Positives to take in fight against racism despite vile Wilfried Zaha abuse


It is easy to mistakenly believe the fight against racism is making no impact.

Especially when a 12-year-old boy is arrested for the social media abuse Premier League footballer Wilfried Zaha received on Sunday.

Yet reader Sue Wallace, from Leigh in Lancashire, gave us all cause for optimism last week with her letter to the Mirror sharing the journey she is on, understanding the importance of the Black Lives Matter protests.

“As I’m over 70 and shielding, I couldn’t take to the streets, share stories and ask questions,” she wrote. “But, through Kindle, I do have access to books. First I read Lemn Sissay’s autobiographical My Name Is Why and wept.

Wilfried Zaha is the latest Premier League player to suffer racist abuse

“Then I moved on to Natives by Akala and did more than weep – I felt ashamed and angry. However, thanks to these two writers, I’m now much better informed.

“I now feel I have some of the answers to the moronic statements made by racists which I felt were wrong but was unable, through ignorance, to counter.

“I will read on. I will learn. I will share and I will not get bored.” The ex-West Indies cricketer Michael Holding left so many of us welling up last week as he relived the racism he suffered and the prejudice that wrecked his family.

Moving forward together means that when a child is arrested for racial abuse, we don’t condemn the youngster.

We take into account – and try to change – the fact that his hate is learned.

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May’s peaceful protests in London were made up of young, old, black, brown and white. Many still share a lack of awareness of the history that underpins structural racism in this country.

Hip hop artist Akala has been a big figure in the fight against racism

There has been a surge in book sales, however, as they, like Sue, look to address that.

Some of the most popular include: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge, Think Like a White Man, by Nels Abbey and Slay In Your Lane, by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené.

Despite concerns to the contrary, most people do want the current sea change that will transform Britain for the better.

Social media still a powerful tool

The truth about so-called cancel culture – boycotting individuals on social media – is that columnists and people of a certain social class can no longer punch down as they used to.

Nor can they sneer, cast aspersions and dismiss those who previously had no voice.

Every journalist on Twitter has been directly accountable to their audience since the social media site’s inception.

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a cesspit at times. But it is also a galvanising force for change in a society that wants to stay the same.

David Starkey has faced a huge backlash for his recent comments

Historian David Starkey, for example, would have survived his “so many damn blacks” remark were it not for Twitter.

The dissenters are not some ‘mob’ with metaphorical pitchforks. They are people with zero representation in boardrooms, newsrooms and in those rooms where decisions are made. Their power is in the technology at their disposal.

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How time flies

The most striking aspect of David Beckham’s son Brooklyn getting engaged to Nicola Peltz isn’t that she is older (who cares?) or that the ring cost £250,000.

It’s that it seems barely five minutes since he was a cute little toddler appearing with his dad at Manchester United.





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