Is there a word for the way poor white people hate refugees/the unemployed/the homeless/the disabled for having it easy, and not the actual rich? I mean at least in Germany and the USA, people can pretend to themselves that the rich deserve to be rich because the „work“ so hard/are so amazingly intelligent and talented, whereas the refugees all arrive in the country and IMMEDIATELY get handed mobile phones and flatscreen TVs for no reason whatsoever. Whereas in Britain, we literally have poor benefit scroungers – poor people with no work who get given barely enough to live off – and rich benefit scroungers – rich people who could get jobs tomorrow who get given literally millions and squillions and zillions of pounds for literally no reason whatsoever, a.k.a because it’s traditional. And yet still the masses hate the poor and the weak, as if they’re the ones oppressing them, as if they’re the ones exploiting them, as if they’re the ones who are to blame for this injustice?
Or what about the way Brexiters and Pegida-People go on and on and on about the metropolitan liberal elite? It is really fucking easy to become part of the metropolitan liberal elite. You certainly don’t need any money. Who do people mean when they talk about the metropolitan liberal elite? They mean single mums who work as translators and like poetry, Kurdish taxi drivers, sex workers who sometimes eat falafel, clowns, YouTubers, unemployed yoga teachers, anyone, really. Everyone from Portugal. People who watch Fleabag. Everyone with a blog. Seriously if a homeless person has a blog?
I guess it takes too much energy to hate the people who are actually oppressing you. It would mean admitting you were really oppressed, maybe, deep down in your soul, deep down in your belly. I guess there’s something satisfying about attacking people closer to you. It makes you feel safe, protected. Powerful.
I thought about this when lots of my friends were disappointed with the Landtagswahlen results in Germany. Lots of my white German friends. Look, I write for the taz, you can imagine what my white friends are like, Gutmenschen doesn’t even cover it. They are Tollmenschen, not they’re Brillantmenschen. One time a German girlfriend of mine phoned me up because I had written the word bitchy in a Facebook status update and she thought it was misogynistic and discrimination towards sex workers and I better delete it.
Yet I felt a strange feeling when confronted with their disappointment. It doesn’t make any sense, but it was almost schadenfreude. It wasn’t true schadenfreude because obviously, the AfD are going to be in power soon, and although I am a privileged Ausländerin – Niederlassungserlaubnis, baby – and a privileged Person of Colour – some people think I am white, sometimes – I am brown enough and foreign enough to literally be scared. But it was this sense of satisfaction, almost. Ha. Now you see. Now you know I wasn’t making it up, we weren’t making it up. Now you believe me, do you? Now you believe us. People really are that racist. They’re not pretending, they’re not protesting, they’re racist. People really are that cruel. People really are that cowardly. In a way, in a strange way, I felt angry. I definitely felt angrier with the disappointed white people for being disappointed than with the actual nazis and nazi-lights for voting nazi.
This is the thing: the disappointed white people are our friends. They’re the ones we need. The disappointed white people are the only ones who can save us now.
I think the truth is, as I said yesterday, that people who vote for the AfD are fundamentally racist. I think their problems with Islam are just a smokescreen for the fact that they are white supremacists. I think they hate Islam because it is a religion which a lot of black and brown people belong to. I don’t think they’d want black Christians living next door to them, or brown atheists – in fact, tI suspect most AfD supporters they don’t even care how devout a Muslim is. It’s the skin they have a problem with.
Because the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how evil or how cowardly or how cruel everyone who is voting AfD is – or isn’t. It doesn’t matter if their hearts are actually racist or not. It doesn’t matter if they’re just a tiny bit dumb, and fairly racist, or fairly racist and fairly dumb, or not racist at all but xenophobic and quite dumb. It doesn’t matter anymore. They are voting in ways which will, eventually, kill black and brown people, and if they think that is evil, then they need to stop. And the disappointed white people need to talk to them.
We are always being told that it is patronizing & elitär to say that people who vote in nazis are nazis themselves. You’re meant to listen carefully and be really interested in their fears and doubts etc. You’re meant to nod intrigued while they witter on about the GEZ and how refugees don’t have to pay it because there’s a bit in the Koran that says television is haram. But I think you can tell people that voting for the AfD is evil, and I think you can tell people that they’re better than that. I think you can say to people „Don’t do that. It’s evil. You’re better than this.“ I know it shouldn’t have been the disappointed white people I was angry with. But I think I was partly angry because we need you now. It’s now or never