LOL. Fuck Muamba he’s dead !!! #Haha
by Sam Kriss
University of Swansea student Liam Stacey is currently serving a 56-day prison sentence for a series of racist posts made on Twitter after Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field from a heart attack. Nobody in the UK press has yet reprinted the tweets in question, which I think demonstrates an astonishing level of cowardice. Here they are:
LOL. Fuck Muamba he’s dead !!! #Haha
@porcavacca owww go suck a nigger dick you fucking aids ridden cunt
@SamParishPR go suck muamba’s dead black dick then you aids ridden twat! #muambasdead
It’s pretty obvious that Liam Stacey is, to put it kindly, a bit of a twat. I don’t think that his twattishness necessarily earned him 56 days in jail, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. That angle’s been covered plentifully, by everyone from cryptofascist American ‘libertarians’ to the outgoing EU commissioner for human rights. (Although as someone who spends slightly too much time writing stupid and inflammatory nonsense on the Internet, it’s not as if it’s not a concern.) What really struck me about this story is the way the British judiciary appears to have claimed for itself the right to determine what is racist, and to punish accordingly. This is, after all, the same British justice system that in West London was 79% more likely to jail black defendants after the summer riots, the same British justice system that sends black people to jail for driving offences 44% more than white defendants, the same British justice system whose officers suffocated a young black man last year and told him that ‘the problem with you is you will always be a nigger.’
Is Laim Stacey a racist? Maybe. To be honest, that’s not the real problem. The problem is that 44% of black Britons aged between 16 and 24 are unemployed, as compared to 20% of their white peers. If we take racism to be a simple matter of Bad Racist People saying Bad Racist Things, it allows us to cover for the pervasive institutional and systemic racism that suffocates our society. If we can all jeer at the Nasty Bad Racist, the rest of us are let off the hook.
Take another case: earlier this year in Sanford, Florida, community watch co-ordinator George Zimmerman made a 911 call in which he described a ‘guy look[ing] like he is up to no good or on drugs or something.’ He then proceeded to chase down, shoot and kill Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year old described as ‘an A and B student majoring in cheerfulness,’ who had been in the area to buy some skittles and a can of iced tea. Is George Zimmerman a racist? Obviously, and the fact that he has not yet been charged with any crime is indicative of the horrific institutional racism still subsumed in American law enforcement. But the far bigger problem is the place where the shooting occurred: The Retreat at Twin Lakes, an overwhelmingly white gated community where gates and security guards keep its rich residents in a state of suburban bliss, safe from the churning multiethnic chaos of the outside world. The problem is that places like this, where the presence of a black teenager on the street could constitute a cause for alarm, exist – and not only in Sanford; they’re ubiquitous, with up to eight million Americans living in similar communities. Zimmerman’s personal racism didn’t emerge from a vacuum; it’s a product of his politico-geographical milieu, a product of the vast underlying substrate that is American class and racial segregation.
Republican strategist Lee Atwater described perfectly the way racial issues have become masked over the course of the 20th Century in an anonymous interview:
You start out in 1954 by saying ‘nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’
What, then, happens to the people who, in 2012, are still saying ‘nigger, nigger, nigger’? They become homo sacer, they’re a horrifying reminder of the actual content of the society whose mode of appearance is one of racial equality. The must be clamped down on, because they expose our hypocrisy. In the UK, where a high level of abstraction has been reached, Liam Stacey was clamped down on near-immediately. In Florida, where a lot of people still seem to be living somewhere between 1954 and 1968, the power structures are dragging their heels, but I’m sure George Zimmerman will be clamped down on too, eventually. He’s a monster; he certainly deserves it. But it won’t signify an end to the problem. It’s just another of its manifestations.
If Twitter was left alone, and if we didn’t enact so many speech laws, then maybe we could really find out what everyone is thinking.
In the US – where there are very few limits on speech – at least the hatred doesn’t hide away so much.
Libertarians are crypto-fascists? Do you know what a crypto-fascist is? Do you know what a Libertarian is? It’s safe to assume most American Libertarians aren’t crypto-fascists.
I didn’t say all libertarians are crypto-fascists, but there is a racialised politics subsumed within right-libertarianism of exactly the type Atwater describes
Agree with your points, excellent writing, you have a cool blog and your music is great, I’m happy I stumbled in here.
44% unemployment != racism. Correlation is not causation. Maybe they just don’t have marketable skills. I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist. But I also think racism is a word that gets massively overused. Also how can you jump to conclusions in the Zimmerman / Martin instance and say Zimmerman is racist? Were you there? Do you know Zimmerman? How do you know he’s racist? Maybe Trayvon hated hispanics and loved to talk tough / pick fights.
“Take another case: earlier this year in Sanford, Florida, community watch co-ordinator George Zimmerman made a 911 call in which he described a ‘guy look[ing] like he is up to no good or on drugs or something.’ He then proceeded to chase down, shoot and kill Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year old described as ‘an A and B student majoring in cheerfulness,’ who had been in the area to buy some skittles and a can of iced tea. Is George Zimmerman a racist? Obviously, and the fact that he has not yet been charged with any crime is indicative of the horrific institutional racism still subsumed in American law enforcement.”
“Authorities tell the Sentinel that Trayvon Martin punched Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman, climbed on top of him and slammed his head into a sidewalk several times before Zimmerman shot and killed him.
While this was initially an account by Zimmerman himself immediately following the Feb. 26 incident, much of the story has been corroborated by witnesses, investigators told the Sentinel .”
I’m glad you use baseless information and neglect to do the proper research before assuming Zimmerman was a racist and going off on a blind rant about American institutional racism. Though I suppose that’s why you write for a blog and not an organization that actually requires proper research.
Witness reports also claimed Zimmerman called Martin a ‘fucking coon’ during the incident; I didn’t mention that because witness reports are not always reliable. Regardless of what took place during the confrontation, none of it would have happened if Zimmerman hadn’t seen a black man in his gated community and automatically assumed him to be a threat. It doesn’t matter whether or how Martin defended himself; that fact alone is indicative of a systemic cultural racism.
So in your mind, witness reports aren’t always reliable, but getting caught up in the race fueled hate crime mentality that is devoid of facts and evidence is? Interesting. Also, it wasn’t witness reports, it was a garbled police recording. After further audio analysis, it was proven that he did not call Martin “a fucking coon.”
“None of it would have happened if Zimmerman hadn’t seen a black man in his gated community and automatically assumed him to be a threat.”
Why are you jumping to conclusions about his race being the cause? Zimmerman saw someone he did not recognize in a gated, closed off residential community which had recently experienced a rash of thefts and burglaries and made the rational decision to call the police. He had made several calls to the police earlier to report other suspicious people and not all of those people were black. There were no issues with the people he previously reported, so that alone should make you think that something else out of the ordinary occurred that resulted in Martin’s death.
“The fact that he has not yet been charged with any crime is indicative of the horrific institutional racism still subsumed in American law enforcement.”
He hasn’t been charged yet because the police and investigators have decided that instead of jumping on the racist bandwagon and making a brash pronouncement without accumulating and evaluating evidence, they are going to do their jobs and fully analyze the and investigate the situation before making a decision. I’m not sure how due process and following the rules of the legal system makes the officers and investigators racist, but I suppose you are more knowledgeable in these things.
I think you are one of many people who decided to make a decision about the case and Zimmerman’s guilt without much information to support your reasoning. Part of this may be due to the delay in releasing the 911 call which sheds more light on the story, including Martin doubling back to confront and assault Zimmerman.
Mate I’m not even remotely interested in having this argument. Zimmerman may have made previous 911 calls but he never previously chased and shot a suspect against the instructions of the 911 operator. You can try to deracialise this issue all you like but all it demonstrates is your deliberate myopia. If you’d actually paid any attention to the article I wrote rather than using it as an excuse to go off on a frankly tedious rant in which you try to exonerate a racist murderer, you’d notice that the thrust of my argument was that the Trayvon Martin case is merely indicative of the wider problem of continuing racial segregation in the United States. Unless you plan on disputing that as well please take your tired, generic apologia and naff off