A recent post on Black Lives Matter Minneapolis’ Facebook page tried to make a thought-provoking point about everyday racism. Instead it shined a gleaming spotlight on an African tyrant.
The post was supposed to be a takedown of anti-blackness in the English language — how messed up it is that “black” is so commonly associated with sin and misfortune, while “white” is associated with purity and peace. However, the sentiment was derailed by the direct quotation that followed, a cheeky witticism from one Robert Mugabe, one of the worst dictators in the world.
As we destroy white supremacy, we must decolonize the tools of language used to internalize anti-blackness.As...
Mugabe, while apparently a fountain of rebellious wisecracks when it comes to semantics, isn’t much of a role model in real life.
The 91-year-old former freedom fighter rose to power in 1980 after black Zimbabweans overthrew the white-minority government. But unlike South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, he emerged from political imprisonment bitter and corrupt, creating a one-party state and overseeing the ethnic cleansing of some 20,000 people that belonged to a rival minority tribe.
Once president, Mugabe rigged subsequent elections to keep himself in power, and ruled Zimbabwe like a king for 36 years. A steadfast suppressor of homosexuality, he criminalized even handholding and hugging between same-sex people, while turning a blind eye to the rape and murder of gays by government authorities.
Mugabe’s notorious land reforms of claiming white-owned farms for blacks — though perhaps well-intentioned in theory — were so violently mismanaged that they resulted in massive inflation and the complete destruction of Zimbabwe’s economy. Native Zimbabweans have fled the country in droves for the past two decades in search of menial jobs, where they are the frequent target of xenophobic mobs.
The guy's also flush with blood diamond money.
Hundreds of commenters on the post tried to note Mugabe's shortcomings. But Black Lives wouldn't bite into the debate, and the post remains unedited. Hopefully, that's just because administrators are trying to ignore the backlash till it inevitably dies, and not because anyone actually likes Mugabe.