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Social Media Blackout in Response to Sustained Racist Abuse Online

The MU will be standing in solidarity with this weekend’s social media boycott, to highlight social media company inaction on eradicating online hate and racism.

Published: 29 April 2021 | 5:21 PM Updated: 30 April 2021 | 10:18 AM
Photograph of a persons hands working at a keyboard, on a heavy wooden desk.
We hope that the social media boycott contributes to the conversation on the very real issue of racism and results in action from the organisations taking part. Photo credit: Metalab for Nappy

The MU stands in solidarity with The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the FSA during their social media boycott to highlight social media company inaction on eradicating online hate and racism.

It comes after an increasing number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic players have suffered sustained racist abuse online.

The boycott starts at 3:00 pm on Friday 30 April ends at 11:59 pm on Monday 3 May. The MU will be taking part alongside other music industry organisations including The Ivors Academy and UK Music.

Institutional racism exists

Tackling racism needs to happen online and offline. The MU has recently signed an open letter rejecting the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report and calls on the Government to implement in full the recommendations of previous reports.

The Sewell report claims that the UK is no longer an institutionally racist country but has been widely discredited for ignoring well researched evidence on structural racism. The report does not reflect the lived experiences of our members who experience racism or the reality of working in the music industry as a Black, Asian or minority ethnic person.

We are concerned that in its denial of structural racism, the Sewell Report makes it harder for racism to be challenged and anti-racist work to take place. It also undermines the substantial work happening in the music industry to tackle these issues.

This report takes the conversation on racism backwards, and the consequences of that will be felt by our members who experience racism. What the MU expected from the report was a commitment to action on race and poverty, but unfortunately the report delivered on neither.

Acknowledging that institutional racism exists is crucial

The Black Lives Matter protests last summer, the Windrush Scandal, the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and the Covid-19 pandemic are recent events that have exposed inequality, the true nature, and consequences of racism in the UK and how systemic racism is.

Acknowledging the existence of structural racism means it can be addressed at the highest level. Denying that structural racism exists denies the lived experiences of the millions of people who experience it in the UK, including MU members.

Tackling online harms

The Government must act to ensure its Online Safety Bill makes social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms and take action to tackle racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviours online.

Looking ahead

We hope that the social media boycott contributes to the conversation on the very real issue of racism and results in action from the organisations taking part.

The MU will continue its work to challenge racism in the music industry and in wider society and continue to partner with and support organisations such as Power Up, Black Lives In Music, the European Alliance for Audition Support and GIR BLK who are working to improve diversity and make the music industry more inclusive of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse musicians.

Play your part

The MU has resources to support anti-racist practice across the music industry.

That includes a four-part playlist to increase representation of Black British musicians in your teaching work, with notes on how to incorporate them, by saxophonist and music education consultant Nathan Holder. Explore parts one, two, three and four. Our Dismantling Racism reading list contains articles and books that may be useful for members in their own anti-racism practice.

Double Bassist Leon Bosch discusses his personal experiences of racism in classical music in an episode of Talking Classical, which you can listen back to online.

And Musician and Chair of the MU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Linton Stephens’ interview with founder of Blue Moon Dr. Joanna Abeyie about what it means to be anti-racist and how to be an effective ally. Watch the full interview on YouTube now.

Find out more about our anti-racism work and join our network for members who experience racism in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion hub. #NoRoomForRacism

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