institutional racism

I believe ALL victims of racism

Well who would have thought it in a million years but an Eastenders actress, Linda Henry is facing trial for ‘allegations’ of racism. That’s right, a blonde cockney reject, probably better remembered for her performance in Bad Girls (whatever that’s worth), has been naughty enough to warrant an actual public trial to prove she has been guilty of this actual crime as postulated by law.

I reckon she’s a big fat racist y’know. I say this because I’ve a wedge of evidence supporting my ‘allegations’ of racism against a number of individuals but the police advised me instead to shut down my social networks and threatened me with criminal proceedings for a few words I said regarding all 4 billion men on the planet. Despite the facts, that racism is illegal and that as a victim I have the right to justice (allegedly) I wasn’t acknowledged in this respect. Ms Henry’s victim though, well, the police, CPS etc were convinced they were racially abused enough to warrant taking the case to trial. As anyone who has ever worked in any capacity in the criminal justice system knows, the authorities do not want their success rates affected by your tenuous case. They have to be absolutely certain a crime has been committed and they can prove it in a court of law or else they don’t bother.

So it is with this insider knowledge (both in the legal system and occupying a brown body) that I can say hand on heart, I believe them. I believe every single victim of racism who discloses they have been racially abused. I don’t believe in the race card. I think that was phrase coined by controlling whites to dismiss, deny, gaslight non-whites by discrediting their validity as humans struggling to survive in a white system.

Here’s a radical thought for you: All white people are a little bit racist at least because they continue to enjoy the spoils of empire whilst the rest of us are systematically dehumanised and it is only white people who have the power to change this. White people are ‘deeply offended’ at being labelled a racist but they do not consider it offensive when we are racially abused daily. Where is all the white outrage at the BBCs insistence on pushing the good old days of empire on us whenever it needs to fill up the schedule? Why have they refused to suspend Henry over the ‘allegations’? If one of their brown employees was suddenly suspected of terrorism without evidence would they be afforded the same grace? You’ll have to pardon my mock outrage at the state broadcaster’s blatant racism, but it’s worth noting they are the medium through which bigotry of various flavours is justified. Whether you’re a traveller or a Muslim, good ol’ Aunty Beeb will put the white population straight. Thousands of us are being spoken about as though we are less than human and our lives do not matter, that we can be carted back to the jungle if enough of the whites agree. If there truly were enough white abolitionists among us BBC HQ would be surrounded until they admitted their crimes against humanity.

I have been racially abused, manipulated and cast aside. I know how it feels to know your perpetrator is lying but they will be believed on account of the colour of their skin. This is why I will always believe victims of racism, just as I will always believe victims of sexual violence. Just because the rules are set up to favour those with white skin or male privilege, does not make it the truth because a white western judge or jury says so. Even if Henry is acquitted, it means nothing to me and many thousands more like me.

We’ve got your number, white people. If you look like a racist (white) you probably are.

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Justice is for white people

This is the response I got from West Midlands police after I asked them to escalate the complaint to superiors. I called the police to help me. They didn’t help me. Instead they gave me a warning.

I knew when I was raped that I could not go to the police because they’d probably say I deserved it for inviting the rapists back. It doesn’t matter that they were just friends when I let them into my home and an entirely normal thing to do when you trust people (who are friends) but in the context of a rape investigation, it’s almost like the purpose of the police is to discredit victims, especially when they are female and almost certainly when they are not white.

The police don’t give a shit about non-white women; I knew this from my work. They don’t much care for white working class women either but they still have the edge over poor brown women. The police can communicate better with people who speak their language, not just spoken but also cultural and unspoken, in the way they’ve been taught to react to things, like, how to be a worthy victim. Whether they self-identify as racist or not, suggesting that non-white perpetrators of violence against women are entitled to that power and control because their religious beliefs are protected by law allegedly and then shrugging as if to say “what can you do with these savages?” IS racist because if they did a little research, picked up a book or two, they’d realise violence against any person who is not your physical match is forbidden. It is racism that allows these people to turn a blind eye and in some cases gleefully abandon vulnerable people because of their immigration status.  This is something I learnt through my work, that the police are inherently racist and sexist.

I don’t like the police. I don’t care if they don’t like me either. I just want to know why I spent my whole life believing racism was illegal and that this meant something could be done about it. Also I know how serious (also illegal) threats to kill are because of the work I have done in the past, yet the police expect me to believe they cannot do anything about the abuse I face because Twitter won’t do something for them. How did they make Twitter oblige when it was the blonde middle class Caroline Criado Perez with her media contacts who was being targeted? She was in all the papers, her face flustered from the stress of being a woman on the internet and we learnt she was clinically depressed from the ordeal. I have CPTSD. I am on medication for mental and physical disabilities. I often have thoughts around suicide and yet the police have dismissed the threats and abuse numerous people subjected to me, even though there was money missing from my bank account.

(TW threats/racism)

“I will slit your throat and hang you upside down bitch, don’t tempt me”

“People are going to hammer you”

“Please shut the fuck up or I will murder you”

“Please shut up you paki”

“If you don’t like Britain go back to your own country you ungrateful whore”

“…You stupid, laughable cry-baby cunt”

“Begging for money on your blog I see…typical Paki girl”

“Proof you can’t be friends with a Paki”

“I’m going to kill you”

“Hahaha you ugly little slag, lol”

“I’m gonna slice you up bitch”

“I’m gonna cut you up”

“Please just drown yourself now please. Still gonna kill you”

If saying “kill all men” is incitement to murder than what is this^ person doing to me? Or the various search terms actually telling me to kill myself? They’re not saying all people should do this, this is a direct threat aimed at me, Sam Ambreen (not all women of colour). No one else, just me. CPTSD makes you hyper vigilant because you feel like you’re going to die most of the time. In the balance of harm, how can West Midlands police have the audacity to follow up a refusal to support me with a warning that I am committing a criminal offence and that they don’t believe me or cannot defend me for saying a few words (regarding 4 billion strange men)?

I’m not sorry that I cannot play the right sort of victim for you. The police are notorious for their inconsistency when it comes to believing victims. If you didn’t fight back, why not, did you on some level enjoy it or give them the impression you were consenting? If you did fight back, well, you’re clearly not a victim and can take care of yourself. In fact now you’re the problem because you’re hostile and a loose cannon. Well, he’s the one with all the scratches on his face (self-defence is only an option if you’re white and middle class, as we reminded Criado Perez only a few days ago).

I cannot fight back; I must leave the internet if things are that bad otherwise I haven’t the right to complain. Helpful advice from the police who are definitely not trying to silence me, say because of my political beliefs and utter distrust of the police. I didn’t want to go to them; I was encouraged to do so by people on Twitter who were horrified at the stream of nastiness I was subjected to. I wasn’t confident they’d do anything but I did not expect to be reminded of how I may be breaking the law for reacting to abuses perpetrated against me.

I don’t want to be in this country. It’s not safe. There is no help here for people like me, only more violence in future. I have nothing positive to say about any of my experiences with the authorities (or the majority of white people). I get it ok, you don’t like me because I can see you’re looking down on me and I know that I’m above that so you do your best to punch down and push me into a corner where no one can hear me. This only means I will keep screaming until the opportunity presents itself to leave this living nightmare. I know my worth (and the law) and you don’t get to call it.

If I now wished global warming would hurry up and drown this tiny island, would you consider that incitement to an act of God?

Twitter Death Threats are Tasteful and Decent

Kill all men. 3 words that erased all the times I was raped, sexually assaulted and beaten by men. These 3 words justify the death threats against me. In saying these words, I have confirmed that I am just as bad as the entitled men and any report I make of abusive behaviour against me is invalid.

I have just finished speaking to the police who called to update me with regards numerous threats to kill and the reams of racist abuse I have been subjected to on Twitter. They advised that Twitter, being based in California refuse to provide British law enforcement officers with any information even in cases where there are threats to kill because their laws around taste and decency differ from ours. Apparently they only concede for serious crimes like murder (not threats to murder).

I want to know how the Metropolitan police were able to investigate the abuse aimed at Twitter activist Caroline Criado Perez (and Stella Creasy) and were able to convince Twitter that the words used to threaten her did breach taste and decency standards even though she is also in the UK (like me). I asked the officer who called me (from West Midlands Police) why this disparity between activists on Twitter when we’re all women receiving death threats and whether she could blame me for thinking it is rooted in structural racism? She maintained that she was just passing on the message from their techie guy and it had nothing to do with race, more that Twitter was refusing to comply. She was also confused because they said it was about protecting their users from opponents of free speech and that surely this protection should be extended to me too, also one of their users.

Why would it though? The internet is awash with rapists and their apologists, misogynists who fantasise about murdering and humiliating women (and probably do in their relationships) and the overall response has been amusing for them. Social networking sites like Facebook will delete an image of a woman breastfeeding a hungry baby because it breaches standards of taste and decency (and sets them apart as somehow enlightened – Darwin award please – among the mammals) yet raging racists like Britain First get a free pass. Murdering entitled scum from the states get a shrine devoted to worshiping male power. Twitter hasn’t responded to the two tickets I got from them acknowledging I’d made complaints regarding gendered abuse and DEATH THREATS but why would they?

In a world where 50 women have been murdered by men this year in this country alone, am I really surprised that gendered abuse is still being ignored by the men in power? The kind of world where the reaction to homicide perpetrated because male entitlement is one of praise and in support of male privilege, not condemnation of the kind of society that allows sick individuals like these to thrive. In a society where rape victims are asked what they did to provoke a rapist into raping them, am I surprised that the 3 words I have at my disposal to empower me when I’m feeling weak (but angry still) are considered equally harmful to the sexual abuse I have been subjected to my whole life (the experiences I have on twitter being an extension to a collage my brain has collated over the years)?

Of course I’m not. This doesn’t change the physiological effects of silencing and legitimisation of abuse has on me. I had a panic attack and had to cut the call short. This was after I explained that I would not be deleting my online profiles because I will not let them succeed in their campaigns to silence me. I won’t let them have the satisfaction and to insist I am complicit in abuse against me if I do not is victim blaming, nothing more or less. It’s not like I have a choice, I do the things I do so that the world is a safer place, one that I can be a part of. Unfortunately this whole incident has served to remind me that I can’t expect this and that attempts to change the status quo will be met with reinforcements from the oppressors.

I’ve advised the police I would like for this complaint to be escalated to their superiors and to find out how it was possible that 2 people were sent to prison for similar offences against a blonde woman.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

Racist Twitter and Silencing

“It’s not about you Sam, stop being such a princess. Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and think about someone else for a change? Well, if you really were a feminist you’d be thinking about the greater good not just your own problems all the freakin’ time..”

I’d like to be the magnanimous diplomat you’d all prefer me to be. I would like to focus my energies on changing policy, make changes from the top down but that was never going to happen was it? Not with my turbulent past and the colour of my skin. Sorry, what? You’ve seen Europeans with darker skin than me? You think I have light skin privilege? Where have you been my whole life?! I WISH you’d been around when I got called a Paki recently, if only you’d been there to set them straight.  You could have shadowed me at school and that job where the platinum blonde admin assistant serenaded me with “there’s a brown girl in the room” whenever I walked in. You could have corrected her “it’s beige, blonde admin girl” but you weren’t there so you know.

I joined Twitter for social justice. In the beginning I was so afraid of racism; I would actually mute monitoring accounts when they were RT’d into my timeline. It was too much, too close to the bone. I started tweeting about feminism and was a little shocked at the level of abuse I encountered but I had the support of my feminist sisters, acting as shock absorbers, sharing the load.

One day however, perhaps because I was beginning to challenge the inconsistencies within our movement, feminism turned its back on me. I was abandoned. Why? Well, racism, of course. Prominent white feminists like Caroline Criado Perez excused their friends for using problematic language and denied that it had anything to do with race. Of course we know now that we were right but those feminists are now outside of our reach. They have the support of the newspapers, the authorities and politicians. People like Helen Lewis set the standard for the sort of abuse I would be subjected to; all white men with the odd white woman (white feminists generally have white men do their dirty work for them) and token black person for ‘balance’. She lied about me and white people everywhere (including those gullible skeptics) believed her because she is white, nothing more or less. You don’t have to call me a Paki in order to be racist, you can just use your power to silence me and leave me open to attack which you did, Helen. I’m not holding out for an apology anymore, this enmity runs far too deep for me now.

Then you have the politicians accustomed to bending the truth for personal gain. Perhaps Louise Mensch had the best of intentions.. No, scratch that, that sentence doesn’t even make sense. Employing the fullstop at the start of her tweet she channelled increasingly more abusive racists to my online spaces and yet has not, even once, responded personally to a single tweet from me. Her intentions were not to understand or defend or debate but to flame the white knights of Twitter into defending her honour which they did. Nobody batted an eyelid. None of the supposed comrades of mine on the mythical ‘Left’. No, in this instance a white woman takes priority over any seen to be doing socialist intentions on the part of the white middle classes.

I refused to be labelled in any way that allies me with any of these people anymore. I am not an anarchist, socialist, leftie, feminist. I cannot subscribe to an ideology that is untruthful in its very foundations; the trendsetters, the commentariat; the academics seem to have abandoned the kind of person socialism seeks to support. I am not white, I am working class, I am a woman with disabilities; mental and physical and yet I am completely on my own. Social support is not extended to attention seekers like me. I hasten to add I have been pleasantly surprised by the support extended to me by some white feminists. People I have preciously launched myself at who actually do understand what it means to prevent violence against women. I’d like to acknowledge that support and the women extending it; @planetcath and @drlangtrygirl

(I will never do this for the point scoring Cathy Brennan because she actively encourages traumatised people to self-harm and suicide – some women really are just complete bastards)

However, I am keen to point out where I have been deserted in this recent wave of abuse. I initially made a report to Twitter regarding an account that was clearly transphobic. I learnt from friends that they were already aware of the account and had tried unsuccessfully to have it suspended. When I approached Twitter about it, the account in question @TrixiiSabine used an argument between myself and my real life best friend to illustrate the point that “you can’t be friends with a Paki”. I think we’re in agreement that this is racially abusive. I think we all know that racist abuse is an arrestable offence. So what did Twitter do about it? Nothing. They still haven’t responded to me on any of this. Not even when I tweeted them to let them know I had been in contact with the police who were baffled as to why it had been ignored when it’s a clear breach of their terms and conditions and ILLEGAL.

I asked these questions before and I’m going there again. Is it because I am brown? If it’s not that, and maybe it’s because you think I am stupid, why so bothered by my opinions? All I’ve ever asked for is justice, so that we are all considered human and afforded the same basic respect regardless of fanbase or identity. I’ve asked for you to understand how your privileges have given you opportunities I would have been so much more grateful for, things y’all seem to take for granted. In doing this however, I left myself wide open to abuse.

I’ve had to deal with it all by myself and it’s just not on.

Sincerely,

 

Disgusted, of British Asian origin.