Forever Family protestors dressed as black paramilitaries look like Britain’s NFAC, and are not helping the fight against racism
Acknowledging August 1 as the day that the Slavery Aboliton Act came into force in the UK in 1834 is something that should be celebrated by our diverse society, but maybe not by masked men and women marching up a south London street with all the loaded symbolism of a sinister black paramilitary organisation.
For this is what happened at the weekend, with the incongruously named Forever Family took to the streets as part of a wider march, noting not just the formal end of slavery in Britain nearly 190 years ago, but demanding reparations as well.
Great idea. But then members of Forever Family, founded just last month, made the weird choice of wearing FF Force-emblazoned stab vests, black military-style uniforms, those weird fingerless gloves, balaclavas and other face coverings to broadcast the ‘family-friendly’ vibe they were seeking.
It was all eerily reminiscent of the appearance of the Not F***ing Around Coalition (NFAC) black militia in Louisville, Kentucky when the same fashion sense was on display with the added frisson that comes from accessorising with semi-automatic weapons. Despite the weapons, no one was shot at that event, but three people were injured when a gun accidentally discharged.
So that’s okay, it was an accident.Also on rt.com Leader of radical black-only militia NFAC ‘believes in violence’ & wants a real-life Wakanda for every black person in America
Led by “Grandmaster Jay” John Fitzgerald Johnson, the NFAC, just like Forever Family, also first came to light last month, apparently formed by those who think that Black Lives Matter is all a bit soft.
As the big man himself, Grandmaster Jay declares, “We don't want to negotiate, we don't want to sing songs, we don't bring signs to a gunfight. We are an eye for an eye organisation.”
I guess that also means it won’t stick by social distancing rules, which at least Forever Family encouraged on its promotional posters prior to the weekend’s event.
Also in the lead-up to the march, as reported in The Times, Forever Family founder Khari McKenzie told those planning to attend, “It’s going to be a clean, happy, family friendly [event].”
If I may, just a note for future “family friendly” marches: when planning a public awareness campaign involving a mass gathering where you want positive interaction with the wider community, think carefully about what wardrobe might be appropriate.
Maybe, instead of dressing as if to wage war against society, imagine that you are joining a young family for a picnic and day out at a theme park. You know the sort of thing: shorts, T-shirt with an ironic slogan, sensible shoes and maybe a sweatshirt if you think the weather might turn iffy. Baseball caps are optional.Also on rt.com Black Lives Matter in UK crowdfunds more than £700,000 in days, but do donors know the real ambitions of these radical activists?
This is the style of apolitical, unthreatening, everyday clobber that most people wear at this time of year. If you were dressed similarly, regular folk would have no qualms in approaching you, asking what your march was about, where they could find out more and how they might take part themselves.
Sure, chant out the usual, “What do we want?” call to arms. But maybe resist the battle cries of “We don’t know what you been told, Family taking back control”, which might just unnerve some fellow citizens. Because they just might start asking themselves, “Control of what?”.
The massive support earned by the BLM movement both here and in the US is not because the activists ratcheted up the aggression, the threats and the weapons. It’s because it argued a case in measured terms that others outside the movement could understand, believe in and support.
You don’t achieve that by scaring people. Maybe Forever Family has nothing to do with the NFAC, and no one has come up with any evidence to suggest a connection. But the hard right doesn’t need any proof, and already has the new organisation in its sights as a black militia out there threatening white society.
They are posting online videos of the weekend’s march attracting comments from the dark ages, as racists battle one another to see who can cause the most outrage.
It seems that Saturday may have been an avoidable step backwards, just when it seemed we were making progress.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.