The Drop: The Best UK Drill of May 2020

The Drop is put on pause for this month as Ethan Herlock writes about an important moment in history.
By    June 8, 2020

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Ethan Herlock has no love for your District Attorney.

I actually wrote the majority of this month’s column just before the death of George Floyd, a black man violently killed by police in Minnesota. This sparked yet another urgent conversation and subsequent action concerning the oppression of Black people, not just through police brutality but the intricate multitude of ways Black people in America are oppressed, murdered, incarcerated, fetishised, commodified and then spat out by the mouths of these institutions and its enablers. 

I show full solidarity with the protests in America doing the right thing and standing against the bullshit that continues to plague the country since its very inception (except for the white ppl destroying shit with no discernible goal in mind but to live out their Dystopian fantasy after watching Todd Phillips’ Joker once, go home.) I was majorly inspired by Mano’s The Rap Up that included funds to donate to, critical race theory to read and ways you can assist the protestors in the US enduring a revolutionary and life-changing time. So The Drop is delayed because there are more important things at stake here.

By the way, this isn’t an *American* issue and just as racism is as American as cherry pie, it’s as British as Fish and Chips, footy, performative gestures of solidarity, tea, Winston Churchill, and, um yeah, the British Empire. Britain of course, suffers serious cognitive dissonance as they continue to pat themselves on the back, or rather what they choose blatant racism, “covert racism” as if any form of racism should be tolerated and even celebrated. 

But this is what we call “covert” racism: The British Empire, our involvement in the Atlantic Slave Trade, the Windrush scandal, the 1985 riots, Black women being more five times more likely to die during complications in childbirth, Grenfell Tower, Kelso Cochrane, Stephen Lawrence and the MacPherson report, Mark Duggan and the 2011 riots, BAMEs dying at disproportionate rates to COVID-19 complications, Sarah Reed. And more recently, the gross incompetence in dealing with the blatant assault of Belly Mujinga, a TfL worker who was spat on by a passenger claiming to be COVID-19 positive and died shortly from COVID-19 related complications. 

There comes a point (which is definitely now) where the country needs to realise what we call covert racism, is flat-out hatred at an interpersonal and structural level and to eradicate this, we need a system of learning and unlearning – reckoning with Britain’s relationship with racism and coming to terms with its rotten-apple core history and unlearning those privileges that continue to oil the wheels of systemic racism. One of the main reasons is because like mine and many of our sites of knowledge (schools, The Media etc) often indoctrinate us with flimsy projections of Great Britannia – mushrooming our habit of looking at our country’s past with rose-tinted, Union Jack-painted spectacles –  as a result, we immediately hit animpasse when we attempt to have these uncomfortable conversations.

There are so many factors and examples of how deep racism is encroached within British society, to the point where we’re having to risk our lives protesting because Britain has convinced ourselves we live in some post-racism, inclusive fantasy that’s also simultaneously rife with Reverse Racism™ and people of colour playing the Race Card. 

So if you’re in the UK and not high risk or living with someone who immunocompromised. I implore you to go to a protest (while obeying social distancing measures), support your local protestors. Donate to this organisation that splits your donation for multiple community bail funds. Donate to the UKBLM Fund. Tell your white/non-black friends who are keeping quiet to speak up and the ones planning to archive their #blackouttuesday black tile by the end of the day to speak up with sincerity. 

BLM Protests in the UK (as far as I’m aware of):

If you attend a protest, wear protective masks, bring food + water, wear non-identifiable clothing, put your phone on airplane mode/data turned off, download the yStop App, and download a bustcard if you have an interaction with a police officer. Here’s a Twitter thread of British lawyers doing pro bono representation for BLM protestors.

Recommended Books/Essays/Films/Music to check out:

Kehnide Andrews, The Psychosis of Whiteness.

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.

Paul Gilroy, There Ain’t No Black In The Union Jack. 

Audre Lorde, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.

John Akomfrah, Handsworth Songs (film).

Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uvibinené, Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible.

SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, edited by Derek Owusu.

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