by Inaya Folarin Iman
Monday, 14
November 2022
Review
11:38

Why shouldn’t young black people be Right-wing?

A Channel 4 documentary fails to grasp why some minorities lean conservative
by Inaya Folarin Iman
YouTube personality Zeze Millz

Last night, Channel 4 aired a 45-minute documentary titled Young, Black and Right-Wing, presented by popular TV and YouTube personality Zeze Millz. The film seeks to explore the “seemingly growing” number of black Right-wing voices both in politics and in the media. This counters the widely claimed notion that not only do most black people have Left-wing views but that they should have Left-wing views. If they deviate from these expectations, they are burdened with racist labels from supposed progressives.

The documentary builds on an increasing number of TV shows exploring the diversity of opinion among black Britons, such as Channel 4’s Unapologetic (co-hosted by Millz) and BBC’s We Are Black and British. While it is welcome to see a genuine attempt to illuminate a broader range of perspectives and question received wisdom about ethnic minority groups, the film fails to understand why these young black people think the way they do and show how, in many senses, their views are more in line with majority ethnic minority opinion.

The first young Right-winger Millz speaks to is Hannah, a TikTok influencer whose parents are refugees from Ethiopia. Hannah, who grew up on a council estate, does not believe systemic racism exists. She maintains that other factors, such as family breakdown, which disproportionately affects black British people, are more important contributors to lower socio-economic outcomes than race. In response, Millz brings up data which show that black men are more likely to be unemployed than white men and suggests this is clear evidence of racism.

But the problem is that this doesn’t necessarily disprove Hannah’s point. Millz, through the film, commits the common fallacy that a racial disparity must equate to racism when this isn’t necessarily true. For example, the average ethnic minority person has a higher life expectancy than their white counterparts, but we would not put this down to reverse racism. This inability to seriously interrogate how a range of variants may contribute to disparities means that the conversation on the programme rarely moved beyond a debate about racism and thus, at times, remained somewhat shallow.

Millz fails to see the irony of how she, a privately-educated woman, who has acknowledged that her mother owned two houses, shouts down Hannah’s understanding of her own lived experience when Hannah, at least on paper, had grown up with significantly more disadvantaged than her.

Millz repeats this unfortunate dynamic later on in the programme when she has a chance encounter with a young, working-class black man in Bolton (one of the most deprived areas of the UK) who draws upon his experience to explain how inequality is more down to what your “postal code defines you as”, not race. He explains how he has seen people, black and white, in his area restricted by similar forms of social disadvantage. It was an unintentional insight into how many ordinary working-class black voices are often locked out of these debates, and how many of these views do not neatly fall in liberal-Left lines.

This is further highlighted when, in one scene, Millz gets into a heated debate with Hannah and a fellow young black Christian activist about abortion, as neither of the two believes it should be allowed in any circumstance. While I vehemently disagree with their views, large swathes of ‘black opinion’ would support these arguments.

In fact, it is Millz’s hyper-liberal attitudes to sex and relationships which would seemingly contrast with the predominantly traditional Christian attitudes of most black British people. Many of Millz’s views have much more in common with the middle-class white mainstream than they do with strongly faith-oriented ethnic minority Britons.

Ultimately black people — like any racial group — cannot be lumped into one category. As people are all different, they will inevitably come up with varying views. As racism diminishes, so too will a growing number of black Britons no longer see their views as defined by it. This is surely a positive development.

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Jasmine Birtles
Jasmine Birtles
15 days ago

The vast majority of my black friends – particularly Afro-British ones – are right of centre. I struggle to think of one who would describe themselves as left-leaning. There seems to be a’received wisdom in the media that, as the article says, black people should be left-leaning which is, in itself, racist I consider. Whatever colour or religion, all people should be open to whatever political views they consider right. This documentary shows the limitations of the Channel 4 editors’ knowledge and understanding more than anything else.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
15 days ago

Ah yes. As Creepy Joe himself put it, in respect of any black Americans tempted to stray off the Democrat plantation: ‘If you vote Republican, man, you ain’t black.’

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
15 days ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

The most overtly racist comment made by a POTUS since the Civil War. And the Lefties just nodded in agreement with him.

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
15 days ago

I tend to agree that peer pressure is difficult to avoid no matter the colour, religion or post code. However, not being myself obedient to peer pressure, I understand the difficulty of moving away from ones group and sympathise with their problem that they are expected to toe the line. No matter what social group etc a wish to make ones own future should be respected. The MSM often have their own agenda.

chris Barton
chris Barton
15 days ago

Imagine the people who claim to be anti racist’s voted for the guy who said you if you don’t vote for me “you ant black”

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
15 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

“anti-racism” is just racism under new branding.

Last edited 15 days ago by Martin Johnson
Lindsay S
Lindsay S
15 days ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

I recall many an anti-racist BLM demonstrator calling Black conservatives c**ns and uncle Toms, apparently it’s ok to be racist when the black people in question are conservative…. Idiots!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
15 days ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Or coconut – seriously offensive.

James 0
James 0
15 days ago

This sounds like peak Channel 4.

A privately educated “influencer” with multiple properties seeks to educate a young woman from a council estate and a working-class lad from Bolton on the meaning of disadvantage. You couldn’t make it up.

I’m genuinely astonished that no one at Channel 4 thought “hang on, this is hugely patronising, isn’t it?”. I mean, I’m not surprised, but it’s bizarre when people live up to cliches with such accuracy.

Last edited 15 days ago by James
Derek Smith
Derek Smith
15 days ago

‘Mills fails to see the irony of how she, a privately-educated woman, who has acknowledged that her mother owned two houses, shouts down Hannah’s understanding of her own lived experience…’

I bet she bleats about ‘white privilege’ too.

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
15 days ago

Most of my black and Indian friends are right of centre – I think its mostly because they have worked hard to break free from the ‘social welfare trap” can see that the UK gives them the opportunity to realise aspirations, see that most white people support them and see the benefits available to them and their families
As I white man I am most inspired by Kemi, Suella and James Cleverly comes across well though I don’t think he is a bright as the two ladies – Rishi I fear is too left of centre of has certainly behaved that way with our hard earned taxes
A couple of friends are in Government and blush slightly when we discuss pension benefits – they are under 40
we all think the race and other minority arguments like LGBTQ are pushed too hard and have a divisive cultural impact
We should just re spin the deabte to look at people, their behaviours, attitudes, work ethic etc.
In fact most of us think the bigger discussion is extreme liberals v right of centre – we are not yet where the US is but are being pushed that way
That aside the bigger fight is the private sector v the state/public sector – not just on some financial issues but more importantly on mind set and culture – far from being public servants they behave arrogantly with entitlement and do things “in their own time ” with many still wfh.
The public sector who largely retained their defined benefit pension, even if they are now career average not final salary linked, seem to be uneducated as to the vast financial benefit these confer and the cost to the taxpayer; in the UK the NHS liabilities increase by £120bn a year whilst NHS management says their employee contributions of c8%-10% are in excess of current pensions in payment – – the NHS contributions go up with salaries and net hires and there is a huge wave of baby boomers about to retire that means these spiralling liabilities are about to come crash through as cash costs.
Local Councils are pushing up council tax – for salaries and pensions
Civil servants still get 30% contributions from the taxpayer on top of their 8%, on their alpha pension for new entrants
The total public sector pension liability is £2.3 trillion, larger than the national debt
Its time the MPs led by example, switched all their pensions to DC going forward – accrued benefits protected- as the private sector did 20 years ago
They could then do the same across the public sector…
The private sector cannot go on being tax slaves to so called “public sector servants” who waste our money and show no respect for our hard earned taxes
That is the new class war

Last edited 15 days ago by Mark Cole
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

Yes, it has been of some irritation to me that we have lately been treated to arguments that state pensions should not be increased through inflation while nothing is said about the fact that civil service pensions paid from today’s tax revenue are increased by RPI.
For the record, the modest final salary pension I receive for 10 years’ employment will never receive any increase because the company went into liquidation, and the under-funded pension scheme was absorbed by the PPF.
Note that the PPF is funded by levies on other funds, i.e. the funds accumulating for pensioners, but costs civil service pensioners nothing; their pensions are probably the government expenditure with the highest priority over everything else, including law and defence.

Last edited 9 days ago by Colin Elliott
William Shaw
William Shaw
15 days ago

The left sees everything through a racist lens, so every disadvantage appears to be racism.
When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
11 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Depends on the person… No such thing as “the left” or for that matter, “the right”. The media has a lot to answer for!

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
15 days ago

The fact that this question even has to be posed demonstrates perfectly just how perverted and toxic the influence of the new left has become.

Jambon Beurre
Jambon Beurre
15 days ago

Excellent writing Inaya – you are an inspiration and a breath of fresh air, and I really appreciate your considered and thoughtful approach to whatever you do. I hope to see more of you on UnHerd.
It should not have to be said that black people can believe whatever they want to. There is no restriction on what they should think, what they are obliged to think, or what they should say in public, simply by virtue of skin colour. I find such an idea risible and I am vehemently against it. Yes, there will be similarities by virtue of similar experiences – as there would be for any race or culture – but to hold people to account for their views on the basis of their skin colour is stupid and completely ignorant of human nature.
Not being “black enough” is also completely ignorant of the many and numerous talented, intellectual and interesting black people – young and old classical musicians, rock musicians, business owners, scientists etc.. – who eschew such a restricitive idea, have multifaceted lives and amount to much more than the somewhat reductive notion that they should confirm to certain views and behaviours on account of their race.

Last edited 15 days ago by Graham Hobbins
chris Barton
chris Barton
15 days ago

bless our Zeze Millz, she thinks she’s fighting the Establishment (Patriarchy if you have learned a new word and are down) but is in fact part of it.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
15 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

My “Cynical Theories” (Pluckrose and Lindsay) is out on loan to a recently retired college ‘facilitator’ so I can’t check but IIRC the term “Lived Experience” has a specific meaning in Woke vocabulary. Try not to use the Devil’s words except against (Them).

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
14 days ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Rewarding book – I loved Lindsay’s dedication: “…And to my wife, Heather, who just wanted a simple life and never to have learned that any of this exists.”

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
15 days ago

Good piece, Inaya, but could we just stop using the tautology “lived experience”? Thank you.

Simon James
Simon James
15 days ago

What’s the alternative? Not sure it’s any worse than ‘My own view’, which is quite a common phrase. ‘Lived experience’ is just an attempt to stick up for the idea that someone who actually goes through an event might have something valuable to say about it, particularly in situations where other people’s views are more theoretical or based on assumptions.
Useful expression I think, and surely amongst friends here on Unherd?

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
14 days ago
Reply to  Simon James

“Experience”.
It’s the qualifying “lived” which is the redundancy (in the same way as the phrase “past history” is tautological – show me experience which isn’t “lived”, or history which isn’t “past”).
Beefing up phrases to make them sound like more than they are is an attempt, as Orwell had it, “to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.
Please let’s not do it.

Last edited 14 days ago by Richard Parker
Simon James
Simon James
14 days ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

I thnk Orwell would have approved of ‘lived experience’. ‘Experience’ is a vague term that says nothing convincing on its own. ‘Lived experience’ says: This happened to me.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
13 days ago
Reply to  Simon James

What you’re saying is that your lived experience was genuinely real?

Simon James
Simon James
13 days ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

Justin, come on – this is a serious discussion.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
15 days ago

I have admired the writing of Inaya whenever I have come across it. We all tend to inhabit our own political bubble where our friends reinforce our idea that we have the right answers to life’s issues. So ZeZe when confronted with views that don’t accord with her own racist and “liberal” views will have vehemently wanted to correct the thoughts of the young people she encountered instead of taking into account that one’s own experience of the world will produce different views regardless of skin colour.

Her background and contact with like minded C4 staff make the idea that disadvantage is not the result of race but many other factors something she can’t absorb. It is, of course, one of the reasons why diversity based on skin colour does nothing positive towards race relations but instead is racist and pernicious in its effects. Diversity of thought while potentially more uncomfortable is actually more valuable and that is what C4 and other MSM outlets actually needs instead of “liberal” clones with different skin colours.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
15 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

define racist, please?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
15 days ago

In my book a racist is a believer in 18th Century junk science that the world is divided into a very limited number of distinct races that can be identified by skin colour together with a belief that members of those “races” should not be regarded as individuals but treated as part of the racial collective to which they supposedly belonged. Under Jim Crow the black was to be disadvantaged because of his colour; under Woke Biden the so called white was to be disadvantaged although that seemed to include Asians that would have been classed as yellow by the 18th century pseudoscience of race classification.
It is an entirely stupid belief that fails to take into account the wide variety of ethnic groupings and that large numbers of supposed blacks and whites have very mixed ethnic origins particularly in the US and that judging people and advantaging or disadvantaging them on the basis of their skin tone as opposed to all their other characteristics is to give an entirely undeserving importance to superficial characteristics.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
14 days ago

My Shorter Oxford offers up:
“racist: a person believing in, advocating or practicing racism”.

The latter is then defined as:
“(Belief in, adherence to our advocacy of) the theory that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, qualities, etc., specific to that race, esp. distinguishing it as inferior or superior to another race or races; prejudice, discrimination or antagonism based on this.”

Seems pretty straightforward to me, I’d go with that.

On which basis Ibram X Kendi and (insert favourite far right demagogue du jour here) would share more ground than I suspect either would be happy to admit.

Last edited 14 days ago by Richard Parker
Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
15 days ago

This is further highlighted when, in one scene, Millz gets into a heated debate with Hannah and a fellow young black Christian activist about abortion, as neither of the two believes it should be allowed in any circumstance.

A classic case of “well, you did ask…”

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
15 days ago

Many communities of immigrants and their descendants of many nationalities and ethnicities are naturally more conservative , believing in family and bettering themselves and being more religious than ‘liberal’ and mainly middle class brits. The conservatism of such communities including black communities is hardly a surprise

R Wright
R Wright
15 days ago

One glance at a map of Africa showing homosexuality laws by country is enough to get a grip to some extent on which way most black people swing in terms of social views.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
15 days ago

There isn’t a right of centre party here in the UK. The “Conservatives” to me appear progressively liberal, sex obsessed weirdos. To think that Anthony Blair stitched this Country up good and proper with the innumerous Parliamentary acts he introduced during his stint as PM and not one of the acts has been repealed by the Conservatives that they need to do to get this Country back on track. If people of Colour don’t want Labour they must be disappointed with the Conservatives that have lost their sense of purpose.

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
15 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

Yes. Only choice is SDP or Reform. All other parties are liberal globalists

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
15 days ago
Reply to  Roy Mullins

Oops! Sorry, Pardon but your last word went into my brain as “Gobshites”. Time to put the cat out (one of next doors) empty cocoa mug and slink off to bed.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
15 days ago

There’s a general failure to interrogate the meaning of statistics in the media, and public debate. Cf. the gender pay gap.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

The result of a profound ignorance as to the limitations of statistics and a failure to comprehend correlation is not causality.

Justin S
Justin S
14 days ago

“data which show that black men are more likely to be unemployed than white men and suggests this is clear evidence of racism.”
Is this not just evidence of broad ethnic group traits?
e.g.
The huge proportion of black single parent families with no male in residence?
The black on black male murder rate?
Case numbers of black males carrying lethal weapons to ‘protect themselves’. Its not from white people.
Could it be that the black community likes to shuck off responsibility for its own failings and blame any community in which they live. This is highly encouraged by the Left.
The Left Use the black community for voting fodder and the way to coral them is by engendering a spirit of victimhood and conviction of racial bias.

And no there is no reason why a black person wouldnt think on ‘the right’ because largely that equates to socially conservative and / or economically right of centre thinking.

Kemi Badenock and Kwasi Kwarteng represent exactly that and excellent additions to the Tory world.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
15 days ago

“…Hannah and a fellow young black Christian activist about abortion, as neither of the two believes it should be allowed in any circumstance. While **I vehemently disagree with their views…**’

I wonder why the author felt the need to spell out, in this otherwise interesting article, the above disclaimer .

James 0
James 0
15 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Probably because she doesn’t agree with them and wants to make that clear to readers in the interests of transparency? It’s her piece, she can write whatever she wants. I’m not sure what you’re even accusing her of, to be honest.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
14 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I’d file it under the under 21st century predicate that must be explicitly stated in all circumstances: “I don’t agree with everything [name here] says, but…”
It’s become tedious.

Janet Pollard
Janet Pollard
14 days ago

I’m new to Unherd. I enjoy the articles and the comments are just as interesting and it’s so refreshing that people have actually read and thought about the article before commenting and add to the discussion – different views are expressed calmly, without nastiness and “shouting”. Bliss.

David Harris
David Harris
15 days ago

Thank goodness we vote in a secret ballot.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
14 days ago

As someone on the Left, I’d acknowledge that it’s about time the Left paid attention to the phenomenon of many black and ethnic minorities moving Right or endorsing right-wing thinking. Too much Left thinking is influenced by a flawed ‘identity’ or Critical Race Theory stance. That has to change or it will hold the Left back……….I would recommend Inaya Iman’s Equiano Project website/e-mail newsletter as an alternative to these positions: https://www.theequianoproject.com/

John Pade
John Pade
15 days ago

There are no Blacks in England who can see one another and know that in their common past were slave ancestors. That Blacks in England should hold similar political allegiances to those in the US, where this ancestry is poignant, points to an explanation that is rooted in something deeper than history.
In the United States, blacks can be confidently lumped into one category: Democrat. Last week 90% of them voted this way, repeating the experience of the last 40+ elections (allowing for round-off error).
US Blacks do not espouse through their votes the liberal values propounded by Locke, elaborated by others, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and, to a greater or lesser extent, supporting and supported by the Republican Party.
There are many good reasons for their Democratic affiliation, many bad ones, and also no reasons. Even habit doesn’t explain it. It just exists. (Alternatively, I just don’t understand it, and my best effort to must be inadequate.)
The Black vote has been fools’ gold for Republicans, to whom it is contradictory to seek special advantage for a particular ethnic group anyway. Better to seek the common good and hope that one day even the most benighted may come around.
Politically, this means looking for allies in the various Hispanic and Asian communities. Practically, it means policies like school choice, public safety, and a certain American exceptionalism that subordinates superiority to human possibility.

Michael Drucker
Michael Drucker
15 days ago
Reply to  John Pade

To see a different (genuinely unheard) perspective on African-American views that are not pro-Democrat, I highly recommend watching Uncle Tom 1 (on YouTube) and Uncle Tom 2 (Streaming). The US is hugely different to the UK, but both videos contain much that is highly illuminating for us who don’t live in US. The second film ends with a teaser about MLK Jr, and I await Uncle Tom 3 with interest.

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
15 days ago
Reply to  John Pade

There were plenty of slaves in the Caribbean – in fact relatively few went directly to North America without stopping in Barbados etc. in the Triangular Trade. HMG spent £20 million compensating slaveholders for their manumission in the 1830s, about 3 times as much as they spent on famine relief in Ireland a decade later. I suspect quite a few Black Britons can trace their ancestry to West Africa via the Caribbean.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
15 days ago

The charming African Household Cavalry Officers whom I have the entertaining honour and pleasure to meet are superb examples.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
13 days ago
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
4 days ago

It is amazing how intolerant the once tolerant liberal establishments across the West have become.
In many countries there seems to be a very similar set of assumptions that underlie opinions and views but are increasingly unsupported by actual evidence, or reality, but instead of prompting reappraisal of those views, it just seems to make wokey liberals more and more vehement in espousing them