“They’re forgetting about us”…”We also suffer racism”… “#AllLivesMatter”.
Earlier this year – in fact shortly after Brexit – I was walking down a street in Hayes & Harlington, and I was tripped up and told to ‘Fuck off home’… although the joke was on them because I was already on my way home!
It was a shocking experience merely because you don’t really expect that sort of shit to happen anymore. Alas… it did – but don’t cry for me, I was fortunate enough to get my story heard with an article in the Washington Post – so yay me. Here’s the full article with the Washington Post.
DISCLAIMER: I’m about to get very honest regarding this topic – so if you’re easily offended or prone to senseless trolling… I did warn you.
Now the kind of statements in the header of this post only surface when people feel like the afflictions they’ve dealt with for so long are totally forgotten about or given less importance.
This isn’t the case with #BlackLivesMatter… no one is forgetting about the time you were stopped and searched 10 times at the airport, or the time someone called you a ‘Paki Terrorist’ for stepping out into the road too early, causing all kinds of havoc.
But in order to understand why the #BlackLivesMatter movement matters for all of us – even more than #AllLivesMatter – we need to look at the bare facts about racism.
Ugh – How do I do this without sounding like a wacky conspiracy theorist? Right…
A seed is planted into the ground with the intention for it to sprout. If the surrounding conditions nurture the seed, lots of things happen over time. By the end of it you have roots, a trunk, branches, leaves and fruits. But you don’t call that tree and everything on it a seed.
In the same way ‘Racism’ is not what we think it is…
Racism is an economic idea.
Racism is the ‘seed’ in this analogy. The idea that an oppressed economic class could be created using a combination of aesthetic and cultural distinction.
The slave trade and forced migration to Europe and America are the ‘roots’ in the analogy. The very foundations of the institution that would support the idea with economic growth in an ‘enterprising nation’.
The courts and rulings are the most visible and reinforced aspects of this ‘growth’, and so they are the ‘trunk’… This stage can be referred to as application. Laws were created to mentally imprint upon society that this new economic class were also a criminal class, thus justifying the foundations that supported the idea.
The ‘branches’ are none other than the organisations that developed as a result of the application, foundations, and idea. From the Ku Klux Klan to the Black Panthers – all of the support and resistance that developed as a result of a social and economic system of oppression can be referred to as its legacy.
The abolishment of slavery, the civil rights movement, ‘affirmative action’ – All of these are campaigns to mark a new era of consciousness. These are the ‘leaves’ that sprout from the branches. But just as leaves do these campaigns wither and fall off, making way for a newer more ‘evolved’ approach to maintaining the idea and foundations, by altering the application and distancing from the legacy. This we can refer to as development.
Then finally the long awaited produce that can be bitter, sour or sweet depending on the timing – the ‘fruit’. Or as we know it #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter – or anything in their likeness. Essentially the ingrained mentality and response of the public towards issues relating to the original idea, its foundations, the application, its legacy, and development strategies.
Do they buy it? spit it out? or wait for the product to ripen into something that suits their taste?
Idea – Foundation – Application – Legacy – Development – Produce
As a young entrepreneur when I look at these stages I see nothing more than a business strategy – and getting personal in business helps no one.
Don’t get me wrong – this business strategy has (and continues to) cost countless lives and evokes rage in anyone who has even a sliver of a conscience. But if we want to dismantle it – we just can’t take it personally.
Now many of you must be saying to yourself – “Great analogy Kesh – but when you put all of those parts together you get a tree – so if you put all of those stages together you get racism.” Right?
Wrong. All of those stages together are called an ‘institution’ – A collection of functions serving one purpose – to execute an idea. Racism is an idea – developed to create an economic hierarchy that is distinguishable through aesthetics and culture – of which Black people are kept at the bottom of this economic pyramid.
Still not convinced? Then I have one word for you:
Now to the brown people who are seething because I haven’t mentioned the atrocities of the East India Company, the British Raj, or the wars in the Middle East… and classified these as contributions to racist ideals – ‘I aint mad at cha’ – in fact those are all contributions to executing the idea.
But these are all classified as foundations – which are usually characterised by acts of imperialism. It’s the application that then defines how a ‘race is placed in the pyramid’.
While the British were in India they immersed themselves in the culture. In fact they integrated with it so much so that many quintessential British nuances derive from things they learnt during their time in India.
‘Blighty’ comes from the Urdu ‘Bilayat’, meaning European. ‘Curry’ (which is a non-existent concept in India) is an official British cuisine… the list goes on… #Tea.
Considering the rule of Britain in India coincides with the slave trade from Africa – this gives us a very clear insight into how the British had strategically placed 2 races in the pyramid.
There were Indians who were enslaved and exported to the Caribbean – but again these Indians were much darker than those who were demoted to 2nd class citizens (not slaves). Playing into the idea of economic segregation through aesthetics – which had already existed in India long before any European set foot there I might add.
A great way to see the lasting effects of these wildly different approaches is again very visual…
Take the Asian and African diaspora in the west as an example. Wherever Asians find themselves in the world the first thing people will notice about them is that they are still very much immersed in the culture they have come from – even after 2 or 3 generations. When you go to your Hindu friends house it’s not uncommon for you to see it decorated with Vedic deities who date back to ancient times.
How often is it that you go to an African friends home and see Kemetic or Pwenetic deities? – Whose existence also coincides with ancient Vedic culture.
In fact, from my personal experience, when speaking to black friends who haven’t actively educated themselves on the true history of Africa – many can only share with me African history post slave trade. This is not me insulting the African diaspora – it’s shedding light on the result of destroying history to devalue culture.
While the Asians under European rule were ‘given permission‘ to hold onto their cultures, the Africans under European rule had theirs destroyed, and a new culture was ‘graciously donated‘. This particular tactic is part of the application and is a strong insight into the value of culture in any economic paradigm. So when a culture is completely ‘whitewashed’ at the time of colonialism and enslavement – it’s clear that this is a strategic ploy.
Many of my black friends and colleagues who have spoken to me about the acceptance of this culture, refer to it as ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘. This can be considered as part of the produce – as we are referring to an ingrained mentality.
Yes – bombs are being dropped and people are being killed across the Muslim world, small Indian and Chinese children are being forced to work in hostile conditions to piece together our #Swag. But the economic leaders of these communities are very much in cahoots with supplementing this economic pyramid.
Just look at Saudi Arabia, India and China as nations – all are considered to be economic partners of western nations and corporations… why?
Resources, infrastructure, unification. So long as there is a tacit acceptance that these nations can continue to grow their GDP from this system- they will be viewed in high regard.
This comes under development in the strategy – as we are redefining relationships for the benefit of 2 parties – or at least it seems that way!
So when these communities are viewed as economic partners in an economic pyramid – does this not place them higher in the structure?
Of course it does! If you were thinking no you’re being stubborn and silly!
Racism can be defined as the idea that an oppressed economic class is created using a combination of aesthetic and cultural distinction. People of African descent are the oppressed economic class who are the subject of this racist ideal.
I’m not being politically correct here – I’m calling a spade a spade.
Yes – many of us brown people face a myriad of prejudices and discrimination – but what we need to understand is that supporting an idea like #BlackLivesMatter does not mean that you are supporting the ‘black struggle’ and forgetting about the ‘brown plight.’
It means that you are addressing the very seed of the problem that we all face – by firstly acknowledging the economic structure in place, removing your personal attachments (because they have no place in economics) – and educating others that we are actually fighting a ‘business model’, not a bunch of mindless racists who hate for no reason… as convenient as that is to believe.
Businesses shut down when the idea is no longer relevant, wanted, or needed. You can attack the foundations, you can condemn the application, you can slander the legacy, disrupt the development and even stop consuming the produce…
But until you completely understand and obliterate the idea… they will always find a new way to build the model up again.
So if you truly want to be rid of racism – you don’t have to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter every second of the day – but you certainly need to accept that it is the first step in understanding what racism actually is.