BBC News

How white people, like Lady Gaga, can speak out online about racism

By Michael Baggs
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightGetty Images

Lady Gaga has asked "people of colour" for advice on how white people can support the black community following recent events in Charlottesville.

She faced fierce criticism when she first tried to share her views on racism in the US.

A hashtag she started, #ThisIsNotUs, trended following clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists.

But many claimed the use of the hashtag, by white Twitter users, was a form of denial.

Critics say #ThisIsNotUs promoted "distancing" from violence and deeper problems in US society and say American history is full of instances that show racism is part of its white culture.

Lady Gaga has now asked for help on what she, and her followers, can do.

"It's very obvious that there is a race problem and it has taken for this to happen for people like Lady Gaga to understand that," UK-based writer and activist Chardine Taylor-Stone tells Newsbeat.

"Do you not know the history of your own country?"

America's history was raised by Donald Trump during a press conference on Tuesday, where he asked if Americans should stop celebrating George Washington because he had once owned slaves.

Chardine believes "saying that, 'We are all the same' is the worst thing a white person can do."

"We need to accept there are differences and by saying, 'We are all the same' flattens out other people's identities and that often ignores some of the issues."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionLady Gaga was talking about violent clashes at a 'Unite The Right' march in America, where one woman was killed and many injured

But Chardine says she wants to encourage people to share their feelings, because she believes the support of allies in today's fight for equality is "extremely important".

"There are statistics that say most white people don't have any people of colour in their immediate social circle," she says.

She urges supportive non-POC to share facts from educated sources, such as Black Lives Matter, to their followers, who are more likely to be non-POC themselves.

"It's really important for us to keep sharing this information because it's all connected to people who have never even heard of the stuff that's going on," she says.

"Share and spread that information and say, 'We need to listen, we need to support, we need to educate ourselves on white supremacy.'"

Lady Gaga's fans also had some suggestions on how she can engage more positively in race issues and the white supremacy problem in he US.

However, the response wasn't all positive.

She was also criticised by a Twitter account called White Nonsense Roundup, which likened Lady Gaga's request to a rape victim teaching a rapist why his actions were wrong.

The singer also polled fans over Donald Trump's recent comments that there was blame on "both sides" in Charlottesville and told followers that the president's father was arrested in 1927 following a Ku Klux Klan march.

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Related Topics

  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Lady Gaga
  • Racism
  • Donald Trump
  • United States
  • Charlottesville