Grime star Wiley caused a Twitter and social media meltdown when he made rants about Jewish people, referring to them as ‘snakes’ and ‘cowards’ and comparing them to the KKK.
41 year-old Wiley, whose real name is Richard Kylea Cowie Jr, has an MBE and is referred to as the ‘Godfather of Grime’.
In a series of Twitter rants Wiley accused Jewish people of being the chief perpetrators of slavery, and compared them to the the white supremacist group KKK. He accused Jews of stealing the land of Israel from black people and insinuated that Jews as a group cannot be challenged or criticised because of the power that they hold in society. (Alex Finnis, Independent: Wiley tweets: Why what the grime artist said on Twitter was anti-Semitic, July 30, 2020)
Britain’s leading black newspaper, The Voice, removed an article that was published in an interview with Wiley, which was dubbed as overly sympathetic to his views. (Lee Harpin, The JC: Voice removes Wiley interview but defends decision to publish, July 31, 2020)
Censorship is the fuel for division
The other day I watched an interested Channel 4 documentary by the former Chief for the Commission of Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips titled, Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True.
In this documentary Phillips dared to utter the provocative statement, “Jews Are Rich & powerful“, and went on to say that the evidence suggests that Jews are more likely to be wealthy in comparison to the national average. Jewish people are over three times more likely to be top managers in a FTSE 100 Company, and four times more likely to be non-executive directors in banking.
Considering the long and troubled history of the Jewish people I would argue that the statistics is something to be celebrated and admired. Not hidden and censored to the point where it will naturally cause more curiosity and drive people to seek conspiracy theories.
I understand the monstrous legacy of the Nazis and how the success of Jewish people was used by them to spread distrust, fear, envy and eventually the attempted genocide of an entire population. It is for this reason why I believe that censorship will be counterproductive to progress.
In October 2011, I wrote an article titled The Black Wall Street: How white supremacy destroyed a successful African-American town. I believe that the main lessons that we can all get from this true historical chain of events is that when a group that is viewed as outsiders are successful in comparison to the the indigenous community it can lead to envy and eventually violence. The way to tackle this human trait is to combat the idea of outsiders, immigrants and the ‘other’, perpetuated by the mainstream media and politicians etc.
Whether there is evidence that a few or in fact many Jews took part in the slave trade is not the point in my view. My point is that when any group is held above scrutiny it leads to further division rather than understanding.
Phillips’s documentary demonstrated that point perfectly when he examined black on black violence, and the fact that rather than confront the uncomfortable truths within our own communities cries of racism prevents debate about what is really happening within black households.
The same could be said about the education system which has often been accused of institutional racism, and there is no doubt that racism is rife, but how do we account for the fact that African children perform much better in English schools than African-Caribbean children, despite the fact that they not born in the UK? (Jermaine Haughton, The Voice: Why Are British Africans Better In School Than Caribbeans?, 13 August, 2013) We can beat around the bush discussing poverty and other factors but nevertheless, we have to accept that racism is not the only factor at play here.
Sometimes, we have to face uncomfortable questions about ourselves. In my article Political correctness does not bring equality (28 June 2020), I gave examples of inequality within the LGBT community and Israel, to demonstrate that no group should have a monopoly on free speech or be above criticism.
I do not believe that removing Wiley from Twitter and other social media platforms will do the Jewish community any favours.
If I was interviewing Wiley, I would have asked him why he decided to generalise all Jews twenty years after working with them? Was this a record deal or business deal gone sour? Did he fail to branch out on his own and turned his envy and jealousy onto a community that have successfully rose to the top of the music industry business?
I would have questioned Wiley’s motives in targeting Jews as slave owners. This from a man who accepted an award with reference to the British Empire. Some would call that hypocrisy.
I would challenge him on the comment about Jewish people stealing Israel from Africans. Really? How come he has nothing to say about the continued theft of African land and resources by Europeans? Again, this sounds like an internal business dispute turned ugly.
You may agree or disagree with what I have to say or how I would have interrogated Wiley, but that is your right, as it is my right to express my views on any forum.
If we all begin to remove everybody that we disagree with I believe that the Nazis have won.
To challenge hate and prejudice you have to face it, anything else is admitting that as human beings we cannot and will never overcome hate.
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