The murder of George Floyd, a 46 year old Minneapolis resident at the hands of police officers sparked a national wave of riots across America at what was considered to be racially motivated police brutality. Protests were held at Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Fort Worth as well as numerous other locations. The rage and vitriol aimed at an institution that is meant to protect citizens not murder them.
The anti-racism group Black Lives Matter were the main instigators of the protests with other minority organisations joining in to show unity in the face of apparent adversity. These alleged peaceful protests were met in Washington by a strong and determined backlash by riot police. Tear gas was deployed at the protestors in attempt to move them further away from a church that US President Donald Trump was visiting for a photo shoot opportunity.
These barbaric scenes have been watched the world over thanks to extensive media coverage and many uploads to YouTube of videos taken on smartphones. Due to this there has naturally been a surge in online search trends relating to the protests, the groups involved and the victim himself. Donations have been pouring in internationally for activist groups who deem themselves ‘on the front line’.
In the midst of this is a peculiar tale of one British man who has found himself trending on Twitter and other social media sites despite the fact that he only ever posts links for his English Studies students in order for them to find further literature.
His name is Klive Smatters.
Mr. Smatters, 42, lives in Wigan and has taught at the Godfrey Bloom School for Boys since 2003. He keeps in contact with his students via Twitter on which he shares links to literature sites, further reading and poetry competitions for his students. This task kept the teacher moderately busy but the last two days have changed everything.
“Up until the end of last week my account had around 100 followers – mostly a combination of work colleagues and pupils. I then noticed an influx of followers many of whom were American and obviously strangers to me. Soon I was being inundated with direct messages from people telling me how they support my cause during these horrendous times. Some were asking me where they can donate money to in order to help our fight against white privilege. I didn’t have a fecking clue what these people were on about!”
It wasn’t until one of my colleagues noticed that perhaps it was something to do with my name. You see at the school I teach there is another colleague there who shares the name Klive Smatters, so in order to differentiate between us I named myself Blac Klive Smatters. I would have spelt ‘Black’ correctly but I ran out of characters to use! Next thing I know my name is being put next to a hashtag and everyone wants me to fight the President! Barmy!”
Mr. Smatters went on to tell us that since Tuesday he has had to meet parents of pupils at the school, as well as members of the board, to defend himself in response to the accusations that he is the leader of an activist group.
“One parent asked me if I thought it was appropriate to lead an aggressive protest group at the same time as being a teacher. I replied that she was mistaken and that I was very much not involved in any form of protestors. She then went on to call me Hitler and that I was a Jew hater, which I just simply could not comprehend.”
“Now there are risks to my job security, as well as death threats from Neo Nazis. One woman in the US wrote to me and said that I was her only hope to live and equal and respectful life in America and offered to donate $40,000 to my cause. Believe me I was very tempted, I almost urinated in my own pants!”
Whilst Internet notoriety is generally seen as a goal for most budding trend setters it does seem that being an overnight sensation accidentally also comes with its drawbacks.