Thursday, June 04, 2020

Black Lives Matter...

...through the distorted worldview of Katie Hopkins.

For those of you who don't know - and blessed is your world, because it will not be enhanced by learning about the woman - Katie Hopkins was once on The Apprentice, a show which allows for non-entities in business to fight for a job (in the days Hopkins first blemished our screens) and now investment from Lord Alan Sugar, a man most famous for a brand of computers that were rendered obsolete almost as soon as they were released. Hopkins did not get the job - she stepped aside, if memory serves - but instead has carved out a media non-career as a rent-a-gobshite who spouts controversial things apparently for the sake of controversy. Like Piers Morgan, but without the fame and (presumably) the undeserved wealth. Her latest missive from the strange alternate dimension that she lives in can be found here. In it we can marvel at how Hopkins has, apparently without irony, a copy of Donald Trump Junior's book on the shelf apparently proudly on display. There have been many considered and reasoned philosophers of conservatism in both the UK, the US and elsewhere. I don't think even Trump Senior would see his son as one. But that is an aside; the core of the video is posing three questions. Let's take them in turn.

1. "Why do black lives matter more when a white person is involved?" I'd change that question by adding the clarifying point of "in their deaths" at the end of the question but that is just me wanting to be clear on what this is about. And I dare say from this we can extrapolate and see that it isn't a case of a life mattering more - I would argue that all the lives of those murdered who Hopkins mentions in passing matter just as much as the life of George Floyd. The difference lies in how they died. Hopkins mentioned a man who was murdered defending a shop from looters. Now that is tragic and unnecessary. And the police can catch the person or persons possible, who can then be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. By contrast, George Floyd died because, while he was in handcuffs and on the ground after a complaint about a counterfeit bill, a police officer knelt on his neck for a extended period leading to his death. If you are so inclined, you can watch the video here. And Floyd is, sadly, the tip of a very large and deeply unpleasant iceberg. Racially motivated killing by the police in the USA is not something new. And if you cannot see the difference between concern over a murder that can be investigated by the police and murder committed by the police then it is difficult to really help you. The best I can do is offer the scenario of if the police in the country started de facto summary executions disproportionately on alabaster middle class white people. I would be very concerned. As, I dare say, would the likes of Ms Hopkins.

2. "What do you want and why do you want it?"

 Here is a question that Hopkins pretty much answers for herself when she references "systemic racism." Yes Black Lives Matter would like an end to systemic racism - something that most people should want. Or at least non-racist people should want. But I can go better and tell you exact what they want. They are looking "to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes." My source is, in an unprecedented research move, their website. But Hopkins is not done with this question yet, using it as a springboard to question whether systemic racism is something new under Trump. The answer to this is also jarringly obvious. It is "no." Black Lives Matter was formed under the Obama administration in response to circumstances very similar to the murder of George Floyd. Again, even the most basic of research would show this. Such as looking at the Black Lives Matter website, which has a section entitled "Six Years Strong." The devil here is in the detail, and the detail here is blindingly fucking obvious. And even the most basic of knowledge of US history would suggest that systemic racism is something that country has been battling with for a long time. Names such as Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks might be helpful indicators here. As would Johnson forcing the Civil Rights Act through Congress. And, y'know, the Civil War. Finally Hopkins rounds off this section of her spiel with "If I ask 10 of you [that question]I would get 10 different answers." Quite possibly, although the "if" here strongly implies you have not even tried to do that. Research, eh? Who needs it when you can spout the first good old bag of bollocks that springs to mind?

3. This one rambles a bit but is essentially "why are BAME people calling for the release of a report into why COVID-19 affects them more while still being willing to go out and protest thus risking the virus?"

This is, to a large extent, "whataboutism." It is trying to deflect interest away from one issue by raising an unrelated issue. I dare say it is of concern to people from ethnic minorities that a pandemic is affecting them more than others. What with that pandemic being... ongoing and likely to recur. However I would dare say that a greater concern would be if you were part of a group in society that could be wrestled to the ground by those meant to represent justice and then have your neck knelt on until you are dead. I don't think I am at immediate risk of this, but deploying skills based around what I call empathy allows me to see why people might take to the streets against actions that would have raised an eyebrow even in apartheid-era South Africa. Then again, empathy and Katie Hopkins. Never the twain shall meet. Hopkins rounds off with the observation that she is not expecting an answer to any of her questions any time soon. I dare say she is right here; the conclave of all BAME people everywhere is not going to suddenly convene because a nano-celebrity in the UK has some questions. Possible that they have other priorities. But here's the thing, Katie. Here's the real kicker. You could have answered these questions for yourself. No, really, you could. See, there's this website - You can literally type question into it and get answers! I know, I know, the crazy future times we live in! There is a .com version to but I am not going to link to that lest a global version sends you into one of your quasi-psychotic, ultra-nationalistic fugues.

 In short, shut up you intellectually myopic, arse-faced twat.


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