Yusra Khogali is a woman who at one point had, as these things go, a fair amount of gravitas within the Black Lives Matter orbit.
According to the Toronto Sun, she’s the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, the organization’s official chapter in Canada’s largest city. She’s also a poster child for why conservatives don’t necessarily believe the transnational Black Lives Matter organization — as opposed to the lower-cased three-word construct “black lives matter” — is a particularly representative movement.
You may have seen Khogali’s name once or twice in your Twitter feed this week, although not because of any her own tweets. Her account is gone. Same thing with Facebook.
Before then, however, she left quite the trail.
In 2015, she wrote this message, which one popular Twitter user reminded us all of:
A charming message from the head of BLM Tornoto, who has been honored (a few years ago) by the city of Ontario for exemplary leadership. pic.twitter.com/AVtj86RJZ9
— James Lindsay, deviant in chief (@ConceptualJames) July 6, 2020
That’s James Lindsay, famous as one of the minds behind the “Sokal Squared” grievance studies academic hoax.
This, alas, isn’t a hoax. Nor is the fact that Khogali won a leadership award from the city. What Lindsay gets wrong is that the city was Toronto and that she received the award in 2018, after she wrote this, according to the Toronto Star.
The post got a bit of play in the media a few years back, though, and it’s worth revisiting if just because this is what Black Lives Matter Toronto was willing to countenance.
“[W]hiteness is not humxness,” Khogali wrote in the Facebook missive, which used post-gendered spelling. “[In fact], white skin is sub-humxn. [A]ll phenotypes exist within the black family and white ppl are a genetic defect of blackness.”
I don’t believe I’ll get an answer, but I’m curious — how does that work? Her explication reads like someone just watched her first Louis Farrakhan speech on YouTube and was duly mesmerized: “[W]hite ppl have a higher concentration of enzyme inhibitors that [suppress] melanin production.”
White people are “genetically deficient” because, among other things, “melanin is present at the inception of life … directly linked to the strength of the nervous system … directly linked to the strength of neuro systems affecting capacities like intelligence, memory and creativity.”
It also “enables black skin to capture light and hold it in its memory mode which reveals that blackness converts light” and “directly communicates with cosmic energy.”
“[T]his is why the [indigeneity] of all humxnity comes from our blackness,” Khogali said. “[W]e are the first and strongest of all humxns and our genetics are the foundation of all humxnity.”
“THEREFORE white ppl are recessive genetic defects. [T]his is factual,” she continued. “[W]hite ppl need white supremacy as a mechanism to protect their survival as a people because all they can do is produce themselves. [B]lack ppl simply through their dominant genes can literally wipe out the white race if we had the power to.”
“[D]o you ever wonder how black ppl after centuries of colonial violence, genocide and destruction — no matter what systems created to make us extinct … how we keep coming back?” she concluded.
“[I]t is because we are superhumxns.”
This post, unearthed by the Toronto Sun in 2017, was deleted, because of course it was, though it wasn’t the only controversial statement Khogali had made on social media:
….and another deleted classic from Yusra Khogali pic.twitter.com/SHvrpmamO5
— Adam (@adambeis) July 6, 2020
That’s not even particularly surprising, given what we know about Khogali. It had also, like the strange post about eugenics, been written before she became a media figure.
In a column for the Toronto Star shortly after that tweet — and the backlash it caused — she said she was reacting to negative tweets.
“During Black History Month, I was bombarded by tweets from white men asking me to prove that racism, Islamophobia and misogyny exist. Why should I have to prove the existence of the forces that torment me and members of my community to people who don’t believe they exist and, worse, who perpetuate them?” she wrote.
“And so two months ago I tweeted, ‘Plz Allah give me strength not to cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today.’ I put my rage and trauma into words, not action, not threat. Faced with hate, I sought restraint from god and support from my online community.”
That tweet got traction, however, after she became visible due to the BLM movement.
— CFS-FCEE (@CFSFCEE) June 6, 2016
“I am not a public official. I am not a police officer. The state does not entrust me with violent weaponry. I have never contributed to the mass targeting of a community. All I have done is used a turn of phrase, a rhetorical flourish, to voice my frustration and dared to be a person calling for justice,” she wrote.
“To date, I have directly received many disturbing death threats from white supremacists across the country. Somehow a tweet I wrote out of anger months before our protest began has become a bigger media story than our protest’s many and profound accomplishments.”
Whatever the “profound accomplishments” of BLM Toronto, Khogali is a public figure and her thoughts on race are, um, illuminating.
This isn’t to say she should be marked by her opinions forever, but it isn’t as if she disowned this stuff when given the opportunity to, either. And that was just for the tweet. Khogali’s strange “superhumxns” talk — which sounds like nothing more than someone who’s skimmed Nietzsche’s philosophy and Farrakhan’s eugenics — is genuinely frightening for someone who would go on to help lead Black Lives Matter Toronto.
And that’s the bigger story here. Khogali is no different from the racist trolls you can find in social media’s dingier corners, should you want to look hard enough. They aren’t oft allowed to remain in any degree of control of a major group like the Black Lives Matter chapter in Canada’s biggest city.
This isn’t your ordinary left-winger. This is someone who, in the not-entirely-distant past, called white people “sub-humxn.” When you don’t consider an entire race human, you can do the math as to where this leads next.
Black Lives Matter Toronto isn’t particularly upfront on their website about who their leadership is, so it’s unclear whether she’s still in a position of power with the organization.
The most recent evidence is an event listing from early March at York University’s Centre for Feminist Studies; in the brief bio section, she’s described as “a black feminist multi-disciplinary educator, writer, performance artist, activist, public intellectual, emcee and grassroots community organizer. She co-founded the Black Lives Matter Toronto movement that has shifted the current political landscape of Canada by actively working to dismantle all forms of anti-Black racism.”
The other kinds of racism she’s all right with, though — and Black Lives Matter Toronto was all right with that, too, apparently.
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