Many people are currently suffering from a sense of bewilderment. We thought that we got along with each other quite well and that racist attitudes were in decline and largely a thing of the past. We have suddenly discovered that racism is everywhere. The barbarous practice of slavery is still woven into the fabric of modern life and racism secretly guides our personal behaviour. It is a shock to Middle England.
We must now enter a phase of deep reflection. If we interrogate the assumptions that inform our private thoughts, we can discover the unconscious bigotry that secretly drives us. We must accept that everything that we thought we once knew is wrong. We must open our minds to a new way of thinking.
For those who are ready to take the journey, this is your guide.
1. You are the problem
Even though you may be white, you may not have considered yourself to be racist. You may prefer to treat other people as individuals and largely take people as they come. You may enjoy living in a multi-cultural society. However, this complacent thinking shows that you are failing to tackle the systemic and systematic racism that is endemic in the structures around you. Because racism is all-pervasive, it is sometimes hard to spot, especially within yourself. If you are white, you must accept that your racism is inherent. Only once you accept that your condition is inexorable and embedded deep within your subconscious, can you seek help.
Action: Look in the mirror and stare at yourself. Say, repeatedly “I am racist. I am racist.” In this way, you will uncover your latent bigotry and make it conscious. As a white person, this will help you to become self-aware.
2. Be anti-racist
You may have thought that it was easy not to be racist. By simply not being racist, you could get through life without actually being racist. However, we now know that you have to show that you are anti-racist to demonstrate to others that you are not, in fact, racist. You should now look for opportunities to show that you are actively opposed to racism.
Action: When you see people of colour, take the knee so that you can correctly be identified as an ally, both by the person in question and by passersby. If you find yourself in a space mainly populated by white people, you must also take the knee to apologise for the inherent bias of your environment.
3. Re-educate yourself
Martin Luther King suggested that racism would be eradicated when people were judged on their character, not by their race. But, he is now history. Once you reach a state of racial consciousness, you will discover that everything you thought you once knew, was wrong. Use your skills to interpret every human interaction along racial lines. Relationships between family members, friends, work colleagues and the casual interactions of day-to-day life can be re-interpreted as expressions of racially-driven power plays.
Action: Become hyper-conscious of the race of people you know and meet. Assess their position on the scale of oppression and treat them accordingly. If in doubt, simply apologise.
4. Say Sorry
The British are famous for apologising. When two people bump into each other they both apologise, whoever was at fault. Foreigners often comment on this charming quirk and they appreciate the extra effort that people take to rub along together and defuse potential conflict. The recent discovery that white British people are responsible for racism, places an added burden of responsibility upon them. Although no-one alive today is responsible for the barbarous practice of slavery, British people should feel a sense of collective guilt that should pour over into continual apology.
Action: Accost members of the BAME community in the street and offer an apology. If others get there before you, form an orderly queue.
5. Learn from professional activists
Television presenters are helping to re-educate the public by interviewing a select group of professional activists. Professional activists are experts in oppression because they have studied it, at the expense of anything else. By immersing themselves in a singular way of thinking, they have gained the clarity needed to identify racism in places where we previously believed it to be absent.
Action: Listen carefully and introduce the concepts on TV into daily conversation. When passing another dog walker, replace “Lovely weather, isn’t it?” with “Systemic racism is terrible isn’t it?”.
6. Expunge racist food
Food and drink are laced with the poison of racism. You may be an ethical shopper who buys organic and Fairtrade, but now you must check that your shopping basket does not include racist food. Two centuries ago, sugar was grown and harvested using slave labour. Tea, coffee and spices were produced using indentured labour. Uncle Bens may now produce rice with a handy boil-in-the-bag feature, but it unnecessarily includes the picture of a black man on its packet. It is hoped that the owners will soon desist from this crude association of people of colour with processed food.
Action: If you spot anyone in the check out queue with food in their trolley that was available during the times of the British Empire, helpfully remove it for them and return it to the shelf. If they kick up a fuss, shout ‘racist!’ to alert other shoppers to the situation.
7. Preserve your privilege
You may have noticed that the people who are most vocal about ending institutional racism are privileged white people that run the institutions that they attack. Media organisations, cultural institutions and human resources departments are staffed by the very people who claim that the media, cultural organisations and big organisations are racist. Critics have wondered why they don’t simply sort themselves out. However, it is clear that the genuinely privileged prefer to use their ‘voice’ to speak on behalf of the underprivileged to attack privilege. By attacking themselves for being privileged, they will maintain their leading positions in order represent those who are left at the margins.
Action: If you are in a privileged role, denounce your organisation to ensure that you maintain your position.
The professional activists have spoken. We must hear their cry.