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  • Everyday racism: what should we do?

  • Racism is a business. For centuries, it has underpinned global economic exploitation,

  • And like any successful business idea it needs great marketing, PR and advertising to ensure

  • lasting success. And that marketing affects everyone.

  • Let me give you an example. I remember a few years ago, after having just finished a tour,

  • I was paying in some cash in at the bank - we’d done quite well on merchandising. Next to

  • me at the counter another young Afro-Caribbean male, similarly dressed, was also paying in

  • quite a large sum of money. Surprisingly, my first thought was one of suspicion: ‘Hmm,

  • I wonder what he does for a living’.

  • Yes. Even though I know that working class, young black men do not control the multi-billion

  • dollar global drug industry, the connection between people who look like me and drug dealing

  • has been seared into my mind thanks to a lifetime of advertising campaigns like this.

  • These images feed a culture of racial assumptions that produce micro aggressions that I’m

  • going to calleverydayracism. Now, in the context of global injustice, these

  • might seem trivial but in fact, these daily hostilities lay the ground for much larger,

  • systemic violence.

  • Everyday racism is the normalised experiences that we encounter daily based on our difference

  • from the white norm. Take being stopped and searched by the police age at 12 - what would

  • be the first of many times. People shouting nigger or coon from a car windows on trips

  • to Romford during my time playing for West Ham as a schoolboy. Regularly being asked

  • if I have drugs to sell or to pay upfront for black cabs or being sarcastically asked

  • by a tutor when I attended the Royal Institution's mathematics masterclasses how many of the

  • tribe’ I was bringing to the family celebration day. I could go on - and I’ve left out the

  • hard stuff.

  • Constantly feeling like a suspect leads to the kind of shame that pathetically makes

  • me take the bass out of my voice or attempt to make myself smaller when I’m in a lift

  • alone with a white woman.

  • In the world of a whitened Jesus and Hollywood’s white saviour motif, the idea that white is

  • right has taken root globally to the degree where skin bleaching has become a global multibillion-dollar

  • industry. According to the World Health Organisation, 40% of Chinese women bleach their skin. And

  • 77% of Nigerian women - the world’s highest percentage. And it’s not just those two countries.

  • Millions of humans literally pouring bleach onto their skin to try and be whiter.

  • Normalised insanity.

  • Of course this internalisation is how effective advertising works; major brands become etched

  • into your psyche and the system that sells racism is doing a fantastic job. For example,

  • I've visited countless schools and again and again seen children of African origin get

  • embarrassed when saying their ownforeignsounding names, even at schools with predominantly

  • black and Asian pupils. I am yet to see a child called Tim or Paul laugh in shame as

  • they introduce themselves.

  • Yet racism seems to be one of the only problems that some people, conveniently, believe we

  • can solve without first analysing its cause and then plotting its destruction, as any

  • concerned doctor would with any other disease.

  • We cannot let ourselves be bullied into being silenced for fear ofplaying the race card

  • and whilst we must not conflate every act of prejudice with structural white supremacy,

  • we must recognise the relationship between top-down propaganda and the bias that we carry.

  • Fighting prejudice both in society and within ourselves is a key part of the search

  • for justice.

Everyday racism: what should we do?

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B2 UK racism advertising global everyday bleach prejudice

Everyday racism: what should we do? Akala | Comment is Free

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    Rosalyn Kate posted on 2015/07/31
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