#BlackLivesMatter? Put your money where your mouth is.
Ok, it’s Monday 8th June 2020. It’s been a crazy week gone by, hell emotional, stressful, shocking beyond belief. This past week is the cherry that has topped one hell of a month, what a first, a quarter and now just the total mind-fuck, the year that is 2020 to date. It has been the week of raw emotion, uncontrollable sadness and increasing solidarity, around the world, people of all races stood together and said quite simply “ENOUGH”.
Enough to racial brutality once violent acts, criminal acts, injustice and racial discrimination perpetuated against Black People. Individuals, Companies, Brands, sectors, industries, however you want to direct it, have all come forward in their vocal support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Some of this has been touching, motivational, if not only for the Black People suffering, but also for those who previously didn’t feel able or willing to stand up and be by our sides publicly, or perhaps simply hadn’t acknowledged or taken time to realise what the actuality of being a person with Black Skin really means around the world, to your opportunities, your education, your health and aspirations and most importantly to your actual lifespan. To know that every day is a blessing because no matter what you’re still here.
This blog post isn’t a lesson in Black History, or the struggles of recent weeks, there is enough press and media coverage for that. I have personally stood back, held my tongue and watched the direction of travel and some things just niggle me somewhat with regards to this.
For centuries, we as Black people have been used and abused by societies. Either directly or indirectly we are always here to serve a purpose, we are never simply just here because we’re here.
That’s freedom, to simply be, whoever, wateever you want to be, no strings, no ties, no pay-off for someone else, no servitude of someone else or their cause or agenda, to simply be yourself and for yourself is a right as a people we have yet to attain. To so this and be treated with equal merit and given equal access and equal rights, is a position Black People have simply never held as a race.
That’s deep, I’m not sure we have the time or space to explain this here, that rabbit hole is deep and painful for the perpetuators of our torture to hear and acknowledge, the summary of which is two words, “perceived threat” or perhaps “arrogance, ignorance” One word often used is “privilege’.
This is a lifestyle blog, it’s not political, it’s not a vehicle to berate people and explain centuries of maltreatment and the imbalanced society we have as a result. But what I can do, is encourage you all to open your eyes, open your ears and read between the lines. If through nothing else than the consumer choices we make, the power we give away and explain the relevance.
When our society wakes up, and stops being so easily led, told what to think, told how to feel even the very causes you should champion and care about are given to you but the media or those beyond serving their own agenda’s. When people get beyond this manipulation and literally think for themselves as compassionate empathetic human beings, and see their fellow man as just that, not whatever caricatures and stereotypes are handed to you, when people, recognise people as people, then we might get to a place of true understanding.
What I need to ask, is that you don’t use my people, Black People as a badge on your arm, a slogan, a statement, a hashtag you mention today and forget tomorrow by your very actions and choices, by your silence, by you condoning blatant injustices.
When you see struggles that are not our struggles linked to us, as always, understand it’s someone somewhere hitching a bandwagon to the back of the Black Man/Woman for a ride, as in history. When you see people manipulating our causes to gain political advantage, point scoring, as a smoke screen to potentially distract you from whatever significant historical thing may just be happening within that very moment they don’t want you to pay attention to hmm maybe a very high profile court case for example or some other newsworthy item they’d rather divert attention to us for whom they’ve never given a damn previously, I ask you to wake up and smell the coffee.
If you want to empower a people, if you want to feel empowered for playing your part, look at the corporates, look at the companies, look at the politicians claiming to be in solidarity with us, look, really look, learn to look beyond soundbites, beyond retweets and really use the talent you have and capacity to take in knowledge, find out what’s really happening in the world for yourself, make a conscious effort to research, to reach out beyond what your favourite magazine company or celebrity is telling you you care about. Feel empathy, feel rage, feel numb, but feel something. Think something, of your own thoughts.
I’m fed up of being used. We all are. Black Lives Matter, we chant, we’re told, we read, from all those who stand in solidarity with us. “B**** Please!”
So, some we know will fall by the wayside when the cameras stop rolling. But some…are just damned liars, using my people, and our cause as has always been the case. Some people, corporations, were never in solidarity, they were in a smokescreen, they were in a marketing campaign, a moment a movement that might enable them to continue to extract currency, if not from our blood sweat and tears, then from our pain, anguish and tears. Never the less, there’s profit to be made by seeming to care about progress.
This country in which we live, this empire was built on the blood sweat and tears of my ancestors. We learn about the past, we try to heal and move forward…apparently the past is the past and we all know better now. Because that’s what we’re told to do, expected to do and given no room to do or expect anything else. We’re denied access to our full history of the much more rounded part we played in the history of the world, because it doesn’t suit the narrative of the conquerors who get to tell their version of our history.
It’s one thing to silence us, to suppress us with institutionalised racism, covert racism, subversive racism and barriers to entry. To forever suppress us with needing to be grateful, needing to ask permission, needing to accept whatever is given. That’s all bad enough. But now to almost compete who can support us loudest, the award for best solidarity soundbite goes to…. priceless!
So imagine how angry I personally feel to see all this chanting and protest but silence where it could actually really impact so many lives right now, today., with almost immediate effect moving forwards.
Imagine the platforms you love so dearly, the platforms and companies you worship are still profiting from the blood sweat and tears, the loss of life and liberty of my people, and this is known, has been reported, filmed, mentioned but then silence. The transactions continue, the people, predominantly women, suffer, are traded as slaves with the swipe of a finger and people get richer, including the platforms who facilitate this in full knowledge.
You’re expecting us to “get over” slavery whilst still trading us to this very day! On the same devices we’re using! But you’re in solidarity with us whilst taking your cut?
Where’s the protests, the boycott, that marches? Oh…it hasn’t been called for by your manipulated media outlets, therefor it’s not something you care about, because if you did, you’d have been told this is what you’re outraged about, it’s not acceptable, because after-all, you think for yourselves right?
Take a step away from what’s trending and look outside of the box. There are so many ways that you can directly impact the lives of Black people around the planet right now if you truly believe their lives matter. I don’t expect you to continue to apologise for the slavery of your fore-fathers, what I would like is people to be more vocal and vote with feet and wallets and voices more regarding the slavery of today.
The slavery of today is happening to me, women and children all around the world on a daily basis, a very large proportion of these are Black People form rural parts of Africa who literally have no life, no rights and no justice, just the promise or hope of a little pay and to make it through each day.
Please refer to this article on The BBC website: Slave markets found on Instagram and other apps. The problem is not unique to just one platform, it’s several of them, platforms we all use everyday, who make huge revenue from all of us, and take their share of revenue from continued use by literal slave traders. This is colonisation on a whole new level, this is the slave trade perpetuated in our face, with no regard for human rights, the law or common decency, this is big business and commerce, profit from the injustice and suffering sometimes loss of life of people, very often Black People. This is Science, this is Technology here to educate and improve lives. This is how much we matter.
Please see below this excerpt from this report from Al Jeera about the Slave trade in Libya. Because even to write it, as I type, the anger, the pain pulsing through me…following a week of focusing on our murders at the hands of law enforcements, now let’s turn to the open trade in Black people, by UN backed government, known about by proclaimed protectors of human rights and justice across the globe, watching governments and stepping in when it suits, but when the government or the nation is a friend, ally or big spender, the actions is slow and not very forthcoming.
“Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from a detention centre in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Leonard Doyle from the International Organization for Migration joins Counting the Cost to discuss Libya’s modern-day slavery.
The UN-backed government in Libya said it’s looking into allegations that African migrants are being sold at ‘slave markets’ in Libya.
According to reports, the trade works by preying on the tens of thousands of vulnerable people who risk everything on what’s been described as the deadliest route on earth.
They use smartphones to connect with people smugglers to get them to the coast in the hope that they can cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
There is no proper registration process for the tens of thousands of refugees arriving in Libya.
According to reports, the business of detention centres is unsupervised in some parts of the country and stories of torture, rape and forced labour have emerged.
When the centres get too crowded, people are then allegedly sold off like goods in an open market.
The International Organization for Migration says trade in humans has become so normalised that people are being bought and sold in public for as little as $400.
“As shocking as it seems, it’s indeed true. And the reason it [slave trade] can happen is because there is really no rule of law across much of Libya.
Libya is a country as big as France, with a lot of space there. Migrants are coming there…. they see the promise of a new life when they go to their Facebook feed and they think something wonderful is waiting for them in Europe, because a smuggler has abused the system and has sold them that lie,” says Doyle.
“They get off the bus when they arrive in Libya and they are quickly put into a kind of murder machine, an extortion machine. They are robbed of their possessions, their families are called.
They are forced, they are tortured, they give them money. And then they are sold. Unbelievable, but they are sold in open, public auctions: $400 for a labouring man, maybe a bit more for a women who can be put in the sex trade. And this is what’s happening across the country.”
You can see here a literal slave auction filmed secretly by CNN journalists in Libya. Migrants being sold as slaves in Libya
We’ve always been wanted, raped, mistreated, enslaved, 400 years ago, last year, last month, yesterday and today. It’s still being perpetuated, amongst a smoke screen of respectability and commerce, business, aid and education. We are forever being told what we are worth and for what we should be grateful, whilst serving the needs and desire for wealth and success by others.
I’m sorry, this is not any where near as in depth as it needs to be, it’s a whistle stop tour of just some of the many areas of injustice where despite the slogans we are shown Black Lives Matter…very little, to the world on a grand scale. That’s certainly how it feels at at time like this.
What is is that drives people to treat us so? We’ve already alluded to the Perceived Threat of the Black. Now let’s talk about out and out greed. We have always been raped and pillaged, our lands have always been raped and pillaged by one nation, then another, then another, all taking their turn in taking what belongs to us whilst calling us savages, whilst referring to us as being volatile, violent, uneducated and ignorant. The irony is just so unfunny it’s insulting when plainly we’re not the ones being barbaric, being driven by greed and showing a total lack of compassion and envy for what simply doesn’t belong to us.
The Slave Coast, The Gold coast…you’re still participating in this. We watch films like Blood Diamonds with Lenardo Di Caprio and shake our heads, how terrible…..let’s think about the resources being taken unfairly, for gold mines, to make jewellery and high net worth items for luxury fashion houses and chains, and the resulting ill treatment, poisoning of the people, the land, the deformed children, the health conditions and lifelong illnesses caused, simply to supply resources to enrich others, other races, big business, commerce, gaming companies and electronics manufacturers, fashion houses and jewellers.
We support them, we buy the goods, we don’t hold them to account, we scroll past these news stories because they simply aren’t sexy enough, because MSM hasn’t told you to be outraged by this. Because that’s how it works. You do what you’re told, you care about what you’re told to care about and at no point in history has that been us, unless there’s an agenda to serve or a smoke screen that needs to be created. I’m sorry, sounds far fetched, sounds like a conspiracy theory, sounds like blame culture, a chip on my shoulder…well for us, it sounds like THE TRUTH.
The price of gold: Chinese mining in Ghana documentary | Guardian Investigations:
Ghana has had a gold rush but here, Afua Hirsch discovers how Chinese immigrants are profiting from industrialising the country’s small-scale mining industry. She sees for herself that, for the many locals who chance losing life and limb for a piece of the same pie, the risks are rarely worth it, and explores where the responsibility for regulating this industry lies. Click the link to see the report.
There’s a lot to said about the new colonisers of Africa. Everyone else has pretty much had their turn, so it comes as no surprise having seen every other empire make their mark in the world on our backs, on our shoulders, on our necks…that a would be contender for the the throne of being the next great empire, the established world super-power, would choose to take their turn in subduing and colonising us and taking the mineral rights from our home land whilst brutalising our people.
I speak, I write as a black woman, tired, of these incidences, of these conversations, of having to warn my children in 2020 “You’re not the same, and will never be seen as the same” Having to share these real life horror stories with my children, to show them far more than I can show you here, so that though the rest of the world may remain in ignorance and privilege, they remain alert and awake and ready, reading every situation for what it has the potential to become to navigate their way through life, to make learn, to succeed, but most importantly of all, to simply make it through each and every day. To know recognise a friend or a foe, to know when to speak and to remain silent and mark your moment. To know and make yourself unknow things just to get through.
There’s so much I’d like to share with you, but to educate the broader public in one blog post, just isn’t going to happen. You can do the research, you can choose to stop following the soundbites and look deeper, stop accepting the basic stories told to you by the victors and find information for yourselves.
If you care to, get to know what are the issues in Black Lives if you truly believe they matter so much. It’s bigger than a police issue. It’s more than a hashtag. I don’t for a minute believe all police are bad, but I do believe that the institution is another systemic place of racist culture with no accountability. But the police force isn’t the only place, it’s rife in the education system, in corporate life, in the health system, it’s everywhere and it’s our daily lived experience. So much so that you almost become numb to it as you are so used to dealing with this everyday you tune it out to not let it affect you.
Wherever we live. However high we climb, however hard we work, study, however well we behave, the story doesn’t change, it’s the same story now as it’s been my whole life and that of my mother and that of her mother, telling the same story, different names, different places but the same story, the same lived experience. Where is the progression?
Shall we talk about the World Bank and it’s sanctioning of the companies who basically rape pillage and destroy environments in Africa, who displace the people with promises of assistance which is hardly ever forthcoming, what is forthcoming is poisoned environments, poverty and ill health. With no accountability, but a very healthy balance sheet and share price. Don’t believe me? I guess you didn’t see that in a soundbite on the news then. Read about it for yourself: Gold Mine Misery – Liberia.
I think you’ll find the shareholders, the CEO’s, the important people, the intelligent people, the civilised people, (in their opinion) their lives matter, their bank balances matter, their portfolios and bonuses matter, Black Lives? Clearly not so much.
It’s not just politics, or economics, in some respects it’s indirect murder, painful, slow and brutally cruel with no case to answer as with much of the injustice suffered by Black People.
But MSM isn’t going to tell you to march, to boycott the gold companies, the fashion houses, to storm the stock market or the World Bank, because it doesn’t serve their agenda’s, it might have made a difference to the Black Lives affected though. To research and realise the levels of direct and indirect cruelty, murder, injustice and brutality isn’t going to help any failed election candidates to distract you from their court cases, to use our cause, to see the blatant hypocrisy when you see posters where they try to hijack our cause as their cause. Our struggles are not the same, loosing and election is not the same struggle as being a historical black female activist. How dare you hitch your wagon for that ride.
As I have told my children time and time again, “We’re not the same, we’re not treated the same and we don’t have the same opportunities or justice”
There is so much you can do if only you care enough to think. If we stop living as the generation with the attention span of 3 seconds unable to think beyond hashtags, soundbites and lots of colourful images. There is a reason this post contains none. Because those who moved on without reading, needing constant visual stimuli to remain present, to remain interested, their needs are probably best served with the media outlets who right now are preparing your next cause, important campaign and conscious issue for you to care about.
All I can ask is you think. You stop congratulating yourself on being so woke and wake the fuck up. Stand up, speak up, if Black Lives Matter so much, proove it. Put your money where your mouth is, where your marching feet go, hold your corporates to account. Money and power make the world go around. None of this can be achieved without you, the consumer. You can hold companies, corporations, media outlets, institutions, hell even politicians who are paid with your money, you can hold them to account.
That’s it. If nothing else you took the time to hear the rantings of a somewhat tired Black Woman on this subject. I appreciate your time. I can only hope over time the seed that I’ve sown starts to sprout as you go about your daily life. Apparently people that know better do better, so it’s about time we all get to know and DO BETTER.
Ok, you’re woke, but I’m going to ask you now to go to next level. Seriously, Wake The Fuck up!