Saturday, 6 June 2020

The lives that matter

Black lives matter.

"Oh, yes, they certainly do, Sue," goes the riposte, "but so do trans lives, and all lives, and ..."

Yes, but right now it's black lives that are in line of fire and that's what we must concentrate on. I've witnessed enough police bias in Britain, let alone seen footage of brutality and killings in America, to know that some people are targeted by police forces purely because they have darker skin than others. And I've experienced enough race discrimination myself in Britain for not being pure Anglo-Saxon and for being born somewhere unusual (where, ironically, me and my family were targeted for being white). So I know well enough that the more you stand out from the crowd the more you will be mistreated. But not as well as your average black person in the West knows it.

There's no excuse for racism.

Science is very clear: there is no such thing as race. Cavalli-Sforza and others who have made it their life's work to research the biology of race conclude that the only biological way of subdividing the human species is by blood group and, since children may be in a different blood group from their parents, it's hardly a good basis for division. There is NO other biological difference between people. We all have exactly the same genome. Stick around in Africa long enough and your descendants' melanin genes will switch on permanently just like locals. And vice-versa. We all have those exact same genes, it just takes a little while in an environment to make them switch fully. This is not news. Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", he of the Oath that all doctors take, described how the human body adapts to its environment in his essay Airs, Waters, Places, and that was around 400 BC!

So discrimination is the result of ignorance and wilful nastiness. People choose to be racist. Everyone in the world has been subject to compulsory education for generations now, so there are no excuses for being ignorant. Everyone in the world is the product of a migration at some point in their own lives or in the history of their family. So complaining that some people are now living where there weren't people like them before is hypocritical. And if you joined the police because you enjoy bullying and you thought policing was a way of legitimising your thuggery, people won't support you or trust your force. It's up to the good cops - the ones who feel communities need protection, even the ones who joined up just to have a steady job - to weed you out for the sake of their reputation and honest employment. And it's up to us citizens to help and encourage the force to do that.

I boycott businesses that mistreat and discriminate. I won't, for example, buy Dyson products because of the cynical employment history of owner James Dyson. I won't go to a Wetherspoon's pub because of owner Tim Martin's cavalier dismissal of all his staff during the current lockdown. I won't associate with racists, bullies or bigots: I dump them once their nastiness is clear. I have even cut contact with my own father largely because of his horrific race hate (see this post, with caution: I won't support police forces that are institutionally racist or the politicians who engage them.

Nor should you. Be bold and make it plain that you won't tolerate this malice. If you are still unsure, be aware that the haters and discriminators will be on to you too soon enough since you also differ from them. Black lives really matter.

Sue x


  1. No ifs, no buts, and certainly no alls: black lives matter. ♥️

    "...I boycott businesses that mistreat and discriminate..."

    Hitting a business in the wallet seems to be very much a thing. For me, I think that hits then where they feel it.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I thought your blog post on this matter was very apt. I am genuinely sick of supremacist hate and the pathetic apologies people make for inhumane behaviour. In the same way that every kind of community needs to root out its bad apples, it falls to white people above all to challenge wrong attitudes of other white people. Not just for the sake of black people but for our sakes too since ultimately hate cuts all ways. Sue x