In a lecture in Amsterdam on December 20, 2016, Janaya Khan, “a Black, queer, gender-nonconforming activist, social-justice educator and a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto,” analyzed the challenges black people are facing following the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the President of the US.
The following is the transcript of a segment of Khan’s speech that was posted on YouTube:
“While nationalism in Brexit [Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union], it’s in the Golden Dawn in Greece [ultra-right wing party], it’s rising up everywhere and we need to stop making the distinction between racists and regular people.
“Because here’s the reality. Those people at administrative power they might be the open and active racists, but it is the inactive people who made them in power.
“It’s now the people who are waving Confederate flags and wearing KKK [Ku Klux Klan] uniforms. Now, it was regular people with public white people just deserve a chance, who just needed a fair shake, because white people never get a fair shake, and it’s really hard for white folks, you know, all that privilege. [crowd laughing] Where does one even start? you know.
“Here’s the reality. As much as this is a very dire circumstance we’ve been here before. As a people we’ve been here before and we have a saying in Black Lives Matter when the most marginalized are free everyone else gets a little more free with this and we have the opportunity with how dire the circumstances are to change things, because here’s the thing – we don’t have to be remarkable to do it.
“I think there’s this idea that we have to be remarkable. I mean many of us are already is. But that’s not the point. We look at so many of our people who have passed on or have passed or who were in this world before and we look at them and we look up to Huey P. Newton [Co-founder of the Black Panther Party] and Assata [Olugbala ] Shakur [member of the former Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA) who was convicted of murder in 1977] and with Angela [Yvonne] Davis [a former leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party] and we think that they were remarkable people.
“They were remarkable. But we don’t start out that way. We beat how remarkable in the work that we do. We become remarkable when we fight for freedom, when we fight for justice, when we fight for liberation you too become remarkable when you do.
“Nobody starts out that way. So there’s anyone in this room that ever wondered what you would have done? Had you been around during the civil rights movement? Had you been around during the Black Panther Party? Had you been around during the antiwar movement? You don’t need to wander, it’s happening around you. And so you might have some questions for me but I have questions for you.
“When you are asked what you were doing when black people were getting free and when getting free we’re getting everybody else a little more free with this. What were you doing?”
In summer 2016, Janaya Khan accused “white supremacy” and “white people” of creating the conditions of a “race war” by systematically oppressing people and using police forces and military to brutalize them.
let’s be clear about some things:
when you make every attempt to eradicate entire populations of people and steal their land
when you steal people, place them on ships and enslave them on said stolen land
when the wealth and economy made by stolen land and stolen labour are then used to keep those populations oppressed, ensuring reserves experience some of the harshest conditions and enslavement mutates into the prison industrial complex
when you create internment camps, indentured labourers, exploitative conditions for migrant workers
when you create policies, legislation and institutions that depend on the exploitation of those populations who are denied access on every socio-economic and political level, who are most vulnerable to state sanctioned violence
and use police forces and military to brutalize those people
and its white supremacy/white people that created, facilitated, directed and benefited from the aforementioned histories and realities…
i’d say those are the conditions of a race war.
not people trying to break free of one.
In an interview to the British NUS (National Union of Students) Black Students, Janaya Khan explained in detail the ideology of Black Lives Matter and its long-run goals.
She is in favour of espousing “non-Police and non-prison base strategies” and working towards “actively demilitarizing the Police.”
Khan’s vision is based on an idea of Black Autonomy and black self-determination and it includes the developing of “our own autonomous communities” which will not need the Police.
She also fended off claims of black on black crime arguing that violence in Black communities is “a result of systemic oppression” by authorities.
Janaya Khan also claimed that the Orlando massacre, in which a ISIS-inspired devout Muslim murdered 44 people in a gay nightclub (June 12, 2016), “is not Islam” but “a result of centuries old hate” that was “constructed by imperialism.”
She warned that “white supremacy will blame Islam” and “it will use this to further justify inflated military response” in order “to kill Muslims all over the world.”
Blaming Islam is “racism”, according to Khan. “I will call out the racism that blames Islam, Muslims and Black and brown people,” she wrote.
Khan’s statement goes in line with the position espoused by Black Lives Matter – Toronto, the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence, police brutality.”
Black Lives Matter-Toronto exonerated Islam from responsibility of terrorism following the Orlando massacre and identified white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and militarism as the “enemy” and blame these four forces of responsibility for creating terrorism and homophobia.
“The enemy is now and has always been the four threats of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and militarism. These forces and not Islam create terrorism. These forces, and not queerness, create homophobia… Until these systems are defeated, until anti-Blackness no longer fuels anti-Muslim and anti-queer and trans bigotry, exploitation, and exclusion — we can never be truly free,” the posting of Black Lives Matter-Toronto read.
Background information on Black Lives Matter – Toronto
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