Monday, 2 April 2012

Multiculturality: a truth that dare not speak it's name

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The backlash of global racism.

Racism in the western world is on the rise. Yes there are tracts of academia I could quote you to follow the tiresome conventions justifying and giving credence to such comments, but I’m going to resist that temptation. Those who oppose the real reality of racism do not do so because of a lack of facts, they do so because a lack of reason. Partly it’s a consequence of the psychological dissonance that personal prejudice relies upon and it partly derives from an ideological extreme right wing or right of centre liberal, political perspective that purposely designates racism as nothing more than a historical relic.

Here I am reminded of the words of the late 19th century Scottish Poet Andrew Lang who is quoted of saying of a rival with whom he disagreed, “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts: for support rather than illumination.”

 For so called post racist societies such as Britain and America (where the right wing deems the legitimate claims of racism, as representing nothing more than the inflated claims of a few uppity black people with chips on their shoulders), racism is on the rise. The facts, should you care to avail yourself of them, are plain to see and the internal radar that is built into black people’s DNA is registering the rise of racism.

Racial attacks, police racism, political marginalisation and economic exclusion (always real problems for our communities) are now reaching unprecedented levels.

The backdrop to this rise is of course the global financial crash. All history teaches us that when the economy declines racism rises. Scapegoating is that most ignoble bastion of politically wretched scoundrels whose careers must be maintained at any price. Such naked exploitation feeds and promotes peoples growing and genuine anxiety seeking to pin the blame for the economic ills of the nation on hoodies and hijabs instead of the real villains of the piece: bankers and politicians.  Neither is this trend confined to Britain. Evidence can be found of the rise of racism across the world in particular Europe, America, North Africa and Australia.

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Trayvon Martin shot dead in America by a white vigilante, George Zimmerman, who was sent home (facing no charges!) to enjoy dinner with his family.

 Mark Duggan was shot dead by the UK police and we now know that there is a danger that his inquest is likely to be held in secret behind closed doors. 

 TJ Hickey a 17 year old black boy form Australia who was rammed by a police car, impaled on a fence and subsequently died with no one held to account. Post Libya Africans are the enemy, in Italy, Africans are lynched and hounded, and in Russia and Germany the vilest fascist organisations are murdering back people whilst police and the authorities collude with racist killers.

In a city like London, such wilful ignorance of racism comes at some enormous cost. Former Mayor Boris Johnson’s schoolboy persona and comedic disposition was no joke for black people. His failure, and this was very much a personal failure, was his inability to see through his own parties’ folly and understand the powerful reality of race and racism in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
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Boris: the joke is over
This elite contempt for multiculturalism starts at the Prime Ministers Office and has spread throughout Government departments and local authorities at an alarming rate. 

The gains that were made post the death of Stephen Lawrence and the seminal McPherson report have all but been degraded over the last four years. Britain has returned to its historically defined culturally racist default setting that comes to the fore at all such times of great economic crisis, and that has given a green light to “institutional racism”.

1970’s saw the rise of the National Front and the hated SUS laws. 1980’s saw the rise of Thatcher, black unemployment and police brutality giving rise to civil disturbances. The 1990’s saw the rise of racist murders such as that of Stephen Lawrence, increased rate in deaths in police custody and the emergence of the BNP. This recession is on a scale that dwarfs previous recessions and has lead to unprecedented levels of racism

Like any disease or infection, failure to eradicate the virus can result in a resurgent infection that is usually much worse than the initial illness.

Racism and racial disadvantage, now even more powerful refracted through the lens of austerity, have become toxic of late. Black communities are reeling from a succession of policies that will promote racism and inequality. In this intolerant political culture all social and economic consequences of policy are ignored and race considerations are now an anathema for many working in the civil service and local authorities. The job of imposing these cuts has provided economic cover for ideological racism and its running dog:  institutional racism.

The very basis of our continued existence as a black community in Britain is at stake; such is the ferocity of the backlash.  The stakes are incredibly high, leading to the adoption of the continental trend of violent racism and democratically elected fascists. We simply cannot allow ourselves to be systematically pushed further down into the economic twilight zone and social chaos that increased rates of racism. To do so would be an abdication of our historic responsibility and the results would be that we bequeath to our children a society where racism is on the rise. That is not an option any community in British society can entertain without enormous cost. 

 Lee Jasper