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The narcissism of America’s race politics The reality of black British lives was eclipsed by BLM

A candlelit vigil for George Floyd in Windrush Square in Brixton. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A candlelit vigil for George Floyd in Windrush Square in Brixton. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


May 20, 2022   6 mins


The Romans loved their Saturnalia. For one week, every year, social customs were overturned in the spirit of carnival: gambling was permitted and slaves were treated as kings. The literary critic Northrop Frye was fascinated by this festival, and saw its potential to set off social revolution. In his 1957 book, The Anatomy of Criticism, he argued that Shakespearean comedy is typically characterised by a three-part formula: the “old world” of authority and conformism gives way to the “green world” of saturnalian ebullience and energy before the “new world” emerges. Elements of the old world and the saturnalian world synthesise, to produce a new social order.

Many of the protests in the summer after the death of George Floyd looked like festivals; people swayed as they sang. And at a time when actual festivals were banned, the events possessed an especially transgressive allure. We were breaking out of a recently organised old world of restrictions into a new one where the cause of racial justice transcended the obligations of social distancing.

The rules, the protestors affirmed, should not apply to them. In the first month after the murder, over 14,000 American protestors were arrested. In Washington DC, cars were burned down and bathroom stalls were spray painted with the “Amerikkka”. A fire was lit in the nursery of the parish house of a church called St John’s Episcopal Church, which is known as the “church of the presidents”, because every American president has attended it at least once since it was built in 1816.

But the nature of the protests constituted a break at a deeper level too, a new paradigm shift in racial thinking, both in America and across the rest of the world. There were protests in over 60 countries and all continents — including Antarctica. Now, racial justice is a matter of reflexive urgency; there’s no time to consider national or cultural context. Many expressions of anti-racism look like religious revivalism, any analysis of the complex realities of black people obscured by penance and sanctimony.

The basic outline of what happened on the evening of May 25, 2020 was reported in every major newspaper on the planet. A middle-aged black man called George Floyd was choked to death in Minnesota by a police officer named Derek Chauvin, because Floyd was suspected of using fake money to buy cigarettes. His Name Is George Floyd, a new book by Washington Post journalists Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, substantiates this outline with a glut of information. It is a detailed investigation into the life of Floyd, the nature and context of his murder, and the impact of his death on wider American society.

The authors conducted over 400 interviews for the book. They interviewed Floyd’s siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, lovers and friends. We get a solid picture of the man. We also learn a lot about Floyd’s ancestors — who they were, what they did, and where they fit within the narrative of America’s vexed racial history.

But there is very little in the book on the global impact of Floyd’s death. The authors do not have a lot of interest in the wider world, nor do they seem to have a great understanding of it. In one historical passage, for instance, they write that Scotland was a country that was dominated by “the British”. Colonies always know more about the metropole than the metropole knows about the colonies; faced with such American ignorance, it’s easy to conclude that the former colony has become the coloniser.

Culture changed so rapidly in America in the wake of that summer of protests, and we in Britain soon followed suit. Many American publications, for instance, started to capitalise the b in black —  including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press. Many British publications swiftly did the same: the b in black is now capitalised in the London Review of Books, for example, and the Times Literary Supplement. It’s become de rigueur so rapidly in British publishing that, when I submitted a proposal for my book, about the way American race discourse influences Britain, in 2021, I had to explain why I didn’t capitalise the word black.

Lori Tharps makes the case for capitalising black: “Black with a capital ‘B’”, she writes, “refers to a group of people whose ancestors were born in Africa, were brought to the United States against their will, spilled their blood, sweat and tears to build this nation into a world power and along the way managed to create glorious works of art, passionate music, scientific discoveries, a marvelous cuisine, and untold literary masterpieces. When a copyeditor deletes the capital “B”, they are in effect deleting the history and contributions of my people.” Unlike Tharps, though, I am not American.

My ancestors were not brought against their will to the country where I’m currently living. In fact, most black British people are now black Africans, which means recent immigrants, or the children of immigrants, from independent African nations. The particular historical relationship between the transatlantic slave trade and black Americans does not neatly apply to the contemporary black British population. Pretending that it does would be to deny the history of my people, to borrow the argot of Tharps. Black people in Britain are essentially immigrant communities — the average black American, by contrast, can trace his ancestry further back than the average white American.

But in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, the catch-all framework of “Black Lives Matter” was imported to every corner of the planet, even though race relations are not the same throughout the world. They are instead mediated by a country’s unique history and culture. Now as then, insufficient attention is paid to the different contexts of the black people who do not live in America; we are simply put in the mould of black Americans.

It was bizarre, watching the majority of liberal democracies use the example of America to make sense of race in their own countries. People on the streets of central London were screaming “hands up don’t shoot”. British university students were passionately denouncing discrimination against BIPOC people — black, indigenous people of colour — without recognising that speaking for the interests of indigenous people in Britain makes one sound more like Nick Griffin than 20-year-old Molly studying History at Bristol University.

Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be an Anti-Racist monopolised the nonfiction bestseller’s charts in Europe for many months. And this trickled down to social media. Instagram listicles stipulated you needed to read those books if you wanted to understand the condition of black people. Not black American people (though these books are not even useful for that) but black people in toto.

And, while the liberal democracies were committing penance, countries with distinctively worse human rights records swooped in like hungry vultures. The supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, said dark-skinned people face the prospect of being killed “within minutes” whenever they walk down the streets of America. The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned America’s human rights abuses.

Another patron saint of anti-racism, Layla Saad, was born and raised in Britain and now lives in Qatar. She has never lived in America in her life. Yet her book, Me and White Supremacy, is explicitly targeted at an American audience, and reached number five in the New York Times bestseller list in the summer of 2020. There is no mention in the book that she lives in a country that imports slave labour; there is a lot about the devastating toxicity of microaggressions. Although she doesn’t live in America, Saad lives on the internet (she has 650k followers on Instagram) and being on the anglophone internet is like inhabiting a terrain utterly dominated by America. The Atlantic writer Helen Lewis compared it to being in a room with a giant rhinoceros.

What is lost in all of this is the specific circumstance of Floyd’s death — aggressive policing, economic deprivation, the fraught relationship between black American communities and the police, drug dependency, and America’s war on drugs. And herein lies the value of His Name is George Floyd.

Samuels and Olorunnipa tell us that George Perry Floyd Jr — known simply as Perry to his family and friends — was born in October 1973 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to George Floyd Sr and Cissy Floyd, two people who wanted to make it as singers. North Carolina was their native state, but Floyd Jr grew up in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas, a poor and largely black area. He attended schools that were racially segregated and underfunded. His high school, Jack Yates Senior High School, has a student population that is 90% black and 10% Hispanic. This kind of education and upbringing is inconceivable for a black British person.

As a kid and teenager, Floyd wanted to be a rap star, a pro football player, and a supreme court justice. His life turned out very differently. He was arrested more than 20 times in his life by the police, often for dealing drugs, and he spent almost a third of his adult life in jail. He suffered from high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and drug addiction.

He moved to Minneapolis from Texas in 2014. A year earlier, he had been released after serving four years in prison for aggravated robbery with a weapon, a charge he personally denied but nevertheless accepted as part of a plea bargain for a reduced sentence. In Minnesota, he wanted a reset in his life. He worked variously as a security guard at a nightclub and as a truck driver. But he lost those jobs during the 2020 Covid pandemic.

You cannot show genuine respect to a group of people if you do not acknowledge their context — their origins, their distinctive lives, the communities and cultures they inhabit, who they are rather than what they represent. Expressing solidarity to communities victimised by racism is a good thing. But the global conversation about race went past the expression of solidarity after the death of George Floyd. And this heightened pitch is reflected in Britain to the detriment of black people, as we lose sight of the fact that they are not all the same — which of course should be the very first insight of anti-racism.


Tomiwa Owolade is a freelance writer and the author of This is Not America, which is out in paperback in May.

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Paul O
Paul O
2 years ago

Not a well-written and insightful article by a Black man …

… and not a well-written and insightful article by a black man.

Simply a superb and insightful article by an excellent writer.

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul O

Absolutely. An excellent and fascinating article.

Last edited 2 years ago by Joff Brown
Richard Roe
Richard Roe
2 years ago

Thomas Sowell has for years sought to think about disparity in America as being cultural rather than racial. The fact is that his well researched and articulately expressed data strongly support his thesis, but prominent and well informed people choose to ignore him and instead focus on race, which gives them prominence and sells their product.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Roe
Andy Moore
Andy Moore
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Roe

I agree, it’s the same reason why most people in western democracies have heard about the death of George Floyd and not Tony Timpa, both abhorrent deaths.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Roe

The really ironic bit is how the likes of Floyd, or violent, fatherless kids in ghettos are deemed to be representative of blacks. Ironic, because that’s genuine racism, just like stating that black people are not capable of getting voter ID.

While black culture in the States is utterly rotten, it’s also nothing like the culture of say black immigrants.
I have met so many black men in Britain (first or second gen immigrants of course). Most of them lower income. But, pretty much all of them polite, conscientious, desirous of being good fathers, hard working
A toilet cleaner I met and befriended at a bank I worked at, was a lot more intelligent and well spoken than many of the overpaid traders and salespersons

Last edited 2 years ago by Samir Iker
Terry M
Terry M
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You have hit the nail on the head! Black culture in the US is awful. I blame the numerous race-hustlers from Jesse Jackson to Al Sharpton to Robin DiAngelo to Ibram X. Kendi. All trash. They tell their followers NOT to get educated or work hard, because that’s ‘acting white.’ In reality, it’s acting civilized, responsible, and ambitious. We see this in the many first generation African blacks who want nothing to do with American black culture and values.
The reason the George Floyd story was so famous is because it is so RARE. The more infrequent such incidents become the MORE attention each one gets. That’s how the race-hustlers stay relevant.

Paul Foote
Paul Foote
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Jesse Jackson once said that if he were walking alone and he saw a group of young blacks following him, he would move to the other side of the street, but that he would not do that if the followers were white. Most black violence is committed by other blacks. To expect outsiders to be able to fix their internal social and cultural problems is pure fantasy. Most blacks vote Democrat and it has led to their destruction.

Marian Baldwin
Marian Baldwin
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Roe

Do read his book, Black Rednecks & White Liberals. You’ll learn that the blacks, having lost their African heritage, adopted (appropriated?) the white Scotch-Irish culture in the U.S. South. Fascinating thesis down to the linguistic similarities, and totally ignored by our educational institutions. Instead, American kids now will be taught the 1619 black myth along with the “guilt” and “traumas.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Marian Baldwin
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

The author gets to the heart of what is wrong with BLM and the rhetoric surrounding it. It is a UScentric view of blacks that is simply irrelevant to the UK that has an entirely different history of race relations.
It is indeed insulting to all of us in the UK, whatever shade of skin we have, to be forced into an alien narrative as if our own culture was irrelevant.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I remember getting on a Greyhound bus in North Carolina in the early eighties, and the middle aged white bus driver referred to the black passenger as ‘boy’, after referring to white people as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’.
At that point I’d only circulated in white environments, at a summer camp for Jewish kids, and I was pretty shocked. The black guy said nothing in response.
The local rednecks used to hassle the Jewish kids too whenever we ventured out of the camp.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
2 years ago

This is an incredible piece of writing that has helped me articulate the discomfort I felt when the protests rampaged last year. Context is key; Britain is socially divided by class not race and that didn’t seem to come up in those protests.

Snomonkey
Snomonkey
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Eyre

I think we are seeing the effects of “Americaficaton” of our society through the social media on our youth. Our race seems to be more important than our culture and history. All white people shall be judged alike. We are all Donald Trump and All Black shall be judged alike too, they all have to potential to be the next Oprah/BeyoncĂ©/etc but all face the struggles of George Floyd. Facts be damned!

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago

An intelligently written article which completely discredits BLM, an organisation which has since been shown to be a profiteering, money-making scam.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

…just this past week another BLM couple were indicted in Boston, MA (USA) for using donations for personal reasons. BLM became just a “BIG SHAKEDOWN’, that they would insist is a form of reparations! And now, Patricia Cullors, head BLMer in CA, who bought multiple multi-million dollar residences with the money, is now saying that ‘the white guilt money’ is causing her harm because it’s been noticed she’s fraudulently using donations as well. Ya can’t write this stuff.

Last edited 2 years ago by Cathy Carron
Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

As we say in the UK you couldn’t make it up!

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

Yes, that’s what we say in the US as well. I don’t recall having heard of Cathy Carron’s variation until just now.

Terry M
Terry M
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Ever read Atlas Shrugged? While it doesn’t focus on race, the same type of flim-flam artists are shown at work spinning their tales. That book should be required reading in school.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

The death of George Floyd Esq was the most over-hyped event of this century. I am surprised that those millions of knee bending grovellers didn’t go for the full kowtow. I can’t recall such an absurd reaction since the death of the Princess of Wales.

Incidentally the British made a far better job of sacking Washington DC on the night of the 24th August 1814, than those wannabe ‘rioters’ you mention.
However as the builders of the second greatest Empire the world has ever seen, that was only to be expected.

Philip Tisdall
Philip Tisdall
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

You just had to include that last sentence, didn’t you? Now how am I supposed to get any work done today? Rome, Mongols, Spain, Great Britain: discuss. I’m not even sure that America has an empire in the conventional sense.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Tisdall

Rome!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Disagree. Creating an empire in ancient days didn’t require much competition, especially in Europe, apart from Carthage, hundreds of miles away. As soon as the Romans came across decent opposition in the Middle East they were slammed.
In contrast, creating an empire in the 1700s in opposition to a number of mature, sophisticated and well armed empires just across the English Channel, took some incredible skill and luck. This was a far greater achievement.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Then we shall just have to disagree.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Tisdall

Duplication due to time lapse!

Last edited 2 years ago by ARNAUD ALMARIC
Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

At least President Madison’s wife managed to rescue the curtains from the White House before it was burned down.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob Britton
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

But not the Presidential Chamber Pot, which resides in a secure location, in deepest Herefordshire, I am glad to say.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

To be fair, although I regret the sacking and am glad we’ve been at peace with the USA ever since, it was done with a degree of civility, including refraining from attacking civilians or their property, although private soldiers in those days were not easily prevented from running amok.
Interestingly, the action was criticised both internationally and in Britain. There’s nothing new under the sun.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Burnt in retaliation for the destruction of York* the capital of of Upper Canada, by US forces the previous year.

(*Now Toronto.)

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Very few other nations get a special place in a foreign National Anthem. “And the rockets red glare…..” – a friend of mine used to take express pleasure in absolutely bellowing that line at any sports event we attended when the National Anthem was always sung.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 years ago

“Many American publications, for instance, started to capitalise the b in black — including the New York TimesWashington Post and the Associated Press. Many British publications swiftly did the same”
Blatant racism, simply not to be tolerated.
“His high school, Jack Yates Senior High School, has a student population that is 90% black and 10% Hispanic. This kind of education and upbringing is inconceivable for a black British person.”
I walked past the a school yard in Bristol during break time one day a couple of months back, where the kids were 90%+ black, and I don’t remember there being one single white kid.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
2 years ago

He attended schools that were racially segregated and underfunded.

George Floyd was born in 1973. He did not attend racially segregated schools in Texas. I don’t know anything about the schools he attended but I can guarantee you that the reason his high school was 90% black and 10% Hispanic is because the demographic breakdown of the students that lived in that school district was 90% black and 10% Hispanic.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sisyphus Jones
Terry M
Terry M
2 years ago
Reply to  Sisyphus Jones

It was de facto, not de jure segregation. Children are forced into neighborhood schools which simply perpetuates the racial distribution of the area.
If only we had school choice so kids could get out of the government schools.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

Yes but he could have pointed that nuance out easily.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Sisyphus Jones

I, too, realised that the school wold not have been ‘segregated’, but then realised that with 90% black and 10% Hispanic, it might just as well have been, so the point being made remained valid..

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  Sisyphus Jones

And I can surmise that the school wasn’t underfunded compared to mainly white schools in the same area. It may be different in the South, where Texas is, but I know that in the North and West, mainly black schools are often better funded than the majority white and Asian schools which nonetheless get better results.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Krehbiel
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

One thing that bugs me about the stories about victim groups such as blacks, is how they were simultaneously suppressed and prevented from achieving their supposed “potential”
But they simultaneously managed to, in case of American blacks,
“build this nation into a world power and along the way managed to create glorious works of art, passionate music, scientific discoveries, a marvelous cuisine, and untold literary masterpieces.”

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I wonder what kind of music this Tharps likes? I wonder what President Biden’s favourite old westerns are, too. I don’t think anyone will ever get a clear answer. Maybe the aforementioned duo’s favourite stage musicals coincide. Shouldn’t one be glad, if not grateful, for living in the West? Where else other than in America could Motown have popped up? In Russia? In Canada?

Robert Buckland
Robert Buckland
2 years ago

I smile at my own reaction to your breezy sneer at Canada. But just for the record, Motown (Detroit) is a five-minute drive from Windsor, Ontario (a Canadian city), where the giant transmitters of station CKLW broadcast Motown music deep into the American heartland and contributed mightily to a vast (and black) musical sub-culture. Not to suggest that anyone commenting here would be guilty of racial or national prejudice.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago

3 words. Oscar Peterson. Drake.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
2 years ago

Good article, but the author is too uncritical in accepting the “revealed” narrative about George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. The truth is much more complicated and ambiguous, as is usually the case with media/ political moral panics.

The inappropriate effects of importing a foreign narrative into the UK are worsened when the narrative is itself faulty.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago

You cannot show genuine respect to a group of people if you do not acknowledge their context — their origins, their distinctive lives, the communities and cultures they inhabit, who they are rather than what they represent.
This is key to making the changes required to make the world a better place for everyone. I would also draw a distinction between institutional discriminations that are built into the rules governing a society and habitual discrimination that is a legacy in the habits acquired over a lifetime by individuals from their particular context. Governments can and should remove institutional discriminations. We as individuals should endeavour to remove habitual discriminations. I am not sure that virtue signalling is an effective way to do it. You cannot change the distant past nor are we responsible for it. You can only change the present.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
2 years ago

A brilliant article.
Thomas Sowell in 2012 said ” if racism is not dead in the US then its on life support” yet in the U.S and in other western democracies, the pious, virtue signalling left, on the back of Floyds death, have managed to orchestrate and manufacture a warped perception of reality. The likes of BLM and Antifa, have pushed and promoted a dreadfully divisive, politically woke caricature of fairness, called ‘identity politics’ which is vicious, rascist to the core and a really good way to shatter communites and society that up until this point, were doing better than they have ever done before. The thing that drove the movements were the new financially commisioned “Race and Diversity’ Tsars that smelt huge financial gain and in the process, were able to meddle and sow the damage that we currently see.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

Excellent, well argued article.

William Cameron
William Cameron
2 years ago

And millions of donated dollars appear to have ended up enriching the BLM organisers.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Two points that this article doesn’t cover in reflecting on the British context:

  1. The ignorance of the British context predates BLM. Faux Irish Americans have always referred to the British, or English (they are the same thing in American eyes) oppressing Irish when referring to Northern Ireland. I have debated Northern Irish politics many times with Americans and their ignorance of the context is profound. They think it’s a colonial war and occupation.
  2. The BLM supporters in the U.K. have barely acknowledged the fact that our largest immigrant population, by far, is Asian. The Asian immigrants have their own specific issues in U.K. culture that are very different from Black issues so BLM hardly touches them.

It’s remarkable to to see how the media, the arts and even corporates are promoting black people everywhere, as we can all see in dramas and advertisements. But Asian people don’t feature as much – in fact I’d call the BLM movement in the U.K. anti-Asian (Asianophobic?).

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Northern Ireland is a colonial outpost. As was Ireland for centuries.

Nick G
Nick G
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The are more Bulgarian and Romanians (in aggregate) in the UK than those of Caribbean heritage. Don’t see many of them on TV. Must be racism.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
2 years ago

The article doesn’t really seem to say anything about why “British black lives” don’t matter other than to say that the BLM movement is predicated on American experiences and cultural sensibilities, which is something akin to saying “Is the Pope catholic ?” The headline might have been more usefully employed if it had actually talked about why black lives don’t seem to matter to black people, not only in the UK, but indeed anywhere. Sure, the truth might be more complex than a ‘simple’ headline might encapsulate but that doesn’t mean it needs to be avoided altogether, after all this (Unheard) is ‘supposed’ to be a place where we might hear things that are often avoided or left unsaid elsewhere.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The authors do not get to pick the headlines. Most of them have only some relevance to the essay they point to, but some miss it altogether. And sometimes — as seems to have happened here — the title is changed mid-morning.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
2 years ago

Two small but important points: George Floyd was not “choked to death.” His airway wasn’t impeded. That’s not to say that his death wasn’t related to police actions: they had him pinned down and due to his health problems and the effects of the drugs in his system, his lungs weren’t able to process enough oxygen. IMO the police inadvertently committed manslaughter because at some point as they waited for the ambulance the police should have noticed that he had lost consciousness.
The second point, as already noted, is that Floyd didn’t attend “segregated” schools. In the US, the word segregated has a specific connotation of government mandating deliberate separation by race.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

The first point is vital and true. There is a great distance between murder and negligent manslaughter.

Gilles Ward
Gilles Ward
2 years ago

Great. Thank you for writing this article.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

“the b in black is now capitalised in the London Review of Books”
Beyond anything else, this makes me laugh most of all.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 years ago

People often overlook the fact that there are significantly more poor, uneducated, underserved white people than there are black people in the U.S. Many times more.
They just tend not to be a homogeneous group.

It is also refreshing to see the recent surge in the number of blacks who have begun to employ critical thinking skills and are finally beginning to see that those who have been telling them for decades that they care are really the true enemy.

Malcolm X knew this, of course, but it is rarely acknowledged. Liberal whites are hell bent in trying to keep blacks where they belong. (In their opinion) Blacks are now flying past the BS of equality and have their sites on the levers of power. And why not? But I’m sure they will be the first group in the history of the planet to make a hard stop once true “equality” has finally been reached. Just like in SA.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago

Nice to finally see this sort of thing being put out online! More like this please.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Is there a fear of an underclass increasing in size even further if abortion ends up being curtailed in America? Is not an underclass the result of a society where broken families are rife? How many talented black musicians were never in fact born these last few decades? Yet many talented black musicians of yesteryear had been born into dire circumstances. But way back then, they, as elderly as they are now, may have had the comforts of family. Was the extended fight for justice, the cries of victimhood and who was to blame, two summers ago, a way to make up for the helplessness, the fecklessness of sections of society? A way to excuse that degradation? To pull the wool over one’s own eyes? A way to stave off one’s capacity to feel guilt oneself?

Frances An
Frances An
2 years ago

An insightful article about the way globalised anti-racism movements inadvertently undermine individual countries’ capacities to consider race relations in their own countries.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

So few understand not only the historical slave trade but that the practice continues today, making it difficult to have a cogent discussion with race opportunists. It feels like a Great Shakedown – of time, attention, & money.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
2 years ago

A tremendous article. We must not think that all black people are copies of US African-American. BLM has the perverse effect of making us do just that. I shall stop using the capital now.

Will Cummings
Will Cummings
2 years ago

In America, one of the strangest and nonsensical racial categories is “Asian”, as if the world’s largest continent did not contain Europe, and the Uyghurs, the Han Chinese, Tibetans, and Pakistanis were all one monolithic “race”.

Nell Larkin
Nell Larkin
2 years ago

As an American who teaches British history, I totally agree with the conclusions of this article. The model of racism held by BLM does not always explain the experiences and problems faced by black people in Britain or other countries. As for capitalizing black, it totally baffles me that so many mainstream media in the US have capitalized black but not white. The rationale behind it is that identifying someone as “Black” identifies people whose experience of life is impacted by racism and slavery which was an institution created and maintained by white people. So why don’t the same media outlets who focus on the persistence of white supremacy not capitalize white? Why not tag white people as “White” because they enjoy greater privileges compared to “Black” Americans and are complicit in white supremacy in the US? Only CNN capitalizes white as well as black. Capitalize both, or neither.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Larkin

I am always interested that the fact, yes fact, that African countries and The West Indies come at the bottom of GNP/GDP, industrial, financial, commercial, scientific, IT/Technology, media, academic, agricultural, broadcast, and manufacturing, as well as democracy league tables.

No doubt the wokes of this world will accuse me of somehow making a racial statement?…..

any ideas? All the fault of white nations?….. Why, then, did African nations not conquer Europe, discover The Americas and enslave their populus?

Richard 0
Richard 0
2 years ago

Thank you, TO. Excellent article.

Peter Beard
Peter Beard
2 years ago

Excellent article. Thanks.

Hank Brad
Hank Brad
1 year ago

We were breaking out of a recently organised old world of restrictions into a new one where the cause of racial justice transcended the obligations of social distancing.
It’s also easy to see this little syndrome as the noble ‘protesters’ (and looters and burners) enjoying their day of anarchy with all rules off – except the rules declaring that the most active rioters get the most publicity on the evening news.
Those ‘obligations’ were a form of consideration for fellow community members of all colors (and they were all there). But who cares about consideration, when all the employed blacks in the neighborhood can be dramatically burned out of their jobs? Is that racial justice?

Aidan Barrett
Aidan Barrett
2 years ago

Tyler Cowen has remarked on how Wokeism has ironically become a source of American imperialism (especially of values):

https://mobile.twitter.com/unherd/status/1442142044516982787

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

… and that is only the half of it…