‘End online anonymity – remove the racists’ hiding place’ demands Kate HudsonUnion Matters, Equalities July 14 2021
CWU head of equality & education identifies the key first step that must be taken if politicians are serious about taking action to stop the posting of racism, obscene abuse and violent threats on social media platforms…
“Online anonymity has got to go – people must be held accountable for what they do,” insists Kate Hudson, in the aftermath of the shocking comments that a vile minority posted on various social media platforms racially attacking three BAME members of the England football team after Sunday’s European Championship Final.
“It’s been made far too easy for nasty, vicious people to bully the innocent and anonymity fuels it, because it tells them that they can get away with it.
“The companies providing these platforms must stop – or must be made by law to stop – providing this safe hiding place for racists, misogynists, violent thugs and obscene abusers” she tells CWU News.
“Of course, removing the online racists’ hiding place, while absolutely necessary, is only one step, we have to continually wage and win the arguments against racism and for equality. We need to campaign actively and positively and this is an area where we, as a union, have been extremely active.
“Despite the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, we’ve still been engaging with our members as widely as possible on issues around equality and the fight against discrimination – with several inspiring online events, welcoming a broad range of guests to talk about their campaigns, featuring our own members talking of personal experiences and debating our own issues too.”
We spoke with Kate as she prepared for this week’s national executive council (NEC) meeting, at which the CWU’s anti-racism strategy will be one of the key items on the two-day agenda.
“I’m looking forward to discussing our proposals with the NEC on how we can take this work forward in the period ahead – and really looking forward to hearing the opinions and ideas of our NEC members,” she said.
With restrictions now coming to an end, Kate and her departmental team are planning to take this agenda out to the union’s regions and branches and are hoping to engage a larger audience in this conversation.
“We’ll also be discussing our new two-day equality training course for our reps – and I’m hoping we can find ways of making the course more accessible throughout all of our structures.”
An important part of the CWU’s anti-racism work has included a sporting theme and Kate stresses what a positive role sport can play in breaking down the walls of prejudice between peoples and communities.
“This is why our union’s work with campaigns like Show Racism the Red Card is so important – because they fight prejudice, call out racism whenever and wherever it occurs and also build on those massive positives that sport can provide.”
Describing her own feelings on Sunday night, Kate speaks for many when she says: “Like everyone else, I was desperately sad when England lost – but I was massively proud of them all and the fight they put up. I was also very proud that this was one of the most multicultural teams in the tournament – perhaps the most.
“Whether it’s England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, whether it’s the Euros, the World Cup or the Olympics, it’s wonderful when we all get behind our teams and our athletes, and this tournament, for me, brought back some memories of 2012 in terms of how sport can bring everyone together.
“Sadly, there was no ‘gold medal’ for us this time, but the England, Scotland and Wales teams all brought joy and lifted people’s spirits this summer, after a truly horrible past year or so.
“And,” Kate concludes: “The good thing is that, because this tournament took place 12 months later than scheduled, we’ve only got to wait until next year for the World Cup!”