Recently there was a huge demonstration by some Christians against the BBC’s decision to televise the stage production of ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’. I don’t intend to get into this debate but one aspect of the Christians’ argument really annoyed me. It was suggested by some of the Christians that had the programme been deemed to be offensive to black people the BBC would not even have considered airing it.
I have often heard similar arguments when people discuss gender or sexuality based discrimination:
“Had it been black people….they wouldn’t be treated like this or like that”
What I hear when people make such statements is,
â€œLook at me and my group suffering all this injustice, had I been a member of that group over there I wouldn’t be going through this, they have more rights than usâ€?
This, in my mind at least, automatically creates a THEM and US situation. It rests on a very racist assumption that THOSE black people over THERE can not be part of THIS particular group.
As a black Christian I can not separate my blackness from my Christianity, there isn’t a part of me where my blackness ends and my Christianity starts. All these elements, along with my heritage, my sex, my sexuality etc all make me the person that I am and they are as interwoven as my locks
I acknowledge that certain forms of discrimination are not given the same attention as other forms of discrimination e.g. race based discrimination receives a lot more attention than say religion based discrimination but this is not the view that is being expressed by those who say ‘had it been black peopleâ€™ and if it were I would not have an issue.
To compare two forms of discrimination makes sense; it is comparing like for like and it is all encompassing. When one talks of race based discrimination it is not just about ‘black injustice’; it is about discrimination that any person of any race has or could have experienced. To compare the plight of Christians to that of black people makes no sense to me and takes away from the main debate.
It is hard to compact all my views on this matter in to a single blog entry but whenever various groups take the ‘had it been black people’ line of argument, I often wonder how I would respond if I were a fat black lesbian woman in a wheelchair?