Mile End Institute: Who represents London?: Ethnicity, gender, and party in local government

Mile End Institute: Who represents London?: Ethnicity, gender, and party in local government


Okay welcome one and all thank you so
much for coming along this evening to this event facing white supremacy, I am
only here to say a very few words and then shut up and get my colleague Nivi Manchanda to introduce the panel hi my name’s Tim Bale and I’m director
of the Mile End Institute and it’s the Mile End Institute that is hosting tonight.
I should just say a bit of some housekeeping stuff if the fire alarm
goes off it is not a test that means there is a fire or somesuch
and you have to leave by the exits marched he says looking like an air an
airsteward, assemble outside and then quite what we do after that I have no
idea but as long as we’re all outside it’s fine we will aim to finish around 8
o’clock because we’ve got some drinks I think some nibbles afterwards so do
please stay for them and if you don’t get a chance to ask a question you can
always ask a question of any one of the panelists afterwards we do appreciate
questions rather than comments but if you are going to make a comment if you
could keep them fairly concise and indeed if you can keep the questions
fairly concise that’s always a good thing as well. So once again thank you
very much for coming we’re really looking forward to this
particular event and Nivi go ahead. Thanks Tim. Before we begin I just want to thank the Mile End
Institute and in particular Tim Bale for hosting this event the Mile End
Institute provides I think the perfect vantage point to discuss white supremacy
and resistance to it not only because it is a platform that consistently brings
together policy makers academics and diverse local communities to address
major political challenges in the UK but also because of its distinctly
international perspective so I hope we can talk a little bit about how Brexit
is gonna to white supremacy elsewhere and talk
about articulations of racism globally yeah so also I’d like to thank Tahmeda and Moushumi for helping organize this they are always a major bonus to
have around yeah we don’t have one member of our panel Callum Cant who had
a bit of an accident and can’t be here but let me introduce the rest so I’ll
start with Dr Omar Khan who’s director of the Runnymede trust chair of the
ethnicity strand advisory group to understanding society share also the
advisory group of the Center on dynamics of ethnicity and the University of
Manchester Commission on the Financial Inclusion Commission and a member of the
2014 REF assessment he’s he’s also been previously a governor at the University
of East London. Next we have Emily Gorcenski Emily is a data scientist at a data
scientist and activist for social justice and the creator of the
first vigil a database of far-right extremist crime she is survival at the
Charlottesville neo-nazi violence and Emily has used experience to fight back
against far-right extremism and was recently named as one of 2018s most
influential feminists by Bitch magazine next we have Maya Goodfellow recently Dr
Maya Goodfellow who just got her PhD from SOAS she’s written extensively for the
Guardian for the New York Times and al Jazeera her forthcoming book entitled
Hostile Environment will be published with verso later this year next Dr
Olivia Rutazibwa. Dr Olivia Rutazibwa is a senior lecturer in IR and
development at the University of Portsmouth she has published widely
including most recently in humanitarian affairs her book with Robbie Shilliam
called the Handbook of Post-colonial Studies throughout the Handbook of
Post-colonial Studies is a major intervention in the field and finally
but not least we have Dr Clive Gabay so Dr Clive Gabay is a member of staff
at the school of politics and IR at Queen Mary and he works on race and
racism his most recent book which I have here
Imagining Africa Whiteness in the Western Gaze was published by CUP at
the end of 2018 if you want a discount on the book get in touch with Clive and
this event is as much a celebration of the book as it is a rant against sorry I
mean a diagnostics of Brexit and white supremacy so without further ado
I’m gonna pass on to the panel each of them will have five minutes to talk then
we have a little bit of an informal discussion and then I’ll open it up for
questions thank you. Thank you for that yes so I’m going to I think I’ll have
sort of two themes one is that Brexit has indeed revealed an undercurrent of
racism in Britain that we haven’t I think appreciated it and haven’t come to
terms with but Brexit itself also amplifies some of
those concerns so I don’t want to make Brexit kind of unique in this sense so
one of the things I think it has revealed is just how much we haven’t
understood the extent of racism in Britain so there’s a tendency I think to
view racism as a sort of interpersonal form of violence that there’s just a few
bad eggs on the far right a few white supremacists and white supremacist then
meaning morally bad people who are somehow depraved rather than
attaching racism to institutions and structures and one of the ways I think
that we see that is the sort of tendency to view the white working-class as the
source of all forms of racism in Britain but of course it’s not the white
working-class who make people send in twice as many CVs just to get a job
it’s white middle-class managers it’s not the white working-class that designs
budgets that hit the black women the hardest in Britain it’s the Chancellor
of the Exchequer and it’s not the white working-class who give white British
graduates three times who are firsts in our universities it’s our University
lecturers including at this university although this university has a better
BME attainment gap than others and it’s not a few bad apples 44 percent of the
British public responded yes to the question do you believe that some ethnic
groups were born less hard-working 44 percent that’s about 20 million people
so hardly a few numbers and if you want to talk about the 17 million people who
voted Brexit one in three of them believe agree with the statement that
some ethnic or racial groups were born less intelligent so that’s six million
people but if you are a remainer who thinks that racism is only amongst those
terrible Brexit voters you’re unfortunately going to have to accept
the fact that 2.5 million of your fellow voters also agree with the statement
that some ethnic or racial groups were born less intelligent so it’s incorrect
to associate racism merely with a fringe and it’s incorrect to associate racism
merely with individuals and it’s incorrect indeed to associate racism
merely with Brexit however it’s it’s also the case that the
Brexit campaign was both run on and underpinned by an appeal so the
formal and informal Brexit campaigns I think clearly thought they would get
some mileage out of appealing to some some more or less explicit forms of
racism we know Farage is breaking-point poster but we’ve also seen through some
of the ads that face it that were targeted on Facebook that there were
images of Africans coming via Spain there were images of course of Turkish
people coming through so clearly whether or not you
know the voters who chose who supported to leave the European Union were
motivated by racism those who designed the campaigns certainly thought that
that was a reason for people to vote that way. I think it’s also quite
shocking and in my view that we’ve had actually so little reflection on the
murder of Joe Cox an MP by a white supremacist I mean we talk about
divisions we talk about the horrific nature of her murder but I don’t think
we reflect enough on the fact that his motivations were clearly racist in
nature and that the threat of that sort of violence hasn’t gone away another
reason that I’m concerned about the way in which Brexit may increase the level
of racial discrimination in Britain to to further ways first is that obviously
some of the the laws on racial discrimination derived from our
membership of the European Union so there are some concerns there about
whether or not will we ensure that all of that those those rights continue
after we leave the European Union I think the second concern I have is this
sort of tendency as I’ve already suggested to view it the vote as in
terms of the white working-class which I think erases the existence of the black
working class and denies the the continued existence of racism amongst a
wider range of society and on that point I’d also like to highlight that while
there’s this further tendency to avoid – sorry I think the final division that
I’m quite concerned about and then I’m going to wrap up to allow my other
panelists to speak is on EU versus non EU migrants and I think there’s a
variety of concerns around this question so first of all I think it’s true and we
know that about a third of Asian British and a quarter of black British voters
voted to leave the European Union and that many of them were motivated by
concerns around fairness of the rights and privileges that were associated with
different forms of migration status and that some and we entered we did some
research before the referendum interviewing settled ethnic minorities
in Britain that found that quite a number of them were concerned about
Europe being a fortress Europe being a white project a project to keep out
cheap African and Asian labour and to allow in white European labour and I
think that’s something that we’re going to have to address and tackle in the
future this sort of which is a genuine form of
division I think it also highlights something that the European project
never fully confronted which was the fact that European citizens did well
European nationals who initially didn’t even want to be called migrants in the
UK did have differential rights to other forms to other migrants but it’s quite
complicated because of course they didn’t have the right to vote in the
referendum that took away their rights whereas non EU migrants who were
Commonwealth citizens did have the right to vote so the whole panoply of Rights
and access to benefits and privileges and entitlements is quite confused
complicated and unequal in in Britain and we saw that also with the Windrush
injustice whereby people who came here on a differentiated form of British
citizenship also found that they still had a differentiated access that is to
say unequal racialised access to rights but I do want to say that it’s
not true however that all European migrants are white in fact a larger
share of people born in Europe living in Britain are not white then is the share
of people born in Britain who are not white so around ten and a half percent
of your people born in Europe living in the UK are not white whereas only nine
percent of those people born in the UK are not white so we have to be very
careful unless you want to say that Britain is also purely a white country
of saying that all Europeans are white and we have to be I think careful also
not to once if and once we leave the European Union to be agnostic about the
connection between whiteness and Europeaness because as we can see the far right
make mileage out of that globally but further those there that doesn’t even
include those citizens from say those people born in say Angola who then got
Portuguese nationality the people born in Brazil who got Portuguese
nationality or those people born in Cameroon who got French nationality and
then lived here so if anything those numbers are an underestimate
so I suppose to conclude what I’m suggesting is that brexit has exposed
the extent to which Britain still hasn’t necessarily addressed or even understood
the nature of racism more generally and in that sense the connection is not only
between Brexit and white supremacy but between Britain and white supremacy but
secondly that it is true also that Brexit has thrown up an additional set
of concerns some of which I think were actually unaddressed and needed
addressing anyway but some of which have been amplified and worsened by the
nature in which the Brexit campaign was run and which I think shows the need for
us all, all of us to do more work to try to not just heal division but
actually tackle racism and racial inequalities thanks. I suppose I’m next I
guess I’ll start by saying that I’m probably the least credentialled person
on this panel I am NOT an academic in this domain but I do consider myself an
activist and a researcher by training I’m a data scientist I am from
Charlottesville Virginia although now I live in Berlin Germany which gives me
the unique perhaps experience of fleeing to Berlin to flee Nazis but it is that work that I have done in
Charlottesville and that training that I have as a technologist and a data
scientist that has led me to continue my activism in the counter white supremacy
movement in the United States and internationally from the relative safety
of a city that has seen this all before one of the things that people when they
think about Charlottesville when they don’t really know the city itself is
they don’t understand that the event that made the headlines around the world
called Unite the Right which was well very on point in terms of the naming
that was not the first event in Charlottesville with white supremacy it
was not even the first event that year in Charlottesville with white supremacy
in fact it was the fourth event in Charlottesville that year when it comes
to violent white supremacy and it also was not the last it was the most violent
and the one that gathered the most headlines but lost in that narrative
when we focus on the tiki torches and the car attack and the President’s
comments about very fine people on both sides is the efforts that we went
through as a community as activists to try to prevent that from happening there
was a tremendous amount of work that was done leading up to the event in an
effort to get the authorities in this case the city government and the city
police along with the State Police to deny the permit for the rally and
prevent it from going on. One of the ways that we that we as activists tried to
shut this rally down before it started was by exposing many of the violent
threats the rhetoric and the hate speech which crossed the border from the
American standard of tasteless but legal speech into imminent threats of violence
unfortunately our warnings fell on deaf ears and it was even true that six weeks
before the event I able to name Vanguard America accurately
as an organization that would commit a terrorist attack of course James Fields
was marching with a Vanguard shield when shortly before he committed the terror
attack this follow-up to that when we analyzed what went wrong and when we
read the whitewashed report of the performance of the city and state police
in regards to the event was that it was clear that the authorities weren’t going
to protect us and if we wanted to do anything to prevent another
Charlottesville from happening we had to amplify our efforts as activists to
engage with the media and to raise awareness around white supremacy this
sort of effort had was boosted by the fact that anti-fascist activists had
effectively infiltrated these organising circles and chat rooms and not only did
we have organiser chats from the Charlottesville event but we had
organising chats for events and groups all around the world from Canada to
South Africa to Europe what this has done is enabled us through the unicorn
riot it’s an independent media collective they were able to publish
these these messages I believe there’s over four million messages now and that
might be an underestimate of white supremacist or white supremacist
organising around the world and I was able to do that along with
other several other researchers to expose name and shame many of the people
who conspired to commit violence and terror at the rally it was about a year
ago that one of the biggest exposés was announced where I had
named an individual by the name of Michael Joseph Chesney as a key
organizer of the rally he was a transportation coordinator and was
listed in a organisational chart near the top of the Unite the Right planning
his comments were unique and interesting because in the planning chat rooms in
the channel for legal questions he asked whether it was in fact legal to run down
and killed protesters if they were standing in the streets of course this
happened before James Fields did exactly that what gets really disturbing is that
Michael Chesney was a United States Marine
he was an explosives technician based out of Cherry Point Naval Air Station in
North Carolina and what led me to him was that he was promoting a very unique
logo in the chat rooms one that only white supremacist researchers in the
United States would be familiar with that logo has now been gone
international because it is the logo generation identity which as you might
know has connections throughout the UK Europe and around the world including
and is led by a man by the name of Martin Sellner in Austria
Sellner made headlines recently when it was revealed that the Christchurch New
Zealand shooter had donated a large sum of money to him and had used some of
those symbols and shared some of those some of the generation identity
propaganda in his manifesto so what we’ve seen through all of this is that
the organising and infiltration work that has been done to disrupt white
supremacy locally in Charlottesville has had ripple effects throughout the world
and the warnings of violence that I personally gave to the City Council on
an July night in 2017 still ring true as we watch terrorism happen all around the
globe by the same very networked group of people now I’m not an expert on
British politics I’m not an expert on Brexit but what I do know is that in
March of last year Martin Sellner was denied entry into the UK to give a
speech instead he gave that speech to Tommy Robinson who then delivered it at
speakers corner so it’s true to say that the American way of dealing with white
supremacy is in a sense unique to American politics but it is also true to
say that this group of extreme nationalists is perhaps one of the most
international activist groups in the world so with that I will conclude by
saying that the efforts that I’ve been undertaking in the time since
Charlottesville has to name shame and expose these white
supremacists by linking them to violence and crime and trying to stitch together
the narratives that the media is not very good at putting together themselves
so would that I hope that we can continue this work and that there’s a
lot of opportunity for crowdsourcing and in this domain so thank you very much Hi everyone so why I’m gonna do really
briefly is think about I suppose more about how this centre legitimates some of
the narratives the white supremacy thrives off of and the far-right thrives
off of and I think to do that I’m gonna talk a bit about immigration discourses
because that is a lot of my work like that but I think what we need to maybe
do and this is not I’m not gonna be able to answer this question I’ve spent the
past four years thinking about it I don’t have a full answer on this but we
need to think about what is whiteness and I think we will talk about white
supremacy we know what that is we think about the supremacy of white people
historically how that has been constructed but whiteness is slightly
more complex all of the way the ways it shapes the world in which we live in
it’s very difficult to pin down its operating in a number of different
places at the same time in different ways and it’s invisiblised but at the
same time is also everywhere is so it’s I guess the reason I’m posing this is
really to get us to think about the really complex ways that whiteness
operates in these ideas of making whiteness the norm and sustaining these
systems of power that help to produce and sustain ideas of white supremacy
that the far right thrive off of and I think one way that we can begin to think
about what is whiteness and how does it operate is I’m really taking my cues
from the academic Gloria Wekker who talks about white innocence and we can think about white
whiteness in that sense is essentially a system of privilege that is reliant on
the erasure of but also the reproduction of particular histories so when I’m
thinking about that I’m thinking about the very obvious things of Britain which
I probably don’t need to rehash for all of you but essentially the erasure of
significant parts of British history Britain’s bloody colonial adventures but
also the very idea historically that Britain and Europe are places of
modernity are places of development and that modernity and development how that
is defined is related to whiteness but also the very idea that that modernity
and development happened within Britain it happened innately to the British
people as opposed to Britain extracting from its colonies and taking material
wealth and goods from the rest of the world in
order to fund that progress which I would use in say in air quotes because
these are all terms I think they need to be contested and we need to challenge
and so these like these ideas about Britain and Europe being places of
progress in civility these are really bound up with whiteness the very idea of
white people and white whiteness being synonymous with privilege and power but
also progress these continue to reproduce themselves these ideas in the
way that we talk about immigration today and the reason why I want to talk about
immigration is because what has become so commonplace is to hear that it’s not
racist to be concerned about immigration immigration it’s no longer anything to
do with race what we’re now talking about as well is thinking about freedom
of movement and freedom of movement people in Europe tend to be coded in a
lot of people’s minds as white although Omar has quite nicely explained why that
isn’t accurate that is still how a lot of people think of freedom of movement
and and I think it’s important to consider how these immigration
discourses operate because the center when is talking about immigration the
so-called centre so I’m thinking people like Tony Blair people like Ed Miliband
people like David Cameron when they talk about immigration
they often reproduced the very logics that the far-right depend upon so one
example of this in really recent the past couple of days which some of you may
have seen is Tony Blair saying that in order to combat the far-right migrants
have to integrate okay so there that I mean there’s a lot to unpack there that
I’m probably not gonna have time to do but that I suppose the reason that this
is interesting is because these words all sound relatively neutral you know
this idea that people need to integrate into British society surely that’s just
about people getting along people learning English which itself I would
actually push back against but the reason that this is so insidious is
because this reproduces implicitly the very idea of the white nation so this
idea that there is a norm which migrants particular migrants when people talk
about immigrants they’re usually not talking about white wealthy Americans
right there very racialised idea of who the
migrant is it’s like this idea of migrants conforming to the white nation
so being able to identify themselves as having British values being able to
speak the right language and what’s actually interesting about this is no
amount of integration is ever enough so if you go back it’s to 2005 and
previously Tony Blair was saying these exact same things when in government the
New Labour government implemented English language tests the people coming
into the country encouraged people to subscribe to British values and
consistently talked in this kind of authoritarian way about the need of
migrants to show that they were loyal to the nation so this isn’t a new idea but
still we’re hearing the same thing fourteen years later and what is
interesting about this is when you talk to a lot of people like myself who’s a second,
third generation migrants the fact that we even calling ourselves by those terms
at what point do you become British at what point have you proved yourself
enough and at what point do you stop being continually asked to prove
yourself that you belong in the nation and I think a lot of these discourses do
intersect with how the referendum was framed yes it was the breaking point
poster which was evidently racialised but it was also the response from the
remain campaign which was oh when Turkey’s not gonna join the European
Union so we’re fine so all these racialised discourses is about people fromTurkey coming in to Britain essentially what the the remain side did was say yeah
those people are a threat but it’s fine because they’re not going to be coming
into the country and so what we see with these very ideas about immigration being
a threat to the mythical white nation is the the ideas that the far-right thrive
off this sense the the country needs to be protected from outsiders and that
those outsiders are racialised but some of those outsiders are already in your
midst and they need to be policed to ensure that they do belong in the nation
and so maybe I’m you know I’ll wrap it up because I don’t want to go on about
this for too long I think it may be in it further down the line we can talk
about how freedom of movement fits into this puzzle because I think that there’s
forms of racialisation going on and how in the discourse around freedom
movement intersects with the ideas about whiteness is also really really
interesting but I guess just to end on the point that what’s interesting about
the responses of the so-called Centre to the far right when when particular
instances of violence occurs so for instance if you look at what happened in
New Zealand and the terror attack in New Zealand Jacinda Ardern Prime
Minister has repeatedly condemned what has happened has been praised rightly so
for responding in a particularly sensitive way to what happened but if
you also look back in the past couple of years in politics in New Zealand what
you saw was the New Zealand Labour party reproducing some of the anti-immigration
discourses that the far-right do thrive off of so I think if we’re going to if
we’re just gonna hear people in the Centre racism is bad and we need to confront it what our response should be is but what are the
ways you have been reproducing those very discourses and how are you gonna
change that going forward I’ll end that oh thank you. Good evening everyone so I am one of the
examples that Omar was trying to raise so I moved to the UK from Belgium so I’m a
second generation Rwandan Belgian Flemish person that came to the UK because the
racism here is better than on the continent
I will I will illustrate these statement but I will also obviously say
that the longer you live in a place the more your rosy glasses somehow get more
transparent but I do think there is a salience and maybe that’s a contribution
I would like to make in maybe engaging more in comparative studies even if it’s
just in Europe as long as we’re all part of the EU but you know I think some
conversations between continental Europe what we’ve seen there even if it happens
in a different language so the particular case of a flawless might stay
hidden maybe to some extent because it’s happened it happens in a in a country
that doesn’t really hang together in terms of patriotism our country is
almost falling apart so there’s no nothings grand narratives and also it
happens in a language that it’s not that accessible even though the Dutch managed
actually to broadcast their lunatic politicians we have them since the
eighties that’s my point so I think I will come back to that so at the moment
I’m writing a book it’s not an academic book and it’s in Flemish and the title
is the End of the Wide World the Colonial Manifesto and I’ve been writing
this for the last two years because it’s very difficult to find the right
register and also who am I talking to but mostly most of your time you waste
by trying to somehow justify how you dare calling it the white world right is
it against white people do you want to get rid of us but all these things that
I also realised that you know I’m sure where we use the label white supremacy
in a British context as well very few people are very comfortable with that in
in the mainstream but I would say not in the Academy as well and so in that book
I start with two vignettes that I wrote actually not long
after I moved here and I think it will be maybe an invitation to reflect on the
differences and similarities that we we have in respective countries so I start
with an example of me listening to the radio every morning waking up I was
still living in Belgium and it’s the radio station equivalent of radio 4 so
let’s say the more intellectual people of the country whatever tuning in ours
is Radio 1 public broadcaster right and it was I think in 2003 or 4 6 I don’t
remember but there was one movie made by I think it was one of the first movies
blockbuster made by two filmmakers of Moroccan descent but you know as
Belgian as I’m Belgian but very still knows in Belgium right so we have a
radio the morning news program talking about that movie in the movies it’s
quite funny it’s not even that dramatic but it’s about petty crime and the
little gangs whatever that are around in Brussels so you have the newsreader a
woman she’s invited some people to talk about that movie and her first question
is so I was wondering is this a movie just for Moroccan people or also for us
public broadcaster right so I remember almost falling out of my bed pure
irritation but in a way you grow up in funds that’s that’s what that that’s
seen as as normal but it also shows that by definition most of our journalists I
used to work as a journalist in Belgium as well I was the only black journalist
in Flemish at that time like the whiteness is literal literal literal
right in every corridor of power with its universities or or the news or
politicians or CEOs that that would be my first huge difference with the UK but
then again I think the invitation is to think the visible minorities to what
extent does it change or not I think there is something but there is also
something that’s not happening even though you have your wannabe rainbow
nation you know or the different brochures we have of all our
universities so the second vignette that I used was then to say a few years later
and you can correct me if I’m not reproducing that story right but I was
listening you know moving to the UK same intellectual habit of listening to the
radio in the morning I was listening to Radio 4 living in Portsmouth in 2013
and I think it was the events of one student organisation Islamic inspired
that organised lectures around the Muslim faith in a London University I
don’t remember which one but they had the audacity to organize the room
seating right so in the middle if people wanted to sit mixed men and women and
then on the one side from women and the other side for men but still everybody
could choose what they would sit but there was a big upheaval because oh my
god you know somehow the non normative way of organizing a room had seeped into
a general institution what struck me was that the journalists had invited a
feminist Muslim woman and one of the organiser Muslim men to talk about the
issue at no point did I have any clue it was radio but in Belgium I knew the
makeup or the identity markers of the of the journalists here I had no idea so
the conversation basically went in to explain that logic but also showing that
within Islam there were very different approaches to this so the woman was
making a feminist argument using Islam why she was against that whereas the
organiser was actually going all the way back to the way that British education
system was organising the arguments that were used by even in you know the most
prestigious public schools boys and girls would have education separately
right so I was listening to this I’m like oh my god this is a wonderful
country that was 2013 I just arrived but I use that as an example to say when we
try and think when it’s about integration or who is part of the nation
or not there are variations that I think we can learn off from in the UK for the
rest of continental Europe but on the other hand ever since
brakes did obviously you can’t imagine that I was
I can’t even say I was surprised that I was I was I was yeah I was somehow it’s
almost like it was like a personal affront I was like I believed in this
country for very wrong reasons mostly comparative reasons but it made me think
about the difference between window dressing and actually deep anti-racist
politics and anti-racist I think the imperative goes much deeper them
sometimes some of the of the practices that we’re trying to do and that’s why
and you know in a Q&A maybe we can come back to it but that’s why I think that
whenever at least we have the courage to call watch supremacy when it is white
supremacy that we find a way to connect it to the discussions we have about
coloniality because that’s the thing that that as a whole planet but
especially in the West we keep on having in common and most of all the other
things that we see is versions of electoralism and obviously capitalism and
all these things there are expressions of a desire to hold on to a colonial
system of organising our societies and living together and so that would be my
invitation I think like let’s compare more because I think we could learn a
lot especially because sometimes you feel like we’re in different time frames
so when I compare flounders to the UK for a long time I had the
impression that we are somewhere in the 50s and you guys were somehow in the
present Brexit shows that the present is obviously not a fixed place because
we seem to go back in I think a lot of anti-racist activists in Belgium would
have a lot of good advice for whatever direction this country is going at the
moment because we’ve been in it for a very very long time so yeah those would
be my initial comments but I have thank you. Okay
and so the disadvantage about coming at the end of a panel is that everyone said
what I wanted to say but I I will I will try and pick up on some of you have said it
will I’m gonna say which is I suppose a reflection on how we got here or rather
say I think we’ve always been here and so what I want to talk about is the kind
of I suppose similar Maya to what you were talking about I think of it less in
terms of innocence and more in terms of complicity so I’m going to talk about
the complicity with narratives that reinforce racism not just in this
country but but around the world as well and I just wanted to read I spent yesterday in
doing some of my colleagues by playing a very loud clip of a well-known
public service broadcaster who has a Sunday morning politics show some you
may have seen this clip going round and it’s actually quite old clip and the
reason I’m gonna read it out because of the way this was doubled down on a few
days ago I mean say three days after the the Brexit results the Brexit referendum
this journalist said to camera waves of migration and globalised culture washed
among us are raiding our sense of self whole communities changed color and
language leaving over older people from used and cutoff as the numbers from
Eastern Europe rose eager white hard working along grew in the poorer past
the country but as self confidently multi-ethnic liberal urban class high in
house prices and high employment levels was having such a good time they barely
noticed London spoke a lot but didn’t listen where it’s heard now this has
been the rebellion of the diminished against the cocky they ignored against
the shapers of modern times and the struggling against the strutting now
obviously a lot we can unpack there well I mean I’d okay I can’t quite resist it wanting to say is that is is that when with sitting in Tower Hamlets which has the highest rate of pension poverty in England so if
you’re talking about how older people felt along at incoming waves of
migration well you know that there are clearly things we can challenge about
that and and and posing as such reinforces against certain traits about
what kind of people were talking about and bring saying oh you know people are
worried about when to fail he was quite frank about it whole communities change
colour that was quite startling but anyway this I don’t know why somehow
kind of appeared in the Twitterverse so a few days ago at which point this
journalist doubled down commented on the original clip to say talking about
himself this is an urban nibble trying to explain the immediate aftermath of
the referendum during which immigration was a massive issue every academic
analysis later said the same thing it didn’t that’s not the point
it’s what then goes on say there’s literally nobody who knows me who thinks
I have a shred of anti-immigrant feeling okay so I think that’s a really
important or insightful statement because I think it tells us a lot about
where we are and you know if we want to talk about complicity we can pick on any
of the examples that we’ve heard so far you can think about Tony Blair I was
saying yesterday or a couple of days ago Hillary Clinton a few months ago talking
about you whether he thought you’re to battle the far right to
clamp down on immigration but I want to think about I said what what this kind
of statement that everyone who knows me thinks I think’s who knows me things
like nobody knows me thinks having a shred of anti-immigrant feeling and what
that says about this conjuncture yeah we’ve heard white supremacy isn’t just
about speech acts it’s it’s structural and because it’s structural
many most all people are complicit to it complicit to a degree
but but I think is this anybody who knows me knows I’m not racist defense
that that tend that kind of serve encourages the roots from which the
more kind of evidently jackboot white supremacism grows and I’m
reminded here specifically of what a scholar called Alana Lentin calls not
racism which she defines as being served based on this idea that that racism is a moral
failing right that’s what you’re saying Omar rather than a historic and
structural phenomenon that makes certain make some mark certain lives and bodies
as more or less valuable and then she goes on to suggest that there’s what it
does it marks our separation between you know someone who is like properly racist
racist and who says like racist stuff very obviously someone who looks like a
racist I guess and then in the other hand the sort of common sensical honest
and practical views of the non racist majority it’s not racist to talk about
immigration right it’s not so so that’s why I think we need to talk a lot more
about sort of complicity and it’s why I don’t think that we can really
understand today’s prevalence of white supremacists organising as some kind of
outburst or an unexpected crisis because I think has a very long gestation period
so I think if you know we want to think that white supremacy is structural then
we need to consider what that structure looks like and how it operates just
makes some people more liable to being constituted as a threat or a stranger or
as a foreigner and ultimately unwelcome presence and once we do that we see
white supremacy isn’t just about isn’t just about colour it’s also about much
more than that’s the accent you have when you speak it’s the name on your
credit card it’s the photo your post passports the religious practices that
you perform and I don’t really hold back from calling all of that white supremacy
because historically white supremacy has never been about favoring and including
all people who present as white but rather about it’s been a very fluid term
which is kind of included and excluded excluded certainly lots of people who
present as white but aren’t considered white enough and so I’m gonna finish with that just
to reiterate again though as I said I think this moments been a very long time
in the making and it won’t be unmade easily but but I think a major I’m not
one to normally say rely on politicians but I think a major asset in this in
this moment would be for our politicians and policy makers and people who have
platforms to stop being complicit okay. thank you we have just under 40 minutes to open it up for questions I’ll take sets of three if you
could introduce yourself and also let us know whether the question is for the
entire panel or for somebody in particular that would be great okay. Hi
from Queen Mary also full disclosure I’m one of Clive’s PhD
students I guess this is for everyone recently
there was a controversy around David Lammy kind of having this outburst and
invoking the 1930s of the Nazis and I believe specifically in 1938
Czechoslovakia I just be interested to know whether you think it’s helpful to
raise the specter of World War Two the Holocaust etc at this juncture or if it
does more harm than good Hi Chris Rustow from the LSE while being
mindful of like firstly thank you that was yeah I have a lot of thoughts yeah
while being mindful of the encouragement to think away from kind of avowed and
explicit white supremacy to think about how kind of white supremacy is
interlaced with whiteness in the centre and so forth I’m it’s knowable over the
last few years there’s been an increase in avowedly and explicitly white
supremacist activism on University campuses and in our classrooms I was
wondering what the panel think about how we as teachers our students as kind of
members of universities respond to and deal with that growth thank you for that was really
interesting and have a couple of questions if I may the first one is a
general question to anyone who wishes to answer it it’s regarding the idea of the
rate of change in immigration and I have read that it is a valid fear that people
have that things are changing too quickly and I think it was Tony Blair’s
government that perhaps initiated that explosion of immigration that occurred
in his time and that’s the thing that some people suggest is the reason why
people are developing this how develop these feelings of ill feelings towards
immigration and if that is true is that more a failure of our politicians to
address that in an honest way and then deal with it accordingly that is
contributing to this problem and I like your views on that and secondly a
question for Emily perhaps if regarding your database are you finding that the
incidence of far-right extremism are they’re becoming more and more violent
as time goes on okay we I’ve seen a few more hands we’ll come to you in the next round Omar can we start with
you On David Lammy I think we have to be careful about analogies with the holocaust But I think the analogy with the 1930s is perfectly fair. The Holocaust it was done in the Holocaust I think is
a perfectly legitimate thing to highlight I don’t have an answer to white supremacy
I’ll let some of the academics maybe but on the rate of change I think
I think it’s somewhat true the rate of change but if you look at recent data
the rate of change is not as dramatic as some people think are alarmed about and
this is a concern that I was reading recently hansards from the 1960s and
the same complaints were made then that the white population can’t handle the
numbers of black people living in towns where you were talking about a hundred
people so I mean I mean like sorry towns that had a hundred thousand people where
you’re talking about a few hundred migrants I mean Hungary said that we
can’t have that many Muslims and it was 200 in ’94 for the whole country was the number
that they were saying would overwhelm their culture so I think out of a
population of 10 million so you know I I think I accept that you know people have
concerns and but I think those are amplified I don’t think that the way to
respond to them is to treat them as numerate as actually representing a
numerate fear of being swamped or anything like that I think it’s more
reasonable I mean you’re not gonna win an argument by telling them they’re innumerate obviously and you’re not going to explain things to people by saying well
the numbers aren’t as bad as all that but I think encouraging people to
understand and and mix with one another I think the
challenge that you’ve got is that right now as the as was pointed out and that’s
been point on this panel people are deliberately fostering that argument and
fostering it in such a way that makes it very alarmist and I don’t know the right
response to it to be completely honest but it has created a different scenario
so I wouldn’t say that it’s the objective facts of the numbers that is
the problem I would say that it’s the way that that’s been framed but but I I
agree that where you have high levels of population change and cuts to public
services and shortage of places and schools for example that does create
pressures but that’s not just about immigration that’s about you know
general failure to fund those services properly so there aren’t enough places
for white British born children either so you know in most of those places so
yeah I guess I’ll enter the very specific question first and then I’ll try to sort of combine your question about the campus activism with the
Holocaust or World War Two comparisons because I think there’s something
relevant connecting those the first answer is is white supremacist crime
becoming more violent and the answer to that is we don’t know the reason that we
don’t know is in America we don’t track there is no centralised source of
records for hate crimes every state in America has a different hate crime
designation they get applied differently and it is often due down to the
reporting of the actual police officer who makes the arrest to determine
whether or not something becomes a hate crime and what that has left us with is
trying to assemble information from news reports in newspapers which is often no
more than three or four paragraphs and it’s written by sort of beat journalists
that don’t have deep knowledge of white supremacist groups organising or
anything like that so it’s hard to find that information for that reason First
Vigil the project that I’m running only looks at cases going back to 2016
because its focuses on open court cases if I ever get through my backlog of open
court cases all extended backwards so if all of the Nazis out there could stop
doing crimes for like a year great so that that’s it it is very
difficult to answer and to rate the violence I mean we can look at some of
the recent terror attacks that have happened in the past couple of years
that haven’t happened and say the early 2010’s but then we can look back to the
Oklahoma City bombing in 1993 so it’s really hard for the present 96 I
forget it’s hard to say regarding the campus activism and the comparisons to
World War Two I do think that the comparisons to World War Two are tricky
but apt and the reason that I think that they’re apt is not so much to serve as a
warning sign of where we could be going because I even in my most pessimistic do
not think that we are going to be ending up in the same place but the reality is
that like in my country we are putting children in cages in Walmarts and so it
is deeply uncomfortable in the in those comparisons where this comparisons I
think are super valid is to spawn people to think about what they would have done
if they were alive during that time and to exhort them to act in that way now
that means doing things that they’re uncomfortable with that means doing
things that they that might even be illegal such as blocking a street or
staging an unpermitted protest or other things that I won’t say on the record that connects to this notion of campus
activism to white supremacy and the reason that campus activism has been
such a key driver is because universities have long had a reputation
for being a bastion of free speech and white
supremacists use and manipulate the principles of free speech to share their
message to radicalise and while I’m a very staunch free speech advocate we
have to recognise that the language that they use is a language of incitement to
violence and just because they’re not literally saying I want you to go stab
that person doesn’t mean that they’re not telling their followers to go stab
that person so when we think about the campus activism we need to do better at
educating our administrators on campuses of what these groups are to highlight
the connections that they have to violence and to allow them and empower
them to make a decision to act in the interest of Public Safety which often
means denying that platform because what will happen is violence will break out
so I think that you know part of the it’s hard to handle on an individual
basis but it is something that we have to handle on a policy basis and make the
choice of whether we want to be the people that are going to stand idly by
well somebody else drums up the next terror attack or if we’re going to try
to do everything we can to stop it. I’ll really quickly touch on the University
campus stuff but I guess thinking and more long-term and more broadly
something that I’m involved in at SOAS is decolonizing SOAS project and I
think that that is there’s some hope there in thinking about how you actually
prepare people long-term to have the tools to be able to analyse some of
these discourses and fight back against them and I think part of my other life
is doing lots of media debates about university campuses and free speech and
these very issues and actually it’s really really difficult because what you
find is a lot of people who argue for these people to be given platforms in
this whole this whole debate around no platforming they’re very skillful at being
able to make it seem like their arguments are entirely reasonable and
anything else is you know students shutting down debate and this kind of
political correctness gone mad so I actually think being able to dissect
some of those ideas as well and equipping people to have
those debates from public platforms as well because there’s a there’s been over
the past four years at least if not longer there’s been a real interest in
the media around these very debates right in it the heart of it is these
questions about whiteness and and white supremacy and we never really get to
that point we’re more like we were always kind of talking about it one step
removed but I actually think being able to take those arguments on is also
really really important to be able to engage with the universities and
thinking about who’s who’s doing that inviting and who’s in those positions of
power to be putting on those events in the first place
having those conversations at a multi-layered way I think is really
really important and I do think that there is the the pushback and the the
real enthusiasm for decolonising and like I know there’s what word means it’s
very very people have different interpretations I realized that there is
potential issues with it becoming institutionalised and co-opted for by
universities but actually I think that students having taught the past year
students demanding to have curriculums that are more diverse is really great
and yes I met SOAS so you know maybe I’m living in a slight utopia in that
sense but actually I think that this is something that a lot of young people are
engaging with so that is something I think is positive and is potentially a
way to combat some of those very ideas we have to have an alternative project
right and I think that it’s that that has it has some place now the other
thing that I would want to touch upon that is this question about the rate of
change and you hear that phrase a lot like I’ve spent the past two and a half
years researching for this book on immigration and it’s something that
Omar’s by it comes up time and time again actually Stuart Hall in the 70s
did a BBC half-hour program about this very issue right about her immigration
was covered in the 70s and one of the things that or it was always the
reporting would focus on was the rate of change is too much the numbers are too
many and you’re by it’s never about numbers because you go back through
history and you look at polling and people have always said too many
immigrants I mean immigrants again is particularly it’s always racialized
and what I think is interesting about that this is about our discourses yes
there may be there may be fears what are those fears based in and the
problem with how a lot of the media reporting works and also some academic
work which gets a significant platform in our media is that it’s the
implication is that those concerns and fears are legitimate so you hear this
phrase a lot legitimate concerns that politicians use and the problem with
that is it assumes that fear is natural it’s normal and it’s not changeable
actually that fear if it exists at all is produced by historical racialised
discourses about who’s at about and who is not so this idea that it’s connected to
the numbers actually isn’t it’s not really borne out by how communities are
changing like how people are moving in and out of communities where that fear
is we know that people who are most fearful of immigration tend to live in
areas that have less immigration so actually that very that very idea fed
into the Andrew Marr sorry that we didn’t name him the comments made by a
journalist and and it really underlies some of that it’s really been
legitimised because that fear is assumed to be national and natural and rational
and it’s also assumed to be held by people who are called the left behind
actually it’s way more complex than that and as Omar more alluded to this is
also the middle classes who have this upset and what is also interesting I
could talk about this very issue for like all day which is I’m
going I’ll stuff after this but what’s also interesting about that is that what
you hear and this is something that I found a lot of my research and if you
want to read more about this you can buy my book later this year because I talk about it at length and is that in in TV documentaries about immigration what
reporters often do is they go well I’m going to go to this particular town
because there’s been so much immigration and change into this town the population
is now X percent white and X percent of colour and it’s like what they do is they
blur together immigration and race so the rate the rate of change is measured
by how many white people were in an area ten
years ago how many white people are in area now I mean that is that tells us a
lot about how immigration is working now in this idea of change and people’s
anxieties is incredibly racialised and if the fear is there it can be addressed
I think the big problem is that it’s assumed and we’re told by particular
commentators and academics that it is not possible to address it because it’s
natural normal and therefore we have to respect it and I actually think that is
one of the most pernicious anti-immigration arguments that exists
in our discourse at the moment and something that we should be consistently
actually challenging. So I’m gonna try to quickly say something about all three
questions maybe first the white supremacy on campus my first reaction in
my head was luckily I haven’t been confronted to like little organising
around white supremacy but they may be building on everything that was already
said one thing could be that any of us who are have a little bit of power on
campus so let’s say you’re teaching what I’ve come to realize more and more is
that I’m teaching for instance modules that focus on the African continent and
International Development Studies and they like the benign interested kids
kind of so my own challenge in terms of fighting white supremacist in actually
sitting down and have the painful process in your head to try and detect
the deep white supremacists in in those projects and in those programs and so I
would follow on what you were just saying like air in the the long long
term approaching that for me is to some extent have the courage to make them
read because you do have that power completely different things even though
it’s still the same course that there and being
comfortable ourselves because I make them read stuff that I’ve read myself
like only a year ago and I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing that they
should be reading or not but so that I mean I know it’s not organising I think
we can learn a lot from people that actually organise around these things
but within our own little power that we have some of the work is uncomfortable
for us as well and I think that that would be my answer to that about the
Holocaust I would say tricky but apt it’s a great way to say it I would add to what
has already been said that let’s work with what we have if you ask any of your
students what they actually know about in the past it’s always gonna be the
Second World War right even though it’s told in the in the most absurd of ways
again we would have the impression that there was this isolated island that was
you know Western Europe and the war was there and then somehow we called it a
world war but then the rest of the world somehow it’s already like written out of
the story so first of all it’s a very good entry point to write back the whole
of the planet into that story because it’s a story that people already know
and additionally I would say that the wrong way in which people reacts to
whenever we bring up racism is because for people racism is something that
Hitler did, right so when you bring it up so it’s somehow in a very distorted way
is the moral compass of Western self delusion or self-identity or whatever so
again try not to be so cynical about it but that’s the stuff that we know that
we every week I think whether it’s in Belgium at the UK there is a documentary
on the on the on the world war the first or the second or like this is the only
story basically that we all have in common even though it’s very badly told
that for me would be one of the reasons it’s our moral compass but also at least
we don’t start from scratch in that story when it comes to the rate of
change arguments again I would build up in
on everything that has already been said it may be a time to that the point I
wanted to make about coloniality I would say that apart from pointing at
the the deep whiteness and racism in many of the fears and in the way that
have been constructed and I’m not dismissing everyday peoples challenging
challenges with their changing direct environments but again I would say it’s
it is constructed to some extent I think the colonial project or activism
actually invites us to really question this idea that some people are deserving
to be somewhere and others not and I think Robbie Shilliam just wrote his
book or the deserving poor so they did the whiteness problem in the migration
is now it’s not just a random thing it’s by systematically erasing the fact that
our wealth did not fall out of the sky and this is I think a conversation that
we need to link more and more in our migrations stories it’s not like
literally that every person that crosses the border has whatever has an
individual right to be here because they we robbed their ancestors and I know when
I say we with my face like it’s very complicated let’s say from a position in
the West it’s really important that we we break through the myths that there is
something self deserving about the wealth in the Western attracts people
today so that’s where I would say because reality helps to ask us a
question where do we start the story and we tend to only start where people are
knocking on our fortress Europe but that’s not where the story started so again in
the long run if we were to systematically tell the story of the
origin of of even industrial revolutionary systematically different
then our progressiveness is not limited by the question shall we
let them in or not are we gonna be magnanimous or not then you can include
a conversation about about global justice but also about reparations
all these things but mostly it’s it’s a it’s a story about connected histories
because we’ve been always connected so this division between citizens
non-citizens and actually even the legitimacy of borders because these the
borders are killing people nothing else right like people physically are able to
come here they die because when we talk about refugees they can’t get in so so that’s that
would be my invitation like the rate of change it’s not about dismissing
people’s fear but you know seeing that it is constructed but actually go beyond
that and say what are the conversations that we’re actually having when it comes
to that who has the right to be here I think that’s a really urgent one that I
would attach to those conversations. I’ll be brief I’ll be briefer so say that
the question about David Lammy’s comments I mean obviously I agree with
everything that’s been said the only thing I’d add is that you know I think
it’s apt and you know I think it’s worth it being said in it being wrong then the
other way around but I also I suppose the only thing I would add to that is is my
concern that we end up once again talking about what’s happening now in
terms of exceptionality by using the complete the extremely exceptional
presented as exceptional comparison of the second world war in the Holocaust right
so I think we have to move beyond this this notion of exceptionality of this
moment we’re in because it’s it for me you know it’s and for many engaged in
scholarship or activism around anti-racism
it’s you know there are features of this moment or obviously different but it’s
not exceptional as a moment I mean 20 years ago it’s the 20th anniversary of
David Copeland placing a bomb in Brick Lane today right and we’re about to
have the 40th forty year commemoration of the death of
Blair Peach so so there are for many people in many places this is not an
exceptional moment at all I think that’s really important
campuses everything that Olivia said I think that there’s obviously difference between sort of students in the
classroom and and then movements and individuals that are seeking to use
universities as places to promote white supremacism and again I’m not confronted
it in the classroom but in terms of organisations and individuals seeking to
use University campuses and then and then crying free speech these are very
well funded normally very organised very well supported individuals and movements
you have a incredibly big public platforms and the idea that they’re
being shut down is is preposterous so just say that’s about that and then you
know the third question it was it was a failure of politicians to deal with this
honestly yeah I think it was a failure of politicians to deal with the issue of
immigration honesty I think they’ve been incredibly dishonest some of them anyway
in the sense of who I think in the opposite way to which we normally
understand that question about you know the honesty of the immigration debate right
I think they’re getting plenty of examples of of politicians and people
with public platforms playing into these ideas of some kind of invasion
which i think is very dishonest so I’ll leave it there So five hands now I’m gonna give you 30 seconds
to ask your question and I’m gonna give each of you one minute to answer them
there’s two here hi my name is Vusa I’m a bachelor student and
Queen Mary and I just wanted to say that today British Muslims became an
important target for white supremacist violence and racism and I think apart
from Dr Olivia the issue was not really really raised and this is not only an
academic debate this is also in the national and international political
scene so my question is what really are the reason of this misrepresentation of
this ethnic group is it more because we’re uncomfortable speaking about this
subject or is it really just a matter of like we don’t consider it important
enough to actually tackle the issue thank you . hello my name is Hannah
and I’m a student at Queen Mary I just wanted to ask so we talked about
um the logic of white supremacy and I think we need to go a bit more into
depth about the nature of white supremacy and um have you heard anything
new that we have not heard before I don’t really like you have said before I
don’t really think this is anything new and also I agree about the fear of
immigrant situation but if we look at South Africa with an Iranian all white
state in the heart of South Africa can this really stem from a fear of migrants
I mean there’s the black South Africans they’re not migrants in their own
country and the very foundation of America and Australia were built on this
very same idea so I just wanted to quickly ask without getting red
rid of these symbols of the colonial flag which represents genocide of the
aboriginals and everything can we really move forward from a decolonised
narrative my name’s John and I’m only here to bring the average age of
attendees up to a credible level pleased pleased to see pleased to see it here
some mention of the Second World War I only missed it by a few months but I
suffered severe prejudice afterwards because I started school with a strange
Hungarian name while memories of a war fought against Huns were still very raw
now I have certain cynicism about educating people out of racialism
because you never know where the next thing is going to come from and also I
don’t think it’s been very successful Austria was always considered as being
more German than the Germans well it was Hitler’s homeland and there were very
very strong efforts made through the educational system to deNazify the
country now in 1968 I had the ignominy of being marched out of a cinema in
Richmond because the Austrian au-pair who I’d taken with me wouldn’t sit
down and stop booing Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music for the simple reason
that she regarded it as her national duty to deny that her fellow Nationals
did not 100% support Hitler taking over their country and she
have been right though the deNazification process and everything so
how you can guarantee that anything with education is not going to be
counterproductive I do not know and I hope the panel of got some ideas on that. Younis from
Queen Mary I wanted to be covering something Olivia said but this is really
for everyone about comparison in the need for more comparison which I’m very
strongly in favor of and I think it’s very important and then two things
really one is that it seems that in the academic literatures there seems to be
more comparison that isn’t filtering through two popular conceptions I’m
thinking particularly of comparisons of anti-semitism and then things like
Islamophobia which are actually quite prevalent across academic literatures
that have become very hard to talk about how do we talk about those more and the
second thing is how do we move beyond the kind of rose-tinted comparisons that
you mentioned as I think are very common to many of us who travel across
countries and feel immediate impressions that things are different but those
impressions might not really reflect realities so just general thoughts on
comparisons and how they’re to be conducted and used thanks to the panel
I’m James Eastwood from the politics department i think the question is
particularly for Emily but anyone who wants to take you up can I wanted to ask well
what what role or what what are the problems potentially was using the
language of crime and terrorism in confronting the far-right because
obviously the whole lexicon of crime and terrorism is a racialised discourse and
yet obviously has also a mall purchase with people and you know it in technical
legal terms a lot of the acts committed in the name of white supremacy are
crimes and could be defined also as terrorism so how do we
can we strategically or should we statically engage with that lexicon and
what the pitfalls of doing so How do we think about white supremacy in a context it
doesn’t function in the same way everywhere right you know a lot of the
time I think we can of think of this in terms of… I think that white supremacy simply about the fear of
migrants right and I think as Maya made really clear like when people talk about
immigration they’re talking about certain kinds of migrants they’ll talk
about migrants so in a sense then you know racism becomes something that other
certain groups at certain times that may not always suffer from from white
supremacy in the same way right so you saw us like point about you know so the
comparisons that we can make and and and the comparisons between sort of
anti-semitism and Islamophobia on the literature and particular thinking so
early 20th century the first kind of immigration at the Aging’s act in this
country 1986 was about Jews immigrating from Eastern Europe brought in under a
government by Lord Balfour he of the Balfour Declaration there’s a limit to that
comparison as well right okay because because many of the dissents those
people can now write you myself included it can present as white right so so
faint face that right but so I think my comparisons are important but I come back to what I said about exceptionality as well right and hold these up of exceptional
movements okay education education racism I space with me on concerned
about not necessarily racism in the sense of being a speech
act as a person and someone says but the education racism is something that
functions to structure the way we think and feel about the world around us and
in that sense I think education can be very I will leave it there. I will try to talk about
comparisons by tying it into the two first questions as well and I guess when
we when we try to think about comparison especially also to heat the Clive’s
advice that we don’t roll into comparisons is that we always have to
ask ourselves the question was the purpose of our comparison right and
sometimes also was the purpose of pointing to certain types of oppressions
that might be underrepresented not represented and I think amongst
minorities we are often in a context of whiteness almost pitched against each
other you know in in in the mystery Olympics and yeah I did not come up with
that word but so for me would be to to read the reasons why I find comparisons
very important is that we managed to contextualize any story size in detail
what we’re talking about so we look at South Africa phrases I just came back
from South Africa I was in Stellenbosch it’s like white country and I just I
yeah we were know it was a workshop funded by the European Commission in you
know in a wine farm in the thing is that obviously I love wine whatever like I
was I’m hipster enough to enjoy the whole
setting but I was again confronted to every single patron of that white farm
wine farm was white and every single person working
there wasn’t and then that was there sitting asking for glasses why and
everybody was confused it was like but it was it was a level of violence that
is not a level of violence I don’t experience in Europe it’s just it’s so
different that it feels more violent and then I went to the US and New England
every single time there has a Britishness Bristol is this and that the
universities look like Harry Potter land everything is the same as he where I
live here and again it was such a violent experience it was not just like
beautiful New England it’s like you reminded yes some centuries ago people
came here I mean I’m simplifying killed everyone and then just rebuilt wherever
they came from but that idea so that and and I think the challenge for us today
if we speak about continental Europe or for instance the UK our drive must be
like word like how can we better understand the work the workings of the
same coloniality but with all these different manifestations and that’s
where when I speak about the Beltone context today I know one of the like the
biggest challenges is being a Muslim and in Belgium that’s it
and I don’t have to be in competition with that because it’s the same logic
that makes that people are surprised if I’m not a prostitute or cleaning lady
it’s the same logic so that that would be my my answer to that in a very brief
in terms of education I guess the example I gave or maybe
sometimes a rosy lenses that we have when we move to different places is that
differently educated people there is an effect of what happens I turn on the BBC
and not everybody’s literally white and I know that’s that’s no any sufficient
that it is something else so the way that I’m treated in the UK as a highly
educated middle class not wannabe hipster woman it’s very different in the
UK because people ask me where you’re from and I say I’m from Belgium and I want to continue but people are not interested here not
because they’re not that racist or whatever it’s just there is a level of
education that has been different to the extent where you you’re not supposed to
add certain things and I know it’s not the solution but it makes my life easier
and people don’t stare at me in the street so I would say I agree with you that we need
to think of how we do this to somehow try to work against the backlash but I
would also maybe warn against this idea like there’s nothing we can do because
because we do see it having it fixed but we have to think more about the details
of that yeah I think that comparison is really important and taking a
comparative analysis would actually help with some of our popular discourses as
well but not only geographical comparisons I think temporal as well so
there’s a temptation and I also do this to kind of look at British history and
think that nothing has changed because so much so many of the immigration
discourses for instance I’ve reproduced but they also change and that’s where
the point about Islamophobia I think is incredibly important because thinking
about how that is so so central to how we talk about grace in
immigration in Britain today but how invisiblised that is at the same time
so it’s one of the most acceptable forms of racism it was central to Brexit it
actually it was central to the referendum and how people were being
talked about as a threat was so tied up with those ideas of religious difference
and I think that that also then allows us to think about thinking and
comparatively across geographical space but also temporally allows us to think
about why why is it that I’ve even brought up immigration I don’t think
immigration is is the only way to understand white supremacy opposite
operating at all it’s my particular research interests which is why I’ve
talked about it at length but no it’s the way it operates in different spaces as well
and actually something that we haven’t really had time or space to talk about
is how thinking about how the far-right is operating globe globally to
comparisons in different so we will to look Brazil to India the
US to the UK significant parts of Europe what are the similarities and
differences I think that’s a massive question but I think actually thinking
about how whiteness is operating in those different spaces in different ways
but also these ideas of like civil a civilization or purity that you find in
India rights like these civilization or discourses particularly with
Islamophobia there’s some similarities there that is evident differences and I
haven’t gonna work so I don’t have all the answers but I think actually
beginning to think about in that way is gonna be really crucial to being able to
confront some of those discourses because it’s not just I mean I’ve talked
about Britain no it’s not just Britain it’s well these issues are global right
so thinking about how they manifest globally in different ways I think is a
really important thing to do and very quickly on the education question I
think it’s actually imperative it’s like again just think just thinking about
Britain because it’s the context I know best is we may be comparatively to some
parts of Europe there has been some progress but also we actually don’t even
know and this is something maybe Omar can speak to you even more than I can
thinking about what we Runnymede have done on this we don’t know how
history is being taught across our schools because of the mix of the
school’s now academies is so little oversight we don’t know we know empires
talk badly if at all but we don’t know in what ways and that does have it that
really does matter for how we see Britain as a nation and then how people
are equipped to deal with some of the arguments and visions of Britain are
painted in our popular discourse I think that not enough has been done and it
hasn’t been solved but actually to be able for people to understand race
history it really does matter and I think education is key to that
thank you I’ll keep this as quickly as I can but I do want to ask your answer
your question because it’s excellent one of the things and this touches on both
education and some of the other questions is there’s two sort of
competing notions of how to be anti-racist and one of them is this
theory of anti-discrimination that we should treat all people the same
regardless of their race gender sexuality whatever this is at least an
American and in some of the European traditions and law and scholarship the
prevailing mode the other mode is anti subordination which is to say that sort
of to embrace this Desmond Tutu’s quote that neutrality in the face of injustice
sides of the oppressor education has been at least over the past 20 or 30
years mostly focused on anti-discrimination going all the way
back to primary school and so we have embraced that as the way that we are
supposed to properly be non racist and to which I would say that we need to
start looking at anti subordination and thinking in terms of racism not as the
application of differences but the understanding of power dynamics and this
talks about you know sort of anti-semitism the comparisons there also
with anti-immigration sentiment I do have a project that is I’m working on
that identifies sort of the there’s we’ve had identified nine principal axes
that exist in english-language media through which people are radicalised but
I can talk about that offline later to briefly address the the challenges
morally and otherwise about dealing with crime and terrorism as a hook to combat
white supremacy I agree with that take and my phone says a cab which stands for
all colors are beautiful obviously but it is problematic to frame
to use the justice system which is oppressive and to use prison and
policing which is oppressive against as the means by which we are going to solve
white supremacy so it is a challenge to do that but what I have done with the
First Visual project is looked at how white supremacist communication is being
done and that is that they are trying to paint themselves as victims and not
oppressors that they’re trying to co-opt the language of the left and that they
are trying to frame themselves as innocent and so what First Vigil is
intended to do is to directly annihilate that narrative by showing that even if
we without any changes to radical changes to our society want to
embrace our current system of justice and law that they are still not within
the bounds of it so the first point is where does I guess
yeah the sort of deeper origins of racism I mean and and of even the
question of who belongs where and how did we get here and water borders I mean
all four of my grandparents my father all eight of my great-grandparents all
16 of my great-great grandparents all 32 of my great-great-great grandparents
etcetera etcetera were born British so the question of how did Britain attract
me or find people like me here and if you’re talking about the British
Caribbean experience you have to go back great great great great great I’m trying
to do it 512 most recent ancestors of people who are called black Caribbean
and of course the Carib they’re only called Caribbean is because the original
Carib people were genocided out so that was one of the reasons I think the
injustice was so stark with the Windrush generation is deporting people to black
people to the Caribbean who are only in the Caribbean in the first place because
the original habits were genocided and because Black ships brought them as
slaves today in the first place but I think that gets to the origin of racism
which is speaks to the education point which is racism I think sometimes this
sort of thought is that the ideological apparatus of racism came first but
actually it’s the economic domination that comes first right so first we have
the ability to treat certain people’s in certain ways and then we realize
especially as it was the Enlightenment that this was wrong so we needed a moral
justification in the ideology to justify why we were treating hue what were
humans supposedly unequally and I think the
reason I say this is if we’re going to undo the ideology of racism you can’t
just do it through ideology you have to do it through the actions through the
inequalities so what sustains the belief that black people are inferior is the
fact that there’s remain economically dominated and until that is undone you
can only do so much education work on the ideology itself the actual fact of
their subordination as you put it has to be addressed because that’s the
source of and the reasons why it continues to be replicated final point
is on anti-semitism Islamophobia we’ve written a report on Islamophobia
I’d welcome you to read it I’ve been doing a lot of work and thinking on and
one of the things though that has been troubling me about bits of what has I
think unfortunately descended in some of the anti-racist movement it’s perfectly
reasonable for a person to come to racism anti-racist organising or
challenging forms of discrimination that experience that they experience
personally but one of the challenges of that is that can can distort your lens
in a particular way which is to say that you particularly understand the
specificity of the form of racism or injustice that you experience but it can
make you tone-deaf when other forms don’t look like yours and I think that’s
what’s happened in some of the debates on anti-semitism and indeed some of the
debates on Islamophobia because those forms of domination or discrimination or
racism look different and because people come to their understanding of racism
through a personal experience I think that’s I think there’s been some to me
there’s the the sort of Labour failure on anti-semitism or the left feeling on anti-
semitism is actually exposed a wider malaise on thinking about anti racism
and I’m hopeful that that’s being turned around but we’ve got a lot more work to
do on that

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