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Akala Racism is a business.

Its marketing is so successful that even Akala looks sideways at


a young black man holding a lot of cash. These racial assumptions lead to 'everyday' racism
- daily encounters and micro-agressions. It's time to recognise the relationship between topdown propaganda and the bias that we all carry 18 march 2015

Everyday racism: what should we do? Racism is a business. For centuries, it


has underpinned global economic exploitation, And like any successful
business idea it needs great marketing, PR and advertising to ensure lasting
success. And that marketing affects everyone.
Let me give you an example. I remember a few years ago, after having just
finished a tour, I was paying in some cash in at the bank - wed done quite well
on merchandising. Next to me at the counter another young Afro-Caribbean
male, similarly dressed, was also paying in quite a large sum of money.
Surprisingly, my first thought was one of suspicion: Hmm, I wonder what he
does for a living. Yes. Even though I know that working class, young black
men do not control the multi-billion dollar global drug industry, the connection
between people who look like me and drug dealing has been seared into my
mind thanks to a lifetime of advertising campaigns
These images feed a culture of racial assumptions that produce micro
aggressions that Im going to call everyday racism. Now, in the context of
global injustice, these might seem trivial but in fact, these daily hostilities lay
the ground for much larger, systemic violence.
Everyday racism is the normalised experiences that we encounter daily based
on our difference from the white norm. Take being stopped and searched by the
police age at 12 - what would be the first of many times. People shouting
nigger or coon from a car windows on trips to Romford during my time playing
for West Ham as a schoolboy. Regularly being asked if I have drugs to sell or
to pay upfront for black cabs or being sarcastically asked by a tutor when I
attended the Royal Institution's mathematics masterclasses how many of the
tribe I was bringing to the family celebration day. I could go on - and Ive left
out the hard stuff.
Constantly feeling like a suspect leads to the kind of shame that pathetically
makes me take the bass out of my voice or attempt to make myself smaller
when Im in a lift alone with a white woman.
In the world of a whitened Jesus and Hollywoods white saviour motif, the idea
that white is right has taken root globally to the degree where skin bleaching
has become a global multibillion-dollar industry. According to the World
Health Organisation, 40% of Chinese women bleach their skin. And 77% of
Nigerian women - the worlds highest percentage. And its not just those two
countries.

Millions of humans literally pouring bleach onto their skin to try and be whiter.
Normalised insanity. Of course this internalisation is how effective advertising
works; major brands become etched into your psyche and the system that sells
racism is doing a fantastic job. For example, I've visited countless schools and
again and again seen children of African origin get embarrassed when saying
their own foreign sounding names, even at schools with predominantly black
and Asian pupils. I am yet to see a child called Tim or Paul laugh in shame as
they introduce themselves.
Yet racism seems to be one of the only problems that some people,
conveniently, believe we can solve without first analysing its cause and then
plotting its destruction, as any concerned doctor would with any other disease.
We cannot let ourselves be bullied into being silenced for fear of playing the
race card and whilst we must not conflate every act of prejudice with structural
white supremacy, we must recognise the relationship between top-down
propaganda and the bias that we carry.
Fighting prejudice both in society and within ourselves is a key part of the
search for justice.