Part III - My #MeToo "Hipster Racism" - Yasmin Choudhury

How Have We Allowed In Hipster Racism? 

I know some do not get this.  I am not even allowed a right to reply  
Here is one example.


So to answer you Steve Maximus - if that is what you are in fact called.......?

Now. Presenting all the many ways Hipster Racism is played out - that we WOC rarely silently witness but get to speak about and why it has been allowed to run riot. 


NUMBERS   
WOC are silenced because there are not enough women per se in publishing, arts world and even if so, they control the narrative they control, which involves speaking or commenting only on WOC or ethnic issues that fits their agenda. Not ours.  

I know as it has happened to me. 

SERVILE 
WOC are required to silently tug their forelocks and play the game to get to the top - because not only do they need to prove they are deserving but also face threats from white men and women - until by some sheer fluke sweat tears and blood we get picked - once you make it up the rung is there an argument that the ladder gets pulled up?  I know as it happened to me by other WOC.

I know as it has happened to me. 

AFFIRMATION
WOC are often told that their success is because of this factor alone - that a particular sector is only hiring us because there is a 'need'. Thereby utterly disqualifying the notion that WOC have any default relevance unless it is to satisfy a demand purely on a profit pursuing needs basis, created within a white held sector.  How else can there be a market in South East Aisa where women from the region are marketing and promoting "Fair & Lovely" white skin? Why else is FinTech and Digital suddenly being deployed across the developing economies without access to more staple drivers such as job creation, welfare and healthcare? 

I know as I have seen this myself. 

PROXY 
Some WOC are being blindly be misled and often end up fronting ideas and creative content that belonged or was inspired by work done by a WOC - but behind the scenes the white ring master and puppet strings want to make money and get ratings so they plop down a WOC to qualify doing this so that there cannot be trace back - if you dare to question, you get legal letters - I know as it happened to me.

I know as it has happened to me. 

WHISTLEBLOWING 
WOC will often call out when we see race or N word (N****er or "Negro") used and even tell others about the person using it - but we get silenced and cut off or face ad hominem- I know as it happened to me now twice. 

I even had one third party, who I was convinced would speak up and help me, tell me to go be a better "Mother". Am mindful though this friend of mine who used the word "Negro" is I suspect Undiagnosed Aspergers, which is all about how neurologically wired the brain is and hence often they say inappropriate words, so am happy to let that one slide. The only problem I have is that this same good friend is also busy championing Muslims and #BlackLivesMatters and will continue thinking it ok to refer to race and Muslim jokes behind closed doors because of the "but I am no way racist" mantra that is so deeply embedded it is hard to lodge. 

I know as it has happened to me. 


AD HOMINEM
WOC speak up but soon we are accused of having 'no agency' and that we are the ones who are weak, that we must be the 'change we want to be' thereby accusing us of being lazy, inept and whiners. I know as it happened to me. Even today as  per the image of the tweet I just shared :) 

I know as it has happened to me. 

CREDENTIALS
WOC will try to stop Hipster Racism but often we cannot because we know the perpetrator is in a cosy bubble of credentials, power, adoration or is feared, and maybe even have cool and elite friends. Worst of all? May even have access to WOC elite from whom they do not show this side because it is only shown to those who are vulnerable and over whom they have power. These WOC will often further endorse them because of basic need and by being in their company because we rely on these "Hipster Racists" to put food on our table and help our career grow - we help endorse that they are not capable of being racists. And so long term myopia sets in

I know as I have experienced this.  

WHITE SAVIOUR
WOC tell those with access to money, power or a platform listen to us, we know how to solve some of the problems in our own communities. Give us the tools and the means and we will give you a better, more inclusive society that is good for all races. 

Why else did the UK Charities Commission publish  a report  during Trustees Week, revealed charities must do more to promote diversity - so that they can better reflect the communities they serve.  

I set up my dream to do Lovedesh - a brand that will champion talent in Developing World - the harsh reality is if that was to become a reality, the idea of white artisanship narrative is instantly destroyed. Why else did we lose the art of Muslin. And why are so many textiles still not famous in the Western World.  

Ahh....because we need those "ethical" bric a brac and scarves staffed by white led charities with white celebs to keep the the many white in the charity world afloat. (Here are some humorous links that prove my theory - Africa 4 Norway & the most excellent Barbie Saviour Instagram).

Global charity and thought platforms are often almost wholly owned by whites for a whiter narrative - the idea that WOC can be a great voice championing in change, is often inadvertently destroyed because it is more preferable to see us as victims, who are needed to continue promoting a narrative where the "white is right". And "white is might". Do you know how many funds exist to save the Developing World - yet controlled by programme makers and Trustees who do not reflect the communities they serve. Why else are we often in the annals of history or as a museum relic? 

I know as I have seen it happen. 

STRAWMAN 
WOC are often telling those white people who hold the power and have platform, of the solutions or problems that they may not be aware of. Instead they then create a new fallacy of an argument and instead attempt to solve that.  

"Let's talk about welfare state in Developing World"

"Yasmin - girls need education - we must solve that"

See? I know as it keeps happening to me. 

MYOPIA 
WOC tell our truth but this is neatly deflected as a "don't want to listen" or feel embarrassed or shut you straight down because of the 'that's not my experience though" or "I wonder if this is me....do I do this."

I know as it happened to me. 

DENIAL 
WOC are often telling those in power of their stories that they know will help provide a more nuanced inclusive narrative and debate, leading to more tolerant secular society but it never happens because if we were to be accepted, imagine the seismic shift and fall out - (as we are seeing in this latest Lena Dunham race issue debacle).  

I know as it happened to me. 

DISUNITY/CACOPHANY  
WOC and MOC (Men Of Colour) are not mobilised yet as a force; often we end up attacking each other because a larger conversation around gender equality and women is still needing to be resolved - while I suspect the Hipster Racist stands back and enjoys the fall out. I know as it has happened to me. Especially in our own Muslim community. 

I know as it happens all the time

Look what I wrote to my own Muslim peers.  





PACMAN
(Caveat: In this category I am only speaking of my experience with British Muslims.)

Muslim WOC at grassroots often tell some of the elite/well known Muslims (men and women) of bad stuff and things that can help prevent misogyny and racism. But we are prevented from speaking out or whistleblowing because it is not their 'truth". 

"It has never happened to me" they say. 

Guess what - me neither, until I stopped playing safe and wanted a voice. 

Anything that involves us Muslim WOC doing something that is not sitting quietly and being service to mankind (such as good innocuous charity worker, dentist, doctor, nurse) etc is ok.  Minute though you have views and opinion that seek change  - BAM, KERPOW -we are dead woman walking. 

This is why it is called Pacman - because good Muslim WOC who challenge or seek authentic change, without stepping over other WOC or women, are eaten or chewed up or spat out - after having tried to proffer another way.  

The other reason that Pacman strategy exists, is to ensure many retain their media profile and potential award credentials; and even if we do challenge them, this whiff of appearing to be upholder of misogyny, racism, and an enabler, or worst of all - fear that their project and idea will be derailed and cancelled - means we are easily silenced. 

I know as it has happened to me. 

HIJACK

Pure and simple. This is where I have a story - and then an elite WOC or white woman insists they want to tell it for me - but not because they care for me.  But because it allows them to further their own agenda (either for money or profile) I am not made aware of or even support or share. But they don't listen. This divides and disillusions many of us WOC. No wonder many WOC domestic violence charities exist and those who do, specialising in helping WOC and minorities.   

I know as it has happened to me. 

THE FOREVER OLIVER TWISTS

WOC and the many white men and women, wholly inclusive charities (yes they DO exist) are not many and certainly not funded enough. And when things get so bad, we turn to be the change we want to see. 


Not all make it as Malalas or can or will get to where Michelle Obama  :)  

When we start having to create our own narrative, without any hand/help up, access or platform, leaving us emotionally vulnerable and financially liable.  Then our next worry is how to keep funded - "Please Sir, May I have some more". 

Many good people I know ARE trying to help and are fighting for change for a more inclusive secular society. Right now they ARE doing something about it . But while doing so they are falling into the cracks or having to tug forelock and do any one or all of the above.  Nobody hears or knows of them because they are busy getting their hands dirty; unless is it is picked up by media or goes viral - and you even then it could go horribly wrong and great risk is involved because to tell the truth you also have to fight lawyers or allegations of libel/slander 

These brave Oliver Twist women (I know loads) are not supported and often we are left in poverty, abused and get shunned and sometimes face threats and  violence thereby losing everything - even for jobs homes and family because we dare to challenge the narrative and dare to seek change. I know because yes it has happened to me 

I know as I have seen this myself. 

RELEVANCE
It does not serve the interests of some of the white women/WOC to widen the narrative because if they do so, they may no longer be relevant in a market sector or audience that does not seek them because when you think about it - preserving the status quo only serves those at the top of the food chain who need to keep the pyramid going to reap the benefits. 

I know as it has happened to me. 

(If you can think of anymore please post here and I will add or tweet me here)

WHY DO I KNOW?
I have had production companies call me and want to take my advice and services for free. 


CONCLUSION

No wonder Hipster Racism has been allowed to thrive. 

So yes, I know who the culprits are in my own #MeTooHipsterRacism - as got a list as long as my arm I just ask try to forgive and try to continue getting my point across :)  

If you are white woman using Hipster Racism, know this, your behaviour is racist. Sort it.  

If you, as a WOC enable racist behaviour - look I get how scary it is for us WOC to progress our career - and for us to get your ideas to become a realty.  

Who does not want to stay safe and  silent and earn? We all do. But try to take a stand?  

Let us be reminded and look at what Zinzi did. Let us all be inspired by her.  

If you, me and us all see racism, misogyny  - call it out. Each time. Every time. 

Then, let us  sit back. Put our feet up and sleep well at nights. 

Until next time - when inspired by Zinzi I will write about "Hipster Misogyny". Now that cuts across ALL colours, races, genders and nations - and why this and "Hipster Racism" are two of the biggest problems I will continue to fight. 

Yasmin C x 

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