Posted in Blog, Mental Health

My Twitter Ban

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Earlier in the month I called Helen Grant a cunt on Twitter and today my account was suspended for twelve hours. Twitter told me that if I deleted the tweet, I’d be able to use my account again straightaway, but I refused to delete it. The reason why I said what I said, is because she’s a terf, a racist and a bully, and I stand by what I said. Furthermore, Black women are called cunts on Twitter all the time – just because Helen Grant is a an MP with a blue tick by her name, Twitter are protecting her, while we are left to rot in the abuse we face from racist right-wingers every single day. I know this, because I live it and I live it with my Black sisters every single day. Now however, instead of reporting the abuse directly to Twitter support, we just block the abusers because that’s more effective.

This is the tweet I sent:

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This is the reason why I sent the tweet: Grant instigated a hateful campaign against Bergdorf, following her appointment as Labour’s LGBTQ+ advisor. Grant did this because Bergdorf is an intelligent, confident, Black, Transgender woman and as a Conservative MP, Grant decided to not only write to Dawn Butler, the Labour MP who had appointed Bergdorf, demanding that she be removed from her position, but she also took to the media to cast a tornado of racist and transphobic abuse which created a backlash on social media for Bergdorf, leaving her no choice but forcing her to step down from her position.

When I sent that tweet, I was standing in the street and I was sobbing. I’m not a hateful person, however when I see something wrong I speak with conviction and I’m not afraid to speak.

I myself, was aggressively forced out of my job and I know exactly how it feels to be ganged up against. And I also know exactly how it feels to not have anybody speak up on your behalf. When you’re a Black woman, people scatter to the shadows – it creates a psychological isolation like no other, which is why I knew that no matter the consequences for myself and my public image, I had to speak up for this injustice, and I’ll gladly do it again.

There is also a category of violence as Black women that we suffer called misogynoir – the intersection of racism, anti-Blackness, and misogyny that Black women experience however as a trans woman, Bergdorf falls into the another intersection of violence: Transmisogynoir. 

I first came across misogynoir when I stumbled upon Moya Bailey.

“I needed a word to describe the particular f***ery Black women face in popular culture.” 

Bailey first used the term in an essay titled, ‘They Aren’t Talking About Me’ for the Crunk Feminist Collective, which she coined in reaction to violence against Black women – particularly that she was witnessing in the streets, as well as on social media juxtaposed with the rejection of our culture by white people.

Transmisogynoir is a term I’ve only recently come across, and a violence that of course, only Transgender women of colour will face, such as Bergdorf. Henceforth, the negative impacts of her transphobic oppression is heightened because her oppressors are white supremacists, which people constantly forget, and which is why I had to speak up.

I have to admit though, twelve hours without Twitter has been hell LOL… I’ve got the shakes and everything LOL.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

MUNROE BERGDORF IS SPEAKING UP FOR BLACK PEOPLE EVERYWHERECHARLIE BRINKHURST CUFF1ST SEPTEMBER 2017

http://www.gal-dem.com/munroe-bergdorf-speaking-black-women-everywhere/

This is black, trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf’s statement released after she was trashed in a Daily Mail article (which we won’t link to here), for calling out white people’s racism following the events of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. She was dropped by L’Oréal Paris’ “diversity campaign” after the article was published:

“Sit still and smile in a beauty campaign ‘championing diversity’. But don’t actually speak about the fact that lack of diversity and is due to racism. Or speak about the origins of racism. It’ll cost you your job”.

This makeup brand cares about nothing but MONEY. I urge you to boycott L’Oréal Paris. I can’t express how disappointed I am in the entire team in dealing with misquotes that were entirely placed out of context.

First up, let’s put my words in context, as the Daily Mail failed to do so. This ‘rant’ was a direct response to the violence of WHITE SUPREMACISTS in Charlottesville. It was not written this week.

Secondly, identifying that the success of the British Empire has been at the expense of the people of colour, is not something that should offend ANYONE. It is a fact. It happened. Slavery and colonialism, at the hands of white supremacy, played a huge part in shaping the United Kingdom and much of the west, into the super power that it is today.

Whether aware of it or not, in today’s society the lighter your skin tone (people of colour included) the more social privileges you will be afforded. Whether that’s access to housing, healthcare, employment or credit. A person’s race and skin tone has a HUGE part to play in how they are treated by society as a whole, based on their proximity to whiteness.

When I stated that “all white people are racist”, I was addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy – designed to benefit, prioritise and protect white people before anyone of any other race. Unknowingly, white people are SOCIALISED to be racist from birth onwards. It is not something genetic. No one is born racist.

We also live in a society where men are SOCIALISED to be sexist. Women are SOCIALISED to be submissive. Gay people are SOCIALISED to be ashamed of their sexuality due to heterosexual people’s homophobia. Cisgender people are SOCIALISED to be transphobic. We do not need to be this way. We are not born this way and we can learn to reject it. We are just socially conditioned to think this way from an early age. With the right education, empathy and open mindedness we can unlearn these socialisations and live a life where we don’t oppress others and see things from other people’s points of view.

So when a transgender woman of colour, who has been selected to front up a big brand campaign to combat discrimination and lack of diversity in the beauty industry, speaks on her actual lived experience of being discriminated against because of her race and identifies the root of where that discrimination lies – white supremacy and systemic racism – that big brand cannot simply state that her thoughts are not “in line with the ethics of the brand”.

If you truly want equality and diversity, you need to actively work to dismantle the source of what created this discrimination and division in the first place. You cannot just simply cash in because you’ve realised there’s a hole in the market and that there is money to be made from people of colour who have darker skin tones.

The irony of all this is that L’Oréal Paris invited me to be part of a beauty campaign that ‘stands for diversity’. The fact that up until very recently, there has been next to no mainstream brands offering makeup for black women and ethnic minorities, is in itself due to racism within the industry. Most big brands did not want to sell to black women. Most big brands did not want to acknowledge that there was a HUGE demographic that was being ignored. Because they did not believe that there was MONEY to be made in selling beauty products to ethnic minorities.

If L’Oreal truly wants to offer empowerment to underrepresented women, then they need to acknowledge THE REASON why these women are underrepresented within the industry in the first place. This reason is discrimination – an action which punches down from a place of social privilege. We need to talk about why women of colour were and still are discriminated against within the industry, not just see them as a source of revenue.

Racism may be a jagged pill to swallow, but I suggest you force it down quickly if you want to be part of the solution. Doing nothing, does nothing and solves nothing. Empowerment and inclusivity are not trends, these are people’s lives and experiences. If brands are going to use empowerment as a tool to push product to people of colour, then the least they can do is actually work us to dismantle the source, not throw us under the bus when it comes to the crunch. At times like this, it becomes blindly obvious what is genuine allyship and what is performative.

I stand for tolerance and acceptance – but neither can be achieved if we are unwilling to discuss WHY intolerance and hate exist in the first place.

Posted in Blog

Munroe Bergdorf

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By now you will all have heard about Munroe Bergdorf.

I actually didn’t know who she was until Friday afternoon, and now she’s the best thing to happen to me since I was suspended from my teaching role in the summer and became “woke”.

Above is a screen shot taken from my computer, of the ridiculously sensational Daily Mail headline. Below, is their summary of Munroe’s Facebook post, which even then, in no way names the entire white race as racist entirely:

‘Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people. Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***. Come see me when you realise that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege. Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk. Until then stay acting shocked about how the world continues to stay f***** at the hands of your ancestors and your heads that remain buried in the sand with hands over your ears.’

I knew straight away that L’Oreal were going to drop her, because she was too authentic for them. Society only want People of Colour for tokenism purposes only, not for raising awareness of diversity. Just look at the uproar John Boyeya caused going to Notting Hill Carnival: how dare a black man enjoy himself at carnival? He has let white people down EVERYWHERE! SHAME ON HIM!

I was however shocked that L’Oreal did bow down to the masses of Daily Mail readers who can’t even spell, let alone read.

Friday afternoon, instead of working on my latest MSc assignment, I decided to spend my time on Twitter actively defending Munroe because I was impassioned by the hatred and ignorance of white people in this country. She’s been so incredibly brave and dignified in all of this and doesn’t deserve ANY of this sordid coverage.

Readers clearly hadn’t bothered to read past the headline – all they had seen was what the Daily Mail had wanted them to see: that Munroe had called them all racist and therefore they felt that this entitled them to call all people of colour (including me) whatever they wanted.

Since becoming “woke”, it seems to me that it is exceptionally evident how ignorant white people in the UK are, when it comes to Institutional racism.

Did you know that you can Google it white folks?

Institutional racism (also known as institutionalized racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. Institutional racism is also racism by individuals or informal social groups, governed by behavioral norms that support racist thinking and foment active racism. It is reflected in disparities regarding:

Income & Wealth – According to the Department of Work and Pensions website, households of colour on average have £100 -£200 less weekly disposable income than white families.

Criminal Justice – I’ve already documented on how incredibly racist our criminal justice system is – particularly the police, and your response to that daily institutional racism just goes to show how complicit you are in that racism.

Metropolitan Police use force disproportionately against black people in London, new statistics reveal

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(Image source)

Employment – Young black men have consistently experienced more unemployment than young men of other ethnicities.

The unemployment rate for young black men is double the rate for young white men, even when they have the same level of qualifications. Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive of Trust for London

Housing – more and more areas – particularly in London – are being gentrified, which means that people of colour are being forced out of their homes.

Families of BME background are frequently turned away from private landlords, however this is never spoken about in the media, and although we are always talking about homelessness, how often are we bringing to light the fact that:

“Of officially homeless applicants, 17% were of African-Caribbean origin, though only 4% of people in England are of African-Caribbean origin.”

The majority of victims in the Grenfell Tower fire are from the BME community, which is why Britain is now being so heartless towards them, with sympathy having expired after only a few days. These people are now homeless, yet because the majority of them are not blue eyed and fair haired, white people disregard their struggle, call them ungrateful for not allowing the Government to interrogate them on their immigration status just because of the colour of their skin before being offered a home somewhere unacceptable.

Health care – As much as I love and respect the NHS, people of colour are frequently mistreated in the National Health Service because white clinicians have preconceived judgments that we can take more pain than our white counterparts, or, that we are being the black, aggressive stereotype:

When Eche Egbuonu, who has bipolar disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, he should have been taken to a safe environment – usually a hospital – for a medical assessment. Instead, he was taken straight to a police station.

It is also a well known fact within the Psychiatry community, that therapists are culturally incompetent and very frequently misdiagnose people of colour, prescribing wrong medication and referring them for incorrect treatment, causing years of harm.

Do you know what it does to your mental health, constantly being ignored, tortured, not listened to, labelled something you know that you’re not?

Political power – I frequently refer to Brexit as a “white people’s problem”. The more I hear about it, the more removed I feel from it, and I know a lot of my “woke” peers feel the same. I no longer feel like any politicians are speaking on behalf of me or anything I believe in. 53% of white people in Britain voted leave, while two thirds (67%) of those describing themselves as Asian voted to remain, as did three quarters (73%) of black voters. The day after the result, a white man screamed at me in the street to “GO BACK HOME“, even though I was born in this country. This line gets thrown at me by illiterate racist trolls rather frequently on Twitter too.

Education – children of colour are frequently misdiagnosed with mental health disorders because they don’t “fit” the white cultural definition of normal. While working in schools, I witnessed many children treated differently to their white peers on a daily basis.

Whether implicitly or explicitly expressed, institutional racism occurs when a certain group is targeted and discriminated against based upon race.

Institutional racism is mostly implicit, so it is often unnoticed. Just like I didn’t know what it was like to be disabled until I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, you don’t know what it’s like living as a person of colour and you don’t see the injustices. Therefore, how dare you tell me that I’m wrong, or that I’m making it up? I spent hours last Friday afternoon, defending my experiences to white people who told me that I was either LYING or EXAGGERATING about my experiences of racism in the United Kingdom, because racism doesn’t exist in this country.

According to white people:

  • I’ve never been called a nigger in this country;
  • I’ve never been sexually assaulted because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never been harassed in the street because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never been questioned / interrogated / judged on my level intelligence by an employer because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never lost my job because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never been bullied by classmates and teachers because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never been refused help for my mental health because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never been refused service in a public place because of my skin colour in this country;
  • I’ve never tried to kill myself because of the way I’ve been treated by white people in this country. 

According to white people I’ve made all of this up. 

How fucking dare you?

White people naively believe that the laws in this country are on our side, but they are not. The people who are employed to protect us and help us stand by and do nothing; they fail to acknowledge the existence of such oppression. In my last employment, white people knew that I was being bullied not only for my disability, but also for the colour of my skin yet stood by and while a small minority tried to help, the majority ruled and did NOTHING. Some even turned their backs, because their place of privilege was at stake and THIS is exactly what Munroe is talking about, because this happens every single day and you guys let it happen.

Therefore, if you are not actively fighting against institutional racism, then you are actively engaging in racial violence. You are not on my side. You are not my ally.

That is what Munroe is saying.

The way that you react to people of colour speaking up about basic racism, which happens on a daily basis in Britain is proof that racism exists in the United Kingdom. Munroe has had rape and death threats, she also lost her job as did I, just for speaking out about racism. Just for saying that it exists and that it is wrong. 

You as a white person as more concerned with your privilege than me as a human. 

On Friday afternoon, I took a two hour break from Twitter to do some work, and when I came back I had over seventy notifications – some of which included racial abuse. 

When you are the “superior race“, you don’t get to scream racism when a person of colour speaks their truth. 

That’s not how reverse racism works. 

Furthermore, we are not equal. 

I have clearly proven that. Society will never allow it, and until you actively use your white privilege to fight against racial inequality and violence, YOU need to stop accusing people of colour of working against racial equality for actively calling it out. We are being authentic; this is not about your feelings. 

So stop crying your fucking white tears and open your fucking eyes. 

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(Image source)