IN the midst of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, a movement calling for racial and ethnic justice and equality, one Twitter user decided to use his platform to spread hatred and racism.
The UK rapper Richard Cowie, better known as Wiley, unleashed an onslaught of antisemitic tweets just the other week. These tweets were accompanied by hateful videos on Instagram.
In these he perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the Jewish people. Positioning Jewish people as racist, money-loving, and powerful figures that control everything. From the statement “get that antisemitic bullshit out of here,” he disregards his own blatant racism, either oblivious or uncaring of the hate and hurt he is creating.
As the rapper in question is British, the UK government outlines that a racist or religious hate incident occurs if the victim or anyone else thinks it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on race or religion.
Despite this, and the many people allegedly reporting him and his posts, both Instagram and Twitter have not only left his accounts up, but many of his hate-filled posts remain as well. Twitter attempted to suspend his account; however, Wiley returned shouting “cowards” and mocking the fact that he returned so easily.
It is easy to be disheartened by an influential figure spreading hate speech. However, scrolling through comments on his posts and tags relating to him, it was heartwarming to see people of all race, religion, and background stand up to Wiley.
Police have confirmed they’ve received complaints about the rapper’s antisemitism and are investigating the situation further. Wiley was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his contributions to music in 2018, but many are now also calling for this award to be revoked.
We need to consider if this is symptomatic of a wider underlying sentiment spread by politics and politicians. Moreover, antisemitic sentiments have seeped into other aspects of the political climate, with some individuals using the BLM movement as an excuse to spread antisemitism. While this is certainly not the attitude of the entire movement, it has to be called into question that if you are antisemitic, you are not and can not truly be against racism as a whole.
No one is entirely unproblematic, and I recognise that perhaps you may disagree with certain politics. But hating on and encouraging violence towards an entire religion, culture, or people because of the actions of a few is inherently racist and wrong.
If you are struggling to see how this is racist: try replace the term “Jewish” with any other minority or oppressed group. How does it read now? How does it make you feel? It is okay to discover internalised racism, it’s not your fault. The important next step is that you recognise what and why it is racist, and then learn how you can be better in the future.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Old Testament
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” – New Testament
“He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought” – Quran
No matter where you find your faith, the message is all the same. Fostering peace and friendship is the way of God.
Even if you don’t believe in God, we may all be different, but we are all human. Therefore, it is our duty to stand by each other and lift each other up in times of need. With each other’s help, we can create a world of acceptance.
Rebecca Meier is a creative writing major at The University of Melbourne, graduating at the end of 2020. As an avid reader from a young age, she is a lover of words and language, recognising both their beauty and power.