Wednesday , June 19 2024

Kneeling to an unjust God

There are lots of deaths everyday in the United States. People have guns and there is a lot of violent crime. Most of it is ignored even in the United States let alone here. Imagine if in May 2020 a person of Chinese origin had been killed by a policeman. It’s perfectly possible. In 2020 there were 457 white people killed by the police in the USA. There were 241 black people, 169 Hispanic and 28 of other races as well as 126 of unknown race.

But there were no demonstrations about most of these people and certainly no demonstrations in Britain. If a Chinese-American man had been unjustly murdered by the police in the USA in May 2020, would we still have footballers going down on one knee because of it. No, of course not. There is an inequality in our response to violence involving race. We don’t care about white people being killed, we don’t care about Hispanics we don’t in fact care about anyone being killed by the American police unless they are black.

The whole discussion of race in the West is toxic because of this inequality of response. But you cannot fight inequality with more inequality. It is this I believe that football crowds are responding too when they boo players taking the knee.

The origin of taking the knee is essentially unequal. Those American football players who decided to fail to stand when the national anthem played, did so not because they cared about all police murders of all American citizens, but only when a black person was killed in this way. Not only that they only took the knee when a high-profile case of police violence led to the death of a black person. They did not take the knee when a black person killed another black person in a violent crime. The only black lives that mattered were those that could be attributed to white people killing black people. This again was an inequality of response.

America has a much bigger problem with police violence than Britain does. In 2020 only five people were killed by the police in the United Kingdom. But America is far from the most violent place to live. There are any number of countries, including Venezuela and El Salvador where you have a far greater chance of being killed by the police than the USA. The USA has a rate of deaths involving the police of 28.54 per 10 million people. Venezuela has a rate of 1830.2. While the UK’s rate is merely 0.5. But there are no demonstrations about police killing black people in Venezuela. Footballers don’t kneel to complain about this. It doesn’t even make the news.

In Britain we don’t have a problem with the police killing black people, yet we are still expected to go down on one knee, which is essentially an act of disrespect to a flag and a national anthem, even when it is not our problem. This is why fans are booing.

The footballers and the authorities argue that taking the knee has nothing to do with either Black Lives Matter or the origins of the gesture. They are merely making this gesture to show that they oppose racism. But this is not true. Footballers were not going down on one knee in Britain prior to the murder of George Floyd. They only began after the widespread Black Lives Matter demonstrations which began afterwards. If George Floyd had been Chinese and had been murdered in a similar way, there would have been no demonstrations, no Black Lives Matter organisation in Britain and no taking the knee. It is therefore impossible to divorce the gesture from its Black Lives Matter origin, because it only happened because of the response to the death of George Floyd by Black Lives Matter activists. To suppose that going down on one knee is somehow different is to suppose that I could raise my arm in front of me without this being connected with fascism.

Is there a problem with racism in Britain? Yes. Human beings everywhere have prejudice about external characteristics including race. Is Britain a particularly racist place to live? There is discrimination here. There is prejudice and there is racial hatred. But almost everyone accepts that racial discrimination is wrong. You don’t need to persuade us of this. Most of us try to treat our fellow citizens the same and with respect no matter their race or national origin. We have made progress in the past fifty years. Yet no matter what we do it is never enough. There is always someone who is ready to call us racist, no matter how hard we try. There is always someone waiting to pounce on the least mistake, an unguarded remark or a joke in poor taste.

The problem with modern race theory is that is fundamentally unequal. Only white people can be racist. Black people cannot be racist. But this inequality makes gestures such as taking the knee, toppling statues and cancelling people from the past seem unfair. This is why fans are booing.

When Sasha Johnson the Black Lives Matter activist was shot in the head, there was immediate media interest. If it had turned out that she had been shot by a far-right white person, there would have been endless condemnation, mass demonstrations and calls for more kneeling, but instead it appears that those suspected of shooing her are black people. Immediately there is minimal coverage in the media and no one is interested. It only matters if white people shoot black people. But do the lives of black people shot by other black people not matter? Why don’t footballers kneel for Sasha Johnson? If they think about it at all, it is because the black lives that matter are only those where a white person can be accused of racism. This is why taking the knee is so divisive. It amounts to an accusation against a whole society, that we need re-education, that we are unconsciously racist and to blame for our whole history and everything bad that ever happened to a black person. We are to blame because of the skin we were born in. Many people are getting tired of being blamed for who we are by those who are angry with us no matter what we do.

The inequality of treatment is such that a TV programme about Anne Boleyn can have a black actress. There is an argument to be had about whether black people can sensibly portray non black historical characters. I dislike it because it makes such programmes unbelievable and lacking in realism. Why go to great efforts to have an accurate depiction of Tudor dress if we don’t care about an accurate depiction of Anne Boleyn’s race. But I could see the logic of colour-blind casting if it was done fairly. But it is not. While historical white characters can be depicted by non-white people, historical black people cannot. Try making a remake of Roots with all the slaves and their descendants cast with white actors. If the character in a novel is described as being black, it is whitewashing to use a white actor to depict them. But Morgan Freeman can play an Irish character with red hair in the Shawshank Redemption and that is fair.

It is now problematic to have an operetta such as the Mikado with white singers, but it is not problematic to have black singers depicting people who would have been white. It means that a staging of Turandot with a full black cast would be no problem at all, but if it had a cast of Italians for whom it was written it is liable to be condemned. Bridgerton can have black aristocrats in Regency England, but a Suitable Boy cannot have white actors depicting Indians in post war India. We are not allowed to distort black history and fiction, but we can pretend that there were black aristocrats which is a distortion of British history.

Only white people are privileged because we live in a majority white society, that supposedly makes all black people no matter how successful or rich underprivileged. It means that a multi-millionaire black footballer is less privileged than a single parent white family with little money and less hope. But if a white person happens to live in a society which is overwhelmingly black, he will not find that black people have black privilege he will not be underprivileged in relation to them no matter how poor he is and no matter what discrimination he faces.

It is all one-way traffic. While white people are condemned for cultural appropriation if they adopt the styles or culture of people from other races, those other races can culturally appropriate the English language, classical music and the inventions of white people with no condemnation whatsoever. This is because cultural appropriation like racism is deemed to be a power relation. Black people with less power can culturally appropriate all they wish and can use racist language about themselves and others without being called racist. It is this unequal treatment that the crowds are booing.

People in Britain are beginning to sense that modern race theory is a racket. If a black cricketer were discovered to have tweeted something racially offensive about white people in his teens, he would not be suspended. If a black hero were discovered to have benefited from the slave trade he would not be cancelled. There is an unforgivable sin called racism, but only white people can ever be guilty of it.

As footballers go down on one knee they are praying to the God of Racism. This is an angry God who has divided us all into the sheep and the goats. The black sheep are without sin, incapable of error and never to blame. The white goats must kneel down and repent. They must pretend that Britain was always multi-cultural and multi-racial. They must be careful what they say and do, for one slip and they will be cancelled. They must confess that those people from the past who we admired, respected and who made our country what it is were in fact racist. Instead of pride in our past we must instead feel guilt. Each of us it turns out is a descendant of bigots and slaveholders and the sins of the fathers must be visited on the sons and we must repent and pay reparations.

But ordinary football fans are beginning to realise that the God of Racism that they are told they must kneel down to is itself a racist. Modern race theory does not treat all races equally and does not want to. It was invented so that one side would always be guilty and one side always innocent. They want you to kneel down to a theory that is itself racist because it is founded on the unequal treatment of people due to their skin colour. The modern understanding of racism has become merely a stick to beat white people with whether they deserve it or not. It is never used against anyone else.

The biggest danger is that when white people begin to discover the inequality of treatment, when they fully realise the racism inherent in modern race theory, they will reject the whole concept of being anti-racist and will give up on fairness, tolerance and treating others as equal no matter what they look like. The inequality in the modern conception of race will lead people to no longer see racism as an unforgivable sin, because how can a sin be unforgivable if only white people can commit it, while for black people it isn’t even a sin at all.

At this point taking the knee will not merely be an empty gesture worthy of booing and derision, but rather a source of division and hostility between races and will begin to undermine the progress that we have all made by treating each other simply as human beings. If white people begin to sense that they are being conned by a race industry that wants to treat them unequally, unfairly and unjustly then race relations across the western world will be set back decades until we can once more realise that all human beings are capable of prejudice and racism and that we can only overcome this not by emphasising what divides us, but by recognising the humanity that we share. People of all races must realise that identity politics will make race relations worse unless we all work together to reject its divisiveness. This is why people are booing and why their boos will only get louder.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog:

About Effie Deans

Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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  1. Karen C

    It’s something that needs serious consideration. What exactly is the ultimate aim of this imbalance? To reset society so that Black people can be superior to whites? Don’t think that is going to happen somehow. Who is behind it? Ironically I think it is actually white people wanting to cause trouble. If they can make Black communities think that White ones are a threat to them then civil unrest is bound to follow. What is trouble makers ultimate aim? That remains to be seen.

  2. Rod Neep

    I have a personal view on skin colour…. I have absolutely no discrimination against anyone of a different skin colour. My personal view is that skin colour is totally irrelevant to me. My personal view is that I positively dislike being described as “white”. I am not white. My skin is a sort of pink colour, and it changes sometimes depending on the season. Skin colour is unimportant, I have many many friends who have a different skin colour to me. All shades. I also have many friends who have a different hair colour to me…. and here I am leading to my main point… what is the difference between skin colour and hair colour?

    See what I mean? It doesn’t matter !!!!!
    My attitude towards skin colour is “SO WHAT?”. It doesn’t matter.

    Now to the nitty gritty of that. I believe that instead of trying to address the “problem” of black/white and equality by confrontation or public demonstrations, we should as a society be aiming towards a “So What” attitude. If we can educate our children and those around us to take that attitude then there would not even be a *need* to be discussing equality. It would just BE!