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Sunday 28 June 2020

Definitions And Their Uses

If we can agree on anything right now, we can say that the current sociopolitical situation in this country and abroad is in...

...let's say, turmoil.

This has led to some phrases and terms being used, and unless you engage with this stuff on a daily basis, you would be forgiven for not necessarily knowing what they mean - or are implied to mean.

So let's take a look at three phrases, that I have seen tossed around recently: Virtue Signalling, Social Justice Warrior, and Identity Politics.

Virtue Signalling

This phrase came about in the early 2010s; and at the time it was used to imply feigned outrage. Usually it was used against people demonstrating actual outrage; the implication was that the person espousing the point didn't truly believe in it, but was simply trying to make themselves look more virtuous. It is, also, a useful way to not actually address the point that the alleged virtue signaller has made.

If presented with the statement:

"I think that we should allocate some centralised national resources to helping the homeless more."

The accuser can say:

"You are virtue signalling, you are trying to make yourself look good to the people, and you don't actually believe in what you are saying."

It's a lot less damaging to their credibility than saying:

"I believe that the homeless shouldn't be helped, and so I disagree with you."

It is notable that virtue signalling isn't often deployed against statements like "I think we shouldn't prevent the UK arms industry selling bombs to the Saudis explicitly so they can kill more Yemenis". Mostly because I suppose there isn't a virtue being displayed, there. There's SOMETHING being displayed but we don't tend to doubt their intentions at all. Perhaps that is unfair; perhaps the government would really LIKE to not arm the Saudi military, but they are somehow forced to.

Maybe by some kind of unelected faceless bureaucrats somewhere. I don't know.

Unless you are very good at spotting a liar, or you have some kind of external evidence, it's usually hard to tell if someone means what they say. We, as human beings, are programmed to take most conversation at face value unless we have an underlying reason to not trust the speaker. (We as human beings have also managed to concoct a near-infinite number of reasons to not trust people, a lot of them very bad ones.)

There are, of course, plenty of examples of people and corporations performing actions that are made to make them look good, and try to align that action with a particular current event, often without taking any effective action. A specific example of this would be the creators of the Simpsons making a statement that from now on they'd use actors fitting for the ethnicity of the character they are voicing - without addressing the big old elephant in the room of the actual racist depiction of several characters in the Simpsons, or the fact that it shows on Fox, whose record I don't feel I have to explore further for you to understand the implications.

In British politics, however, there is one very easy way to see if a particular MP means what they say. Whenever a vote takes place in Parliament, the votes are a matter of public record. We can all see them. Websites such as They Work For You are great for seeing how a specific MP votes.

Which means that I can pull a literal example of a far more striking form of virtue signalling, which probably simply qualifies as just "hypocrisy" or "lying".

I know, there might be further context, I know, the Left do it too, I know, it's not just Tories, I know, I know, I know. It was just the most recent example I had to hand.

Still. Let's move on.

Social Justice Warrior

I admit, for devilment, that I have used a picture of a Cleric rather than a Warrior.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition for the term Social Justice Warrior - or SJW for Twitter shorthand - is that it is a perjorative term, used to refer to a "person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views".

This phrase came into common usage pretty much after GamerGate, which was - in essence - an online harassment campaign against three women, that was conducted under the apparent banner of there being some kind of collusion between the press and progressive movements. It is - like our previous example - used to discredit, disparage and dismiss people for their views or actions.

One might say:

"I think that a lot of game design is discriminatory against this specific group, and while it has improved over the years and there are notable good examples that are significant industry successes, there is still a lot of negativity surrounding this group as they are presented in video games."

The response to that can be:

"You're such a social justice warrior."

Which is easier, quicker, and less incriminating than:

"I don't care about how this group are presented in video games, and would rather imply that the fault lies with you for the statement you just made than examine the statement for truth."

Of course a lot of people bear the term quite proudly. If someone has been accused of being an SJW, it means that they have tried to be progressive in their actions or their words, and have encountered people that take exception to those progressive actions or words. It means that the people that they have upset with their words see them as upsetting the apple cart, rocking the boat, expressing views that are counter to the way that they wish to see the world.

You rarely see the term applied to those calling for deportation of immigrants or erosion of social protections for vulnerable people. I'm not sure why that is.

And finally, we come to the biggy:

Identity Politics

This one has been around a lot longer than the former two examples; it dates from 1977. In a simplified form, it is a form of politics wherein someone forms political alliances and moves in political circles around an aspect of identity - race, religion, class, gender, sexuality, health or disability status - rather than adopting a more everyman approach.

It is often used in a rather critical way, to disparage someone's political activity or views - usually by someone that isn't part of the specific identity that is being discussed at the time.

One might say:

"This aspect of my identity is mistreated habitually within this specific arena and I feel that we should address this."

The response can be:

"That's identity politics, surely we should look for a bipartisan approach to improve things for everyone."

Which, again, reads better than:

"I don't share that aspect of your identity, and don't see why we should do anything about this specific problem, regardless of whether or not I see it as a problem."

Now I can see why this gets brought out as a point of concern. If someone spends a lot of their time, energy and political capital in supporting causes that are primarily centred around their identity - lets say their sexuality and their race, whatever they may be - then another individual might wonder if this person would become involved in things that don't directly affect either their sexuality or race. Could they be counted on to pay attention to an environmental or business concern?

Well - yes, frankly, because people are more than capable of paying attention to multiple things at once. The Black Panthers, for example, could have been said to be a form of identity politics that centred around the black community; but they engaged in local politics and activism in far more areas than just race. Food programs, education, self defence. It shows just how broad a movement can be, and where its interests and influence can diverge into, even if centred around a single aspect of identity.

I talk about this often, but - people don't like thinking about politics being important to, or having a serious influence on, most (if not every) aspect of their lives. It's another thing to think about. It doesn't take much thinking on the topic to realise that Skunk Anansie were right when they told us that Everything's Political.

We all have an identity. We are all composed of parts, belong to different groups (some chosen and some not), and we all feel that some of those are more important to us than others. It's unrealistic to think that we should vote as a single grey formless mass, who have no divisions, and who are all treated the same by the society we live in - because that is patently false.

It's an expansion on the oft-repeated, well-meaning and short-sighted trope of "I Don't See Colour". It sounds, on the surface, to be very positive - a lack of discrimination based on skin tone - but it dismisses the notion that, just maybe, people should be allowed to have a different skin tone but still not be treated worse for it. It is similar to a woman describing how she was discriminated against for years in a male-dominated profession, and replying with "I Don't See Gender". I mean. That's great, but this woman's bosses do, and they pay her less because of it. If you can't see that pattern because you "Don't See Gender," it leads to a lack of awareness of a specific structural discrimination against a specific identity.

Identity politics is often unavoidable, because everyone has an identity - and a significant proportion of those identities are politically or socially disadvantaged. I think that often identity politics is attacked in order to try and undermine a point or movement to bring more equality (or social justice, fnyar) to a specific identity.

It is also prevalent on both sides of the political spectrum - Black Lives Matter is identity politics, but so is white supremacy. So is male chauvanism, and heteronormativity. So is every brand of nationalism.

Is it good or bad? Neither. It's in its execution that we find its moral worth, and I think most people can agree that "Please Murder Less Black People During Non-Violent Police Encounters" isn't quite as...let's say, iffy, as "Women Are Literally Worse Than Men And Deserve To Be Treated As Such" or "Fuck Everyone That Wasn't Born On This Land Mass".

There you have it; now you know why a Social Justice Warrior might be accused of Virtue Signalling and dismissed for engaging in Identity Politics.

This blog has been brought to you by the letters B, T, and the number Arrest And Sentence The Officers That Murdered Breonna Taylor.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 21 June 2020


I'm going to open by stating that, more importantly than whatever drivel I talk about this week - Breonna Taylor's killers still need to be brought to justice, and this brand new spate of lynchings that the police are calling suicides is symptomatic of exactly the reasons why the protests were as universal and as large as they were. No justice, no peace. Black lives matter.

Okay, so... do any of my chronic illness / medicated / mental health people experience the thing where days and times kind of blur together into one seamless mass?

I've been having that a lot lately, and I've taken to calling it Greyspace.

No, not these greys.

Basically... with Covid-19 making it a huge risk for me to leave the house - and I am significantly at risk, I already only have about 50% lung capacity - and a bunch of businesses and things closed anyway... days have been much the same. The only thing that changes is the news. So it's easy to forget which day it is, to lose track of what time of day it is. Which can be unpleasant.

What this has meant is that I have been running entirely dry in terms of inspiration. I haven't been much able to read, nothing has been catching my attention, writing has felt like it's required herculean effort. It's been a bit shit honestly.

So I was honestly at a loss as to what to write about today. Voices clearer and better than mine are tackling current issues; I can't speak with any clarity or closeness about the CHOP, or about Juneteenth and how it should absolutely be a national holiday (which it should), or about how the Trump rally in Tulsa was a monumental failure, or about how my government is just consistently failing at even the most basic tasks, without just repeating things that other people have already said.

Luckily my friends and accomplices on Facebook stepped in. And in an impromptu Readers Request - more like a Friends List Suggest - I'm going to natter about the things they said I should natter about.

Without further ado.

The evolution of what it means to be a good father?

Appropriate given that it is Father's Day in the UK. Been almost eight years since my dad passed away too. I think that the core of being a good father remains pretty much the same as it always has been - be a supportive source of strength, that teaches the important lessons that need to be taught. I just think that the things surrounding that have changed. The nature of those lessons, for example.

We're breaking down a lot of the old impediments that were in our way to being whole people. "Never Did Me Any Harm" behaviours have come under the spotlight and found to be, actually, doing harm. We can talk about our feelings and our emotional states and be vulnerable - and we don't explode or melt. We are becoming better people, slowly. For the most part. And that has to be hard, because... well, my father was from the Lebanon, putting him firmly into the traditionalist kind of camp in this country. We are taught how to be parents by our parents, either by what to mimic or what to change. So there's a lot of deconstruction to do in the space between being raised and raising our own.

I don't envy the challenge, but I think it's good for the world that fathers can increasingly be less stern authoritarians and more human beings.

The importance of t shirt designs

Very important. I have a LOT of t shirts - honestly I am basically just a teenager from the nineties, 98% of my wardrobe is tees - and my favourite ones all have corporate logos from the Alien universe or the flight info from the Nostromo or whatever.

As a pride month fundraiser for Gendered Intelligence, TomSka is offering up a rather neat shirt that is inspired by his I Like Trains kid from the ASDFMovie series. That's a cool design. I should get one myself.

Boobies (sorry, had to)

Ah, a callback. However, I shall not pander.

Current favorite tunes to listen to

Well - I am listening to RTJ4 on repeat pretty much, great album; favourites include Walking In The Snow and Goonies Vs E.T. I'm also enjoying No More Kings and CrazyEightyEight. A bunch of tunes by Goldfish. I guess if I'd have to share anything specifically right now - aside from protest tunes - it would be this, by Bakermat.

I dunno about the anti-taco propaganda... but...

What will the current UK government do next that kills healthy brain cells for everyone who hears about it?

No Deal Brexit. That's the agenda now, seeing as the government is bored with actually saving us from preventable COVID deaths, and will remain so until the big old wave from their opening up on last Monday hits us. BuT aT lEaSt We CaN bUy TiM tAmS

Favourite childhood film and how you think it may have impacted upon you in adult life?

It's hard to pick out just one but - let's go with the Goonies. Which is always going to be the first thing I think of when people say Sean Astin. Keep your Lord Of The Rings...

The thing I took away from that is the importance of experience. The importance of having the anecdote. To go do the thing as best you can and to have a story to tell afterwards. The importance of stories themselves.

Oh, and pirates. Pirates are cool.

What you've done to diversify your world in the last 3 weeks. Any new favorite creations by black artists, or something that you wish to learn more about.

I have to be honest. My media consumption has been pretty minimal recently. This would be the ideal time to catch up on a bunch of stuff, educate myself, but I've been singularly lacking in the drive to do so. Which is on me, really.

Along the same lines, discuss Juneteenth, and the whitewashing of history. Esp from the perspective of someone outside the country

THIS I have done more of. I knew of Juneteenth before now but this is the first year I seriously read into it - of course it isn't taught as part of the curriculum here in school, we don't learn about our own history outside of a white-man context, let alone anyone else's. I'd like to see it turned into a national holiday.

Whitewashing of history is massive. The amount of people who love Churchill in this country - not DESPITE him having starved 3-4 million people to death, but with literally no knowledge of that happening - is testament to that. The statues and street names of slave owners, who are all held up as philanthropists and merchants, and when you ask - of what? People scratch their heads.

Even in this country we learn the state approved Thanksgiving myth, even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Figure that one out.

A friend of mine recently aired the thought of, how many conservative politicians in this country come from families that were made wealthy by slave trading. I can say with a degree of confidence that, in a way, it was probably most of them.


Yorkshire. Please. (In all seriousness I'm not a big dessert man. I mean I am a big man. I am just not massively into dessert.)

Earliest memories.

I think I've talked about my earliest memory before but - ONE of my earliest memories involves being in the garden at my aunt's house, drinking from a can of ginger beer an pretending I was really cool. And my idea of what was cool at the time involved having a ponytail, being really muscly and having a gravelly voice. Like a genuine unironic 80s action movie star. So like. Essentially I was pretending that I was Tim Cappello.

I know. I know.

Small ways that you find happiness in your life despite the trashfire that is 2020

Seeing other people succeed.

That's the big thing. Seeing people I know do okay, have their victories, make things they like and that people appreciate. Seeing people make their plans, talk happily about the online experiences they've had.

Seeing change happen, even if it is small, and being fought against by the powers that be; because in the face of a grinding constant push downwards, seeing the occasional boost up, even against adversity, even watered down by every possible measure, is a small victory.

The light of hope is small, and flickering, but it exists. And it doesn't always.

Maybe we'll be okay.

Thanks for putting up with me this week. It's been a splooshy one, in my brain. So. Perhaps something more cogent and relevant to current affairs next week.


If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Bronze & Celluloid

A lot can happen in a week.

Black Lives Matter. The protests continue until real, actual change happens. So it should be. For a sense of scale - George Floyd was killed on 25th May, 20 days ago at time of writing.

For comparison, the Freedom Riders protest lasted for 7 months, between May and December of 1961, to protest the enforced segregation of public transport under Jim Crow laws. (If you don't know what that means - go take a read.) Pictured is what the white supremacists in Anniston AL did to the bus, for the apparent crime of deliberately not segregating passengers.

I don't know if anyone reading this blog is the kind of person that thinks the Civil Rights movement was in the wrong... but if you are, kindly, don't read my blog any more.

As mentioned. A lot can happen in a week.

An autonomous area of Capitol Hill in Seattle seems to be doing okay, despite Fox News (who haven't actually been there, according to those actually present) painting it as a remake of Red Dawn or Escape From New York. (Escape From Chaz sounds like a game that most people I know played in college.)

Protests are ongoing, continue to draw in large crowds, are usually pretty peaceful. Police in the US are starting to take out reprisals on people that have been marked as being at protests.

A bunch of media companies have decided that the racism inherent in their properties is, all of a sudden, not something they want people streaming, so it's been pulled down. This is apparently literally the fault of the protesters, depending on who you ask. As if five guys in bandannas walked into HBO's head office and refused to release the hostages until it was taken down.

And a statue of someone that most people had never heard of went for a swim in Bristol harbour.

There's him being pulled out by the lifeguards.

Let's be clear, here. There's been multiple petitions and attempts to get the statue removed by more legitimate and less upset-the-neighbours means. This was just the moment when people decided that the red tape wasn't necessary any more; that Edward Colston didn't deserve that statue any more, and that it was time to do something about it.

Edward Colston - a slave trader and merchant, a Tory MP, who lived in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, dying in 1721. He was heavily involved in the Royal Africa Company, who enslaved at least 84,000 human beings for profit, and shipped them across the ocean. Nearly 20,000 of them died en route, and would have been unceremoniously dumped overboard, potentially even into the harbour that his statue took a dip in.

Yes. That statue. See, it wasn't put up during his lifetime. Despite it allegedly being for his philanthropy and all the good work he apparently did - small change for a man made fat and wealthy from the blood of innocents - nobody really seemed to care enough about him to put up a statue until 1895. Long enough that he and everyone he knew was definitely dead and gone; long enough to paint a rosy picture of the man. That way, none of those nice Victorian folk would have to think too hard about a bunch of their wealth coming from selling human beings like beads and cloth.

The thing about a statue - the real thing about it, rather than a plaque, or an entry in a historical society or museum - is that it is meant to imply a certain amount of reverence, or respect. Certainly the Colston one was. This wasn't the shameful display of a man made rich off the literal backs of human beings. This was a man who was being displayed as a pride of the community, a charitable philanthropist whose former crimes are wiped away because a small percentage of his fortune was spent on local causes, for whatever reason. That's what the statue was for.

Talk about virtue signalling.

So when Boris Johnson says that taking down statues "lies about our history", you'll forgive me for maybe thinking that he is talking directly out of his arse. His statement - just like the statue itself - is just a cover-up. Just like all the shows currently being pulled from streaming services. Just a sleight of hand, a smokescreen.

See... this stuff that has been pulled - the old episode of Fawlty Towers with the racial slurs, the blackface episodes of various and sundry comedies (I use that term loosely in the case of Little Britain) - these things were racist when they came out. These things weren't cool when they came out. It can be said about Gone With The Wind that it was "of its time", and yeah it was, but people in the late 30s still knew what racism was, and still knew that when they were doing something racist, they were doing racist shit. And that doesn't excuse Little Britain. I mean come on.

(To cover the basics now. Yes, blackface is racist. No, "White Chicks" isn't just as bad, and even if it is, that's one movie in the face of thousands of examples of blackface being used to denigrate and disrespect people. Here's a video that will do a better job of explaining why than I can.)

These shows, these movies, knew what they were doing when they did it. They have remained in place and unchanged for decades. It is now, and only now, that their rights holders and distributors have made the decision to pull their availability on streaming services. Not because they have suddenly realised that they were in the wrong - not because they turned on the news and saw the protests and had a sudden change of heart - but because they're afraid of looking bad.

That isn't change. That's nervousness. That's squeamishness. That's hand-wringing, and it's the same hand-wringing that people do when they see the statue of a slave trader torn down. It's discomfort.

But it also means they don't have to have the actual conversation. They don't have to take a look at themselves, as corporate entities and as people, and address the real problem. And that's what's important, right? Anything to avoid having The Conversation.

This will probably prompt eye-rolling and dismissal, but whatever. The truth is the truth. Racism isn't just yelling slurs at people. It's deeper than that, it runs very deep indeed. It is systemic, and it has very real repercussions.

It's because the government, and the media that is supporting it, has described the Black Lives Matter protests as riots - and the reactionary far-right riots yesterday as protests.

So I will leave you with this picture from Reuters photographer Dylan Martinez, of a Black Lives Matter protester carrying one of the aforementioned far-right individuals away from a rather tense looking struggle.

Imagine that this mob of angry white men is stood there, in the street. They hate you. They despise you. They want to beat you, hurt you, maybe kill you. They think you are subhuman scum. They want you out of their country, despite the fact that you were almost certainly born here.

And then one of them goes down in the street scuffle, and is hurt.

So you carry him out of harm's way.

And you're still the bad guy.

Just... imagine that.

I'm not going to plug my Patreon right now. Instead I'm going to ask if you'd consider making a small donation to the UK BLM GoFundMe. It's a better cause than I am.

If you know what's at stake, stay strong. If you don't, do the reading and find out.

Justice for Breonna Taylor. Justice for Tony McDade. Black Lives Matter.

Sunday 7 June 2020

They've Got Skulls On Them

I am sure that all of us know at least one person that, observing the Black Lives Matter protests, expressed confusion. Not outright opposition, not mealy-mouthed "but think of the bricks", no; just confusion. There might, likewise, be confusion as to why people might be protesting against the actions of government - not just in the UK or the US, either.

Well. Let's take a look at a comedy sketch by Mitchell & Webb.

Though a lot of people I know won't have to click the play button. They'll just have to look at thumbnail and they will remember the entire thing.

I've probably used this before, but this is for a different purpose today.

Yesterday, 6th June, was the 76th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Now, we talk about that a lot, as part of our history. It's become emblematic, and we forget a lot of things surrounding it, bring in a lot of details that are only obvious in hindsight. Example: we weren't fighting the Nazis to put an end to the death camps. Sorry. We just weren't. The Soviets wouldn't come across Majdanek until a month and a half later, and when they told the rest of the Allies what they found, they were mostly ignored.

Nonetheless, World War 2 informed our media - and imagery used in our media - for generations. Not just the actual stylistic choices of the German army, the SS, etc, but also the propaganda used by all sides. It informed swathes of media as to what was menacing, what certain colours and fashions could imply.

This meant that every single person reading this was probably raised on a whole lot of media that broadcast to you who the bad guy was.

Like this.

I mean it's obvious, right? I know you know who these people are, you have outside context, but at the same time. Like. Homie on the far left is clearly the bad guy advisor, big shoots with the helmet is some kind of overboss, and despite the fact that she's wearing the same shade as everyone else, it's kind of heavily implied that bun-lass isn't on the same side as the dudes in identical total-concealment skull helmets.

They're called Stormtroopers.

And there's just one example. An obvious symbol of oppressive authority. There's no doubt who the good guys or the bad guys are in this.

Back in high school I thought I was oh so clever because I'd say stuff about the Empire having done nothing wrong. I cringe at that, now. Of course it's done shit wrong. It's an empire, and its enforcement and military is a totally unaccountable force of heavily armed faceless bastards named Stormtroopers. (I mean yes it is also run by an evil dark wizard but you know)

Here's the Peacekeepers from Hunger Games.


I know that the entire point in a movie, a comic book or a TV show is to have an immediate distinct visual that tells you something about who these individuals are. There has to be an element of telegraphing that happens. You can't just have the bad guys look like the good guys, or you won't be able to build a sense of distrust and fear between the faceless army and the handsome protagonists.

That's the mythology we are sold; the notion that we will always be able to see the bad guys coming - and that our friends will always agree who the bad guys are, because they are injurious to ALL of us, not just in an overarching "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" sense but in a "with my death ray I will end your world" sense.

That's the world that people have been raised in for three generations, the fictional shorthand of our modern mythology that repeats itself over and over - in science fiction, in fantasy, in the pale white milky world of the magical school which we won't discuss further.

So you're raised to believe that you will always know your enemy when you see them - and you are raised without being educated as to actions that our nations and our governments have undertaken in the past, which would show you that, sometimes, the bad guys can just take their hats off and pretend they weren't bad guys at all. Or they'll pick up a kiddy and pretend that they're doing the right thing.

Ooooh you bastard.

And then it turns out that your friend has identified a set of bad guys. That you were either unaware of or don't necessarily agree with, because they don't look like bad guys, and they've never been mean to you, so - surely...?

Because we have been told, for a long time, that the enemy will be signposted. That they will kick the puppy, they will show up to the tune of ominous music, they will be constantly threatening. Whereas, the law enforcement of the real world are clearly nice people, because yet more generations of media and society has told us so.

I myself have never experienced any harassment by law enforcement, and whenever I have had to deal with them, they have always been respectful and courteous. Aside from whenever I have passed through customs, wherein I have been treated like a criminal, probably because I have a beard and an Arabic surname, but I digress. I recognise that me being treated by that way is a privilege, and that me never having to fear a police officer actually harming me is likewise.

I have had the privilege of learning at a distance, rather than having to adapt to a situation I am forced to be in.

Which is why, I think, so many people balk at general anti-police sentiment. Because the police, to them, isn't some faceless oppressive force, it's that bloke that gave them a bottle of water that time they were drunk in Uni.

Which means they don't have a great way to square this in their head.

The Lincoln Memorial, earlier this week.

Admittedly I believe these folks are National Guard - I could be wrong. The fact is that a military force has been called in to manage what was a civil process, which began with a peaceful socially-distanced protest against a police murder, is not lost on me.

Sometimes your enemy will be an entire process. It won't be eight dudes wearing masks and toting guns - though sometimes it will be. Sometimes your enemy will be a system that allows those that are a part of it to kill and harm people with little threat of punishment or oversight, and the system already includes a swathe of people who are more than willing to do that to you. Sometimes because of the colour of your skin, your gender, your sexuality, your religion. Sometimes just because they're fucking mean.

A system with a large PR budget, centuries of racism to buoy public opinion on its side, and a large supply of tear gas and rubber bullets.

It doesn't look the way most people have been taught it will look - but it's the reality of the situation. It is what is happening, right now.

That's why it is important, at the bare minimum, to not look away. Even if you don't march, even if you don't help, even if you don't donate, even if you don't combat misinformation, even if you don't amplify voices or causes - the bare minimum you can do, is not look away.

Rather than ask you to look up my Patreon or similar I would ask my readers to consider donating to one of the orgs listed below. These are all provided by @malikthesudani on Twitter - it seems like a good list. If anyone you know wants to help, please, share this information. These are primarily US based but then that is where the people are being hit the hardest.

I urge you to also do your own research. Don't just believe me. Do the research. Listen to people. Look up what happened to George Floyd, to Breonna Taylor. Remember them.

Don't look away.