Part I - My #MeToo "Hipster Racism" Experience - Yasmin Choudhury
(Credit goes to Zinzi Clemmons bravery, as without her take down of Lena Dunham, unsure I could have written this).
I need to share my own experience of "Hipster Racism". Because y'alll - it really is a thing.
This "Hipster" labels also manifests across other societal ills, all good people hate to see flourish.
I have often been told to keep quiet on controversial topics.
'Who will invest in you?"
"Who will give you a job"
"Nobody wants to touch anyone who talks up"
"Ssh stay silent".
Worst of all....?
"Don't be that woman - as she does not always get that job."
They are right. I don't.
Whenever I want to talk about my own experience of domestic violence or problems within my own Muslim community, I hear these same warnings.
So I often take to social media and talk there. Today, I chose my blog as I cannot do this in 280 characters.
Now this maybe the most dangerous post I have written. Calling out race is so divisive - we WOC get more support if we call out bad men. But my post shares thoughts and examples I am reminded of, how in my own life, I myself, have experienced and witnessed "Hipster Racism."
Like Zinzi - I may have to take a hit to my pocket for writing this, as currently in between jobs as a start up entrepreneur - but never mind. When you have nothing to lose you have everything to gain.
Anyone who has ever followed me on Twitter will know, I often share my own personal story of how after reporting of the battles as a lone woman, to contain my own backward community and cultural Hipster Modern British Bangladeshi "Muslim" family - I have paid a hefty price.
But that is another story for another day. As I am not here to talk about "Hipster Misogyny"..(!)
Add the fact as a Muslim, this week has seen huge debate in UK (Ofsted & Hijab and British Muslim Marriages), it might explain why I am struggling. These topics are currently exploding or about to explode in the British Twittersphere. As neither have nuanced debate. Even on the latter, where I am part of the campaign team.
But I just cannot take yet another week in my own life and on the Internet of seeing evidence how we, are remaining prejudiced, voiceless, stigmatised, overlooked, silenced and spoken for. By 'we' I mean WOC (women of colour) - aka - non white women (Latino, Black, Asian, Eastern European etc).
I really want to talk about racism that we, WOC (Women Of Colour) professionals often come across - which now it seems has been anointed a label: 'Hipster Racism".
Is it a new label because it is in fact the scariest of them all?
As it also means admitting that WOC are still nowhere closer even with role models Beyonce, Serena Williams, Malala, Michelle Obama as FLOTUS, doing so much for us.
We ordinary talented WOC women, in our billions across the world, are still often ending up behind. Why? Some of us are unwilling yet nonetheless compelled into being grudging participants in having to hold our own WOC agenda back because right at the top of the chain? White women who don't give us a pass - let alone rulers of white men.
Hence why often, we WOC do tend to wait to eat the crumbs thrown down to us.
I am a woman. A single mother. A businesswoman. Second generation of an immigrant family. I am also a proud Muslim and I am British born with Bangladesh heritage. I am not young. It has taken me decades to get to do what I choose. And in the decades it has taken for me, to wake up, from leading a submissive life, I have seen so much. Here in UK, in Bangladesh and online.
It is why I feel I am 90. As I have been fighting to even get to running my life as my own, let alone figuring out racism and gender equality and Islamaphobia - all of which I never worried about, until I decided to be a change maker and started to examine what stopped me from smashing barriers I was facing.
A good first step? If we can start to explore and call out and solve this "Hipster Racism", which is deeply mired everywhere, we may stand a chance in our society. And also help those white people who do this, to wake up and take responsibility.
Then we can work together to stop it. As WOC cannot do it alone. Future WOC must have it easier. As there is a bigger fight to be fought to save our planet and stop evil hate creeping in more places, than it already exists.
Before I go any further - this is not - I repeat not an attack on white people. If you read on, you will understand that part of this series of posts is to help fellow WOC to examine and explore the role we play. And for us to also make changes - the way Zinzi has done so beautifully.
This post on "Hipster Racism" does NOT apply nor include the many authentic white men and women I know out there who do try and do help us WOC. I myself know that without them, I would not have the voice and courage to keep doing what I do and fighting the fight I do.
Are they the majority though? I genuinely do not know....I used to think not but now - after all the US race issues, Islamaphobia and reading up about why Black Lives Matter has to even exist and the rapid rise of the right wing, we WOC got to start making changes - fast.
We WOC have got to call it truthfully and examine all the aspects.
For example, misogyny and racism also exists between people of colour and is HUGE elephant in the room. (The derogatory comments I have seen and abuse black women and men get from within my own community is disgusting). When I have challenged this community on it, I find they suddenly draw away, punish or shun me. But who will let us talk about it? Where?
And why won't Black media even challenge this taboo topic? Because they are so few and far between and are so busy fighting to even be seen to be heard and relevant, in a largely white arena in the Western World.
Arghhh - it is so sad to see this cause and effect. And what are my own non-Black WOC doing to give black people voice because in my opinion they do face the toughest barriers - .... how much racism do we WOC help combat even when splintered down amongst our own communities.
So this is not about just white people but about all the various races and WOC caught up in "Hipster Racism", which I think is one of the secret and silent killers of the wonderful secular society we all crave and want. A society we need to be united and inclusive, as it is this strength that will help us fight Alt Right and serious crazies such as KKK and Far Right.
Before I explain in Part II, why we WOC should kickstart #MeTooHipsterRacism, some background.
White, privileged Lena Dunham is in trouble again. For choosing her white male writer friend over Aurora Perrineu, a model and WOC who alleges him of rape. I will let more notable titles explain why some are accusing her of 'hipster' racism and what this means - helpfully explained by The Cut here.
I just know I want to find Zinzi Clemmons and hug her tight, and say thank you. She has decided very bravely to stop writing for Lenny Letter. She has helped our world shape a new debate about a very common form of undetected and rarely called out racism, that I think is very dangerous.
She instructs that we WOC need to divest from Lena Dunham. Yes - you do (as I never watched Girls, I never invested in her).
Zinzi is thereby even prepared to lose income by having the guts to show WOC like me, evidence I rarely see (reserved for only the most exceptional humans) and it is this: the currency of 'moral' courage.
This IS such a highly lacking quality in our world because it hurts the pocket. And is a huge career risk. All who do it, may not get profiled or see their careers float - which I now hope happens to Zinzi. As thankfully it has paid off for her. I think she is about to go global in hee own right. YAY!
Moreover she deserves this as once you stick your head above the parapet to speak up, any WOC always is hunted with aim to shoot her down.
But why did I blog on this?
After having seen Zinzi's comment - here is what I replied and why now my Twitter blew up, as it seems to resonate with many women and men of colour.
To be continued......
November 20, 2017
(If you enjoyed this post - pls support Zinzi's request to support Doug Jones for Senate)