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The culture war isn't harmless rhetoric, it's having a chilling effect on equality

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This month, two events defining opposite ends of the racial justice spectrum took place. In the first, in an interview with LBC, the home secretary, Priti Patel, roundly condemned last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests as “dreadful”. In the second, Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) announced it was disbursing half of the funding it had received since the protests started to grassroots groups across the country.

These events, less than a week apart, reveal the two spheres in which the fight for racial justice is taking place: there’s the fictional one constructed by the media and politicians, and then there’s the real world. In the Conservative press office and rightwing media, a culture war rages, featuring daily assaults on a cast of characters and organisations broadly associated with racial justice, migrant rights or attempts to reappraise Britain’s account of its colonial history. Black Lives Matter continues to be a favourite target, months after its protests abated. The movement is constantly dragged into debates as a symbol of a divisive coalition of Marxists and vandals, set on disrupting the peace and setting back the cause of racial justice.

In reality, BLMUK is quietly getting on with the constructive work required to make change happen. The organisation, which aims to end police persecution and promote racial justice, will distribute £600,000 from funds it received in donations since last summer to a range of recipients whose work aims to “improve Black people’s lives in a racist society”. While we were told that BLMUK was concerned primarily with cultural........

© The Guardian

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