With apologies to all those readers who are not based in the UK: what do Priti Patel, Kemi Badenoch, Tony Sewell, Katharine Birbalsingh and Suella Braverman all have in common?
Apart from the fact that they are all Conservative MPs (politicians)?
And apart from the fact that none of them are white?
Each one of these public figures represents an example of what I am going to characterise as an ‘assimilated minority’. In an earlier post I have indicated my support for Ibram Kendi’s argument that assimilationism is just as egregious as segregationism. Despite not being white, these people are as dangerous to the multiple causes of social justice as any white supremacist leveraging class and nation issues alongside those of race and ethnicity.
Calling this out – as a (in my case) black person does not means glossing over the ongoing problems of white supremacy. White supremacy can indeed be served by both those other-than-white people who are born into contexts where they cannot be anything other than racially and/or ethnically minoritised (BAME) and those other-than-white people who are born in ‘global majority’ cultures (in not just to so-called ‘Global South’) who then come to the West (BGM+). But it is still ‘white’ supremacy, and that makes the cause/s being served by the above-named parties all the more diabolical.
Birbalsingh wants to keep everyone in the specific class bandwidth into which society says they have been born.
Sewell denies institutional racism and blames ‘black culture’ for some of the problems regarding educational underachievement etc.
Badenoch is a vicious anti-wokeness campaigner, working hand in glove with Sewell (in effect), but with the twist of making bona fide racism a problem of left-leaning (political and other) minds.
Priti Patel clearly does not like b/Black people; this is about MUCH more than her disavowal of the #BlackLivesMatter protests.
And Suella Braverman wants to take the UK out of the European Court of Human Rights as her own stake for becoming a darling of the Right.
With ‘coconuts’ (or ‘Oreo cookies’) like this in government and politics, all other-than-white people do not need enemies. As someone who has taken inter-ethnic-minority solidarity super-seriously all his life whilst disavowing the notion of ‘political b/Blackness’, I am truly ashamed of these people and what they represent as racially and ethnically minoritised peoples. I wish that more BAME/BGM+ people would speak up about these issues with teeth and nuance, but in the end one can only be responsible for one’s own actions and choices, and for me, silence on these matters is even less of an option than it ever was(n’t) before. Like Braverman, I have roots in East Africa. Like Birbalsingh, I have roots in Guyana. I hope for a career where it will be possible to make a difference and while this blog has no political clout (nor is that actively sought), I am personally politically invested. A better world will not come by hoping others do the work, and I am calling on all those with a heart for the real structural obstacles to both equality and equity to do the work of resisting the kinds of mindset people like those named herewith are promulgating with such an abject lack of humane intelligence.