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In the closet: covert racism is everywhere + why George Floyd was a patient not a hero

You’ve seen the television reports, the saturated news feeds on social media. Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests have erupted across the nation against racism and police brutality.

Unfortunately, both are prevalent in society, not just in the US but across the world.

In a way though, the most dangerous racists are the ones who hide under the veneer of measured respectability.

So, I ask the question, Who do you know that might be secretly racist? Sadly, the truth is many of us do; though covert racists, like homophobes or anti-Semitics, often hide their true prejudices until alcohol helps to slip those carefully constructed masks down their ugly, ignorant faces.

Take Mel Gibson for instance.

It makes you wonder if you really know anyone at all.

This is why Brexit happened, though, of course, they will never admit it. The racism and xenophobia of some of the Leave contingent is far too subtle to allow that.

This is why misogynist nasty-minded nationalists like Donald Trump were allowed anywhere near high office.

It’s hard to believe that today, 2020, after we have had a black president, we have gay marriages, we have come so far for equality for people who are “different” (their words not mine), that we still have people like this, people with such closed minds, such hardened hearts, yet this is a fact of life.

The people that are complicit are not the barely educated Trump-loving, gun-toting right-wing rednecks but the ones in moderate, decent jobs that many people aspire to. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, business owners, bank managers, actors, the rich and famous. Add in a section of the police and emergency services that are allegedly supposed to be there to help and protect human life and you have a systematic problem inherent in society.

Thankfully, the closet racist that, spurred by nothing more than a Diana Ross gif, sent me vile messages through Facebook Messenger was not a friend but just a short tubby imbecile I met through my sister Stella Pafford and Sandra Kenny, during Gay Pride 2015 in Toronto. 

And then, when challenged tried to backtrack and blame the booze.

Covert racists are cowards. 

You know the type. In fact, I have the screenshot for you.

William Allan-Hardie is his name.

He is the sort of reactionary, barely educated, ineffectual queen that would scream blue murder if someone called him a faggot, but sees nothing wrong in referring to black people as “apes”. Double standards much?

Please feel free to share. Oh, and give the poison dwarf as much shit as it deserves.

As an historically oppressed minority, I take no shit from anyone. I fight fire with fire and have no time for racists, misogynists, homophobes, anti-Semites, or any other unreconstructed illiberal dinosaurs that belong under a rock.

Intolerance and illiberalism must be fought tooth and nail. Never let the bastards win. Anyone has the right to protest, especially if they feel oppressed, unfairly treated, ignored, disenfranchised and discriminated against by the authorities and by society.

I would also like to clarify that, while I deplore and condemn police brutality and anyone having their life cruelly snatched away by the authorities, I have no time for those who have sought to make a hero out of George Floyd either. If the reports are correct, this was a person with multiple drug convictions, prison sentences and a history of violent armed crime.

Does this mean he deserved a death sentence? Of course not. I deplore the state-sponsored murder they term capital punishment as much as I deplore police brutality and racism.

I just ask that we try and not lose perspective. By the time the incomplete video that shocked the world started rolling, Floyd was unarmed and in handcuffs. Yes, to many of us it was shocking that Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd’s neck in the first place, and even more concerning that the officer didn’t remove it when Floyd said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. That should have been the trigger to consider Floyd not a prisoner, but a patient.It’s that last point, that Floyd should have been regarded as a patient, that concerns me. And I’d like to raise the possibility that with the crystal meth found in his system, the previous cocaine abuse and possible mental health issues that usually arise from that, and the testing positive for Coronavirus—however asymptomatic he may have appeared—all contributed to Floyd’s airways being unable to cope compared to a relatively healthy person of similar age.

However, Officer Chauvin’s knee doesn’t come off Floyd’s neck until a minute after they are sufficiently alarmed enough to his pulse, and over three minutes after Floyd first seems to have become unconscious. It goes with our saying that is a disgraceful act with little regard for human life.

Of course, you will then hear the counter-protesters say that if we’re talking empathy, Floyd showed none when he pressed a loaded gun into a pregnant woman’s stomach, and showed none on the day he died when he had been driving under the influence of drugs in a busy city, and was about to again when he was apprehended.

Ugh, what a mess.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Sadly, such is the sink or swim dog eat dog world that the ‘United’ States of America symbolises that, if he was known to police already as seems to be the case, he was regarded as merely a dangerous criminal with drugs and firearms offences and not a person with an illness that was overdue some kind of rehabilitation. A ‘lost cause,” some uncharitable folk might say.

We live in a world where the abused are allowed to become the abusers, where the brutalised are allowed to become the brutal, where the oppressed are allowed to become the oppressors; with next to nothing in the way of care to ensure its kept in check.

That is the most damning indictment of society and humans as a whole. Does that mean it’s the cue for a free for all, and the looting and burning of businesses and properties? Of course not. I experienced that first-hand in the London riots of 2011 and it was fucking scary and upsetting, I don’t mind telling you.

Why are so many people paranoid or embarrassed to admit there is an inbuilt bias in favour of white people?

But am I ashamed to be white? Nope, for a start I’m Heinz 57 mixed heritage with Mediterranean and Native American blood*, but sometimes I sure as hell feel ashamed to be human.

All lives will matter when black lives matter.

Steve Pafford

*For what it’s worth, my Native American ancestry is centred in the state immediately to the south of Minnesota, around Iowa City, just four hours from Minneapolis.

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