A few weeks ago, on Twitter Katie Hopkins tweeted her reaction to being called racist, following a post she had retweeted from a Nazism group account.
Usually I don’t respond to her hysterical hyperbole; in my opinion she’s a poor, uneducated man’s Trump (yes it is possible apparently!)
However, the older I’ve gotten, the more vocal I’ve become, especially when it comes to racism.
As I’ve gotten older, I feel like I’ve become the young girl I once was back in the white middle class towns I grew up in.
Only too aware of my colour.
Before I proceed, I must provide the disclaimer that in no way am I about to play “the race card”, nor have I a chip on my shoulder.
I’m not racist; my boyfriend is white (in fact all of them have been) and all of my friends and family (what’s left of them), refer to me as a white girl in a black girl’s body.
But I’m also highly aware of racism; the direct, the indirect, the subtle, the passive aggressive, the loud and the proud.
As somebody who works in a predominantly white environment and is reminded of it everyday by the people around her, I’m highly aware of it.
Therefore, when Katie Hopkins tweeted that the word racism had become mundane and meaningless to her, I had to say something. My response was that as a white middle class woman, of course it would be meaningless and mundane to her. Unfortunately 140 characters doesn’t allow the extra suggestion that unlike me she’ll never have to justify her love for a white man, nor will she have to justify her right to integration in her work place just because of the colour of her skin. She doesn’t have to live with the guilt of thoughts of bringing children of colour into a racist world… and THEN feeling guilty about carrying that shame in the first place!
Therefore, her calling all of that mundane, to me was a slap in the face.
Furthermore, to dismiss centuries of suffering and persecution for millions, for me was one step too far.
Of course, there were many a Fascist troll who did not agree with me – which I expected. When you voice your opinion upon a public platform, you open yourself up to attack; but I was NOT prepared for the level of abuse I received from her followers… and I was abused constantly for about three days – even after deleting the tweet, the right-wing Fascists had screenshotted the damned thing just to quote it back to me with some racist abuse attached for good measure.
I’ve never felt so frightened by humanity in my entire life.
Now I am aware that that sounds incredibly hyperbolic and melodramatic, however reading the following tweets, knowing that these people were alive, existing and thirsty for my coloured blood genuinely frightened me to the point of tears:
These white supremacists also sent me a tweet with flashing images and I was told to “check this out babes”; having checked out my profile and seen that I had Epilepsy, they knew exactly what effect they were hoping for. Thankfully I don’t have photosensitive Epilepsy.
However, if I did, I could’ve been either seriously injured or even worse…. Just for voicing an opinion in 140 characters.
I reported all of the offensive tweets to Twitter, however only a small minority of them were deemed offensive enough for accounts to be blocked. (Thankfully this included the tweet with the flashing images, however this did not the include the tweet using a Family Guy meme to insult the intelligence of black people. Clearly aggress racism is not deemed offensive and harmful to Twitter.)
Hopkins did nothing to stop the situation either; in fact she fuelled it by continuing to post about it to her followers so that more people would see it and comment on it, even after I had deleted the original post myself.
Thankfully it hasn’t put me off voicing my opinions. There were people out there who totes had my back and defended me even when I stopped going onto Twitter for awhile because even clicking on the app was causing me severe anxiety. Plus I’ve been bullied before so what’s new?
And Hopkins, you are a racist. You declared the ebola outbreak as a triumph to rid the African continent of HIV AND uneducated black people; you preach rabid hate against refugees and immigrants and you retweet Nazi propaganda on a public forum, knowing that white supremacists follow you and will follow every single disgusting word you say.
If you find racism mundane then here’s a solution: find a new fucking hobby.