Socialist Worker

Defend those who back Black Lives Matter

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2734

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Black Lives Matter protests throughout the summer were widely supported (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Tory minister George Eustice has given “shelter to racists” after he failed to condemn Millwall football fans who booed players “taking the knee” for Black Lives Matter.

Some Millwall fans booed players before the east London football team’s match against Derby last weekend. 

When asked about the incident, Eustice said, “The issue of race and racial discrimination is something that we all take very, very seriously.”

But he added, “My personal view is that Black Lives Matter, capital B, L and M, is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in, which is standing up for racial equality.”

Eustice echoed remarks by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, when she dismissed Black Lives Matter as “anti-capitalist” and “political”. 

Sanjay Bhandari of anti-racist football charity Kick It Out said, “Careless responses like this provide shelter to racists who oppose anti-racist gestures.”

Positive

A statement from Stand Up To Racism said it has “been hugely positive for clubs to adopt take the knee” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The group celebrated its adoption “in response to deep concerns of players and fans about racism in the game and in wider society”. 

“Black players consistently play a hugely important role both on and off the pitch,” the statement adds. 

“Marcus Rashford’s stand over free school meals has saved hundreds of thousands of children from hunger this Xmas. 

“He shamed Boris Johnson into a U-turn, it should be remembered. And we know that black people have suffered disproportionately in the Covid-19 crisis. 

“So why would anyone wish to boo those making the argument that Black Lives Matter?”


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