical for the greater good. They will attach themselves to each other as allies and ambassadors for one another just to keep you out and struggling.

The ignorant world we find ourselves in is a direct consequence of white supremacists and their token allies. Every time a white person says to you you are not like all the others and you’re actually some kind of special snowflake, it is a lie. You are maybe a toy to the person who says that to you, someone they can wind up and watch make a fool of themselves but you are most definitely just like the others to all the white people you haven’t yet met, and probably most definitely the person who would say such a racist thing in the first place. If you’re a poc and you’re still struggling with observing and identifying divide rule and conquer, if Veerender Jubbal’s case has not made your blood run cold in horror, that the people in control of narratives can get it so very wrong, then you alone will be responsible for the ways in which you are abused.

A Sikh man (wearing a Sikh turban which is completely different to other brown people’s head coverings) can be thrust onto the world stage without his consent, without any viable reason for this attack on his identity (not that racist targeting is a viable reason even when the subject is Muslim), have a Quran photoshopped into his hands (replacing the ipad) and the media will probably get away with it, but we mustn’t let them. Remember that time little old me made a mistake that barely a few thousand people will have seen (though they will have most definitely witnessed my unprompted apology) yet the media acted as though I had killed someone with my false allegation of racism, the way they used it to whip me with because it was just such a terrible thing to accuse someone of being a racist shitheel. Well it’s actually worse to be a victim of racism, even more than being falsely accused in a system where actually, racism is inherent, it being a proud nation built on the looting and erasure of other people and cultures, and unrepentant in its ways.

The media is massively racist, whatever they might say. They just proved it.

We will not let white feminism divide and conquer us

Everyone knows how white people colonised the world by pitting neighbours against each other. My own grandparents wouldn’t speak about partition, all my gran would say was that there was a time when Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims lived in the same villages, they were different but they respected those differences; going into the mountains to slaughter meat for food for example, acknowledging that this practice might be offensive to Hindus and Sikhs. The only other thing I recall my gran mentioning was the horrific state in which the trains carrying respective Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus arrived at their destinations, all passengers on board slaughtered by the other side. I can understand why they didn’t want to talk about it. That said I won’t ever forget their belief that the British were to blame.

I’ve always wondered how this manipulative tactic comes so easy to colonisers, even when they aren’t drawing up borders in countries that do not belong to them but in everyday life. I have watched incredulously as the white feminists of Twitter have attempted to do the same to Intersectionality. This movement was started by people of colour, yes but its foray into the mainstream has been enabled by white folk. Black people just don’t have that power. It is white people who will ultimately change racism by educating themselves and their peers, who must learn to accept we are all human. White supremacists don’t listen to black people, they murder them. So it was with great interest and perplexity I watched as various white fems of Twitter lay into our white allies, the few white people that do recognise our humanity. This is the kind of reaction they got.

sazza

At the time I thought it was genuine ignorance but now I’m not so sure. I think the white feminists knew that having white allies would make the transition from theory into practical change easier. At first they blamed prominent white intersectionalists like Zoe Stavri for fanning the flames in a bid to further their own agenda, she was somehow brainwashing us into giving her competition a hard time because of those column inches she’s after. This may be how the white fems of Twitter operate, manipulating the truth for self-serving reasons but I know Stavvers irl. We both belong to a diverse friendship group; black, brown, white, queer, trans*, bi, straight, able and disabled. Stavvers doesn’t need to pretend she is an intersectionalist; she lives it every day unlike the very white, very middle class people pointing their fingers at her. When white intersectionalists backed down to examine their praxis, white fems returned to attacking oppressed groups as if they were suddenly the problem.

Taking this all into account I would like to appeal to white intersectionalists to write their blogs on what they are seeing. Get involved; get your own messages out there. White fems may have their big media platforms but we are bigger in numbers and also cover most of the globe. Let’s flood the internet with our own information, let white people critique other white people without accusations of hijacking or misinformation. Here, some of you have bashed back and for that I am grateful, solidarity will get us through this.