I’m going to wade into todays twitter storm with my two pence on Diane Abbott’s tweet.
The offending tweet said this:
Twitter went into a storm about it being a “racist” remark. She went on media outlets to explain herself. Chuka Ummuna publicly told her off. The question is whether its racist or not?
Dictionary.com defines racism as;
1. a person who believes in racism
, the doctrine that a certainhuman race
is superior to any or all others.
2. of or like racists or racism
: racist policies; racist attitudes.
According to that definition, it is racist. It is in my opinion downgrading white people. The tweet suggests that white people are incapable of rising above petty labelling of people into boxes and black people should not sink to their levels. Even in the hashtag, “tactics as old as colonialism” as it suggests that “white people” are incapable of learning and also she is comparing all white people to the powerful elite.
The tweet is like me as a Scot saying that every Englishman is evil, manipulative, cunning b*stards based on the evil, mainpulative, cunning, bigots that were the English Kings back in the 13th and 14th centuries and quite possibly slightly later based on your perception of when the English Kings stopped being evil. Could go up to 1603 when James VI became James VI & I then it became bigoted Scottish Kings/Queens who stupidly believed in the trickle down effect. Stopped being Scottish when the German Windsor family took over.
Diane’s meaning though, I think wasn’t about race. It was about the powerful elite dividing people and turning one group against the other so in a way, Diane herself fell into the trap she was trying to get bimadew and the “black community” to avoid. She divided the world up into blacks and whites and painted the whites as the enemy. You can tell by the context(below) in which the tweet took place that she didn’t mean to divide the world up. She fell for what is in my opinion a very human thing to do in separating the world up into boxes to make things simpler even when she does not necessarily believe in putting people into boxes.
She has apologised if her remarks caused offence. I think that should be the whole fiasco over with but I doubt it will be.
Full twitter conversation:
Bin Adewunmi: I do wish everyone would stop saying ‘the black community’ though. WHICH ONE?
Bin Adewunmi: Clarifying my ‘black community’ tweet: I hate the generally lazy thinking behind the use of the term. Same for ‘black community leaders’.
Diane Abbott: I understand the cultural point you are making. But you are playing into a “divide and rule” agenda.
Bin Adewunmi: Maybe. I find it frustrating that half the time, these leaders are out of touch with black people they purport to represent.
Diane Abbott: White people love playing “divide & rule” We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism
Bin Adewunmi: I don’t advocate ‘divide and rule’. But I wish we could deal more effectively with issues without resorting to monolithic view.
Diane Abbott: Ethnic communities that show more public solidarity & unity than black people do much better #dontwashdirtylineninpublic