Undeniably, Joe Biden winning the election was more about getting rid of a white supremist and replacing him with someone who might “attempt to restore” some sense of morality. I use the phrase loosely due to the many obstacles the 70 something year-old faces ahead of his presidency. The challenge of restoring a morality that never existed in a country built on human rights violations, with an electoral college voting system that see’s certain states proudly benefiting from slavery. All this mess he has to tend to, that is if the leader of the Proud Boys formally concedes defeat. This is where America finds itself. With unsatisfactory options, caught between a rock and another old white face. This narrow win for Biden showed that the cult of political brainwashing, doused in evangelical racism, is alive and kicking in the US if there was ever any doubt. And although the “angels from Africa” summoned by Paula White did not make their revelatory appearance, they seem to have actually found themselves on diversion, flocking to Great Britain. Apparently working their magic in Downing Street where our own eccentric version of racism is thriving, deeply entrenched in colonial rhetoric and British imperial past-times.
As we enter the last week of Britain’s second lockdown, we find ourselves with a Prime Minister currently self-isolating, the highest Covid death toll in Europe, high unemployment and a double-dip recession, and yet in spite of the very real issues we face, Briton’s biggest concern appears to be whether we can all gather around the table for a piece of dry turkey and our farewell Brussels sprouts. This is what officially guides British legislation. Ruling by decree, and zealously basing all decision-making around nostalgia and a religious holiday that most Brits don’t believe in or can’t afford to. As if by some Christmas magic, Covid will disappear and everything will fall into place just in the nick of time, simply because Boris Johnson believes in Father Christmas. Sadly, this is all to be expected from a man who doubted the reality of Covid and found himself being rolled around in a hospital bed not long after. This is the rocket fuel of Britain. Denial, doubt and confusion, performed by a court jester playing the role of a hapless, dangerous idiot.
When it comes to gaslighting, the British government has mastered the art, which is excellently implemented by the three not-so-wise men- Hancock, Sunak and Johnson. The speciality of denying is biblical when it comes to failures of the elected Conservative party. Britain denies that the catastrophic reality of Brexit, it denies that racism exists on an institutional level, hence it appointed a woman who denies institutional racism is real, it denies that NHS staff and health care workers should receive a pay rise and are essentially martyrs on the frontline, it denies that school children living in poverty require free school meals, it denies that it has made any mistakes in handling this pandemic and it even so farcically denies when it concedes a U-turn. When the British government denies, it affects those hardest hit by the reality of the situation. Covid has disproportionately affected those from Black and Asian backgrounds to which an inquiry found that the reason was racism. The NHS recruits a great number of staff from the EU with at least 56 in every 1000 as of 2019 and with Brexit looming, this could see staff shortages amid a pandemic. In May 2020 it was reported that at the time, 61% of the deceased 200 UK health care workers were from Black and Asian ethnic minority backgrounds and yet nothing has been done to address this. When it came to free school meals which sees Irish Travellers, Bangladeshi and Black student most affected, the government and its supporters unashamedly denied them the right to receive sustenance during a global pandemic. This is a pattern and at some stage one has to connect the dots and stop mislabelling it incompetence and start to accept this is intentional and is part of the fabric of Britain. The poor, Black and Brown people can continue to suffer as long as Etonian’s don’t. If that’s not a continued legacy of slavery and colonialism, then I struggle to see what is.
It’s been said time and time again, Boris Johnson is Britain’s Trump and though we all stare at the US in amusement and despair, our very own Prime Minister is following a blueprint that is steeped in imperial history. This is the same Prime Minister who said colonialism shouldn’t have ended, he mocked Muslim women wearing burqas referring to them as bank robbers, and sickeningly described the Congolese as having watermelon smiles and called black people piccaninnies. These are just the offenses that we know of. All of which occurred prior to him becoming elected as the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
When Biden won the election, moments of joy were shared. The Black and Latina voters who rallied in forgotten communities against voter suppression, threats from white supremist groups and a climate of being disillusioned with the state of their country. They had won. Some felt shocked that so many had voted for Trump, but it was only to be expected. Why would that suddenly change? We know that America is a racist place because they elected a racist president. It is quite literally that simple. Donald Trump is a manifestation of American values from far-right to liberals alike. Black people were still shot and killed under Obama, but I suppose this time it’s nice to have a culprit to absolve liberals from allowing this to happen. The people of America who sat back in their privilege and progressiveness watching the monstrosity unfold. Those who were so comfortable in their privilege that they never stopped to think about others until the optics looked bad. Until the torches came out and a reality star took office. The same thing happened with the Selma to Montgomery marches and now years later with George Floyd. That’s when it mattered because the curtain fell and America became an international shame. Ironically, no longer the world’s police. Similarly, we know that Boris Johnson is Prime Minister because Britain is a racist place. He was knowingly elected despite his despicable views. The same man who during Black Lives Matter protests, dog-whistled to the far-right for them to cause violence under the guise of protecting iron statues. Our very own “stand back and stand by” moment, except Britain’s far-right were given the go-ahead. And just like American progressives, the British have sat there avoiding any conversation to do with the issues, faltering on promises for change and letting those educational books gather dust. The thing is in Britain, we are not being lied to. When the Sainsbury’s advert featuring a Black family was released, outrage poured from Briton’s stating that they wanted a “White” Christmas. Our government and the people of Britain behave so flagrantly in their chronic racism. It is not being disguised; the trouble is people just simply don’t want to see it.
I suppose we can all just sit around, keeping calm and carrying on in a fragile state of mind, living in denial as Britain clears the platform to be right on schedule for a nice little “stop the count” coup. Put up our Christmas trees for more police brutality, for more deaths from Covid, for more poverty and a good pouring of racism. As anti-lockdown protests grow, racial tensions brew, the death toll rises, a Brexit calamity awaits and as denial and confusion festers, we will soon see ourselves picking between a full-blown racism and racism-lite, and that’s if we’re lucky.