Dear White People: no melanin, no opinion.

I too shall start this piece with full disclosure – in case it wasn’t obvious already. I am of African heritage, specifically Ghanaian, and identify as Black British. Therefore, rendering me underprivileged and a minority in British society.

Whilst its commendable that you advocate diversity for the sole purpose of the exchange of ideas, this is harrowingly similar to the rhetoric your ancestors used to justify colonialism and the ‘exploration’ of the savage lands. Diversity is not and should not be an embellishment of your ‘progressive society’ nor liberal beliefs. It will not mask your racism nor your white privilege, but it is rather the uncomfortable notion that we are all equal though we are different. It is the painful truth that your skin colour, sex, ability but to name a few, does not make us inferior.

And we the peoples are tired of having to constantly blast this on a megaphone.

I applaud your intellectual curiosity and endeavour when reading that one Wikipedia article on the origins of BME and then whitesplaining it so well for us. I know I speak for many ethnic minorities when I say that I found it so refreshing that yet another white person took it upon themselves to educate us about our own identities and history. This is the same way I felt when a talk on ‘African philosophy’ held by the Philosophy Society was given by a white professor. However, allow me to highlight your inconsistencies.

‘White’ and ‘Coloured’ were not used in the same manner in US law. The word ‘coloured’ was used always explicitly, whilst ‘men’ was always synonymous with white. BME is fundamentally different to the word coloured as it does not reinforce historic racist ideals of white superiority, but rather allows us to recognise our identity in a society which is not our ethnic motherland. BME does not dismiss the capacity for a British identity and is not simply premised on the ‘logic of colour’. The definition of who is a minority includes those whose voices are underrepresented in society and are systematically discriminated against due to their heritage, and so BME can include certain groups of people who may have lighter skin such as Arabs.

So, don’t worry, this us and them divide which you worry BME is creating would not lead to a white genocide.

Again, your acknowledgement of the role BME plays in addressing social inequality is praiseworthy, yet it always becomes about the white man. It is true that white working-class men are also at a socio-economic disadvantage, but to accredit that to the BME initiatives is dangerous and quite frankly reckless. As members of the BME community, we recognise the sad reality that we will always face institutional racism and in response, we actively create and seek out initiatives to level the corporate playing field. And so maybe the problem is not positive discrimination, but the confident assurance in which white males believe opportunities should be handed to them.

Unfortunately, we cannot and we will not hide our excellence.

BME people do have different cultural backgrounds and in some cases struggle to ‘fit in’ into British society. This is not the same for white minorities. I will acknowledge that is also a potential problem which they might face, assimilation into British society is not as much of a challenge to them as it is to those of BME heritage. Western cultures are similar and have many intersections. In addition, the level of education and exposure on the cultures of white minorities from Europe far exceeds that of the cultures of BME people. British people can immediately identify a prominent writer, thinker, musician, artist or historical event from the countries of white minorities, but how easy is it for them to do the same with the countries where people of BME background hail, without resorting to stereotypes and racist remarks?

Furthermore, initiatives such as ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ are not racist, but unpleasant for the white man. Initiatives such as these seek to highlight the lack of representation in the curriculum and debunk certain stereotypes it reinforces. For example, why do we learn about slavery as if its genesis was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade? Why do we not talk about Dublin being the slave trade capital of the world in the 11th century? Why do we only study Western philosophy? Why do we debate whether the Civil rights movement could be described as terrorism but accept the Crusades as heroic acts of progress? We hail the work of Emmeline Pankhurst as representing a minority group in the UK, yet we do not do the same for Stuart Hall. Even our curriculum at university features Russian history heavily such as the Cold War and the Bolshevik revolution. Education should not have an agenda. It should seek to be as objective as possible.

The BME attainment gap is more structurally rooted in society and government policies rather than at the face level of transition into higher education. The cycle of poverty applies in this case and there is a pattern of underfunding of basic social amenities in areas with concentrated BME populations which in the long run, make it harder to progress into higher education. Returning to the first point, diversity does not function as a means to achieve commercial profit. Diversity in the workplace should be a given naturally.

To be colour blind is to assume whiteness in everyone and this is what you advocate when you call for the removal of labels such as BME. We need BME officers in order to continue to platform the voices which you yourself have acknowledge are readily silenced. Socioeconomic disadvantage should be addressed, but it is not mutually exclusive from having BME platforms – they should be considered simultaneously. Idealistically, we can see everyone as an individual and labels would be superfluous, yet society has not evolved to that point. It is neoliberal to assume that Labels such as BME were initially enforced on us by society, but they are readily being reclaimed and looking at this from a sociological perspective, generalisations are sometimes necessary in order for our collective voices to be heard.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

19 Comments

  1. “To be colour blind is to assume whiteness in everyone…”
    This really struck me. I’ve kind of been aware that colour-blindness is not actually useful, but have never really understood why – although to my shame I now realise I never really looked hard enough for an answer, especially when you put it so simply.
    Thank you for sharing this piece, it’s such an important message.

    1. Interesting how random writers stand up and anoint themselves as representaitves of all people of color. As if there is merely one perspective within such a large and diverse group. This should be an indication of how arrogant and fanatical these people are. They exist in their bubble of absolute certainty.

    2. No it absolutely does not assume whiteness in everyone. It assumes that each individual should be judged on their own merits instead of their status as member of a group (except insofar as what being in any group necessarily entails about a person; e.g., if someone is a member of the group “homosexuals,” then it’s no big collectivist stance to assume such a person is attracted to a member of the same sex because that’s what being homosexual means by definition; contrast this with the collectivist view held by white supremacists that a black person is a criminal because he is black even though being black does not by definition make someone a criminal).

  2. While all humans have the same number of melanocytes (which produce melanin and determine skin color), those melanocytes produce different amounts of melanin. People who moved to northern climates needed more UV-B rays to make vitamin D so they produce less melanin.

  3. Typical racist trash from a person who puts forward their one-sided version of history. She talks about how we supposedly gloss over the bad parts of ‘White History’, while glossing over the savagery of Arab and Black history, particularly in relation to the slave trade. It’s this sort of partisanship (calling out your opponents while hoping that no one catches you out) that is contrary to ‘historical objectivity’.

    I have no idea as to who this woman is for her to be able to speak on behalf of white minorities in the UK, but she shouldn’t. I can’t speak for all of the people from my country, let alone my continent. If, according to her, there’s something special in the ‘lived experience’ of someone that requires us to defer to their experiences (which is presumably why we should listen to black and brown voices in the first place!), then she should show other immigrants in the UK (be they white or non-white) the same courtesy. Anything else is plain supremacist hypocrisy.

  4. With full disclosure – in case it isn’t obvious in the end. I am of American heritage, specifically the United States of America, and identify as American. Therefore, rendering me fortunate. What I do with this fortune is entirely up to me irregardless of race, gender or social economic status. While BME may have embarrassing originated from the states (what we refer to as Identity Politics) its ancestry is rooted in Communism. It would do BME ideologs well to take heed to the words and desires of MLK that his children “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  5. Your class prejudice really comes through here. Ever tried asking a Polish builder how well adjusted he feels in the SW7 residences he’s hired to renovate? You don’t want white people to speak for you yet you presume to speak for them? From one minority to another – your race-baiting is exhausting, pointless and will burn you up from your own resentment. Please get help.

    “BME people do have different cultural backgrounds and in some cases struggle to ‘fit in’ into British society. This is not the same for white minorities.”

  6. So…by your logic, people who identify as Caucasian are not qualified to hold opinions on issues you deem to be BME related, simply because of the color of their skin. That begs the obvious question: what gives you the right or ability to weigh in on how Caucasians should feel, think or do about anything? Maybe you’re unaware or uneducated, but Caucasian covers a lot of ground in the cultural heritage department. You’ve already voided your own argument by suggesting you, as a self-identified Black British person, know anything about “white minorities.”

  7. I stopped reading at “Therefore, rendering me underprivileged and a minority in British society.”

    Underprivileged?! Your skin color doesn’t determine your privilege. Using this as an excuse makes you an idiot. And not just in British society, but in all of society.

  8. This is, of course, a racist rant by a racist person. As Morgan Freeman so well said, and I paraphrase here, when we stop labeling each other we can stop being racists. If you must identify as a black person, or as a white person, you are racist. If you identify as a person, that is all you need. The author said “Idealistically, we can see everyone as an individual and labels would be superfluous, yet society has not evolved to that point.”

    That is a choice. I choose to see everyone as an individual. If you would choose the same, author, we can stop the racism right now. Your call.

  9. “To be colour blind is to assume whiteness in everyone…”

    No, it assumes each person is so much more than their skin color. After all, we humans are literally the most complex things in the entire known universe. To reduce people down to a few superficial “identities” is dehumanizing, and therefore evil. It’s what fuels genocide after all.

  10. The mental gymnastics the left performs in order to convince themselves that the value of a person’s opinion should be based on race is not textbook racism. Truly amazing.

  11. I stopped reading after the first paragraph. This is a pathetic way to try and make people with a lighter skin tone feel bad about it. How can we go from trying to prevent segregation to this? You are segregating yourself and whoever wants to blindly follow you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

On Key

Related Posts

Hope One Day

by Neelam Shah / third-placed winner of the LSESU Poetry Society’s Summer Competition Hope One Day I hope one day there will be end to

scroll to top