I’m not racist but, “they’re piccaninnies with watermelon smiles.” Boris Johnson, 2002
I’m not racist but, “Laziness is a trait in blacks.” Donald Trump 1991
I’m not racist but, “I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, a stronger race, a higher grade race . . . has come in and taken its place.” Winston Churchill 1937
I’m not racist but, “You’re one of the good ones,” A Random Person on multiple occasions in my life.
I don’t tend to identify myself as BAME because me and my twin brother were adopted when we were babies and we were adopted into a white family in a white community. The community is 99% white and ethnic minorities are basically present in the restaurants and take aways on the island. I am very thankful to have been adopted into a very beautiful place and i sometimes feel that I’m not a ‘real’ ethnic minority and as I have grown up ‘white’.
Which means I don’t really ever take racist remarks aimed at me very seriously. It’s only until I reflect on them that I understand their gravity in a broader sense that is way outside of me:
“You’re not Indian, you’re just very well tanned.”
“You’re not a proper Paki.”
It’s not how they affect me, per se, because I live a very privileged life, but what it implies about us as a nation. Many of us would be horribly offended to be called a bigot and will shout until blue in the face that we’re not racist, but…
“It’s not about Black Lives Matter because all lives matter.”
“No-one is is protesting about white people who are murdered.”
Everything is context, everything is because of cause and effect, everything is impacted by thousands of years of humanity’s blood, sweat and tears. The only species of human left is Homo Sapiens; Sapiens essentially wiped out all other species of human (erectus, neanderthalenis, denisova, ergaster) through our dominance of the globe. We have always exerted our power over others, it’s unfortunately one of our traits as a species. And in that manner we have continued to do so, whether it’s through imperial slave trading, genocide or shooting an unarmed child because he was black.
Historically, Caucasian people have very rarely been oppressed. BAME people have nearly always been the ones oppressed, for hundreds of years. The current protests and conversations aren’t about an isolated incident. They’re not about one thing happening to one person, they’re about the millions of voices whose blood has been spilled because of racist ideology that says, “You’re not fully human.”
Black Lives Matter isn’t suggesting and never has suggested other lives are less important, it is simply a movement trying to speak for the voiceless whose lives were treated as if they never mattered. If you, your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents and beyond have always been made to believe that somehow and in some way you are lesser than someone else then your passion and desire to shout in objection to that will be strong because you’re not shouting for yourself, you’re also shouting for your 5th great-grandfather who was dragged from his home to work the cotton fields.