The most ironic aspect of calling out white supremacy and racism is always the reaction. No matter how polite and logically articulated, or brash and vengeful the Black person voices their discontent, the reaction seems to follow the same lines.
Disbelief, denial, disrespect and racism itself. There’s nothing so guaranteed to ignite accusations of ‘race-baiting’ whatever that is, and unleash abuse and intolerance from the usual suspects of Twitter trolls and the Daily Mail, and even white liberals and ‘allies’ as just calling it out. The story of 20-year-old, Black Cambridge student Jason Osamede exemplifies this. Rashan Charles, a black man, was murdered by the police last week, whether he was a drug dealer or a drug user, a criminal or a law-abiding citizen, like Edson Da Costa, a few weeks earlier, all the Metropolitan police saw was their blackness and exercised an illegal role of judge, jury and executioner that does not exist in any British legal framework that I know about. While I don’t know Jason’s thought process, I know his rage too well, tweeting “ALL white people are racist. White middle class, white working class, white men, white women, white gays, white children they can ALL geddit”. When the news and social media are a constant stream of anti-immigrant vitriol and videos of police brutality against black men and women have a sickening regularity, when the political climate has both major parties committing to the harshest possible Brexit and tearing from Europe in a xenophobic, isolationist political project, when racist acid attacks are scarring people of colour and the culprits are not being apprehended immediately and when racial tensions are rising so quickly, it is easy to understand and accept the premise of the controversial tweet without condoning it’s message.
Jason Osamede is not a bad person, and given racism requires both power and prejudice, he is not racist either. Rather in a fit of rage, he has uttered a fundamental truth in this country, that white supremacy still exists in Britain and that this is undeniable.
Let’s look at recent events. Protesters in Dalston, fighting their own cathartic battle for justice against police brutality and unaccountability have been painted as the villains, the ‘rioters’ and ‘looters’ in their own neighbourhoods. Whilst the police who stand across the road from them are the white knights of law and order, and gentrifying middle-class visitors plaster their shock and horror on social media that ‘they never knew it was so bad here’. Why is the media, which is overwhelmingly white and middle-class so quick to attack the protestors but never to address the institutional racism and brutality of the police. Once again, one need not condone the violent actions of protestors in damaging their own neighbourhoods and businesses to accept and understand the causes of their behavior. Likewise, when one looks at the reaction to Jason’s tweet, it is hard to find any sympathy or support for the same white people he blanketed as racists. Apparently, Jason is a ‘cunt’, a ‘racist’, an ‘illiterate’ it doesn’t matter that he attained 4 A*s at A level, his enrolment was a ‘quota’, and his presence was somehow a politically correct conspiracy. Never mind, that bias does exist in higher education, and this is towards aristocrats, royals, white applicants and those with white sounding-names, privileged backgrounds and connections; Cambridge is hardly a hotspot of black and underprivileged students. But also, where said positive discrimination exists, it is entirely justified to redress the imbalance of black students and voices in academia. Those were the less overtly anti-black comments I saw.
But beyond that, I am slightly surprised and really disappointed, just as the seemingly friendly guy who appears nice to pull a girl and then calls her a ‘slut’, ‘ugly’ or a ‘hoe’ after he is rejected reveals his true misogynist colours. White Britain has revealed that being called racist is a license to question our intelligence, to abuse, ridicule and hate us and to plaster our face on the Daily Mail with the intent of destroying one of Britain’s best minds for his sin of unapologetic blackness.