Remi Adekoya: Has BLM picked the wrong target?
I have spent the past month speaking to all the black people I know, and scouring the social-media feeds of many I don’t, trying to understand the explosion of emotions following the killing of George Floyd. I’ve tried to gauge what is driving these emotions in nearby London and faraway Lagos where I grew up.
While a black Brit may have personally experienced racism, chances are the Nigerian in Nigeria hasn’t. Yet both clearly seem to have shared something unifying in recent weeks, and I have wondered what exactly is at play here, beyond the ubiquitous and increasingly indefinite concept of ‘racism’. A discernible majority of the black opinion I have engaged points to the key role of another, slightly more specific, R-word: Respect.
The Nigerian who has never travelled abroad and the black Brit are united by a shared sense of global disrespect for the black race. The video of a white policeman casually snuffing the life out of George Floyd was a particularly humiliating reminder of that disrespect. Hence the outpouring of global support for the Black Lives Matter Movement from black people who otherwise face very different struggles in their everyday lives.