Say No to Racism- And Divisive Politics on It | By Vikrant Sharma

Say No to Racism- And Divisive Politics on It

By Vikrant Sharma

Founder-Editor, The Global Telescope

There’s a general tendency in our society to term every divisive issue into a matter of the political left or the political right. This is, of course, accentuated in the modern world by the echo chambers that we inhabit on social media. If I follow a few left-leaning political writers, I will be recommended posts that describe how Brexit is going to cause a meteorite crash that will kill humans quicker than dinosaurs. If I follow a few right-leaning journalists, social media algorithms will push on me posts that claim socialists are planning to take over the world with a spear in one hand and a copy of Marx in the other. All of this is, of course, a load of biased bollocks. More often than not, however, I will believe what I am shown.

Racism is not a new thing. It has existed in many different forms for centuries. From the depiction of Native Americans as savages and the brutal discrimination meted out to them, to the slave trade that filled the coffers of colonisers, to the signs that proclaimed only white people allowed in a public space, to the New York Times cartoon that depicted India as a poor farmer entering an elite club- racism never left our world. It didn’t even hide in the shadows. For lots of individuals around the world, racism continues to be a daily occurrence in the workplace, in the streets, and virtually everywhere around them.

So, when the world saw the video of George Floyd, there was a stunned silence. Suddenly, a spotlight had been shone on racism. No sane human could have watched that video without being stunned into a distinct silence. A silence that is ashamed. A silence that is revolted. A silence that screams desperation at the state of our world.

The protests were a direct result of that video. It was a breaking point. Was there violence and vandalism? Yes. That is an undeniable fact. Was the violence minimal and restricted to certain areas? Yes. Was it peaceful around the world? Yes. Was it a protest full of diversity and a hope for the future? Yes. It highlighted why the practice of taking a knee during the beginning of sporting events had started- to protest against the institutionalised racism that continues to claim many lives like George Floyd’s. 

What followed, unfortunately, was the divisive politicisation of the fight against racism. Perpetuated in a huge part by then US President Donald Trump, parts of the right sought to demonise a peaceful movement for change. This followed a pattern. The election of Donald Trump to power in the US in 2016 and the Brexit vote in 2016 have been seen as a natural reaction of the people in the US and UK respectively to the traditional politics of the preceding two decades that embraced globalisation and internationalism. Trump and Brexit happened on a platform of protectionism and populism, on a battle cry against the globalisation that had been embraced by the likes of Clinton, Obama, Blair and Cameron. The right made a villain of the movement that sought to bring greater equality in order to have something they could rally against. Fox News got a topic against which conversative writers could go on a tirade. Trump got an ‘enemy’ that he could try to rally supporters against for his electoral gains. And thus started the divisive cultural war on race in 2020. 

To a lesser extent than the US, this has translated to the UK. The Conservative Home Secretary Priti Patel called taking the knee at the Euros ‘gesture politics’ by the English football team. Boris Johnson too initially refused to condemn the English fans who booed the players when they took a knee as a peaceful act of protest against racism. In light of England’s defeat at the Euros final this Sunday, Black football players in the team received a tirade of disgustingly racist abuse on social media. Today, Johnson claimed he had always been against racism directed against players.

Make no mistake, race is very political. The entire concept of racism is based on the power relations between different races, and thus race is naturally a political issue. But it doesn’t have to be divisive. Mainstream politics has come to accept certain things over the years. Regardless of your political affiliation, the bare basics that need to be expected of everyone, especially politicians, is that racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia, are not acceptable. These are not issues over which culture wars need to be fought. These are issues which every decent human being can empathise with. But politicians and media houses will not stop trying to flame the fires of these culture wars within the public. Why? Simply because it is profitable to do so. This is 2021. It is time that we told those who think racism is a matter of opinion that it really isn’t. It is time we demand better from those who represent us in the Parliaments and the media houses. 

Until that happens, I will continue to be vocal on this. Because while I am neither, I would much rather be called a Marxist than a racist. 

Author Clarification Post Publication: The author does not refer in this article to any single organisation or group. It merely refers, and shows support to, a broad movement for greater equality for all races, rather than any one particular organisation.

Photo by 
James Eades on Unsplash


Author: The force behind the blog, Vikrant Sharma is the Founder-Editor of The Global Telescope. A student of law, he is deeply passionate about history, political science, public international law, international relations, and diplomacy.


All views presented in the article belong solely to the writer. The editor does not support or condemn the views, and neither does The Global Telescope. The Global Telescope remains impartial and promotes every individual's right to freedom of speech and expression while not holding any responsibility for the views presented whatsoever.


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