Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP
Artillery Row

Merry race-baiting

Black Lives Matter is dreaming of a black Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really feeling very festive this year. Covid-19 has officially robbed me of my ability to enjoy Christmas. I am not the only one. Normally by the middle of December, my fiancée begins to suffer from an annual bout of xmas-induced panic. Lists are written, frantic trips to the supermarket are made and everything with a shadow is covered in tinsel. Even my loveable but annoying cat is given an overdose of feline festivity, as every year he receives a fancy new Santa collar. Not so much this year. Everything just seems, well, shit.

In any other normal year, what I love about Christmas is the joy it brings. It’s a chance to put aside family problems and embrace loved ones. Any familial squabbles are usually settled over a couple of bottles of Beaujolais nouveau and a few shots of Jamesons. By the new year, the convivial atmosphere inevitably wanes, but for a brief period it brings us all together.

At this time of the year, living in a multicultural society provides the best illustration that we can all co-exist. A certain warmth always fills my heart when I see other cultures embracing what is at heart a Christian tradition. Whether it is the Indian community bedecked with tinsel and Santa hats, working tirelessly on Christmas Day, or the West Indian family down the road jerking their turkey, the festive season is a time for all races.

Unfortunately there is one group that really does not want a white Christmas: Black Lives Matter. The racial justice group now appears to have a problem with Christmas — or more specifically, with the white people who celebrate it.

A message from the official Black Lives Matter network recently appeared on social media. The Instagram post, which initially emerged on Black Friday, called for a boycott of all “white companies” during the holiday season to support “Black Xmas”. In order to do this, it has called for a ban on spending with white companies from Black Friday until New Year’s Day. It is encouraging followers to “buy exclusively from Black-owned businesses”.

According to the official site, they really are “dreaming of a #BlackXmas”.

It didn’t stop looters ravaging Nike stores across the states

Call me a cynic but can we really expect some of the more hardline supporters of BLM to respect property rights? During last year’s BLM protests, a mob unceremoniously defaced and uprooted the statue of the English merchant Edward Colston and rolled it into Bristol harbour. Over in the States meanwhile we had an entire summer of riots, arson and looting following the death of George Floyd. From New York to Los Angeles, the city-wide destruction is estimated to have cost anywhere between $1 and $2 billion dollars. Some of the worst damage was inflicted on small ethnic minority-owned businesses. When the journalist Brad Polumbo looked into the reports, he found no fewer than ten minority-owned businesses across the United States that were torched or looted during the riots.

Not really in the Christmas spirit is it? It’s less “logs on the fire and gifts on the tree”, and more stores on fire and Edward Colston dumped in the sea.

How do we ascertain what is a “black-owned” business? Are BLM going to check the corporate board structure of every multinational company to ensure a black individual is in charge? Does this mean that if the Chief Executive Officer is white but the Chief Operations Officer happens to be black, they are to be targeted? What of companies that have shared mixed-ethnic ownership? Then we have Nike who spent the entire summer of 2020 digitally virtue signalling for BLM. The sports-shoe giant has a contract to supply the NBA — a game composed of 75 per cent black players. With an annual average salary of roughly $8 million dollars, capitalism has made these people exceedingly rich. It may not be perfect but capitalism is not racist — the only colour it cares about is green. Yet that didn’t stop looters from ravaging Nike stores across the States.

When it comes to addressing real or perceived injustice in the world, call me old fashioned but I think racial segregation is not the best answer. By advocating for the financial preference of one skin colour over another, BLM has officially called for a corporate ethnostate. Imagine if a white-supremacist group did this; do you not think it would make the mainstream media apoplectic? The only difference between BLM and the far-right is this is only a temporary (and stupid) solution to a non-existent problem.

But the real anger is reserved for the police. They state: “White-supremacist-capitalism is complicit in the murder of Black people by police.”

Black people make up 15 per cent of all murder convictions

During a BLM event last year, Sasha Johnson, the self styled “Black Panther of Oxford”, compared the police to the KKK. The reality is, very few people of any race are killed by the police in the UK. The last two of black background were shot and killed whilst actively committing terrorist crimes. When it comes to deaths in police custody, in the decade to 2018-19, of the 163 who had died, just 13 were black — 8 per cent. In the same period, black people made up 9 per cent of arrests, but 8 per cent of deaths in custody. According to a Home Office report white people are 25 per cent more likely to die in custody than black people.

We also get the claim that black people are over-represented within the prison system. BLM protestors say that although black people make up just three per cent of the population, they account for roughly 12 per cent of all prisoners. Once we adjust for the fact that black people make up 15 per cent of all murder convictions, then the 12 per cent figure seems accurate.

As for any trace of institutional racism within the legal system, the data shows another picture. Government figures show the conviction rate is higher for white defendants than black defendants: 85.3 per cent and 78.7 per cent respectively.

BLM’s misrepresentation and selective omission of real facts is extremely dangerous. As I have shown, this has real world consequences and misrepresents the U.K as a racist country — something it is clearly not.

The same can be said for the United States. The stochastic terrorism employed by BLM led to five policemen being gunned down and killed in Dallas, Texas. The suspect Micah Xavier Johnson, a black man (later killed), told a negotiator that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers”.

Those who are campaigning for real racial justice need to look at actual problems. London is in the middle of a knife crime epidemic. 53 per cent of young black men are victims of stabbings whilst 73 per cent of perpetrators are young black men. The presence of a strong male role model is crucial for moral guidance for young black people. But, according to former lecturer Tony Sewell, around 50 per cent of black British children grow up without a father. Without a father in the home, young black children will look towards gang culture for role models.

As for the United States? BLM have a horrifying statistic of their own to deal with that they urgently need to address: although African Americans make up just 13 per cent of the U.S population, they account for 56 per cent of all murders within the 48 contiguous states. It’s probably safe to assume that it is not toddlers and grandmas parading the streets with loaded firearms, so the percentage of people responsible must be even less than 13 per cent.

This is apparently the seventh iteration of #BlackXmas. Let’s hope it is the last.

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