In light of Samuel L Jackson’s comments on black British actors being cast in African-American films (in reference to Daniel Kaluuya in the satirical horror film about interracial dating, Get Out), it’s important to address the misconception that African-Americans are the only people who experience racism on a systematic and social level. Jackson stated:
Jackson stated: “Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years. What would a brother from America have made of that role?” This is a false claim. While there have been no specific laws against interracial marriage in the U.K. as there were in the US until 1967, interracial dating has been and remains an area of tension for black people in Britain who are marginalized not only by white families but by those from some parts of Asia as well. So, for Samuel L Jackson to imply that tension surrounding interracial dating is exclusive to African Americans is both ignorant and offensive. However, Jackson has actually addressed his comments and, to put it in his own words: taken a seat.
Jackson has simply highlighted a small fraction of the wider issue at hand. Ignorance. This is largely because civil rights is taught in a very narrow scope in both the U.S. and the U.K. We learn about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X but without extended personal research, we wouldn’t learn about the civil rights movement in the UK during the 20th Century such as the 1981 England riots about racial profiling and brutalisation by the police.
In just 2011, there were riots all over England over the police’s ‘lawful killing’ of Mark Duggan. The particular issue in the UK is the fact that nobody seems to want to discuss racism; when it’s brought up, black people are accused of ‘causing more division’ by people who passionately claim that they “don’t see race”. This means that people are – through no fault of their own – miseducated about the experience of black people in Britain. The truth is that many of us, particularly those who don’t live in big cities, are marginalized to this day.
The particular issue in the U.K. is the fact that nobody seems to want to discuss racism; when it’s brought up, black people are accused of ‘causing more division’ by people who passionately claim that they “don’t see race”.
The issue goes further, however, than mere misinformation and ignorance; there is an element of arrogance that comes with many African-Americans who believe that black British people who talk about racism are intending to ‘steal their thunder’ and ride the movement of Black Lives Matter. First and foremost, the ‘get your own movement’ attitude will only serve to hurt and further divide the African diaspora which is the opposite of what we should want. Secondly, it’s very important to note that black British people aren’t trying to ride off anybody else’s work or ask BLM to represent British issues on top of the plethora of issues in the U.S.; in actuality, the Black Lives Matter U.K. movement supported and highlighted issues in America as well as focussing on the more domestic issues within the U.K.
The one thing that black British people are asking for is to not misrepresent facts. African-Americans have a patronizing habit of presenting the U.K. as some sort of post-racial utopia compared to the U.S. in order to emulate their own supposedly unique issues. This is what needs to stop because it drowns out the very real issues of black people in Britain who still live in fear of racist groups such as BNP, Britain First, EDL and (arguably) UKIP who got just under 4 million votes in the last UK election (12.6% of the total vote share) (Source).
African-Americans have a patronizing habit of presenting the U.K. as some sort of post-racial utopia compared to the U.S. in order to emulate their own supposedly unique issues.
Twitter has been rife with arguments over the past few days over fierce arguments regarding the black British and American ‘diaspora war’, but this isn’t and shouldn’t be some ‘oppression Olympics’. Ultimately, actor John Boyega summed it up perfectly:
Black brits vs African American. A stupid a** conflict we don’t have time for.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) March 8, 2017