These were the things that got me riled up this week, and not necessarily in that order.
If Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu’s fame hasn’t yet reached Nigeria, it certainly should. Lawyer, political and women’s rights activist, and founder of Women in Leadership publication spent the whole week schooling middle-aged, upper-middle class, privileged white British men on white privilege and racism as Megxit reached fever pitch in the UK.
First in the firing line was Phillip Schofield on This Morning. When he asked what examples she could give of racism agaist Meghan, Mos-Shogbamimu said: “That is another problem. When people keep asking ‘what examples?’ it makes me question: where have you been the last two years? What have you been reading? What have you been listening to?”
When Schofield then proved her point by saying he didn’t see the racism happening, Mos-Shogbamimu laid it out, continuing: “This is part of the problem. Let me explain what racism looks like from the lens of white privilege. White privilege whitewashes racist and inflammatory language as unconscious bias. It perpetuates the bigotry of intolerant white people as ignorant, it defends and protects their private views once spoken as misspeak, and then it camouflages racist behaviour as error of judgement.”
Mos-Shogbamimu added: “If you look at a lot of the criticism she faced, a lot of the examples, it sums up to one thing: ‘How dare she? She doesn’t know her place. She’s uppity.’ ‘When a black woman goes with the flow and does what’s expected of her, it’s all OK. But the moment she exercises independent thought, independent authenticity, she’s a problem.”
The education of privileged white middle-class, middle-aged men continued as Pier Morgan took on Mos-Shogbamimu on Good morning Britain. Morgan mispronounced Mos-Shogbamimu’s name, adding: “You’re going to call it racist aren’t you?” Then then went on to accuse her of race-baiting.
“I’m giving you examples and if you’re paying attention it’s the fact that you can’t see it because of your privilege. I’ve mentioned the racist and inflammatory language, I’ve mentioned the bigotry, the ignorance,” said Dr Mos-Shogbamimu.
She added: “Your words are feeding bigotry, misogyny, sexism and racism out there, and you’re not taking responsibility for how you have contributed to the so-called mess or royal crisis.”
On Twitter, Dr Mos-Shogbamimu continued the conversation on white privilege and its fervent denial of racism with the following:
“People triggered by truth of #racism and #WhitePrivilege can’t handle the truth. It’s reprehensible that WE not only have to defend ourselves from racism; but then expected to explain it & also bear the brunt of denials of our lived experience.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to step down as senior Royals has once again revealed the darker side of Britain which seems to have got more deranged since the 2016 referendum on Brexit, with the once stifled nationalists finding the courage to confidently air their racist views and unbelievably blinkered masses unable to see racism for what it is even when slapped across the face with it daily, turning on the very people for ‘race baiting’ when they openly speak of their daily experience as people of colour in the UK.
Sadly this privilege extends beyond home turf. The Sun today reported Gambian children being sold to British paedophiles for as little as £2-a-time by their desperate parents. Huge numbers of predators are heading to the West African country to take advantage of poverty and lax laws to abuse children.
The Sun reports unsettling sights of seeing boys and girls as young as two being accompanied by middle aged Western man, allowed to carry on abuse by the power and privilege their wallets and their skin colour afford them in a country where poverty means parents can ‘rent’ their children for as little as £2.
In an exclusive interview, Lamin Fatty, the National Coordinator of the Child Protection Alliance in The Gambia, reveals that both male and female tourists are targeting African minors.
He warns: “Sex is cheap in my country and children are being sold for as little as 150 dalasis, or just over £2 in your currency. Some of the parents know their children are being abused and they accept it because they are so desperate for food in their bellies. Others are too naïve to realise. They think the Westerner is paying their bills and helping their boy or girl out of the kindness of their heart, while in reality they have bad intentions. Child abuse is going on all the time in The Gambia and the government is not doing enough to put a stop to it.”
Imagine a place where government is so weak, laws are so lax that it becomes a paedophiles’ paradise for child abuse holidaymakers.
Then again, privilege isn’t always down to skin colour, nor paedophilia a white disease. The shocking story of self-styled prophet Michael Oluronbi made headlines. The so-called pastor was found guilty of sexually abusing six girls and a boy and convicted after a nine-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Aided by his wife, he repeatedly raped children and adults, telling them that “spiritual bathing” would “cleanse” them of evil spirits. Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston, Birmingham – the Cherubim and Seraphim Church – whose roots were in Nigeria.
He set up on his own group for about 40 adults and children – separate to the church and located at another address – where he began a practice of “spiritual bathing”.
The most unnerving part of the crime is it dates back decades to the 1980s. A string of sexual harassment and rapes over a 40-year period and this man was still allowed to parade himself as a pastor-prophet under the cloak of religion? A commenter on Facebook lamented the fact that such practice takes place all over Nigeria where privileged to be put on pastor’s pedestal and protected by religion, such beastly men carry on similar attacks and never run the risk of arrest or trial.
What skin colour provides paedophiles in The Gambia, the church provides charlatans in Nigeria: privilege. Also that very evil that has turned 95% of Britain into blinkered fools that refuse to call out racist behaviour and institutional racism.
By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo