Earlier this year, the Labour MP Diane Abbott made comments about Divide & Rule which to her defence I believe were taken out of context. Mainly because, I don’t think for one moment that she is racist.
So, why am I writing about this now?
Well, her comments generally resonated with me – not that white people love playing Divide & Rule, but the point of what Divide & Rule actually means.
Until the controversy surrounding Ms Abbott, I’d never heard of the term but had experienced it firsthand in my fight against police discrimination.
As a man who is mixed-race with a white mother I adore, I got Ms Abbott.
My own stance on racism I think speaks for itself, and I strive not to judge others as I wouldn’t like to be myself. However, sometimes you have to say things however unpopular exactly as you see them.
This is my view, which London Mayor Boris Johnson could learn a thing from?
I have no ulterior affiliation with either race because, if you cut me up and looked inside I am half white and half black.
I too have only known the love of one parent, a beautiful white woman My Mum who I cherish to this day.
But, Diane Abbott’s point of ‘Divide & Rule’ got lost by those who don’t like her trying to make out she was/is a racist – which, I don’t buy for a second.
Here is my example of Divide & Rule, from what I understand it to mean.
Basically, fostering dissent when people of the same race when fighting for equality are too busy going after each other that the main goal of achieving true equality and social justice is missed.
When I became unwell after racism and homophobia within the Metropolitan Police, the only option left for me to challenge this was within a court of law because my employer hasn’t to this day acknowledged in my case anyway that racism and homophobia exists within the Met Police.
This is despite me serving on the ground as a Detective, in the British Police Service for over a decade. An insider.
When I faced over 30 of my white colleagues at my employment court hearing towards the end of last year, it was their job to discredit me and my complaints ensuring that any notion of racism, homophobia and institutionalism within Scotland Yard didn’t and doesn’t exist.
Some of my complaints centred around comments I had heard towards Asian people, even though I am not Asian. Does it matter? No. Racism is racism, and you can’t be selective about who it may be said against or when.
I would feel as disgusted hearing a derogatory comment about an Indian or Pakistani person, as I would against an African or Caribbean person. This goes for racism towards ANY white person.
Even though I had made no claim against any person of colour for causing detriment to me, the Commissioner of Police called as witnesses against me to give the perception that there is no racism in the Metropolitan Police Asian officers.
Now, I’ve learned to have a thick skin. But, it still does sit uncomfortably with me that while I strived to improve things for all within the organisation I was in – some of the people I was trying to help, actually sided against me in favour of the majority.
This to me is, Divide & Rule.
I’ll have it if there was no racism and/or other discriminatory acts within the Police Service, but I live in the real world and have served in Britain’s two biggest police forces on the front line.
I know the argument too that, Scotland Yard is like any other big organisation which reflects the people it serves. But, how many of these other institutions uphold the law and actually have the power to take away your liberty?
Putting ethnic minority Asian officers up against another when one in particular wasn’t even witness to anything I experienced, causes me unease. More discomforting when, these officers actually go along with it. Who are they helping in the end?
One step forward, two steps back comes to mind.
A black officer whom was witness to some of my complaints, just didn’t attend to speak for or against me.
Now, some may say that he was/is as bad as the Asian officers, whom actually spoke against me. However, there is a difference between not wanting to get involved in something and actively going out your way to support a notion that you say doesn’t exist i.e. racism.
It’s the same with The Sun newspaper, whom unlawfully obtained my private data leaked to it by the Metropolitan Police in trying to discredit me. Does it matter that, out of all the reporters available at the News International tabloid to cover the so-called story on me… my private life, lies and so forth… that the lead reporter for the Editor Dominic Mohan was/is a black reporter Anthony France? Is this Divide & Rule?
Why would/is a black reporter at Rupert Murdoch’s daily tabloid fighting the cause for the police against people like myself that, there is no racism/discrimination etc within the Police Service?
Racism is Real in Britain and Ruins Lives along with other forms of discrimination, so the sooner we get to grips with them the better we can tackle such hate whether you are white, black, gay, straight, young or old.
Like The Sun, the lead lawyer for Scotland Yard with its vast amount of internal and external legal professionals is a black female.
Is it Divide & Rule that, the person chosen to lead the fight against me and my claims that there is such a thing as racism and homophobia within the police is herself a minority ethnic person in the organisation and whom looks just like me is the face of the campaign against my challenges?
I could go on, but these sort of issues is something I focus on in my forthcoming memoir. It’s not about sensationalism as that’s not my style, just a real look inside the Police Service with regards to discrimination which aims to help raise awareness and remove stigma.
I often say to people my new career is as someone working within the arts by trade, but that I’m a Social Justice and Equality Ambassador by conviction. I can’t change being black and gay.
I don’t believe in hitting people over the head either to make them listen to me, but do so in having calm and measured adult conversations and showing flaws were they occur.
One major flaw… how can a mixed-race gay person like me with extensive experience as a former Greater Manchester Police Criminal Investigations Department Detective and Metropolitan Police Special Branch Detective with over a decade of operational work with victims and witnesses, not be allowed to make a complaint himself of racism and/or homophobia to his employer?
Over three years on, not one report, statement and/or complaint has EVER been taken from me by Scotland Yard – WHY?
I had been trained well-enough by the Police Service to deal with others’ serious and complex complaints, but when I too became a person of such hate I was ignored. Stuff, you can’t make up.
It too sits extremely uncomfortable with me that, out of the many people whom had/have been racist and/or homophobic towards me in the police I have been the only person held accountable negatively for bringing such discrimination claims.
This clearly just puts off people like me reporting anything in the future, but maybe this is the point?
When I swore an oath to uphold the law when I joined the Police Service as a young man not long after university, this to me meant ALL law… criminal and employment etc. You cannot have selective integrity.
Sometimes, you have to go against the grain without fear or favour because it’s the right thing to do.
To finish off, Ms Abbott raised an important issue in modern Britain which was as I say taken out of context as I am living proof of this thing called Divide & Rule.
Her problem was that, she only had 140 characters on Twitter to try and get her point across where I have a 1400-plus word count!
This has been a… there is such a thing as Divide & Rule, ‘View from the Bottom’.
Take care, Max x.
Live Healthy, Laugh Often & Love Yourself!
Published by My Mum. Copyright © Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2012.