THIS week pop artist and producer Wiley watched the effects of the power of a 48-hour Twitter boycott, after he posted a series of anti-semitic tweets to his almost 500,000 followers including one where he compared Jewish people to the Ku Klux Kan.

He referred to Jews as “snakes” and said they were “at war with black people”. That it took days for his tweets to be removed and a boycott by a group of prominent Twitter users to bring about a permanent ban on his account says much about the seriousness with which anti-semitism is treated on some social media platforms.

By mid-week the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate was trending on Twitter and many users joined in with the boycott. Wiley had been dropped by his management company in the interim and in a surely-career-ending interview he appeared on Sky News on Wednesday night to declare he was not racist, that he apologised for “generalising” and he was sorry if his tweets “were looked at as” anti-semitic. Now he’s to be the subject of a police investigation.

It was a car crash of a week for a man once dubbed the godfather of grime, whose music was seen as influential and innovative in the noughties, and who had been presented with an MBE just 2 years ago.

Behind this story there are important issues which often escape discussion. There’s something uniquely tragic about a black man not grasping or accepting that by tweeting anti-semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories he is perpetuating the racism and hatred that is directed towards his own community and other minority communities.

In the same way that black people have been dehumanised and stereotyped, Wiley’s repetitive tweeting about Jews ‘being in control’ are hundreds of years old, regurgitated by successive generations of anti-semites and racists, eventually leading to systematic ethnic cleansings to which history bears terrible witness.

The tragedy is that those who experience poverty, discrimination or hardship will often search for someone to blame, and with his wild tweeting Wiley pointed his black followers at Jewish people without realising that he’s fallen into the same trap of leaders or influencers of the past thus continuing the dreadful cycle of hate.

One of the most painful examples of his tweets was the false conspiracy theory that black people were the original Semites who were then usurped by white Jews and enslaved by them. In the age of social media and Youtube these theories are widely shared, often unchallenged and add to the atmosphere of conflict, but to see such hate speech spread by one member of a minority group about another community was doubly problematic.

That there is hatred and prejudice within minority communities towards other minority communities is a fact that cannot, and must not, be avoided.

And we in those minority groups do need to speak about it and challenge it if we’re to expect change generally. We can’t shrug our shoulders and say ‘yes, but that’s just a bit of fun’ or dismiss it as ‘banter’ or mutter about it 'being human nature'.

None of that makes it normal, or acceptable.

I’m exhausted by the number of times I’ve had to call out both anti-blackness and anti-semitism to members of my own community, so let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. And Hindu friends have confided to me about Islamophobia in their communities.

We give “it” names like ‘colourism’ or ‘anti-blackness’ and argue that it’s not the same as systemic racism that affects people’s job prospects, life chances, safety or liberty which is true to a point but it comes from the same root, poisons our thinking and, crucially, normalises inequality.

When inequality becomes shameful and socially unacceptable we will all have won a huge battle. That’s why within our communities we need to talk about and challenge hate speech wherever we see it, whomever it comes from, because by ignoring it we allow the atmosphere of hate generally to silently ferment around us, a hate that thrives amongst age-old tropes, stereotypes and perceived differences.

The trick for minority communities, it seems to me, is to discuss and challenge, not through the prism of tribalism and what makes us different or what makes us belong to a group, but what unifies us all.

If Wiley had stopped for a second and thought about the similarities that exist between black and Jewish people – oppression, subjugation, dehumanisation and discrimination – he would have realised that Jewish people are allies in the war on racism, that anti-semitism is one of the oldest forms of racism and that by repeating that cycle of hate he has done nothing to help racism against black people or any other ethnic minority communities.

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