Is black empowerment racist?

As some of you may know, we recently started promoting our first ever debate, which will be taking place on 2nd November (find out more here) aah! My team and I fervently shared the details with all our contacts and spread the news over social media, as you do, and whilst 99.9% of feedback was nothing but positivity there was one comment, or shall I say rant, that really stood out to me.

“Seems to be a lot of hatred for white people. It’s good enough for ethnic minorities to come to their countries and enjoy the benefits of white society, yet at the same time look for any excuse to run whites down and hate on them as if they’re the only ethnicity that ever harmed another.”

This is just a small snippet of what was said but as I write this I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. First and foremost, #IssaMovement is not a platform run by people that harbour hate for any other ethnic group, whether white, black or green. This platform was created to simply uplift black people by showcasing how amazing we are as individuals and as a community. It was set up to encourage black people to do better and be better because there is still so much more to be unlocked. It was set up to inspire current and future generations of black people when the society we live in refuses to portray black people as nothing but criminals and bums. So, if you’re offended by this in anyway then that’s very unfortunate for you because we don’t plan on stopping.

The second thing I’d like to address is the irony of “it’s good enough for ethnic minorities to come to [white people’s] countries and enjoy the benefits of white society”. *Sigh* I don’t feel the need to give an in-depth history lesson here but if this is your belief, regardless of your ethnicity, perhaps you need to open a history book or two and read up on colonialism as well as slavery. The definition of colonialism is “the policy or practice of “acquiring” full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers and EXPLOITING it economically” (emphasis added). I can tell you now the people that colonised were not ethnic minorities heading to white countries.

I think the main thing that really triggered the rant we received was the debate topic ‘Do I need to “act white” to be successful in the UK?’. Once again, I’d like to reiterate that this isn’t hatred for white people, in fact it’s got nothing to do with white people. This topic focuses on the behaviour of black people and how many feel the need to assimilate at work (or elsewhere) to excel. The term “acting white” was created by the black community to describe a black person who supposedly doesn’t act how “most” black people do. I’m not going to delve too deeply into this but you can read more about this topic in my post ‘I’m Unashamedly Black’ and you can come to the debate to share your views and opinions :D.

“But you’ve not answered the question, Paula” I here you say, “Is black empowerment racist?”.

To conclude, no. I feel like saying black empowerment is racist would be like saying feminism is sexist. When in reality, all we’re trying to do is uplift and empower a group of people that are often misrepresented in media, which then creates stereotypes that transcend into the real world. We’re trying to inspire people that don’t often see role models that look like them and encourage a group of constantly underrepresented people to strive for more because we know there’s more we can achieve. So, if you agree with me great and if you don’t that’s a shame but we at #IssaMovement are going to keep on pushing forward and we want you to be part of it so #JoinTheMovement.

Paula M

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