Australian racism targeting Black Lives Matter

In this briefing we look at an Australian who has jumping on the bandwagon repeating racism from overseas about the Black Lives Matter Movement. While we won’t identify the poster, according to their profile they are from Queensland and hold a university degree from a South African University. The poster is male and of an age to have grow up in Apartheid South Africa.

In an earlier briefing we looked at online antisemitism during COVID-19. Our briefing highlighted the concerns of Jewish organisations around the world at the start of the outbreak – based on past experiences of Jews being blamed for disasters. We noted how antisemitism in the US had been rising sharply prior to COVID-19. We also noted how much of the data was from far-right groups on fringe social media platforms, groups who are always antisemitic, and that COVID-19 was influencing their messages, but less than might be expected. That’s not to say the antisemitism isn’t there, just that COVID-19 related antisemitism, while present, wasn’t getting a huge amount of traction.

In response to this post someone commented on our page:

Note that the hash tag is NOT #BlackLivesMatter but #BlackLootingMatters. It is also an attempt to shut down a discussion about antisemitism. We removed the comment and banned the poster.

On this person’s Facebook page there are a number of posts with similar themes. In this first example they comment on loving photoshop as they post a doctored picture of a protests

Another post labelled as a “public service announcement” is written in the style of a fake Black accent calls for Apple to enable and respect warranties on decides stolen from stores which were robbed during protests. There are multiple messages of racism in the post. The imitation of a Black American voice is itself a form of racism, but the main theme here is again promoting the idea that the protestors are responsible for looting. This one goes further suggesting Black Americans feel a sense of entitlement to take what they like, an idea that plays into a racist narrative.

In another post this person refers to such theft as “affirmative shopping” and a “South African innovation”. According to Dr Johan Burger, a South African criminology expert, in South Africa some in the Black community “feel hopeless and neglected and, to a large extent, alienated from the structures of the state” and as such “don’t feel part of society or that the laws apply to them and, therefore, feel entitled to steal and commit all types of crimes.” The poster has taken that background to crime in South Africa, generalised it to all Black South Africans, and then transposed it to apply in America. Given their other posts at aroudn the same time, they are likely suggesting Black Americans must be responsible for the theft, though in this post that isn’t stated.

A much older post from this person includes the magical ward against being held accountable for their actions online. It is a post claiming they “deny” permission for others to use their pictures, information or posts and asserts it is “forbidden” to take action against them based on what they post. Then it throws in A references to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) section 1-308 and the Rome Statute. This a favourite of conspiracy theorists but it has absolutely no legal effect. As Snopes explained back in 2012, “Before you can use Facebook, you must indicate your acceptance of that social network’s legal terms, which includes its privacy policy and its terms and policies. You can neither alter your acceptance of that agreement nor restrict the rights of entities who are not parties to that agreement simply by posting a notice to your Facebook account”.