It’s only logical to go on an read this book after Me and White Supremacy, as they are answering to each other, one about how to get rid of racism, and this one more on the history and the testimony on racism. It’s also the second book on #BlackLivesMatter that we shared in my fitness book club.
I have to say that I’m quite clueless about the damages of racism in the US. I’m just as clueless about the damages of Black racism in France and the UK (I do know about institutional racism in metropolitan France, but I think it’s not just targeted at Black people, it’s quite uniformly targeted at any non-white human being). What I like with this book is that it helps understand how my government is lying about racism in the UK. It’s deeply hurtful to see top officials say with a straight face that there is no institutional racism in the UK when less than a decade ago, we had lots of proof of the opposite. And in a decade, you don’t eliminate wrongful resentment and manipulation. I like the fact that the book shows exactly the opposite.
The book spends a good chapter on these bases that need to be said. We need to acknowledge the past of the UK, what they did, and we need to talk about it. Not shout at each other, talk about it. Knowing the facts of the past is a first step towards the right direction. Educating pupils would be even better.
The second chapter starts with this story around 25 years ago about a teenager being killed just because he was Black. The author shows clearly that there is a racist system at play. Yes, there are people that are less racist, and they showed that the police inquest was subpar and should have been better. It’s just one visible part of the iceberg, but it shows that there is still lots of work to be done and we need to be strong. It makes me think about antisemitism in the Labour party and Islamophobia in the Tories party and two different approaches to racism. Should we be tolerant or intolerant? Well, there is a well known saying stating that we must be tolerant towards everything except intolerance. Rampant racism is an example of what happens when we are not intolerant towards this behavior.
The third chapter tackles something that we also studied in Me and White Supremacy, it’s white privilege. If you already read the previous book, you know what it is, but there are more examples of how it behaves, how young children think that they need to turn white to match what they see on TV. I found that image horrifying, because it’s not something that I felt before. I can only think about it from a far distance when newspapers said that the PM wanted to have a Brexiteer to replace the top civil servant to match the 52% of the population that voted Leave. At the end, they are only representing one part of the population, and this is the same that the Black people have felt for decades at a rate far higher than what I felt when I noticed that these guys don’t want to represent me. That’s the supremacy, it’s a way of not respecting the minority and grabbing everything for themselves. As such, everything we see is geared towards that median shade of skin, white. We don’t average it, we get the median, and that’s for now white.
And this “for now” is what is talked about in the fourth chapter. It starts with an edifying and scary interview of Nick Griffin that really chilled me. Is this for real, can someone really think what he says? So yes, white people may be a minority in the future. So what? The UK is also an agglomeration of people from different tribes in the past, perhaps originally a white melting pot, but still a melting pot, and with globalization, all our Occidental countries will be even bigger melting pots, and that’s good. That’s because we can confront and share our opinions, our ideas, our skills… And it’s not because the white Caucasian British (male) will no longer be the majority that Black people are going to be the majority. I don’t know about the projections, but with the melting pot, I don’t think that there is going to be one unique ethnicity that will have the majority. And even then, count on it to be as divided and selfish as it was before.
The chapter about feminism appealed to me less, as I was less confronted to this problem, but I do agree that it exists. It probably exists in the LGBTQ community as well where people of color may be more stigmatized and supposed to help white people getting the same rights without their own ethnicity problems being addressed at the same time. It’s really a shame that people keep on lacking empathy even as they ask others to be empathetic with them.
The six chapter is perhaps the most important in my opinion, as it’s something not tackled in Me and White Supremacy. It’s clearly a political left chapter and I can only agree with it. People of Color keep on being stigmatized for taking white people jobs (the US closed their visas applications, and that’s exactly the same issue). The thing is, white people think too much of themselves to actually do the work on PoC people. Some do, but the majority doesn’t. It doesn’t pay well enough or they look down on the jobs. Same problem anyway. Then, it’s not really stealing their jobs that stealing some wealth that they think they deserve. The thing is, PoC are not the ones stealing the wealth from the white middle class, it’s the white upper class that does. And the book talks about this at length, about all the things that white middle class can have and that the lower classes can’t get. They are all manipulated by the same rich people that keep on stealing millions for themselves instead of redistributing to everyone. It goes with selfishness of the average human being.
In the end, we need to act. We need to change things. We need to behave better with one another, we should not be afraid of each other, of our counterpart to steal our job, our home… We need to change things locally at our level, then elect people that have the same will, that represent us as a whole, not as a white community, or a Black community, but as a multi color community.
It’s crazy to think that lots of them will use the Bible to mount people against each other, when the four testaments show clearly that Christianity is about building this multi color community.