These 'shine-a-light' moments of racism

These 'shine-a-light' moments of racism

Thursday, June 04, 2020

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Dear Editor,

As British media outlets scramble to find black/brown voices to comment on the horrors unfolding in America, the “thank-goodness-we're-not-that-bad” tone seems false to me.

In the UK, we don't allow citizens to keep weapons that could wipe out a small village, but on any measure you care to, well, measure from poverty to violent deaths, to educational and job promotion opportunities, we aren't better; we're just more British.

A lot of the transatlantic tut-tutting has focused, rightly, on the appalling but all too familiar murder of an unresisting black man by the police as well as US President Donald Trump's abysmal response. But the less well-publicised case of Amy Cooper — the white, middle-class, 'liberal' woman who weaponised racism in a way she clearly understood could have led to death by police for the black man who had asked her to leash her dog — also counts. Quite simply, she resented being asked to comply with public regulations, and she certainly didn't want that request from a black person. Her appalling response was to invoke 400 years of racism and brutality to get her entitled white way.

I am a black British grandmother. Thank goodness I've never personally witnessed a black person being murdered by a white policeman, but I have grown up with Amys — the middle-class white people who know how to act. But the second they think a black person doesn't 'know their place' or may have a chance at something they feel entitled to, God help you.

Amanda Baker

Edinburgh, UK

c/o poetrypants@yahoo.com


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