Artillery Row

Boris is getting off the BLM train

One country seems to have embraced the group’s ideology and world view; The other rejected it fully

It is often said that Great Britain and America are two countries separated by the same language. 

On the topic of race and ethnic disparities, however, it is not that simple.

In May and June 2020, both countries awoke to find their legitimacy challenged in the most profound way.  The past suddenly became an affront.  In the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, a year or so ago, Black Lives Matter, hitherto a relatively unknown organisation from a British perspective, would henceforth be the new arbiters of justice. 

Widespread support became more nuanced when the extent of Black Lives Matter’s radicalism became clearer: its calls to “defund the police”, work against “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and “dismantle the patriarchal practice”. Its newly rich co-founders, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, both repeatedly described themselves as “trained Marxists”.

Given that historically neither the United States nor Great Britain have been electorally partial to Communist ideologies, support for Black Lives Matter fell. 

In March 2021, a USA Today / Ipsos survey showed trust in Black Lives Matter dropped 20 per cent, albeit to a robust 50 per cent, with faith in local policing rising by an even larger margin to close to 70 per cent.  

However, four times as many believed that race relations worsened over the past year in the United States as say that these have improved, 40 per cent versus 13 per cent.

The United States and the UK are set to travel in very different directions

In the UK, the initial view was that Black Lives Matter was a benign organisation, highlighting an unfortunate turn of event, which led to the death of Mr Floyd.  However, within a few months, perceptions changed. Polling suggested that Black Lives Matter was seen as increasingly divisive. 

Opinium, a British market research group, in a November 2020 survey found that a large majority thought Black Lives Matter “increased racial tensions in the UK”, only 17 per cent disagreed – that is, over 320 per cent more respondents fingered Black Lives Matter for an increase in tensions than the opposite. 

The difference between both countries then is not the popular reaction to Black Lives Matter’s rise. It rests in how the two governments reacted to the Black Lives Matter challenge.  One country seems to have embraced the group’s ideology and world view; The other rejected it fully.  Indeed, the White House is betting large on identity politics. This will have lasting consequences on the viability of American global leadership

Preparing the ground for the great reset, President Biden said during his first address to the joint session of Congress a couple of weeks ago that “White supremacy” was “the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland”. He added that “systemic racism plagues American life”. In a nod to Black Lives Matter, he declared that the knee of injustice was firmly stuck on the neck of Black America. 

The theme picks up seamlessly from his inauguration speech earlier in the year, during which he said that “a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism” must be confronted and defeated. He also referred to a “cry of justice 400 years in the making”, which would have to be addressed.

In the meantime, he called the troops home from Afghanistan. If it is where the administration believes the homeland’s most lethal enemies are then it might not be a coincidence.  

Be that as it may, the American administration has focused laser-like on that topic. In less than three months, the administration has signed over 52 executive orders, 20 per cent of which deal with “equity” – the term means “equal outcomes”.    

As “White supremacy” has never been defined. Such lack of exactness ought to be a cause for concern. John Brennan, former CIA chief, gave us an indication earlier in the year as to what might be meant. He added “authoritarians” and “libertarians” to the mix of potential domestic terrorists. By that definition, everybody is a suspect. Indeed, the recent raid of Rudi Guiliani’s home by Federal agents could well be a harbinger of things to come.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, seems on the verge of getting off the Race Baiting train. Last year’s chaos led Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, to call for a fresh review on racial disparities. A few weeks ago, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities reported its findings

In less than three months, 20 per cent of Biden’s executive orders deal with “equity”

Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Equalities, reported to the House of Commons that “this document” is an opportunity to make “Britain a fairer society for all”. It is not about singling out ethnic minorities from the White majority, “It is about collectively raising standards”.  The commission found that differences – or “disparities” – are not always sinister and do not always arise from discrimination. 

“In the UK”, the document states, “the best way to build trust is to emphasise to every ethnic group that we treat individuals fairly, and not on the basis of their ethnicity”. Dr Tony Sewell, the Chairman of the Commission, said there is no evidence of institutional racism in the UK. 

The authors, however, went further. Concepts such as “Structural Racism” are Marxist in origin and therefore not neutral and deeply divisive, as they find their “roots in a critique of capitalism”. 

“White privilege” or “White fragility” as theories were rejected. The document pointed out that these expressions were “coined in the USA” and were “alienating to those who do not feel especially privileged by their skin colour”. 

If the surveys are accurate then the difference on the topic of ethnicity between both countries is not in how Black Lives Matter is perceived; it is mainly in the adoption across every sinew of officialdom of Black Lives Matter’s rhetoric and goals. 

The United States under Biden and Harris and the UK under Boris Johnson are set to travel in very different directions. While America is accelerating down the segregationist cul-de-sac; Britain is seeking a way out. 

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