Media Opinion

Don't believe the Right-wing media, Sam Kerr isn't racist

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(Background image via | Flickr, Sam Kerr screenshot via YouTube)

The conservative media has jumped at the chance to play the reverse racism card after Sam Kerr snapped at a UK police officer. Tom Tanuki reports.

WHEN WE found out that Matildas captain Sam Kerr had allegedly said something “racist” to a UK police officer, we all held our collective breath. When we found out this “racism” was calling the UK copper a “stupid White bastard”, we all collectively exhaled. And then we rejoiced!

The internet is awash with gratitude and mirth.

Everyone thinks she's a legend.

Sam Kerr will be up for an Order of Australia upon her return, I have no doubt. I bet most UK police officers are stupid White bastards, so Kerr's moment of travelling truth-telling deserves a little medal. Many agree.

Still, it’ll only be a matter of time until the usual gaggle of opinionists finish crafting their columns and Sky News After Dark segments crying about the double standards of the Left, as they are paid to do. Their “reverse racism” audience already abounds online, pre-cooked by years of stupid online discourse and awaiting instructions and cue cards from Bolt et al.

Check Twitter, where they all congregate. You might see people sympathetic to Kerr replying to them about “privilege” and about how “you can’t be racist to White people”.

I’ve been around the culture war traps for long enough to see that these ideas don’t gel with laypeople who haven’t read a bunch of critical theory on race. And since they’ve already been demonised by generations of annoying content guys as a cultural Marxist plot to infect the brains of your children, I doubt these lines will ever again capture imaginations anew.

But many of the people who trade lines like this on Twitter can’t articulate what they mean, either. These are ideas that go to the internet to die — birthed long ago in academic discourse but diminished into thought-terminating clichés that enlighten nobody.

I’m taking it upon myself to discuss some of these notions in as plain a speech as possible, to assert why Kerr did nothing wrong. I'd best get in before the Sky lot kick off.

The idea that you “can’t be racist to White people” stems from racism being a centuries-old model of racial capitalism. This means that a hierarchy of race was a useful tool to help elites accumulate wealth and power — which is precisely what the transatlantic slave trade and European colonialism let them do over the centuries.

It is due to those very phenomena that we have a “West” at all, which is, after all, just a global arrangement of colonies and imperialist nation-states. So racism is woven into the very fabric of the West. Slavery might not exist anymore, but its foundational ideas persist. As a conceptual model, racism is like a pyramid; its elites, White Europeans, sit pretty at the top. And pyramid schemes serve those at the top.

This doesn't mean that every White is born as a platinum VIP with a fat treasure chest of intergenerational wealth assigned to them. But it does mean that in countries like Australia and the UK, we continue to be proportionally underrepresented in, say, negative health, mortality and prison outcomes.  

That is to say, we're less likely to die young, or in a prison cell, or be shot by a cop. That's what “privilege”, another line horrifically maimed and misinterpreted by the culture wars, alludes to.

There are different schools of anti-racist thought. One concludes that you can’t “be racist” to the people that the pyramid model of racism, specifically, historically accrues benefits to. Another doesn’t bother with getting caught up in this, conceding that “anti-White racism” is conceptually sound while pointing out that because the concept isn’t underpinned by any history or systemic discrimination at all, it carries no weight. 

A White man growing up in the UK, or here for that matter, might be convinced he has something to cry about by Right-wing content guys and Sky, but that’s not racism. Nobody’s disputing Sam might have been rude to the cop. Fair enough. But that’s not racism.

If racism had its birth amid big historical phenomena like the slave trade and colonialism, it follows that it’s flapping at the big levers of society, not merely governing the trade of rude words. It affects its downtrodden in recurrent and systemic ways, which are evidenced by hard statistics far more than by hurt White feelings. (This runs contrary to the layperson's understanding of racism, which is generally: “Rude Bad Words You’re Not Allowed To Say”.)

For example, Indigenous people in Australia don’t only have to cope with rude words from my racist White Australian brothers and sisters — although they absolutely do have to cope with that, too. What they also have to cope with is statistically demonstrable, such as the fact that they die in disproportionately high numbers in Australian prison cells, invariably at the hands of local stupid White bastards. All of that is not racism itself, which again is a model, but it is symptomatic of racism and, therefore, racist.

Even the annoying term “reverse racism” appears to concede an implicit awareness of the right way around for racism, which I have always found telling. “Just imagine if this was the other way around!” crow its proponents. Never mind that it is the other way around, constantly. And when it is the other way around, it is not just a matter of rude words at cops but rather entrenched in the hard data of systemic discrimination, or, say, reflected in the misery of another death in incarceration

“She’d be fired in a heartbeat if it were the other way around!” They just want it to be equal, see. Only the Whites are the victims of the woke weaponisation of racism.

The truth is that reversing racism – and imagining if it was the other way around – is the entire game plan of White supremacy. By that, I mean both actual organised White supremacists and White supremacist thought in the minds of the many. To undermine the modern understanding of racism, they mimic its energy and imagine that it is the “other way around”.

“Black pride” was pilfered by George Lincoln Rockwell to make “White pride”, to embellish the naked shock and hate campaigning of his American Nazi Party in the 1950s. “Anti-White” is a neo-Nazi invention from the 2000s, brought about in the phrase “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White” and clearly intended to rob the energy of “anti-Black”. 

“White genocide” is an obvious parroting of the post-WW2 invention of the term genocide, but retooled to fit the neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that White people are being deliberately replaced across the West by a tide of migrants.

The mission to subvert and “reverse” racism doesn’t end rhetorically. Once the language is changed, anti-racist policy is then co-opted by Whites to oppress the very minorities it is intended to protect.

Slackbastard demonstrates a local example:

A White cop in the UK being called a name while on shift hardly seems like news — I’d say it seems more like the healthy functioning of the universe. But this time, after waiting for over a year to act (nursing the wounds of his unearthed intergenerational trauma?), this White cop has charged the name-caller utilising legislation that seeks to address racist abuse in the UK, specifically the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which provides for the prosecution of ‘racially aggravated offences’.

That law was introduced after the Labour Party was voted in with a mandate to take action on racism in the 1990s. There were growing mainstream demands for action after high-profile incidents like the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of White men. Some of the murderers escaped charge altogether; it took decades to prosecute only two of the gang. The police handled the case of his murder in such a way that a later public inquiry found the Metropolitan Police Service to be “institutionally racist”, having conspired to stymie the case and tarnish the victim’s reputation in the press more than to do their actual jobs. In the wake of this, tougher and clearer laws were introduced.

People who ask, “What if it were the other way around?” do not consider that they’ve got precisely what they wanted. A White police officer is frivolously leveraging the very anti-racist legislation that his own force's entrenched institutional racism helped bring about. It's perfectly stupid and ahistorical, and it lets a White cop pantomime as a victim. This ought to be the perfect “way around” for them. It's their White supremacist wet dream.

Of course, Kerr ought to keep her role! The copper was clearly being a sook and misusing anti-racist legislation to bring Kerr down. Football Australia is right in its decision so far to not let one stupid White bastard dictate loyalty to their talent.

Sam Kerr did nothing wrong. It’s nice to see so many people getting the picture.

Tom Tanuki is a writer, satirist and anti-fascist activist. Tom does weekly videos on YouTube commenting on the Australian political fringe. You can follow Tom on Twitter @tom_tanuki.

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