MP David Vance was just the cherry on top.
Friday SEPTEMBER 11TH 2020
If you googled Grime rapper Wiley’s name a month ago, you would’ve been inundated with articles across mainstream media speaking on an anti-semetic Twitter rant he went on. He was almost instantly taken off the platform, along with TikTok and YouTube.
Today, google David Vance. The MP who tweeted Footballer Marcus Rashford, an undeniably racist tweet in response to Rashford’s efforts in generating funding to feed underprivileged children within the UK. You will find little articles about this picked up by the main news outlets. He was banned by Twitter though, once popular content creator, Sideman Daily went viral calling out his racist tweet. However, it seems being banned from Twitter is becoming a right wing badge of honour these days.
Now google Katie Hopkins. the Ex Apprentice contestant turned viral bully was removed from Twitter back in June. However, she was on the social media platform for years sharing content that was offensive, hurtful and damaging to several groups of society - not to right wing white people of course. She is even still on Instagram where she is now in the US, doing talks and pretty much rallying for Trump.
Oh and let's not forget Alan Sugar. Sugar called out Wiley’s tweets as offensive and supported the social media boycott of Wiley, yet Alan Sugar’s own racist tweets about the Senegal football team were never addressed by Twitter.
OK, but what’s the point?
What Wiley said was categorically wrong and offensive and that is not ok. But, too often White public figures get given passes for their racist, bigoted rhetorics and the world just keeps turning.
For example, let’s compare the BBC’s treatment of Reggie Yates and Jeremy Clarkson.
In 2017, Yates was forced to step down from Top of the Pops on the BBC for causing outrage by referring to a manager in the music industry as a “fat jewish guy” on his podcast. Simple enough.
But what about Jeremy Clarkson?
The Top Gear TV host has a history of using horrendous language which you can read more about here, most notably being caught using the N Word. But none of that was the reason he was eventually suspended from the popular car show. That was because he apparently got into a “fracas” with a BBC producer…
The problem is that here in the UK we have a racist underbelly that no one wants to address and that often means that many of these “personalities” get away with a slap on the wrist. However, those who are not white are held to a different standard. The mainstream media and it’s institutions, wants all the culture, arts and ideas that other races bring to the table, but one foot wrong, one step out of your carefully confined box that fits within our white norms and you’re out the door.
And a lot of this comes down to the predominantly white British audience. Take the recent Diversity saga. The dance group used their platform on Britains Got Talent to address the issues we are currently facing with race relations. Makes sense right? The audience is predominantly white, the problem lies there, so let’s use art as a way to educate and bring attention to this important issue and hopefully spark a healthy dialogue for change. Well that’s not quite how it went down. The dance they performed received 15,000 complaints to Ofcom, one of the highest number of complaints the governing body has ever received.
So, what do we do now?
Well, we can keep screaming, tweeting and shouting every time one of these personalities uses their platform offensively and isn’t held accountable. It worked with David Vance and it eventually came to fruition with Katie Hopkins. But ultimately, they will always find a space for them to “speak their mind”. With both Hopkins and Vance now on the right wing social network Parler.
Perhaps we actually take a leaf out of their book. Let’s stop giving our time and money to the mainstream organisations that perpetuate this rhetoric, and instead invest in spaces and people that promote an inclusive dialogue and education and in turn grow our communities that can create the change we need!