X Close

Has BLM picked the wrong target? It's hard economics, not symbols, that will make the difference for black people

A BLM protester in Senegal. Credit: John Wessels/AFP/Getty

A BLM protester in Senegal. Credit: John Wessels/AFP/Getty


June 29, 2020   6 mins

I have spent the past month speaking to all the black people I know, and scouring the social-media feeds of many I don’t, trying to understand the explosion of emotions following the killing of George Floyd. I’ve tried to gauge what is driving these emotions in nearby London and faraway Lagos where I grew up.

While a black Brit may have personally experienced racism, chances are the Nigerian in Nigeria hasn’t. Yet both clearly seem to have shared something unifying in recent weeks, and I have wondered what exactly is at play here, beyond the ubiquitous and increasingly indefinite concept of ‘racism’. A discernible majority of the black opinion I have engaged points to the key role of another, slightly more specific, R-word: Respect.

The Nigerian who has never travelled abroad and the black Brit are united by a shared sense of global disrespect for the black race. The video of a white policeman casually snuffing the life out of George Floyd was a particularly humiliating reminder of that disrespect. Hence the outpouring of global support for the Black Lives Matter Movement from black people who otherwise face very different struggles in their everyday lives.

This feeling of disrespect has been articulated by Alicia Garza, the activist co-founder of BLM: “Black Lives Matter is not just concerned with what happens in policing. The disregard, disrespect, and lack of dignity for black life transcends through the fabric of our society.” Meanwhile, a recent CNN survey showed that 49% of black Britons have experienced disrespectful treatment from the police, compared to 26% of whites.

How literally we should be interpreting subjective evaluations of ‘respectful treatment’ might be an issue for debate, but what ultimately matters for race relations is that these feelings are out there. Public opinion on any issue hinges on popular perceptions. What the poll also revealed was that black Britons are significantly more likely to see racism as a major problem in Britain than other ethnic minorities.

On issues ranging from police treatment to minority chances of success, “the results are striking; it is often the case that black people are considerably more dissatisfied with race relations than other ethnic minorities”, said Chris Hopkins of Savanta ComRes who co-conducted the survey. This appears reflective of a feeling among many blacks that there persists an unspoken racial hierarchy which positions white people at the top, black people at the bottom and everyone else somewhere in between.

But is this feeling backed up by reality?

Whether it is Libyans selling black Africans into slavery, which is happening right now, Chinese people contemptuously discriminating against blacks in China, or Indians doing same in India, a general low regard for black people across the world does seem to be a constant. In fact, the reason we focus on racism in the West and not elsewhere is because western societies are the most responsive to black opinion. As a general rule, the Chinese, Indians and Arabs don’t seem to care very much whether we consider them racist or not. Their societies are openly assertive of their felt superiority.

So we know about the negative perceptions of black people created by slavery and colonialism, but what exactly is driving this hierarchy today? “White supremacist propaganda”, according to the BLM narrative. Western movies and media contain overt and covert messages propagating black inferiority. These are internalised by white people and others, including black people, thus sustaining global belief in black inferiority. Hence, the ongoing campaign to pull movies and TV shows deemed racist from the sites of Netflix et al.

However, even if we accept a racial hierarchy does exist, I think this particular approach is steeped in an excessive tendency to elevate the symbolic above the material when it comes to race. A belief that it is enough to stop white people from saying certain things for black dignity to become a given.

The “white-supremacist messaging drives global disrespect for black people and black self-hate” argument was technically plausible in the 20th-century, when Western entertainment and media were essentially the only game in town. But since the beginning of this century, we’ve lived in a world where people have access to multiple sources of information, can follow who they want on social media and one where Nigerians watch more Nollywood movies than Hollywood movies. Yet, white people are still welcomed with open arms everywhere while black people are often not. So what gives?

It is surprising to see radical Leftists so focused on white-supremacy ideology as the great explainer of racism, when Marx himself clearly argued it is the material which determines the ideological, rather than the other way around. We live in a capitalist world, hence, our values are shaped by capitalism’s values, both at conscious and subconscious levels. What does capitalism value most? Wealth and success. So these are what impress most of the world today.

It is why even intellectuals who love bashing capitalism make sure to emphasise they are “best-selling” authors on their social-media profiles. It is why most people adopt an instinctively respectful tone in the presence of the significantly successful. They listen to their words attentively, like they expect to hear something worth knowing. Because, like it not, the world has bought into the idea of success being an indicator of specialness.

As it works on an individual level, so it does on a group level. White and predominantly-white nations remain the richest and most successful nations in the world, while black ones remain the poorest and least successful. The rest of the world is somewhere in between. It is no coincidence the world’s informal racial hierarchy faithfully reflects its economic hierarchy.

Yes, the global economic status quo was arrived at often brutally and almost always unfairly. But no matter how many times we tell the story of slavery and colonialism, it will not change the material reality on the ground. The gargantuan wealth gap between the white and black races is by far the most influential factor shaping racial dynamics today. The combined GDP of 1.2 billion-strong Africa, where 90% of the black race lives, is smaller than that of 66 million-strong Britain. Such a disproportionate wealth and power gap is not conducive to balanced race relations.

It makes too many black destinies dependent on white action and white goodwill. It creates a reality in which the world regularly sees on its TV screens large numbers of black Africans risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, desperate to get into Europe. Because their own governments have failed them so badly, they see no opportunities for a better life back home. Surely, no one believes such realities don’t diminish global regard for blackness? Moral arguments are important, but given our experience of human nature, the surest and most realistic route to black people getting the global respect we so strongly desire, is by us becoming collectively wealthier and stronger.

Nigerian scholar and historian Toyin Falola characterised contemporary black-white relations thus: “If Europeans regarded Africans as the ‘primitive Other’, the colonial experience enabled Africans to construct themselves as a terrorised race, raped and exploited by the patriarchal, powerful ‘white Other’.”

This reactive construct of Africanness resembles very much the construct of global blackness offered by the BLM school of thought. The problem with this approach is that it appears more interested in portraying the present vulnerability of the black collective as a moral virtue rather than focusing on eliminating that vulnerability. It obsesses over the appeal and power of whiteness, instead of trying to figure out how to make blackness more appealing and powerful.

This construct may inspire the world’s sympathy, but it will not win its respect. Perpetual sympathy without respect means being viewed as a perpetual victim. I, for one, do not wish to be so viewed, and I suspect there are other black people who don’t either. The achievement of black strength and resultant respect can come from a consciously determined focus on black economic advancement within the diaspora populations and, crucially, in Africa. The Jewish story is a great example of collective vulnerability transformed into collective strength in the space of a generation. Powerless to stop their systematic slaughter during World War Two, Jewish leaders learnt the lesson that strength is the best guarantor of safety.

Today, the world doesn’t need to be told that the Jewish diaspora, backed up by the strong state of Israel, shouldn’t be pushed around. It is good to aim for a more morally fair environment, but wise to ensure that even if others are failed by their morals, you would not make an easy victim. Some of the greatest 20th-century black thinkers, such as Marcus Garvey and W.E.B Du Bois, recognised this need for black strength, hence their emphasis on the need for the emergence of powerful black nations.

I realise most black Britons were born here and have never even been to Africa, but the reality is that blackness will always be associated with Africa, the black ancestral homeland, just the way whiteness will always be associated with Europe. Black destiny and African destiny are inseparable. There are already great cultural collaborations between black Britain and African artistes: Nigerian afrobeat stars Fela Kuti and Wizkid are household names in black Britain. It is time for more economic bridge-building by actively seeking to boost business ties between black Britain and the African continent.

It was the first Black Pound Day this weekend, a planned monthly event encouraging people to popularise and patronise black-owned businesses in Britain. The brainchild of Swiss, a member of So Solid Crew, it is a much needed positive mobilisation of agency towards boosting black economic strength. With Britain seeking new trade relationships, this is a perfect moment to mobilise entrepreneurs to actively seek business opportunities in Africa while encouraging British consumers to buy Made in Africa products — whether that’s Ethiopian coffee, Kenyan roses or South African wine.

It is only if we consciously strive to harness and multiply our collective resources that a globally stronger black position can be achieved. One where no black person has to “ask” for equality or justice. One where black dignity is a given. The road to black respect lies in economics, not in sociology or history. And it is a road that must pass through Africa, the heart of the black race.


Dr Remi Adekoya is a Polish-Nigerian writer and political scientist. His book Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race, is available now.

RemiAdekoya1

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

130 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alison Houston
Alison Houston
4 years ago

Why don’t you mention Brexit? The Brexit campaign focused quite heavily on the improvements that would come for the third world if we could buy their products without imposing tariffs on them. We argued this point in the comments sections under the line for several years before the referendum, but of course we were told we were racists anyway.

Why don’t you mention the EU Defence Union and its patronising plans for the African continent, Tony Blair’s lot and their sneering ideas about what Europe and the West needs to be doing in Africa. You write as if you just had a good idea nobody else has thought of.

We ‘racist’, right wing so and so’s have been saying for decades that what the African continent needs is real free market capitalism, not charity, not exploitation by Communist China or huge Western Corporations or the EU, or devils like Tony Blair.

mcjones2
mcjones2
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Well said.

Jeffrey Shaw
Jeffrey Shaw
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

I think Unherd should consider giving Alison her own page here.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

“Why not free trade?” It has obtained for 20 yrs now with the US and Latin Am and its effect has been disastrous for the working class and the poor –export oriented capital intensive agriculture and manufacturing, destroying traditional small economies and once again creating massive migration adding to the already teaming slums of the metropolis to engage in either the pitifully small returns from the underground economy or the drug trade, etc.

Ellie K
Ellie K
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Astute comment! So-called free trade hasn’t worked out so well for the US either. “Free” global trade in the 20th and 21st centuries is not the frictionless, efficient, idealized marketplace envisioned by David Ricardo a long time ago.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Accurate and succinct, thank you
As to the African problem, let’s be perfectly honest, we really need to pick up the “White man’s burden”, as we used to say. Recolonisation would solve most, if not all of Africa’s systemic failures, but, sadly we are now well beyond caring.
The pernicious poison of Woke has so corroded our sense of responsibility, that we now luxuriate in a world of smug self satisfaction, that leaves Africa at the mercy of the unspeakable Chinese.

andy thompson
andy thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

You go girl! Excellent comment, ever thought about getting a page on here?; you’d be very good, very popular indeed. Well said.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

The Brexit campaign focussed on race and fear of dark skinned people invading the country in large numbers. If you expect people to believe it was well intentioned towards people of African origin then you are deluded and not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are.

On the bight side though trading with Africa will lower UK food prices.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
4 years ago

Funny, I don’t recall that from the brexit campaign. I do recall concern over almost exclusively white immigration from Eastern Europe.

trentvalley57uk
trentvalley57uk
4 years ago

Not so. We wanted control of immigration not the FOM from the EU. We also had concerns about the growing muslim people and terrorism plus their perchance for pushing their cultural and religious ideologies beyond tolerance backed up by a radical contingent with little respect for our country or culture.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago

The Brexit campaign focussed on race and fear of dark skinned people invading the country in large numbers.

That is demonstrably false.

You are displaying either your dishonesty or ignorance if you still try and pretend that “fear of dark skinned people ” drove the wish for the UK to leave the EU.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Brilliant!

When I was a kid we used to send in stamps, milk bottle tops and old woollen socks to the Blue Peter appeals.
Then there was Live Aid….and that was almost 40 years ago.

Nothing has changed. War, famine, disease, resource plunder and exploitation has increased, not decreased.

If the world really wanted a functioning Africa, it would have been so by now. That it is still a dysfunctional continent is testament to the global corporate run wars that divide nations in order to thieve whats theirs. Africa is just how they want it.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Famine has not increased. There are fewer people starving now than at the time of Live Aid.
The exploitation of Africa is a different story; it’s being done by the Chinese now.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
4 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

https://ourworldindata.org/

Hmmm…splitting hairs there really

And re Chinese in Africa…certainly, but western global corps inc are still very active in resource acquisition and arms sales.

The point remains, that it is not beyond the wit of man to have solved the problems in Africa, it’s just that we don’t want to.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

I’m very doubtful of your hypothesis “Famine has not increased”. A while ago I read a feel-good article flaunting the World reduction in poverty of the previous year. I took the numbers in the article and compared with global population. The quoted “number of people removed from poverty” for the previous year was less than the population increase. I.e. poverty had increased.

The reason for such articles is that the fashion for virtue signalling amongst the ignorant requires such ego-polishing stories.

Peter Samuel
Peter Samuel
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

“Corporate run wars” Rubbish.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Samuel

Have a look at the DRC, and then have a look at your mobile phone, your laptop, desktop, do you have SatNav..that too.
None of your electronics would work without tantalum capacitors. And where is the easiest supply of coltan (from which tantalum is extracted) found. That’s right, Essex…actually no it isn’t, it all comes from DRC.

25 MILLION DEAD UP TO 2018, but they’re deffo not corporate run wars? So, who exactly needs the capacitors?

Apple
Samsung
Erikson
Huawei
etc…

But theydidndonuffink…?

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
4 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Absolutely right, trade not aid.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

China steals African oil wealth and even imports Chinese labor to do it.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
4 years ago

BLM is not an antiracist organisation. BLM has deliberately picked the wrong target because its aims are to bring about a Marxist society. BLM’s only interest in racism is to use it to attack so-called capitalist societies. This is why BLM doesn’t care about racism outside of so-called capitalist societies.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 years ago

It certainly feels like a shakedown stateside – and it’s working. Hundreds of companies are ‘paying fealty’ to BLM in hundreds of millions of dollars, all of it being collected on-line by ActBlue.com for BLM. BLM threatens society, institutions and individuals – it’s is frightening and people are ‘lock & loaded’ frightened. Exhibit A is the St. Louis couple who pulled out guns as protesters marched by their property, after said protesters illegally entered a gated community to ‘hunt down’ the local mayor. This is not going to end well.

Richard Gibbons
Richard Gibbons
4 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I have read that BLM are not spending the money on Black Lives but ActBlue are using it to support white democrats like Biden and Pelosi as well as creating chaos around the world. Can anyone confirm this or point me in the direction of any further research on this matter.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 years ago

So they say. ActBlue is ‘collecting’ the funds, but it’s not clear how they are being distributed. Since it’s a private site no one will ever know. That said, we can assume Democrats, white Democrats are benefiting.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
4 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Plus they allow anti semitism at their marches.

https://www.google.se/amp/s

Carolyn Jackson
Carolyn Jackson
4 years ago

That is shocking and depressing. Haven’t these idiots learned anything from the past?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago

Yes, the money is going to the Democrats. Styxhexenhammer666 and, I think, Tim Pool have detailed this on their podcasts.

Marian Baldwin
Marian Baldwin
3 years ago

ActBlue is software that makes it easy to give to a progressive group or to the Democrat of your choice. The tips go to supporting the company. It is not one big bucket of “blue” gold. The donor decides who is to get their money.

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago

Only two groups of blacks matter to BLM, both dead: the victims of white slavers, and the tiny contemporary group killed by white cops. That tells you who the racists are. Also, as these anti-democratic fanatics never protest or protect the lives of living blacks, they deserve to be called BDM: black deaths matter.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
4 years ago

So, being the worst of all worsts, a straight white male, over Sixty, a staunch brexiteer, and supposedly a Nazi, a racist, a slave trader, and a white supremacist to boot, it seems, I am the lowest of the low in a country that used to belong to me. What happened? When did I become such a repellent human being? How did this happen? Did I somehow change into a man that thinks his race is “superior” to another overnight? At what point in my life did I wake up, and wonder how I could suppress a few black people today? According to the liberal left and the media, I spend every waking minute looking to join the next “clan” movement, the next gay bashing group, the next wife-beater club, the next far-right extremist group. Well, I,ve just been through the phone book, and I’m damned if I can find any of these clubs. Where do they live?, who are they?, Why have I never met any of these white supremacist types? I wanted to run around wearing a hoody, and committing some extreme acts of violence against the immigrant community, destroying business’s, property, and hurling abuse and missiles at the police, but the only organisation I could find who would cater for my deranged needs where Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA? WTF?. So, next I thought I’d have a look at British and European law, to see where all this systemic racism and white supremacy comes from. It must be in the legislation and statute laws?..Surely? It must be written into law somewhere that white people are a “protected” group? Well,…it’s the exact opposite. It seems every man and his dog is “protected” under the law, but not this straight white British male. So, until I can find my nearest clan organisation, I suppose I’ll just have to continue to be a law-abiding useful member of society, and save my latent racist tendencies until I can find the other 17.4 million racists who reside in this country.

Adrian
Adrian
4 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

I think you are conflating the situation in the USA with the one in Britain.

I am frustrated that American politics have been imported here, including into our academia, because we are not the same countries.

However the USA is, to the best of my knowledge, unbelievably segregated. The idea that black and white people actually do live cheek-by-jowl in the same streets in Britain is shocking to many Americans I’ve spoken to over the years.

I do agree that either all groups should be protected, or no groups should be protected in law, and I suspect that British white males are protected in law, even if the law is not enforced. Non-white people do get extra hate tarrifs slapped on them in court, there was for instance a domestic abuse case where an extra tarrif was applied because of the perpetrators use of language to his white girlfriend.

The problematic laws are the ones (usually in employment law) where the principle of mens rea was removed, and the perception rather than intention of words was given undue importance, and created an atmosphere where the open discussion of race even existing was turned into a legal minefield. I believe this has had a harmful effect, as younger interviewees have no idea why their interviewers are clearly treading on eggshells.

However I’m sad about this state of affairs not angry. Unfortunately the law of unintended consequences follows simply because most of the upper middle classes shaping the rules are book learners, and simply don’t have the imagination to forecast the ill effects which will result from their disregard for ancient and hard-won principles of fairness.

andy thompson
andy thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Mate I’m with you on your every single point and very well said too I may add. Unfortunately however I am gay so therefore even further down the disrespected caste than yourself (or am I up, not being a rainbow banner waving gay activist leftie I’m even more confused than you in where I’m supposed to sit in the great auditorium of life these days) Tell you something though I’m bleddy glad that I am in my 60’s…..our fathers and grandfathers would have thrown their arms up in despair and walked off had they foreseen the disgraceful and shameful mess this country is now. “Stop the world I want to get off” as they do say….

Carolyn Jackson
Carolyn Jackson
4 years ago
Reply to  andy thompson

The fact that you’re not a leftie despite being gay means that the left have reserved special opprobrium for you! Anyone of ‘their’ group who steps out of line is beyond the pale and can have racist, sexist and homophobic language used against them.

Mary Moor
Mary Moor
4 years ago

And what about the mixed raced population, what are we supposed to do. Although I must admit I do like having a white side, as after a racial slur, I would look that person straight in the eye, and say my Father is as white as you. That usually shuts them up. I have never met all this racism they are talking about. The Africans seem to have forgotten the difference between racism and criticism, you can’t say anything that goes against them. The average Brit like me just sees they have been on this island for less then a generation,and they know nothing about our history, but not
realising we have come a long way in race relationships, I know on a personal scale I have seen it. But if they are told no it is racism, if they can’t have it then it’s racism. They don’t seem to get you can’t have it if we ain’t got it. I have worked hard for everything I have. It’s about time they realised there is two sides to a debate, and if you work hard you can achieve.

Adrian
Adrian
4 years ago
Reply to  Mary Moor

I think you are wrong. Since the financial crash, for young people, cut out of the housing market, working hard may simply result in treading water.

Without a future, richer, happier, self to identify with, populist groups on both sides hark back to an identity rooted in an imagined past.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

« cut out of the housing market«

I’m always a bit amazed by this complaint. Sure it’s good to be able to buy your own house, and yes something should have been done to keep the housing market under control – but not having a mortgage is not the height of human suffering.

Only a short time ago people struggled to put food on the table. You really have to be pretty entitled to think that if you can’t afford to buy property you have been terribly short changed.

Adrian
Adrian
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I agree. Still it stands that many people’s image of who they are is either about where they are going or where they are from.
A healthier view of “who I am”, might be rooted in the present: “Who am I given what I am doing for the people around me, right now?”
However, I’m not exactly practicing that at the moment, so I shouldn’t really be preaching it.

trentvalley57uk
trentvalley57uk
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I find this really annoying. Sure the big opener was right to buy council homes. I think that still applies. All my kids are buying their own homes. All earn low to medium salaries. They worked as couples, saved and bought houses in need of renovation to improve over time. The young today receive salaries in line with general house market prices. They should do the same. And yes paying the mortgage can still be a struggle

Carolyn Jackson
Carolyn Jackson
4 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Why do you think young people are ‘cut out of the housing market’? I’m 57 and for most of my life had to rent. When my inlaws died my husband inherited enough to buy a house. My inlaws weren’t rich, both came from poor households, but they worked damn hard for what they had. When I was younger we didn’t expect to leave home and immediately be able to buy a house, but it appears that so many do these days.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago

A discernible majority of the black opinion I have engaged points to the key role of another, slightly more specific, R-word: Respect.

A really good piece.

I suspect that respect is also an issue for poor whites in both the US and U.K. I remember an American comedian pointing out that poor whites are haunted by the sense that they shouldn’t be. The open contempt of the elite for poor whites must hit hard.

Just to add an extra nuance: poor urban blacks (especially in the US) are perceived as being both poor and cool. It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on just how odd and unusual this is. And it certainly doesn’t apply to poor whites.

Also, in response to black suffering (at least in the UK and US), the elites respond, big capital responds, academics are outraged and white, upper middle class kids flood onto the streets. It’s hard to imagine this happening for any other group, racial or otherwise. And certainly not for poor whites.

I in no way want to take issue with your article – but these are odd nuances in the story. In the west we have a strangely ambivalent attitude to black people, which I don’t think is shared by openly racist countries like China.

parishbooks49
parishbooks49
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

David is right to raise the issue of poor whites being haunted by the lack of respect. I recall only too well my experiences at a Direct Grant Grammar School in the 60’s, of being judged by my Lancashire accent, of a friend being told in the early 80’s by domestic servants at a CofE theological college that students would often just ignore the domestic staff exhibiting total lack of basic courtesy.
I was fortunate though also to be educated in the 60’s with free access to classical concerts, music tuition, large municipal libraries, museums and art galleries free university studies – investments in a sense of well-being for poor whites (as we were then predominantly). We need to double down again on investments in education and skills.

Mark Anderson
Mark Anderson
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Just so, David. Respect that comes from the ability to work to secure your future.

Here in America, middle-aged white, working class men are dying in such numbers that they are bringing down our national average life expectancy–the so-called “deaths of despair.” Born in the 60’s and 70’s, these men had every reason to belief that they would thrive, yet technology, globalization, and liberal immigration policies have decimated the workforce. Ironically, black men have been more resilient.

Simon Latham
Simon Latham
4 years ago

The disrespect narrative, like the systemic racism narrative, is a slippery and unhelpful one. Blackness is appealing to white British people and whether via Hollywood, sport or music, the likes of Morgan Freeman, Idris Elba, Usain Bolt, Rio Ferdinand, Stevie Wonder & Shirley Bassey (take your pick, the choice is enormous) enjoy great respect. In the UK, skin colour is no barrier to success. As said elsewhere, BLM protests are politically inspired, opportunistic, neo Marxist affairs, and will damage race relations. This an 83% white country, so a minority population may well feel under-represented or discriminated against, even if they are not.
The main threat to black lives comes from black on black violence and the “gangsta” culture that resists education as the route to success and leads to a disproportionate number of unemployed, criminal and incarcerated black men. It is worth noting how much the UK has adapted to suit its minority ethnic groups and that it is still a favoured destination for migrants, from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Latham

Within higher education, that bastion of Marxist orthodoxy, a number of African black people I know question why British black people are so unhappy, and lazy. The results are clear to see come graduation, with the African blacks beating the British blacks hands down, because they’ve not be indoctrinated since birth to believe that ‘society’ owes them something and that they are ‘victims’ of said society.

Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Latham

Can you answer this question: why did Obama choose to identify as Black? Why didn’t he choose his mother’s ‘race’ to promote himself?

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Latham

Idris Elba will certainly have to work hard if he is ever to be cast in a film as a baddie! The blatant racism in baddie casting is there for all to see – 99% of the time these roles are reserved for white males.

Nunya Bizniss
Nunya Bizniss
4 years ago

Some interesting thoughts in this piece. I do wonder though whether stereotypical perceptions of the continent (accurate or otherwise) are equally unhelpful to the desire to achieve respect.

These would likely include: –

– Tribal / factional warfare; including (as mentioned) the continued slaving of various groups by various others.

– Widespread corruption and misappropriation of wealth and resources.

– Levels of population growth that cannot be sustained within the existing infrastructure.

Contrary to much of the rhetoric regarding “whiteness” (and privilege, for that matter) in recent years, there is no unifying “white culture” across Europe and its diaspora. Would anyone seriously claim that stereotypes (evolutionary shorthand) for French, German, American, Australian or Bulgarian nationals (white or otherwise) are even vaguely “the same”? Even at national level, differences across populations in the UK are well documented. Race is barely one factor.

Likewise, I don’t doubt that, if individual national “phenotypes” were better known to the rest of the world, that some African nations would be ranked “higher” than others, based on a host of characteristics that humans value relative to other traits.

As the author rightly says, the challenge for Africa is to change perceptions. Though I fear that won’t be a quick fix. As someone said to me recently (in response to a charity advertisement asking for funds to build wells), “We’ve been building wells in Africa for 50+ years, surely they must have enough by now?”

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
4 years ago
Reply to  Nunya Bizniss

I’m glad that you’ve written this. Thanks

Alan Hall
Alan Hall
4 years ago
Reply to  Nunya Bizniss

“We’ve been building wells in Africe ….” The problem is most are built by well-meaning, but often weak, NGOs and last only a short time. Africans must build their own wells and what we in the west need to do (and Brexit is an opportunity) is have free trade with African countries so they can build their economies. Chinese imperialism threatens this and risks taking Africa backwards. This is a good article and I look forward to his new book. Well done UnHerd for giving us a new writer.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  Nunya Bizniss

My joke is that we must have built so many schools in Africa that there are enough for every child to have a school to themselves.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago

The Jewish story is a great example of collective vulnerability transformed into collective strength in the space of a generation.

Your piece has set me thinking.

While you are historically right about the Jewish story, it is not right that this has disposed of antisemitism. Nor was it the case that that antisemitism was based on lack of Jewish success or prosperity. The Jews were a classic middle man minority, successful as such but despised and resented by the “host” population. And the creation of Israel has led to further antisemitism, especially on the left. The situation of Asians in Uganda was similar. And their success in the UK seems to be beginning to make them a target for the “anti racists”.

So, whether it applies to blacks or not, we cannot take it as a general rule that an association with poverty is the source of racism, nor that political or economic success gets rid of it.

Contrary to the various “out of the box” explanations peddled by academic grievance mongers, we perhaps have to say that the causes of racism are multiple and situational and that the psychological mechanisms at work are various.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I may have this wrong but I thought that Remi Adekoya was saying that it’s not racism that’s the problem although black people are framing it that way. He is saying the problem is actually respect or the lack of it and it is this that is caused by lack of economic success.
He is then saying that if black people focused on success they would achieve that respect and find that there’s far less racism about than they suppose.
What he is not saying is that poverty is the source of racism …. which you have cleverly stated doesn’t apply to successful Jewish people. Poverty is a result of lack of success which then leads to a lack of respect which then leads black people to believe that racism exists even when it doesn’t.
As for the Jewish people they were/are often handy scapegoats.
I thought this a very interesting article.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 years ago

I’ve been thinking about this essay since I read it a few hours ago. It’s certainly a unique and worthwhile ‘thought piece’ or perspective to consider. That said, ‘respect’ has to be earned, it’s just the nature of being ‘respectful’. In the United States, in NYCity in particular where I have lived for 35 years, the urban black community does itself no favor in this regard. Ditto, other urban black communities across the country. Crime and bad behavior are at all time highs. The murder rate in Chicago and black-on-black violence is appalling; it’s said more blacks have been killed since the Vietnam War than the war itself – about 50K. Where is black leadership?Instead we get race-baiters and hucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who spout ‘grievance politics’ & insist on claiming ‘victimhood’, all while other immigrant and minority communities are climbing the ladders of success by going and staying in school and investing in their own futures. Where are the contemporary MLK’s? Obama was just about MIA during his eight years of his Presidency and since then has gone Hollywood, producing films, rather than addressing the black community’s concerns. Makes one wonder why he wanted the Presidency anyway. Clearly, money for him has been an allurement. One thing is for sure – if the black community thinks they are going to get handed ‘wealth’ on a platter without working for it – staying in school, getting educated, not having babies until marriage and then actually getting married (the black illegitimacy rate = 70-75%) – they are in for a big surprise. Perhaps that’s why BLM is threatening to ‘burn it all down’ if they don’t get what they are demanding.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I think you have said it all, particularly with regard to the US.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 years ago

Hmm- what about China’s incursion into Africa and the abuse that is resulting, ie. when Africa can’t pay their debts on a project, they are being ‘forced’ to turn over the assets to China, like mines? Why don’t Africans demand better government – why do they put up with despotic leaders who extort gov’t funds, are corrupt & encourage corruption?

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

The other point that needs to be made about this is that while everyone is pulling down statues of the imperialists of yesteryear, a whole new wave of imperialism is establishing itself in Africa.

cpdobbinson
cpdobbinson
4 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

“Why don’t Africans demand better government – why do they put up with despotic leaders who extort gov’t funds, are corrupt & encourage corruption?”

Because when they try to get rid of their despotic leaders they get beaten up and even killed by the police and army which are under the control of the despotic leaders? Despotic leaders do not abide by a code of ethics based on equality and fairness in their dealings with anyone opposing them? They just get rid of them?

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

No “white guilt” by the Chinese? Perhaps the Chinese need for productivity and hence order will help improving governments in Africa. Either by Chinese force, or by Chinese money.

Richard
Richard
4 years ago

The BLM campaign borders on fascism. They beleive they have the right to tell everyone how to think, they control our history, they decide who we can have statues of, they decide what our universities can teach. Bit like China

William Cameron
William Cameron
4 years ago

I claim a rare perspective on this having grown up (white) in West Africa and then come to Britain. My Memories of West Africa are pretty much all good . Warm colourful, friendly . The People were genuinely lovely . They were friendly and good humoured and honest and hard working. They were very poor for the most part but not in spirit. And they would share their dinner without a second thought. Oppressed ? They didnt seem to be. Unhappy ? No. What went wrong in Britain ?

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
4 years ago

Hi Michael – There’s the old saying “If a man fails to keep pace with life, it may be because he hears a different drummer”. I think this applies to many black people in the West. As Remi Adekoya points out, in the West the drumming is capitalistic with all its advantages and disadvantages. This is not so, I imagine in West Africa or probably all sub-Saharan Africa. So black people in the west, especially men, are in all sorts of trouble. I don’t see a way out of this.

Lillian Fry
Lillian Fry
4 years ago

Aid to African countries from the International aid agencies and banks deserves more scrutiny in this discussion. Money has been shoveled out to former colonies and it ends up largely in the pockets of corrupt officials. I lived in the Ivory Coast 50 years ago and when I read about conditions in African villages today, things haven’t changed much. People are still buffeted by natural phenomena beyond their control.

It is to be noted that subSaharan Africans who emigrateto the US do very well, outpacing native born whites in education and economic success. Why is this? Racism doesn’t explain it. There is a lot of tension between native and immigrant blacks on this basis that has led native blacks to reject Africans in for example black student organizations on campus.

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
4 years ago
Reply to  Lillian Fry

Immigrants from Africa to the USA are likely cream of the crop. Highly educated and wealthy.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
4 years ago
Reply to  Lillian Fry

It’s because those who leave are the best educated and have the best resources. The elite leave, draining their country of opportunities.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago

“The video of a white policeman casually snuffing the life out of George Floyd was a particularly humiliating reminder of that disrespect.” Sadly like many you wish to believe the Marxist Burn Loot Murder, as one American BLACK commentator describes it, narrative, backed up by our lying ‘press’. George Floyd died whilst in Police custody, according to the initial autopsy from multiple factors, and until and unless that now former Police officer is convicted in a court of law of 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree please murder consider your words carefully, even Police officers have the right to be presumed innocent until PROVEN otherwise. The timing was however perfect for the now expected attack on the US Republican party and sitting President, being election year, if you want disrespect the Demonrats candidate gave us a perfect example #YouAintBlack

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago

Like most leftists, BLM only accuse whites of racism, so revealing their own racism. As ‘white’ western democracy is probably the least racist and most tolerant in human history, that is why BLM has the wrong target.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago
Reply to  nickhuntster

We have the “white guilt”, unlike the Chinese, Indians, Libyans etc.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
4 years ago

Frankly I believe the author is simply jumping on the current bandwagon. The piece sounds like an intellectual whinge aimed at attracting attention for his up coming publication. I have lived and worked in Africa and snivelling about wanting and demanding respect from white people is a victim-hood mentality. It will not wash. Everyone is an individual and to target one group/race as special will never succeed.
One point that may help, if you wish to live in a foreign country – learn the language! Speak clearly. Respect the law.
If I wished to live in Poland or Nigeria I would have to speak the language. You can’t have it both ways.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
4 years ago

They are targeting exactly the right things for their cause – it’s just that their cause is not the enhancement of black lives as many, many (of all colours) have pointed out by their refusal to condemn any death that is not perpetrated by whites. There is a huge amount of research on the importance of a stable family and a father figure in gaining success in life. Prisons are basically fatherless boys’ clubs. Black Americans suffer disproportionately from this. Yet BLM’s manifesto includes the destruction of the nuclear family concept. No matter how you view it, or how overly simplistic it is to focus on a single cause, you simply cannot reconcile that position with anything other than a simple anti establishment goal.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
4 years ago

You want respect? Earn it.

I’ve spent many year working and living in Africa. I have great respect for one or two of my black colleagues – the rest don’t deserve it.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

I think that’s exactly the author’s point. That black people are blaming racism for their own shortcomings when really their shortcomings are to do with a lack of success which in turn is leading to others not respecting them. So, if they can as you say “earn it”, which is the only way, then they will achieve that success, that respect and miraculously discover that there really isn’t half as much racism around as they think.

Martin Byrne
Martin Byrne
4 years ago

Good read. I have always felt that the driver is economic. Poverty drives exclusion and discrimination across a range of social issues, but I see no relationship between, for example BLM,and real change that will benefit those at the wrong end of the economic slice up.
It may be a reflection of my own short comings, but the more I see the violence associated with the demos in the USA, and the constant virtue signaling from the millionaire successful black people, and the almost crazy world inhabited by the WOKE mob, which seems more intent on reintroducing segregation than making real change happen, the more I stop listening. I just do not see how change can be achieved when it is near impossible to have a grown up conversation on any subject. I agree completely that this is a great opportunity to grow improved economic ties with African nations, but how, when every initiative would be shouted down as ‘colonial interference’ by the very groups that claim to want change. As we have seen with some of the comments aimed at Priti Patel, unless one is saying what the WOKE mob want to hear, ethnicity, race, country of birth are irrelevant. .

David Radford
David Radford
4 years ago

Something really puzzles me about different minority groups in the UK. Almost 25% of the nation’s top footballers are black and athletes in general include many eminent black people. But in business and politics Indians and Pakistanis are much more noticeable. This suggests that different racial groups may have different aspirations. I support BLM but wonder why this disparity exists.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Perhaps it’s because different ethnic groups exploit their comparative advantage. Just like Jews, who were forbidden to own(land) property over centuries in Europe so they became money lenders which was a ‘portable profession’.

D Glover
D Glover
4 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Having different aspirations is not the same as having different abilities.
People of west African descent excel as sprinters; people from east Africa do best as distance runners.
It would be shameful genetic determinism to suggest that there was any biological basis for this……..

David George
David George
4 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Agree David, aspirations are a lot of it; you’re not going to get to A if you’re aiming at B.
Of course everyone says they’d like to be financially secure etc. but that’s just words if they are doing little or nothing to achieve it. Watch what people do not what they say.

Bill Gaffney
Bill Gaffney
4 years ago

Red, Yellow, Black or White you have my respect…if you earn it. Otherwise…

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
4 years ago

“Yes, the global economic status quo was arrived at often brutally and almost always unfairly.”

Are you not falling into the same fallacy as the historical illiterate, who believe that if we can judge the past by the moral standards of the present, then we can condemn the decedents of that past and punish them in the present?

Economical speaking, exploitation and plunder were long term barriers to economic progress. The modern world was built on the explosion in productivity brought about by the scientific revolution. It was this that built Western dominance, not colonialism, which was frequently critiqued as a drain on national resources, even at the height of Empire.

This founding myth is one of the sources of much of damaging culture wars played out today.

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago

Like all Marxist insurrectionary movements, BLM’s target is capitalist democracy. Its leaders now even confess this goal. But they don’t admit to using white racism as the main weapon to cause chaos and seek political power. However, its obvious that only two groups of black people matter to BLM, and they are both dead. The first are the ancient victims of white US slavery, and the second are the tiny group of black lives taken by white US cops in recent times. BLM does not protest any actual slavery, the slow genocide of Christian Nigerians, the black abortion holocaust (pro-lifer slogan: ‘the most dangerous place for an African-American today is in the womb’), or the violent black Americans responsible for about 94% of black homicide victims in the US today. That’s because white people cannot be named, blamed, shamed nor attacked in these cases. As only blacks killed by whites are useful to BLM’s extremist agenda, it should be called ‘BDM’, or BlackDeathsMatter’. Like any communist movement, it is a profoundly deceitful group manipulating popular emotion for use in its violent and racist onslaught against western ‘white’ culture, which is probably the least racist and most tolerant in human history. That is why I say BLM has ‘the wrong target’. More of this argument here: https://medium.com/@nickhun

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 years ago

For me the problem is that blacks have become the Little Darlings of the educated ruling-class.

Remember the white working class? The educated intelligentsia looved them, back in the day. Today in the US and the UK the white working class is universally reviled by all good-thinking people.

Today the educated intelligentsia loooves black people. You think it will do blacks any good? Hello white working class?

Ocxl Ocxl
Ocxl Ocxl
4 years ago

Thank you for your reasoned debate, I learnt something and feel a bit more informed.

vince porter
vince porter
4 years ago

In “Intellectuals and Society”, Thomas Sowell argues that it is counterproductive to hang on to that which has NOT worked for you. Yet, the Left has turned culture into a fetish and are demanding that the very things that have not worked for black people, indigenous people, etc. be protected. It may look noble and worthwhile to protect a language with 100 speakers, but, how will it advance one’s life’s chances? A good command of English would serve much better as it did for the Scots who, after adopting English, was able to produce a David Hume, and Adam Smith, and numerous others. Adopting that which has worked for people is the safest route to success – and, respect.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
4 years ago

Have I got this right? I shouldn’t judge and respect black people by the content of their character but by the size of their bank balance?

alex.wright8787
alex.wright8787
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

What an intentional missing of the point. Either you lack in the critical faculties to understand what he’s written or you’re pretending to not understand it as it challenges your long held belief that all you have to do is be nice to black people who are nice to you and racism will fall away. Which is it?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
4 years ago

You may be right with your first point. As to your second: you know absolutely nothing about me. Nor indeed the colour of my skin.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

I think the author is saying not that you should, but simply that we do.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
4 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Who is the “we”?

People from Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe & Ghana (all black) have been very keen to point out to me that Africa is made up of a multiplicity of countries, religions, cultures, tribes, languages and histories. Together with a multiplicity of relationships with each other and other African countries, and former colonial occupiers.

Ditto people in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe and what could be loosely called the European diaspora. It’s not whiteness that binds us together. Anymore than a young bloke from Norwich whose grandparents came from Antigua is bound to Africa for no other reason than he’s black.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

“Who is the “we”?”

Human beings in general. We tend to be impressed by wealth, and those who have it know this and tend to make display of it.

bramma58
bramma58
4 years ago

The solution to Africans’ perception is in the Indian caste system. A community cannot rise up the hierarchy only if a few individuals succeed. The entire community must succeed by attaining wealth and power in order to rise up in stature. Many downtrodden castes in India have attained higher stature. The caste system as result is also loosing it’s rigidity with increasing mixed marriages.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  bramma58

However the caste system is alive and well here in the UK though, as I know only too well being a Dalit.

Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper
4 years ago
Reply to  bramma58

What? Surely hinduism constitutes the archetypal racist discourse. It’s not subject to an evolutionary ‘loosening’ even in the west

markofsoreo
markofsoreo
3 years ago

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is an annual prize awarded to a former African executive head of state or government. On eight of the twelve years it has been offered, no leader has been found worthy of the award.[1]
it is corruption that holds Africa back. if you want respect, you must be trusted. if you want economic prosperity you must be responsible. how many stories have we seen of kleptocrats pilfering their nations resources? or foreign provided aid?

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago
Reply to  markofsoreo
Michael McVeigh
Michael McVeigh
4 years ago

The greatest pointers to economic success are conscientiousness & cognitive ability. We need honest conversations in a positive and constructive manner which will help Africa become what it could be.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago

‘…the surest and most realistic route to black people getting the global respect we so strongly desire, is by us becoming collectively wealthier and stronger.’

Exactly. And I have said this 1000 times or more. There is no reason why much or most of Africa should not be prosperous and powerful.

william83
william83
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If it is in the nature of a people not to be prosperous and powerful, no amount of exhortations will change the situation.

mike otter
mike otter
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Apart of course from the Chinese debt bondage that is gradually replacing the world bank and IMF version of the same.

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
4 years ago

The basic truth that must be understood by anyone entering this debate is that Black Lives Matter and associated Marxist groups have no interest in the welfare of minority ethnic races nor, for that matter, of anyone else

These people couldn’t care a fig about Mr Floyd. Indeed, they are delighted – overjoyed – at the shocking manner of his death, and the platform it has given them to promote their noxious ideologies.
These antidemocratic left wing groups are themselves the new totalitarians, heirs to the Nazis, the Bolshevics, China’s Red Guards in the 1960s, the Taliban, the Kymer Rouge and all of history’s other grisly purveyors of political mass murder.
They denounce historical slavery while plotting the future enslavement of whole peoples through censorship and the suppression of legal rights and freedoms under their brutal authority. The Chinese Communist party is at it as we speak in Hong Kong and, if they can get away with it, in Taiwan as well.

There’s more slavery now than there was when it was abolished two hundred years ago. Those who ‘take the knee’ should understand the evil at the heart of what they are supporting and anti democratic political thuggery must be shown up for what it is.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
4 years ago

A problem I have is that sometimes we are not supposed to notice a persons ethnicity and other times we are berated for not noticing it. A person was killed, but I am obliged to notice his colour because that is important to the most vociferous group of people protesting.
On the other hand, I am supposed to go along with, for instance, ‘colour blind casting’, no matter how confusing this may be in the context of what I am watching.
I am told that colour does not matter but then ‘I May Destroy You’ is praised as a black production.
I am not trying to be obnoxious, but I am confused.

agsmith.uk
agsmith.uk
4 years ago

I agree that respect has to be ‘earned’ and it may well be true that black people share a sense that they are not collectively respected by white people. However, I don’t believe that it is as simple as either that or that respect will be necessarily gained by a sea change in black owned wealth. The reason I say that is because I do not think that either black or white people see themselves as homogeneous. Both black and white people have certain ‘respect’ issues amongst themselves. It is more the sense of nation and belonging that causes divisions. The question ‘is this person someone I can live alongside’, as in my ‘fellow countryman’ is a part of human nature and therefore a very powerful emotion. Trust comes into it.

hammedakinyemi
hammedakinyemi
4 years ago

I strong believe that wealth disparity is the reason for racial injustice against blacks all over the world. If Africa, ‘the home nation of blackness’ is languishing in abject poverty and has to depend on charity & humanitarian works from foreign nations to get access to the basic necessities of life like clean water, it desecrates the image of black people over the world.

mike otter
mike otter
4 years ago
Reply to  hammedakinyemi

Totally agree, the sentiment in the song “if you’re so smart how come you ain’t rich” can be applied to any society at anytime. Now we have a global perspective the comparator is made on racial and cultural scale rather than Louis Jordan laughing at the shirkers in his neighbourhood.

Bill Bolwell
Bill Bolwell
4 years ago

Wikipedia”Š”Š”Australia
Literature suggests infanticide may have occurred reasonably commonly among Indigenous Australians, in all areas of Australia prior to European settlement. Infanticide may have continued to occur quite often up until the 1960s. An 1866 issue of The Australian News for Home Readers informed readers that “the crime of infanticide is so prevalent amongst the natives that it is rare to see an infant”

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill Bolwell

Genuine question. Has anybody bothered to find out why? (I could posit lack of resources to raise them when food is short) We are told that the Spartans abandoned weak children, many peoples who found them disadvantageous got rid of daughters and, I believe, are still prone to abort them, many peoples throughout history have practised infanticide – many (all?) have practised slavery. What is the underlying reason for the black abortion rate? Poverty?

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
4 years ago

What a refreshing viewpoint.

Aid is great as long is it isn’t just to maintain the status quo of propping up failing or corrupt systems of government.

Aid should be to help our friends to become successful economies so that we can both trade in a mutually beneficial manner.

Initially, I would see this as tech talent flowing south to Africa from Britain and staples flowing north from Africa, delivering benefits to both parties.

Over time, however I would expect the flow to equalise, with both sides trading in high value goods and services to the benefit of both.

Far better than paying people a guilt assuaging loan to stay poor and needy.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
4 years ago

On a briefly positive note, happy independence day to any of our American friends here (and any Brits celebrating the loosening of lockdown)!

https://littleconservative….

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
4 years ago

Let me put this author straight about this organisation called “black lives matter”
It is a money laundering organization run by CEO’s who are self- confessed Marxists and were trained as such. They are funded by the UN, and George Soros’s many different foundations. They are also funded by public donations, all of which get’s laundered to a front company called “Act Blue”, and from there, goes directly to the Democratic Party. That’s right Demi, the money goes to fund “white privileged” males such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders etc. Did you forget that bit Demi?

James Bradley
James Bradley
4 years ago

Respect is something that can only be earnt.

John McFadyen
John McFadyen
4 years ago

Another stimulating, enjoyable and intelligent piece of writing on Unherd. Whereas I relate to much of the sentiment, for example ” “If the English regarded the Scots and Irish as the ‘primitive Other’ [The Irish were seen as white apes], the colonial experience enabled Scots and Irish to construct themselves as a terrorised race, raped and exploited by the patriarchal, powerful ‘Overlord’.” Yup I still sing Flower of Scotland with passion!

Anyway I digress; one problem with the solution put forward by Dr Adekoya is the corruption in Africa that holds back any true development. The other is the factionism within and between countries in Africa and the third is that globalisation means finding and investing in a company or product that is truly African is nigh on impossible given the complexity of businesses and the global reach of the wealthy. I have always sworn by Volvo cars. They are reliable and sturdy, if a little lacking in glamour, and I might well want to invest in such Swedish engineering. Except it is now owned by the Chinese who have gobbled up so many brands and invested in placing countries in Africa and South America in particular, into debt to them for decades. So many companies that have heritage no longer belong to the nations in which they are embedded. One truism is that Africa and ‘Africans’ need to take ownership and earn respect, not demand it by way of threats of civil disorder nor by playing the guilt card.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  John McFadyen

Is any of the dissent in Africa is being sown by China, Russia, America and Europe for the benefit of the corporations working there?

Paul Whiting
Paul Whiting
4 years ago

this will lead to a hyper racialised society and greater division than ever before. it’s completely nuts!

Joss Wynne Evans
Joss Wynne Evans
3 years ago

No discussion on BLM should ignore the source of its funding. And its funding, you can be certain, is leveraging the atavistic power of racism combined with identity politics, and gives not a hoot or a damn for you, me, George Floyd or anything other than fomenting unrest in the United States. The statuary riots are simply collateral damage. The very interests that created the black welfare underclass and emasculated Black Power those years ago are the ones that are pulling this wheeze.

jsafhlsadjfhlsadjfhsaljfhjksad
jsafhlsadjfhlsadjfhsaljfhjksad
3 years ago

I came to this site from Zerohedge and I finally found rational thought both among the writers and the commenters. I decided to postpone suicide.

annescarlett
annescarlett
4 years ago

To quote, ‘It obsesses over the appeal and power of whiteness, instead of trying to figure out how to make blackness more appealing and powerful’. unquote, I am not black, I do have a dual heritage grandson, his mother from Jamaican decent and his father white. What I do know is that I can go in any hairdressers in the world and they know how to wash, cut and style my hair, yet still my daughter in law and grandson cannot because it is classed as ‘specialised’ so all hairdressers are trained on how to cut European hair but not African? I have never been called a ‘white b***h’ I have been called a f*****g b***h, but never a white b***h. my daughter in law has been called a ‘black b***h’, why, because it is the first thing people notice, you cannot hide from your skin! I have never been ostracised by the Pakistan community, but my young grandson has in school, why? There are so many other examples I could give you of ‘white privilege’ that they suffer every day and the other races that judge and belittle them. Both of them are successful, excellent jobs with brilliant education attainment behind them, as are all of my daughter in laws family, yet they still suffer this. Black people are not valued in the UKin my view because of pure unadulterated racism, they could be living in a castle on an island they own and they would still suffer racism, in fact some would say they got there through ‘positive discrimination because they are black’ and that is how bad it really is.

dene220
dene220
4 years ago

The author is right, there is a lack of respect for black people. However, their coming en masse into the West and changing our countries beyond recognition and calling us all racist doesn’t in anyway help race-relations or build up a mutual respect.

I would say the events we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks have set race-relations back years.

We don’t have an Israel, there is only one European homeland and right now it’s future is not looking too bright.

Bill Bolwell
Bill Bolwell
4 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
Slavery
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
………………..
Slavery has existed in many cultures, dating back to early human civilizations.[3] It was legal in most societies at some time in the past but is now outlawed in all recognized countries.[4][5] The last country to officially abolish slavery was Mauritania in 1981. Nevertheless, as of 2016 there were an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide subject to some form of slavery.[6] A person can be enslaved from the time of their birth, capture, or purchase. The most common form of modern slave trade is commonly referred to as human trafficking. In some areas of the world, slavery continues through practices such as debt bondage, the most widespread form of slavery today;[2] serfdom; domestic servants kept in captivity; certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves; child soldiers; and forced marriage.[7]

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago

Are all comments here subject to moderation?

trentvalley57uk
trentvalley57uk
4 years ago

Most African countries need to find a way to get a government that supports the people. Most appear to have great wealth themselves while most people live in poverty. Over the years billions have been donated to Africa but for whatever reason it does not appear to move forward. We speak about exploitation but forget its very difficult without the aid of their governments who are enriched by it.
Fair trade, fair investment and a real desire to build infrastructure, hospitals, schools, clean water, and development.

Brian Rowe
Brian Rowe
4 years ago

Good point from author regarding the role of economic success in determining levels of perceived respect in the (capitalist) world arena.

But why no mention of the longstanding and ongoing resource exploitation of the African continent? Surely this has been critical in preventing resource rich countries from harnessing their natural wealth for the prosperity of their citizens? You’ve got international oil and mining corporations plundering land assets seized during colonial times, and not paying taxes in their host countries by funneling profits through western government condoned international tax havens.

derrickscottster
derrickscottster
3 years ago

Article details Adversarial relationship between police depts and unions.
Should be collaborative serving community – difficult journey.
Option go down China/Russia route or
West freedom, rights and responsibilities

https://www.nytimes.com/202

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

The power of BLM is testament to the continuing power of American culture, and American-centric Narrative. This effect seems certain to continue for a long time – in my lifetime it has only grown stronger – but there does need to be a rebalancing. Neither Nigeria nor Britain should be looking to the USA for our morality plays.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
2 years ago

60 years ago, when I was a little girl, I was told about starving African children, if I didn’t want to eat my veggies. 60 years on, the story of starving African children hasn’t changed – what has changed is the number of starving children. Africa’s population has grown from about 300 Million to almost 1.4 Billion in 60 years(1). Productivity hasn’t grown at the same rate, and neither did the land area available for producing food.
Not being an easy victim is a good start, when trying to earn respect indeed.
While so many African children starve, while so many unskilled Africans try to flee Africa for Europe risking life and limb even though Europe cannot offer gainful employment to its own unskilled labourers, Africans will be seen as vulnerable, perpetual victims. Africa needs to change from within, perhaps starting with family planning better reflecting economic reality, as well as the chances in life educated, properly nourished children have, compared to children stunted by early-childhood undernourishment and being victimised for life by lack of education. Colonial past and hundreds of years of hardship haven’t just affected African countries. East and South-East Asia have had their share of pain and suffering also, as well as parts of Europe – including Jewish people everywhere as the article correctly points out. Blaming others for countries’ perpetual troubles is not productive. Trade can only lift countries out of poverty, if there are viable products for trade on all sides on an ongoing basis.
(1) Source: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/africa-population/ Last accessed: 29 December 2021.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
4 years ago

You are definitely in the process of creating scientific racism here Remi. What you are doing is creating a mental construct within your imagination, the imagination being the faculty within the quantum mind that constructs mental constructs, through the willful creation of thoughts.

The thoughts you are creating in this piece are encoded with quantum data concerning blackness, which as a signifier (label) is literally encapsulating other thoughts and constructs that represent the actual people you are indiscriminately referring to.

This is how imagining, conceptualising and perceiving works.

To perceive and shroud people with mental constructs of blackness means you are imposing upon people with high levels of melanin your ideas of blackness which inevitably brings about the dialectic of blackness and whiteness and are thus settling up an opposition.

This too is how the imagination works, each action (even the willful creation of thought) has an equal and opposite reaction.

By creating a dialectic between blackness and whiteness, you are forcing people to choose, hence the contestation between #BlackLivesMatter and #WhiteLivesMatter and the competition that arises between them. Hence, it is you that is creating a racial hierarchy by forcing people to choose.

The question then is whether creating a racial hierarchy is productive in achieving the highest good for all of humanity. By setting up a mental opposition between black people and white people, I do not think or feel you are.

I conclude this because when creating, experimenting and experiencing your mental construct of blackness, then my perceptions become overlaid with blackness and whiteness which are then all too easily used as objects on to which to project and transfer feelings of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment, which are then invariably reinforced (or rationalised) by mental constructs of injustice which are invariably based on thoughts of superiority and inferiority.

Within your attempt to reconstruct a neutral scientific racism, you are also trying to reconstruct previous incarnations of scientific racism, by trying to modify historically created constituent thoughts of inferiority and superiority. Therefore, essentially your piece is an attempt to replace a malevolent construct of scientific racism with a benevolent construct of scientific racism.

However, this endeavour is replete with obstacles because not only do you need to resolve feelings of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment, you need to create benevolent thoughts regarding blackness and whiteness so that any oppositional tendencies between the two are transmuted from competition to cooperation.

However, you do not overcome these obstacles in this piece since much of your piece is about reinforcing thoughts of superiority and inferiority rather than benevolent neutrality.

So whilst on the surface, a Black business day or Black business week is a fine idea, the idea itself simply reconstructs a maleficent scientific racism which forces people to choose between black and white.

A possible solution that might better reflect benevolent neutrality within self created colour ideologies is to ask people who subscribe to colour ideologies to toss a coin with heads being buy from a black business and tails buy from a white business. Alternatively, those that wish to participate within self created colour ideologies can choose to support and invest in black or white businesses according to their own Conscious Will.

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson
3 years ago

BS this is about economics, or the perception of wealth.

It’s much, much simpler than that.

Black people look primitive, and their cultures, nations, achievements and general behaviour in Western countries don’t do anything to dispel that perception.

Children know this. We adults struggle with the uncomfortableness of it.

Robert Flack
Robert Flack
4 years ago

If Britain is so disgusting could the author tell us why he remains and doesn’t return to Lagos. Could he also comment on the fact that Priti Patel’s parents were threatened by a black African president and given refuge by a white country? Who is the racist?

Nunya Bizniss
Nunya Bizniss
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

I don’t wish to sound disrespectful, but did you actually read the article? I genuinely got no impression of the author being disgusted by Britain

J D
J D
4 years ago
Reply to  Nunya Bizniss

Same here.

Lou Campbell
Lou Campbell
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

I think you’ve mis-read him Robert. He isn’t saying that.

David Morley
David Morley
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

I think you’ve missed the point completely.

Adrian
Adrian
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

I suspect the author still remains because he still has positive ideas to contribute.
Why are you here?

Bill Bolwell
Bill Bolwell
4 years ago

And how well does Israel treat the Palestinians? Not well at all.