I was watching coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests on TV and paused to reflect on the point of protests. They don’t after all directly work, because those in power generally don’t give a flying fart about your concerns. If they did, they would typically make a boatload of progress in dealing with them.
But that’s not to say that protests are a waste of time. They primarily serve to activate others into action and stimulate more meaningful outcomes through more strategic enterprises (for example, better supported campaigns and ultimately legislative change).
So, in this instance, black people would be protesting, and others would be subsequently activated.
I say would because that’s not how it’s unfolding. The number of others now hitting the streets (or their keyboards) faking solidarity shouldn’t fool anybody. These charlatans are merely taking the moral high ground to avert any pointing fingers. The protests are after all against their privilege. These are the people, as the majority, who are the foundations of society as it currently lives and breathes. And they’ve voted in successions of governments who have served their objectives and not those of all citizens.
That is stark complicity, and until the current shitstorm, they had been perfectly happy with that.
They shouldn’t now be protesting on the street and pretending that the audience is elsewhere, and that the problem is with someone else to solve. They shouldn’t be changing their social media profiles with bogus credentials of egalitarianism, because up to now, they hadn’t cared one iota, or at least not nearly enough in order to straighten it all out.
But for all the failings in the UK, I’d be choking on my homemade facemask right now if were a Canadian. Their Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, joined a protest and took the knee. That’s weapons-grade crass wokedom right there.
He’s missed the glaring, neon point that any racism in Canada is happening on his watch and it’s his problem to sort. It’s why, in a democracy, people go out to vote. If he is the one protesting, who is his audience? Who does he think will make Canada a better place, if not himself?
We should be thankful, though, that he opted not to black-up for the cameras on this occasion.
New Zealanders are doubtless bracing themselves for Jacinda Ardern’s next wokey-dokey cultural turn. She might go for a Creolean grass skirt, but it’s odds-on than she’ll dig out the headscarf again. Unless of course, she’s already transformed it into a COVID mask and prayer mat combo.
All of this posturing is in fact the epitome of black lives don’t matter. People in authority using a topical protest just to bolster their own self-righteous images. Yet for all their unique positions of executive power, they’d not ever been bothered to deal with it as a priority.
Like so many of the world’s leaders, these cats are desperate for power but just don’t like the tough challenges that the job entails.
And this peak hypocrisy is happening at all levels and all over the world. Company managers and executives are popping up across social media, sharing their vacantly sloganned, branded, whitesplaining, BLM slides. And that’s all they are – slides. Equality in UK business is generally on a par with data protection. It only matters when the balloon goes up.
But for now, it looks like it’s at the heart of the new woke populism. A black-themed virtue-signalling month will likely be slotted in to be a permanent fixture on the annual cultural agenda of many businesses. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, will be the extent of it.
But people will feel a lot better about it because they – along with the showboating politicians – will have distanced themselves from the unpleasantness, ticked the equality box, and showcased their enhanced credentials to all.
And in their world, that’s job done.