Recently we have had and a spate of racially motivated injustices. In the US the deaths of George Floyd and here in the UK police tasering a Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara in front of his toddler. Let’s look at the way the system led to these acts that we all think are ‘abhorrent’. Yes, all of these incidents were videoed, documented and recorded, and no I will not tag the videos as BIPOC may be reading this, and I don’t want to exacerbate their trauma. I will say, however, that thank all that is good that filming now exists and gives us an indication of the injustices that go on around us.
One of the officers in George Floyd case Tou Thao, was allowed to punch and kick a handcuffed suspect ‘until his teeth broke’, there was a lawsuit that was settled out of court $25’000, now think, why was he was still an officer? Another police officer involved Derek Chauvin (below) has been investigated for three incidents; one including where a suspect was shot. It’s not looking good.
Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara (below) was tasered in front of his child on a petrol forecourt. At the same time, on the ground he continued to be tasered, I await the victim-blaming responses to this piece because no matter what the reason from what we saw that was excessive, in front of his young child that was completely unnecessary. Due to a call by the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham the IOPC are currently investigating the mobile phone and body camera footage.
I would point out that the victim-blaming of this man was almost as fast as the footage being released. No, I don’t care what the if the man being subjected to police brutality had been drinking and driving; he was the victim, again for the people at the back, HE WAS THE VICTIM. Scott Patterson (whose thread much of this piece is based on) expertly states and then asks that people drink and frequently drive how many white women are tasered, seen writhing face down while their child watches? This is a point I may come back to in a later piece.
Let’s put Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara into context and humanise him after many were quick to make him an act. Mombeyarara’s partner and mother of the 5-year-old child, died in 2016 after the north-west ambulance service failed to provide “the most basic care” according to the coroner. After suffering a fatal allergic reaction to painkillers, she was accused of ‘faking it’ by paramedics.
Looking at the use of force by the police:
With the chair of the IPOC (police watchdog) saying ‘We need to look closely between the relationship between ethnicity and the use of force.’
Stop and search also disproportionately targets black people; You are 25.6 more likely to stopped and searched in Dorset and 17.8 times more likely in Suffolk; if you are black rather than if you are white (2016).
Combined figures for England and Wales show black people were 40 times more likely to be stopped, up from 14 times in 2017.
Bringing it back to 2020 and the global pandemic the first person to be charged under the corona legalisation was a lone black woman, Marie Dinou, in the northeast on false charges; Don’t worry I’m not going to make comparisons to others in lockdown.
Now, we have an analysis from the National Police Chiefs’ Council charges by the corona law. Yes, black and brown people are disproportionally charged more frequently, and when they are, they are fined more. As of the 15th May, “All 44 charges brought under the Coronavirus Act since it was introduced on 27th March were incorrect, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed”.
My first point is that this is not the United States of America; this is the United Kingdom. This is us. The idea that at least we are not the USA or we are less racist is absurd, least racist is still racist. The process of deflecting to save ourselves denies we have a problem this further entrenches our societal position.
When a racial injustice happens, I see scores of white people condemning, offering their condolences and feeling physically sick at the thought of it. Let’s work this is through; The idea privilege comes from the premise that you leave your house and someone stuffs banknotes to your pockets (i.e. you have to apply for 80% more jobs if you have a Muslim sounding name to get an interview, same qualification, etc.) What people neglect to understand is that privilege comes from the oppression of the others, that money came from their pockets (Non-Muslims benefit from that discrimination) (Zeus Leonardo). White people benefit from the system we live within as do men, non-disabled people, etc. So, if you are ready to do something about it, I hate to tell you this, but we all had a part to play in those injustices.
All of the above incidents are not (or extremely rarely) caused by overt racism or hate. They are caused by the micro-aggressions (small daily indiscretions) which normalise the rhetoric and then the actions. Every time that a racist joke is told and you stay laughed or stayed silent, every time that you let a casual racist comment slide and all those times you didn’t want to ruin dinner because your racist uncle was talking crap lead to this.
If you normalise hate and othering no matter how small you create a base for this to build on, when you don’t challenge others, you contribute to the problem. When you question the validity of lived-in experience, you push us closer to the injustice. Yes, you and I are responsible.
This is the pyramid of white supremacy from Salisbury University. As you can see that the pyramid is based on the above interactions and without them the whole thing falls down. If you are interested in a fairer society here is some more reading about the racist to antiracist spectrum.
Now, put your anger and pity away – How are you going to disrupt this system? How are you going to stop the racism from its base? How are educating people to be different? Because if your answer is by airing you distaste on social media, doing very little, apathy or silence seriously you can keep your disgust because it is of no use and uphold the system leads to all of this.