The murder of George Floyd by a US police officer two weeks ago sparked protests across America which quickly led to rioting and looting. It was only a matter of time before this trouble made its way across the pond to Great Britain.
According to the narrative, this horrific murder shone a light on the endemic racism of Western civilisation. “White privilege” led not only to the murder of an innocent man in Minneapolis, but has also created a system designed by and for the advancement of white people to the detriment of all other races.
This is, of course, is a total fiction.
According to the Wall Street Journal in 2018 black Americans made up just 13% of the US population, but they accounted for 53%of all known homicides and 60% of robberies. Yet despite this, in 2019 police fatally shot 19 unarmed white people compared to just 9 black people. Moreover, the Justice Department of Philadelphia found in 2015 that a police officer was more than 18 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.
So perhaps the problems of police racism in the US aren’t as clear cut as they’re portrayed in the press ? But what about wider societal racism here in Britain?
A 2015 report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that of Britain’s poorest pupils, white pupils are 10% less likely to go to university than any other ethnic group. According to the Department for Education, white students on average made less progress in England’s schools in 2018 than Asians, blacks or Chinese.
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And it doesn’t stop at education: 42% of Indian households have a weekly income of £1,000 or more, compared to just 26% of white British households. The fact that there’s a disproportionate number of black households in poverty therefore can not simply be explained away by “racism”.
Peddling easy answers to complex questions by simply pointing to race, sexuality or gender does a terrible job at explaining outcomes. Upbringing, culture, family, neighbourhood and schooling are a far better indicator of whether or not someone in Britain will end up doing well or not.
Far more troubling is the anger and division that these simplistic arguments create.
Identity politics saps sections of society of drive and ambition. “Why bother working hard if white people will oppress me anyway?” Telling people that the world is against them and that they have no hope of achieving because the system’s rigged against them not only isn’t true, it’s creating a monster that’s tearing us all apart.
In my home town of Bristol, the statue of philanthropist and slave plantation owner, Edward Colston, which stood in the city centre, was torn down by rioting protesters on Sunday and thrown into the docks. This was done in plain view of the police who stood back and did nothing, despite lockdown rules still notionally in place. Worse violence was seen in London, with a statue of the man voted the greatest ever Briton vandalised and 27 police officers injured.
The willingness of these “protesters” to use violence in their attempts to airbrush history and impose wokeness on the rest of society is frightening. No-one from the past or present can feasibly hope to live up to the impossible ideals of cultural Marxism. The culture war these people seem intent on inflicting on us won’t stop until all of our public spaces are filled not with sculptures which depict our shared history in all of its ugly glory, but with vacuous pieces of inoffensive modern “art”. Acceptable to all and loved by no-one.
All this thuggery comes as a direct consequence of these political ideas going mainstream. Making categorical generalisations about individuals based on their or their gender – something campaigners fought for years to deter – is now the norm.
Indeed, despite identity politics being diametrically opposed to Christian ideals, this woke agenda has even taken hold of the Church of England. Christianity teaches that we should all love each other as equals in the eyes of God. Identity politics, on the other hand, asks us to judge one another not on our character, but on the colour of our skin. Despite this, Archbishop Justin Welby now talks of “white privilege” as if it’s an incontrovertible fact, Matthew 7:1, John 13:34, and Acts 10:34-5 nothwithstanding.
In 1963 a great man once said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Most of us have a similar dream. But the poison of identity politics seems to be moving us further and further away from it every single day. It’s high time we start fighting back. Before it’s too late.