If a newspaper came through my letterbox proudly announcing that it was produced ‘By Whites Only’, I would denounce it as racist filth, set it on fire and encourage my friends to do the same. How, then, am I to react when the latest issue of Peace News proclaims it is created ‘entirely by people of colour’ ?
My initial reaction to your boast was one of abject horror. It was racist. Is the implication that a coloured-only creative team is better than a white-only or mixed race one? Of course not. (Or rather, I should hope not.) But I feel this mentality falls into a trap all too common among many left-wing, right-on groups at the moment.
A good example here is Equal Exchange, the Fairtrade coffee suppliers, who have recently started labelling their coffee as ‘Grown By Women’. Hardly a shining example of ‘equality’. Surely Fairtrade exists to provide fair wages and equal opportunities to farmers and workers in third world countries? Unless they’re men, it would seem.
Perhaps the most dangerous element to this is that it creates – or at least enforces – the idea of division. That men are different from women. The root cause of any intolerance or prejudice, be it racism, homophobia, sexism, or anything of that ilk is the fundamental idea that there is a difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
By declaring that your newspaper is ‘created entirely by people of colour’, you are making a statement, which ultimately enforces the idea that being ‘coloured’ is in some way different than being white.
I have no doubt that your intentions were entirely noble, and done in the pursuit of equality and multiculturalism. But you have failed. You have emphasised the divide, and in doing so become part of everything you oppose.
Buck your ideas up!