I shared an article the other day by an Arab man who said that many like him were glad that Trump had won the US presidency. It’s important to share different voices, even if I don’t agree with them.
I then received a message which said, “Sometimes Mr Maxwell you sound a bit racist yourself.” At first I smiled, then I pondered. I’d only been called a racist once before and that was by my former employer, who said I was one for ‘challenging’ racism committed against people of colour.
Stupidly, I replied to the woman justifying how I wasn’t a racist. I won’t be doing that again. I said, the article wasn’t mine and I was only sharing it. If she knew anything about me, she would know my mother is white – who I adore. That makes me mixed-race, although I identity as black.
The woman then came back with, “Ok, maybe not racist but you are very pro black people. No matter the colour of our skin are we not all equal. You never post the good things the people of other colour do.” And this is what she wanted to say, but didn’t in her initial message.
For some time, I have posted positive images of black people in contrast to the often negative images were used to seeing. I’ve been very open about this, in fact, I’d only just written about this particular point in an article for The independent about Barack and Michelle Obama.
With me posting articles and the likes of positive black images doesn’t mean I’m anti-white, to suggest so is ludicrous. I am just celebrating all that is good about being black. I went through my timeline and there are all kinds of media I share, about all manners of things – nothing to do with being black. I have written often about the love I have for my mother, sharing my memories and images of her – she is white.
I’ve noticed that there are some out there who do not want people like me to have a voice – an opinion – and share what I want and not want, because it doesn’t fit their agenda. I post things that resonate with me, not on a quota of blackness versus whiteness. I’m not on a racial team, but I do actively promote positive black stories to counter those that are not.
We do not yet live in a world that is equal, free from racism and other forms of discrimination. Black people are not representative in politics, the media and so forth. In my lifetime, I’ve not known so much hate towards those who are non-white. Brexit and the election of Donald Trump on the platform he stood on, I can only see as dragging the progress we have made towards equality backwards.
In the West anyway, I live in a white world. I was raised single-handily by a white mother, most of my friends are white and my ex-partners have been white. My social media audience is predominantly white. Me trying to justify I’m not a racist, does me a disservice. Sharing the positivity of others who look like me is not anti-white, even if it is pro-black. I’m pro-vanilla ice-cream, but it doesn’t mean I’m anti-chocolate.
As one commentator said, “You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone, Kevin.”. I don’t.