The UK and US alike dupe minority populations into believing they benefit when elite representatives of their ethnic groups gain fame and power, even though those elites almost always embrace their powerful new milieux while discarding their downtrodden former peers, Barnes, a major figure in football, told RT’s Ben Swann on Friday.
Barnes believes both countries’ anti-racism movements have focused on “sexy” racial incidents rather than the problems of systemic racism and the class struggle that underlines it all – to their own detriment.
“Until we start to change what’s happening down below for the average black person, nothing will change,” Barnes said, pointing out that the process is repeated time and again, of “an elite group of people who want to elevate themselves into positions of power using the masses as an excuse to then say ‘I am representing the people.’”
Ultimately, however, “nothing changes” for the greater minority community those social climbers hailed from, he said.
He cited the #MeToo movement – which began as an effort to call attention to how poor black women were being abused in their communities, before it was hijacked by Hollywood actresses – and Black Lives Matter, which focused on black men being killed by white policemen to the exclusion of more common forms of inner-city violence.
He urged black celebrities to use their positions to effect real change in the communities they come from, highlighting the example of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who used his “superstar” platform to demand something as simple as school meals for the impoverished children of his city.
Rather than “giving elite black people positions of power to then try and prove and fool people into thinking things are changing,” activists should “do it the other way around,” Barnes said, arguing that focusing on increasing representation in the media, as the UK had, merely resulted in black people being disproportionately represented on television – 20 percent, as opposed to the three percent they make up of the UK population. Instead, the masses should be prioritized, Barnes believes.