The very basis of Bono’s engagement of selected African development issues and the elites he engages is racist. His formulation advances the white (wo)man as savior and Africans as the goods than must be packaged and arranged without contaminating the structural and ideological hierarchy of whiteness.
Bono is the post-colonial iteration of Kipling’s white man’s burden’ and his presence in African affairs is racist.
I have been saying this for years and for years folks who are fans of his music and media personality have been reacting negatively in my admittedly small circle of interaction.
I remember a student once confronting me about my views on Bono after a spirited conversation in class.
She told me that one of her most memorable moments was meeting Bono. “He is such a good soul and it is hard to believe he would be tricking Africans since he has nothing to gain from doing that,” she said staring at me in a mix of bewilderment and anger.
Bono has manufactured his presence in African affairs. It was an easy entry for a man who hardly threatens the structural conditions and history that makes him relevant to the elites he engages in the West and on the continent.
He is like a circus of privilege. He picks and chooses battles and offers nothing more than the illusion that he can deliver change and a new engagement. And as he does this he removes the voice and agency of the downtrodden and Monbiot argues.
It is an old story couched primarily in a racist imagination that cannot break the stranglehold of lopsided capitalist values that created a world where an uninformed clown like Bono thinks he is an agent for change.
Bono is the mainstream. A superficial caricature at best who has enough access to imperial clout to make himself appear as he does in the picture above.
Bono’s gaze is that of a colonial creation. He is the post-colonial oppressor and no friend to oppressed people in Africa or anywhere else.
History textbooks should all be titled “White Fanfiction.”
White Male Fanfiction.*
No, I said White Fanfiction and that’s what I meant, or did you forget how you learned in school that Susan B. Nigger Hating Anthony is an American hero? My status as a black man does not erase my male privilege, and white feminists love to point that out every five seconds, so I think it’s about time y’all started to accept that your status as women does not erase your white privilege. Do we need a history lesson about how many lynchings took place on the basis of a black dude looking at a white woman, or how the race riots on the beaches in Australia against middle eastern men was because one of them whistled at a white woman?