This is a bit of a ramble.
Firstly; no one should be imprisoned because of nasty things said on Twitter. Fined, sure. Made to do community service, sure. Not put in jail. If that becomes the norm then a fuck truck load of people are going to be jailed.
Secondly; I think it’s odd that it had to get racial before anyone cared – the #KillAllMen has been around for a while. I guess no one really cares enough about men as a demographic though. I also think it’s odd that the charges are being brought against a self-declared minority woman. Would this have happened to a white woman? And is that racist? I don’t know and I doubt I’ll ever be able to make a clear cut decision on that front.
But, let’s get into the meat of this. If you don’t know who Barah Mustafa is then let’s just say that she’s a 28 year old university student who doesn’t think you can be racist or sexist to men and whites.
***As far as I’m concerned you can be racist and sexist to anyone. You just find people calling it different things – see my post Why Advertising Matters. Kitten murder sounds a lot more palatable when you call it Domestic Welfare or something.***
A while ago she came to my attention when she asked white people not to attend an event for black and ethnic minority students at her university. I’m sorta agnostic on this; unions and industrial groups have done similar things like this all down the years, not to mention social clubs. Is it discriminatory? Yes, but it’s done so that the people there can relax or air their grievances without fear of censure.
***Don’t get me wrong, it can spiral out of control of course, but the idea in essence is a reasonable one.***
Students petitioned for her to be removed from her position and again, I’m agnostic about that as well; the politics of the student body are their own. If I was a student there then I would have a better ability to assess what was necessary.
Mustafa explained that she could not be guilty of sexism or racism against white men “because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender and therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system. The current system would have to be one that enables only people of colour and women to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men, who for the past 400 years would have to have been subjected to block colonisation. We do not live in such a system, we do not know of such a history, reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real.”
Put simply: men cannot experience sexism and white people cannot experience racism. And as an ethnic minority woman she can be accused of neither. I’d love for her to have lived through the Slavic slave trading era.
Like I said, call your bullshit manure and say how good it is and people will pay for it. It’s all about how you advertise yourself and your ideas. Everyone can play a system, honey. I would recommend that Mustafa watch a few Arthur Miller plays if she doubts it.
Racism is not a structure. Racism can be structural, but in and of itself racism is simply ‘you ain’t my colour, you a bad person’.
Sexism is not a structure. Sexism can be structured, but, again, in itself sexism is simply ‘you not my sex, you lesser than me.’
“If you’ve been invited and you’re a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME… hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME women and non-binary event only.” Ms Mustafa added: “Don’t worry lads we will give you and allies things to do”.
The reactionary in me would like to point out that, once again, we are seeing someone dictating what men should be doing to help the group. The people who do that are normally what I have come to think of as overseers.
I doubt that Mustafa is aware of her own privilege – the rich daughter of an industrialist who is able to take a Women’s Studies course at the age of 28 doesn’t seem like the icon of oppression.
I read someone’s take on this.
‘Although starkly put, this woman’s words did powerfully articulate something I have been feeling for a long time – namely the frustration I experience whenever the men in my life claim to be on the receiving end of genuine sexual discrimination. … the current issue in my … the general absence of any positive male role models or father figures. It is also a growing feature in the national debate, as male commentators express an increasing sense of uncertainty about how men ‘fit in’ in our evolving society. … this is not sexism. It may not be very pleasant or constructive, but it cannot be put in the same category as the systematic and institutionalised prejudice experienced for hundreds of years by minority groups.’
So, its only sexism when women say it is. Its only racism when non-whites say it is. Giving one person or group control over a word or definition disallows others to use it and making commentary on it. If you can’t comment on or critique an idea then you lose all potential control over the idea. The idea, and by proxy those who define it, are more powerful than you. That sounds like a system of oppression to me.
But let me roll back for a moment. I’m not saying that white men are discriminated against in a wholesale manner. I’m not, I really am not.
I’m saying that people like Mustafa are potential conduits for genuine racism and sexism to spread.
And, let’s remember, Mustafa’s words may be immature, unpleasant and ill-conceived, but they are the words of a fringe minority.
Now, a little word from the feminist in me;
Why does this matter? What is the potential blowback from this? Say that non-whites and men were not allowed to go to the event, what’s the outcome; they get a taste of what women and minorities experience in social circles every day. Discrimination based on gender and race is still an issue in Britain – a small issue I’d like to think, but one nonetheless.
The trouble with is that it happens on a social level – the old boys networks, the unofficial hierarchies that do exist and do prioritise one sort of person over another. This is a problem in all countries and cultures, mostly because humans are still a tribal people with a tribal peoples mind set; difference equals danger.
Now for the MRA in me to have a quick chat.
This is exactly what feminists like Mustafa wanted to happen. The police were supposed to go after people using hate speech and make threats and harassing people online. The only problem is that it was not supposed to happen to feminists. This is what happens when one group of people think they have a monopoly on an idea; they communicate it to the world and the world says ‘you do realise you’re the one doing most of the bad stuff, right?’
It’s not racist/sexist when I do it though. I have a context.
It is also glorious that one of the PC police has to resort to the ‘it’s just a joke’ line that so many slam poetry nights have been dedicated to.
Now, let’s talk about right and wrong (MRA bit over).
I do not support the police investigation. I DO think its racially motivated. Yes, Mustafa deserves public embarrassment for her behaviour. She does not, however, deserve to be arrested for writing nasties on Twitter. Student politics is always rough and tumble, bizzar and stupid in equal measure. I doubt there’s a person among us that hasn’t said or done some stupid stuff at uni or when we were younger.
I feel that this amounts to a youthful indiscretion, one that should be challenged at all costs, but not something you should get banged up for.
Now, what’s going to happen next?
Not much. The trial will find nothing of real import; daddy’s money and a jury of her peers will see to that. Mustafa will leave with a fine or a court ordered community service order and that will be it from a legal standpoint.
At least what I hope will happen.
But what about Mustafa herself. There are two ways I see that going. Either she’ll take a long think about herself and the things she believes and calm the fuck down or she’ll go full retard.
I think the latter is most likely. Like all things, ideology take the path of least resistance.