No more FED by Water

This blog post is to state my opposition to the recent online actions of London restaurant FED By Water.

Following the death of Rashan Charles during police intervention and a subsequent protest in Dalston, the social media pages of FED By Water engaged in problematic posting and content sharing that worked to perpetuate and promote racism.

You can read a breakdown of the incident with further commentary here thanks to Heather Barrett, but my brief take away from the situation is as follows:

  • FED By Water shared content that described black protesters as animals
  • The FED Twitter account ‘liked’ a tweet that suggested ‘black people should stop killing black people’
  • FED By Water used the term ‘All Life Matters’ to assert their position of concern for animals, therefore diminishing Black Lives Matter

I emailed the owner of the restaurant with the following brief questions:

Do you understand the problem of saying All Lives Matter in response to Black Lives Matter? Do you understand why people think this is a racist response?

(It should be noted that I misquoted the Facebook update in my email to the owner. The status read ‘All Life Matters’ not ‘All Lives Matter’)

I received a response asking if I could come in next week to talk face to face with the owner. I responded that I do not have time to travel to the restaurant and would be happy to discuss my concerns via email. I am yet to hear a response to that request. UPDATE I have received an email to further the discussion and the owner has asked me to keep that private.

I am still prepared to talk the owner and have always maintained an open dialogue with him regarding any concerns I have. However, I feel this situation requires an immediate public statement of position from me as a vegan with a notable platform and as somebody with a menu item named after them on the restaurant menu.

My position:

There is no room or space for the use or promotion of racist language or terminology by vegan businesses and any instance of this behaviour should be challenged, resisted and questioned. I believe that Black Lives Matters is a crucial, grassroots movement working to resist historic and ongoing systemic oppression of black people and I will continue to support the movement and speak up against people inside and outside the vegan community who use actions or language to diminish the movement. This support of the movement includes ongoing questioning of my own behaviour, language and actions.

Until now I have been happy for FED By Water to carry a menu item named after my blog, however I have this morning asked the restaurant to remove my name from the menu. I do not want to be associated with an organisation that posts hurtful and negative content. I also see the request to remove my name as a symbolic gesture to assert my support for black activists and black people more generally. It isn’t a grand action, but I feel it is the very least I can do and it might prompt discussion and consideration from people aware of who I am.

My expectation is that the management of FED By Water will meet with local black activists who have reached out in the hope of explaining why the language used online was harmful. I am available as a vegan activist with a visible platform to lend my support or voice to this situation if requested.

Extra note: It is not my intention to attempt to lead the resolution of this incident, but rather position myself as an ally and state my position. I appreciate that as a white, cis-gendered, non-disabled man I benefit from privilege that in turn oppresses people.

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Written by fatgayvegan

30 Comments
  1. Thanks for this post Sean. I’ve been reading of this issue unfolding and wondering what the temperature was on the ground (seeing as I’m not in the UK at the moment ). It was troubling me a lot.

  2. Corresponding is not an effective way to communicate. It doesn’t provide an easy way to say “Sorry, I didn’t mean that” and so it is easy to make mistakes or get misconstrued and misinterpreted. It’s one of the problems with social media.

    Listening and talking is the best way to communicate and the best way to resolve a conflict, not email. So I hope you and FBW may find a way of talking through your differences by Skype if not face to face.

    • Is this directed at me? It isn’t me and FED By Water in need of clear communication. We are in touch and I’m pretty sure we clearly understand each other. FED need to work through this with community stakeholders of their area, which I am not one. I’m just having my say in order to resist oppressive language. There are more important people for them to sit down with and listen to.

      • If you have more important things to do, then do them please. This post was unnecessary. They are not racists. It is shameful to unfairly accuse someone of such thing. Starting a blogpost with “No more FED by Water” is serious and you might unfairly hurt their business. If you wanted to clarify with them what they meant with their post, you should’ve talked to the owner and then make a more informed statement. This is extremely serious. I am ferociously against racism, but I understood what they meant and I deeply believe they had no bad intention whatsoever. We as vegans speak for the voiceless too. And as human beings we should speak for all humans that are oppressed too. However, when we speak for animals because no-one else does, it doesn’t mean we don’t believe or defend other causes. Meat eaters constantly use that argument against vegans and it’s freaking tiring to see vegans now doing the same to each other. It is sick. And for me No More FGV.

  3. I’m confused. How is ‘All lives matter’ problematic? Also, regrettable black people do kill other black people, so again, this is a factual, not a racist statement. Am I missing something here?

    • All Lives Matter is a statement rooted in racism because it rose up from segments of US society trying to diminish and discount the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement which is a crucial community-led movement to redress and resist systemic violence and oppression (and death) of black people. This need to discount the BLM movement is rooted in colonial, white-centric capitalism that works to oppress black people. A tweet that states that ‘black people kill black people’ is an attempt to assert that black people are predetermined to be violent and is therefore a sentiment rooted in racism.

      • I understand that. But although many people agree with your stance on BLM, many people take issue with it as well, especially because of BLM’s propencity to violence and their advocacy for killing cops and white people. Furthermore, viewing capitalism as white-centric and colonialist is an ideological stance, not a factual statement..which of course is interesting to debate, but it is unrealistic to think that everyone will agree with you and that should be okay.

        Lastly, ‘Animals’ as an expletive has always been used about rioters, regardless of skin colour. I honestly believe FED would use that description regardless of the ethnicity of the protesters.

    • Saying the issue (as this tweet did) is that black people kill black people implies THAT is the problem. It is a complete denial of institution racism (a very real and proven reality, including the head of the UK police admitting institutional racism is a real problem within the police!) So instead of positioning themselves as allies to POC who are being attacked, killed by police, they are saying: YOU are the problem. Does that make sense? No one goes around saying: White people kill white people.

      • I would say it is ‘a’ problem (among many other problems in society today).

        Racism in institutions is crucial to combat, but in order for us to come together to fight it, you have to name the institution, the structure within it and the people who are responsible for a named systematic discriminatory practice. That way a policy can be created to rectify the injustice. Looting and smashing windows don’t do any good.

      • Lilly – to explain why “all lives matter” is problematic, this link might be useful – http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/black-lives-matter-all-lives-matter

        And yes, you are right, black people do kill other black people. But the context in which this statement is usually used, makes it seem as though this is only a problem in the black community when in fact it is interracial: white people kill other white people too.

        Sadly you are of the view that BLM has a propensity to violence because the media is selective and bias in how it chooses to report the work of the movement.

        Lastly, as a vegan business, it was hypocritical to use the term “animals” to describe the protesters.

        I do not condone violence of any kind, but there are tensions that exist in Hackney community due to a number of issues, the only way to resolve and move forward is to encourage everyone to come together – we do not need further division.

        Of course looting and smashing windows does not do any good, but as you can read from this article – http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/07/its-time-police-admit-their-mistakes the police have not learned from their mistakes and more needs to be done. Frustration bubbles up and people feel the only way to respond or effect change is through civil disobedience. I am not an advocate of this, but sadly sometimes that is the only way for authorities to realise that something needs to be done.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/30/riots-anger-rashan-charles-death-london-police

        Fatgayvegan – thank you for your statement of support and understanding. It is hugely appreciated.

  4. I have lived in Dalston in a vegan houseshare for the last12 years and the riot was at the end of our street. It was terrifying, we didn’t dare go there until it was over. A few observations and comments, in the hope that some sort of understanding can be reached eventually.
    Right up front, so there is no doubt, I say Justice For Rash. Let’s make that clear. There are questions to be asked about the conduct of certain police officers and institutionalised racism. However I do not believe smashing up a vegan restaurant, and other local businesses, and then trying to justify that afterwards using a tweet by the owner AFTER the event, is helpful.
    1. In all these attacks on Fed by Water, I haven’t seen anyone condemn the smashing of their windows. Rather it has been brushed aide as “they care more about their windows than….” rather than acknowledging that this was criminal damage, and staff and customers were hiding in the kitchen. In 2011, and perhaps now if the police hadn’t been around, the restaurant might have been burned to the ground. At what point does criminal damage become unacceptable rather than a “protest” or legitimate expression of anger? How is the criminal damage reasonable, but being angry about it and the perhaps one or two people who committed it and expressing that anger or sadness, not acceptable?
    2. A lot of the anger seems to be about “gentrifcation” of Dalston or London in general. Dalston now has a new overground station linking it directly to south London and indirectly to everywhere, bringing lots of people and money into the area’s restaurants and clubs. Also a beautiful brand new library that I use. Yes FBW is a “nice” vegan restaurant in a shopping centre close to McDonalds, Holland & Barrett, Iceland and pound shops. So what? My area has been crying out for somewhere that vegans can actually eat out instead of having to travel elsewhere. London Drooling Vegans have been going there for years and loving it. If you want cheap vegan food, there is Andu Cafe a few minutes walk away. With Mildreds opening soon in Dalston, it is going to become a veg/vegan hotspot, just like Shoreditch down the road. FBW were the trailblazers, the first to open a vegan restaurant here, creating lots of vegan jobs.
    2. The PROTEST was in Stoke Newington outside the police station in the afternoon. It was calm and dignified with amazing speeches by the organiser, Shadow Home Secretary and local MP Diane Abbott, and a representative of the family. The family appealed for calm. The rioting was against the wishes of the family of Rash.
    3. The RIOT happened that night down the road in Dalston, where I happen to live. It was NOT caused by the police at the original protest, as some imply, they were nowhere near it when it started, and responded to the blocking of the main road, criminal damage and intimidation. Buses could not get past the blockade. It was perfectly reasonable for the police to clear the road, put out the fires, and stop further businesses being trashed. No one was injured. And the riot made its point, there was national and international coverage and the issues behind it got a good airing. I acknowledge that it can take a riot to get media coverage, but that still doesn’t justify smashing up a vegan restaurant and saying that’s ok.
    4. Fed by Water at no point posted #alllivesmatter, as many are implying, which, if you look it up, does of course slur #blacklivesmatter. They reposted a statement containing the phrase “All life matters”, which is a perfectly reasonable thing for a vegan business to say. Don’t twist words. Stick to the facts.
    5. A good rule for online discussion is “slow opinion”, don’t rush to respond based on emotion, and always always only say things that you would say if the person were in front of you
    6. Fabio has offered a meeting with FGV. As two dynamic leaders in the London vegan movement, it would be great if you guys talked it through, if necessary with mediation. You have far more that unites you than separates you. Sean, if anyone has the skills to get someone to see another point of view, it’s you!
    6. When people are angry, it’s easy to dump that anger on a “safe” target, rather than where it belongs. If people are angry about loads of middle class vegans and others moving into their area, or just coming there at night to spend lots of money, ok, express that, but that doesn’t justify trying to vandalise and intimidate them out of the area. If people are angry about shocking police violence, express that, and support the Shadow Home Secretary in ensuring it doesn’t get swept under the carpet again, and direct peaceful protest and support towards the community leaders and ultimate decision makers who will finally sort it out.
    And please, don’t now get angry with me or start calling me a racist or say that I don’t care because I don’t say black lives matter in every sentence. Of course black lives matter, and police out of control matters, no one is disputing that. But as someone else said, there are other things that matter too, maybe not as much, but if you’re in a restaurant and someone has just smashed your windows in and there are 80 masked people outside trashing your manor and you remember that last time this happened in Hackney and Tottenham it was followed by looting and buildings being burned down, you are legimitaely terrified, I think it is reasonable to then say online that you are upset about what is happening to you. “That’s how conversations work.”
    Have the conversations. Say “When you say…. I feel …. and that could be interpreted as appearing …..” but please don’t label and condemn people WITHOUT EVEN TALKING FACE TO FACE FIRST. We’re all in this together, and talking is better than stoking a civil war.
    Best wishes to FGV and everyone for all you do and not being afraid to take on the “difficult” issues.

    • Alex,

      In response to your 4th point, FBW themselves acknowledge that they used the term “all life matters” in their Facebook post, 30th July at 10:17. They explain in some detail why they used the phrase.

  5. I think you’ve summed up the issue really well. Obviously no-one is better placed to help FED understand the offence caused than local black activists.

    I’m skeptical, though, that Heather Barrett provides a full and accurate picture.

    According to the Guardian and Standard report, the protesters smashed several shop windows, amongst other damage. This was against the wishes of Rashan Charles’ grieving family, who had appealed for calm.
    * https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/rashan-charles-activists-labelled-animals-a3599996.html
    * https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/28/demonstrators-dalston-london-protest-death-rashan-charles

    According to FED’s account, the window was broken when customers were reportedly inside. I haven’t seen pictures so I don’t know how dramatic it actually was (accounts vary from “smashed windows” to “a crack”), but it’s fair to say that mere property damage can be scary when you’re on the other side of the glass. (The counterpoint is, of course, to imagine how scary it would be to feel the whole machinery of the criminal justice system is prejudiced against you.)

    Heather Barrett also blames the police for this particular protest being violent, which is quite different to coverage in even The Guardian.

    It doesn’t change the what FED shared and said, but it’s context.

    I thought the mention of “animals” by Ben K, in that context, seemed to be to the people who broke the window (and perhaps extended to others engaged in property violence that night – reportedly an ethnically mixed group). I found it a rather confusing comment as well as an appalling choice of word, and fully understand why many read that as “black protesters”. There’s obviously an opportunity for Ben K to learn more about how to steer clear of language that might promote racism (and the use of “animals” as a metaphor in general) but to be scrupulously fair, there’s more than one way to read it.

    On the other hand, the full context for the tweets will not endear FED to people concerned about deaths of young black men in police custody.

    There were two “liked” tweets that were political and later unliked. Heather Barrett mention the one that began with the comment about black-on-black murder. The tweet also claimed Rashan Charles had killed himself by “swallowing his stash” – something I’ve seen repeated as fact many times and we now know to be entirely false.

    FED also liked a comment exonerating the police (“the police services have done nothing wrong”). There’s no inflammatory language, but taken together they imply clear opposition to the “Justice for Rash” movement as a whole.

    I haven’t talked about young black men dying in custody, or racism in general. That’s not because I think they matter less than the things I’ve mentioned; I just don’t have any information to contribute.

  6. Your positioning in actually saying something about this matter is very commendable, I am greatly touched just by your understanding of how such insensitive comments hurt others. Your last words really help spreading the notion of privilege that most are not aware they hold.

  7. Thank you so much for this article. Judging by all of the pro-FED comments, it’s clear that a lot of the vegan community has a lot of learning and soul searching to do. You would think that, having given up old beliefs in terms of speciesism, they would be more willing to question their own learned beliefs on other social issues.

    It seems many so-called compassionate people will still dig their heels in and deny societal racism just as they probably did for years in their omnivore days in regards to eating animals. This may come from a place of innocence/ignorance but this is no excuse when there is so much access to information/education now.

    When People of Colour are clearly saying they are suffering as a result of a society which is predominantly set up in favour of white people, please listen. Instead of just being a voice for the voiceless in terms of animals, please lend an ear, show some understanding and support to those who can clearly tell you how they are suffering and that your views and comments can have a positive or negative impact on this.

    • You say the vegan community has a lot of soul searching to do judging by the comments here. I assume you are referring to my comments in particular.

      But you see, Victoria, YOU don’t have monopoly on truth. I know you like to think you do (because it feels good to be right), but in a society based reason and rationality, an argument has to be based on evidence, not feelings, i.e. YOU have to PROVE your case. And if you are unabe to do so, YOU are wrong, not us.

      Everytime you make a claim you have to be prepared to back it up with evidence. I am, but I don’t think you are, because you seem to be more concerned with how peope feel, than what is the actual, objective truth. That’s the ONLY problem here.

  8. Katrina I read the article you linked, and quite frankly, it’s a poor article…because the premise for the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ is already weak. Accusations of policy brutality, systemic racism etc etc. have no basis in reality when you look at the hard data (which is what counts, not anecdotes). The most common argument is that cops target black people because more black people per capita are arrested than the rest of the population groups. This is because, regrettably, there is much more crime in certain areas which are predominantly black (eg. in Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago). And the police are called to these areas much more frequently. And in these areas, it is predmoninantly black people that kill other black people. If BLM actually believed their own slogan, they would focus their efforts on black on black crime.

    Of course there is white-on-white crime too, but per capita it is much, much lower.

    And no, I’m not of the opinion that BLM is advocating violence ‘because of media’. I have that opinion because they ARE violent. The leaders advocate violence on twitter and facebook and through their slogans and chants (‘Pigs in a blanket, fry like bacon, ‘Kill whitey’) is recorded many times and is available online for everyone to see.

    The use of ‘animals’ as an expletive, I’ve already explained. It is part of the English vernacular and has nothing to do with veganism in this context.

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘we do not need further division’. Should we pretend that people don’t have diverging opinions on what constitutes a ‘good society’? Should we not debate these issues? If anyone is creating divisions, it’s those who commit violent acts and those who defend it, because they are subverting the democratic system where disagreements are resolved through reasoned debate and peaceful conflict resolution.

    Lastly, I agree that the police should be held up to scrutiny, however in Dalston, the police did nothing wrong, nor did they break the law. Chasing a suspect who chooses to swallow drugs, and subsequently chokes on them is not the police’s fault. They tried to save him, but unfortunately were unsuccessful. Regrettably a man died, but the police are not to blame here.

    • So much of what you say here, Lily, is based on inaccurate information and data but focusing on just one thing, he didn’t swallow drugs. That’s what the police reported and you might ask why they did that? https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/02/item-in-rashan-charless-throat-did-not-contain-controlled-substance

      • How does that change the conclusion of my argument, though? They tried to remove an object from his throat, they didn’t push it down his throat. Unless you have evidence to the contrary.

        What else that I say is ‘based on inaccurate information and data’, Charlie?

    • Two things – 1. Police policy when confronted by someone appearing to swallow something is to arrest them with minimal force and take them to hospital not to use so much force for so long that they die; and 2. I don’t know where to start with the claim that “Accusations of policy brutality, systemic racism etc etc. have no basis in reality when you look at the hard data” without an entire module of information on institutional racism in multiple countries but try this – https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/05/met-chief-admits-institutional-racism-claims-have-some-justification – and this – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/09/police-killings-dallas-shooting-racism-american-history – for the smallest taster.
      And for some more info on the problem some vegans have with racism see this – https://mediadiversified.org/2015/12/16/veganism-has-a-serious-race-problem/ – rather than being defensive we all have a responsibility to prevent and call this out when we see it –
      https://mediadiversified.org/2015/12/16/veganism-has-a-serious-race-problem/

      • You say ‘Police policy when confronted by someone appearing to swallow something is to arrest them with minimal force’ But how do you know that’s not what happened? And then you say ‘and take them to hospital not to use so much force for so long that they die.’ But you have no idea about the details of the situation. And he was taken to hospital. This was most likely an extremely unfortunate event and certainly not one where police wanted the suspect to die (that would be a very serious accusation).

        You link to a Guardian article presenting the opinion of a senior police officer, but without any data (statistics, surveys, investigations) to back it up. But most likely he is right, for the same reason police come into contact with more black people than white (per capita) in the US, simply because there is, regrettably, more crime in black areas than white. If you ever lived in Peckham or Barking, like I have, you would experience this first hand.

        The Alton Sterling case is well known. He was brandishing a gun (without licence to carry) and when police came to arrest him, he resisted and grabbed his own gun. In the US, the police have a right to shoot (to kill) if such a situtation is life-threatening. Which of course it is, if the arrestee is reaching for his gun. Again, very sad, but the police are not in the wrong here.

        And yes, there are racists on the internet, surprise, surprise. Some white vegans are racist, som black people are racist, and most people are speciesist. Again, anecdotes are not really relevant. If you claim veganism has a problem with race (or something along those lines), you must provide statistics that show trends and beliefs among vegans proving racism. So far, you have not.

    • Lily, I vehemently disagree with your comments regarding “hard data”. How can systemic racism not have any relevance? Why do you think it is that black people are arrested per capita more than the rest of population groups? What do you know about slavery and the profound effect that the abolition of slavery has had in America? What do you know about segregation in America? What do you know about Jim Crow laws? Where does this all stem from? Why are Detroit, Baltimore and Chicago predominately black populated areas? Please try to educate yourself on these matters because your naivety is offensive. Please just google “Jim Crow laws” – these laws were still in force until 1965!

      When you say that you don’t judge people by the colour of their skin it means you are choosing to ignore certain hardships that some races have endured, that other races have not had to (most likely subconsciously choosing to ignore). Yes in an ideal world we would all not want to judge people by the colour of their skin, but history tells us that is not possible. We can’t be colour blind.

      Like I said, I do not condone violence and I would never support violence, but I can understand why some people feel they have no choice other than to resort to violence. Again, I don’t agree with it, but I can understand.

      Regarding Rashan Charles, you say the police did nothing wrong. I can only assume that you haven’t seen the extended video footage. Excessive police force was used. If somebody has an item in their mouth and the full weight of a person on top of them for a length of time, harm (choking) is likely to happen.

  9. Lily – Except, he didn’t swallow drugs. The police are let off time and time again for crimes against black people, even murder. When a black kid could go to prison for years for having a small amount of weed on them/planted on them, a cop can go on paid leave for murdering someone without just cause.

    Rather than condemning what you believe to be violent slogans etc, why not try and learn where this anger has stemmed from? Just like the stonewall riots came from a place of anger, from a place of LGBT (especially trans people of colour) having had enough of police brutality, the negative views a lot of the black community and other minorities have towards white people and the police stems from somewhere. The stonewall riots are now celebrated every year at Pride marches, they’re how they came about. Many things in the past have been seen as ‘violent’ in such issues as race, feminism and LGBT etc and they all made an impact on how we see the world today. Ideally, things wouldn’t have to get to a place where anger or violence are seen as solutions, but lots of people see there is no other choice and are acting from a place of desperation when other calmer methods have not been effective. It may be all good and well for someone who isn’t experiencing a certain oppression to say that those who are, are being unreasonable to react with anger, but they are looking at it from a safe theoretical perspective. They’re not the ones who are suffering or having friends and family go to prison or even die as a result of those in power both in the police/justice system and wider society as a whole.

    I would urge you to read articles and speak to people of colour regarding this issue as they are in the best place to put their views across. I am ashamed to admit that I too once held your beliefs. I listened to the media and let them affect my views. Having now spoken to many people of colour, especially those who live in monetarily poorer areas, I realize I was being ignorant, just as I was being with my long held beliefs on eating animals. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the things so many of them go through on a daily basis and I felt like a turd for having unfairly judged these people from a place of great privilege. As with anything, it’s always good to question your beliefs. Maybe try to argue from the other side to see if your views change in any way. As vegans, I believe we are capable of questioning and challenging our views more so than the average person. Always be open to the idea that you’re not thinking or acting from a place of knowledge and compassion.

    • Victoria – If you think the police actually killed Rashan, you need to provide evidence, otherwise you are just making baseless accusations. No one is saying bad cops do not exist, of course they do, but isolated incidents is something completely different than structural and systemic discrimination and mistreatment.

      You say ‘Rather than condemning what you believe to be violent slogans etc, why not try and learn where this anger has stemmed from?’ I do not believe them to be violent slogans…they ARE violent slogans, If you say ‘kill whitey’ and ‘fry ’em like bacon’, then you ARE violent with violent slogans. The fact that you defend them, I presume, just because BLM are (mostly) black is, in fact, racist.

      It is very unfortunate when people die at the hands of the police, but unlike you I judge people not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. People who who attack cops, pull guns on cops, resist arrest etc get a violent reaction, not because they are black/minority etc, but because they resist arrest. Instances of police brutality against people who comply with instructions are few and far between. BLM’s anger is completely misplaced, which is why they have so little support among most people.

      You say ‘I would urge you to read articles and speak to people of colour regarding this issue as they are in the best place to put their views across.’ Well, I am happy to inform you that I do that all the time. I live in a mostly black neighbourhood in Peckham. My partner is black, most of my friends are black and we all agree: We want more police on the streets to protect and prevent (especially) black kids from being co-opted by gangs and targeted in knife fights.

      The fact that you think my beliefs are something to be ashamed of is, frankly, quite rude. I am not prejudiced and my opinions are informed by hard data, not anecdotes.

      You say ‘I couldn’t even begin to imagine the things so many of them go through on a daily basis and I felt like a turd for having unfairly judged these people from a place of great privilege’. If you judged ‘these people’ (sounds like you’re talking about a different species or something), then that’s your problem. And yeah, I’d too be ashamed if I judged people by their appearance and not their character.

  10. Nice work on articulating this. There are some backwards, racist pedants in your readership though.

    • Who are you referring to and on what basis, Juggo?

  11. Katrina – I would encourage you to read hard data, instead of documentaries with an agenda. Saw the trailer to 13th almost a year ago. Didn’t catch our interest. Why would it, Katrina?

    • Hi Lilly – I do read hard data. What is important is how the hard data is presented and reported. It’s important to understand the methodological quality and criteria from which the hard data was extracted from. For example, back in the 80s and 90s when football hooliganism was rife – the media didn’t report this as white on white crime and it was never referred to as white on white crime. What about the fact that in the early 2000s Scotland had the highest murder rate in Europe? Again white on white crime, but again, not reported that way. There was no white equivalent of “operation trident” set up. Let’s go back even further, how and by whom did America as we know it today come into existence? Wasn’t it by civil unrest and disobedience? History teaches us about nations that were conquered and divided by violence. My issue is that humans have always protested, engaged in civil disobedience and often used violence to effect change. My point is that whenever black people engage in criminal activity is often made into a race issue when it doesn’t need to be.

      It’s a shame that 13th didn’t catch your interest. I pride myself on being very open minded. You mentioned that 13th had an agenda, hasn’t it occurred to you that perhaps the media is pushing an agenda too?

      Tim Wise, an american activist and writer spoke about this briefly on, RT America:

      • Katrina, you say that ‘It’s important to understand the methodological quality and criteria from which the hard data was extracted from.’ I agree 100%. Those of us who are concerned with the rate of violence in black communities typically refer to the FBI statistics (here: http://tinyurl.com/glugbys). What part of their methodology do you take issue with?

        You go on to say question why Scotland and UK do not describe white-on-white crime as exactly that. Well, that has a perfectly good explanation, Scotland has a 96% white population, UK, 87% (and it was even higher during the 80s), so the default assumption is that both perpetrator and victim are white (you know, just like crimes in Mosambique are not described as black-on-black). However, when the crimes per capita are disproportionally different between population groups, then ‘black-on-black crime’ is used to describe a trend, a social problem that we need to deal with. In multicultural USA, this trend is glaringly obvious, because the crime rates in black communities are extremely high.

        Furthermore you compare the US struggle for independence with rioters. This is a false equivalence. Statistics show that the police do not target black people based on their skin colour. Almost everytime there is uproar, it turns out the use of violence was justified (like with Alton Sterling).

        Lastly you say that ‘whenever black people engage in criminal activity is often made into a race issue when it doesn’t need to be.’ But it is YOUR side that make it into a race issue. I looked at the Dalston riots and saw violent protesters. You only see their skin colour. I see Rashan Charles for what he was, a drug dealer that fled the police, but again you see him only as a black man. Not only that, you ascribe him and other black people certain qualities and backstories (it seems) based on their skin colour, whereas I see everyone as individuals. Btw stating that black-on-black crime is a problem, especially in the US, is not racist. It is a fact. And it IS a huge problem.

        I agree the media is pushing an agenda. They push identity politics and regard (like you do) black people (or ‘these people’ that you like to call them) as a monolith that all think the same and have similar experiences. Luckily, a good portion of us see black people as unique individuals who are as different as everyone else. And we judge people by the content of their character, not their skin colour.

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