"We’re investigating the person in this photo in relation to a hate crime"
The Metropolitan Police are searching for a woman of South Asian descent displaying a ‘coconut’ banner at the Pro-Palestinian march, categorising it as a hate crime.
The march took place on November 11, 2023, in central London, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part.
Many participants held up placards, calling for the attacks on Palestine to stop as well as a ceasefire.
But one woman used the protest to express her views on Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman.
Her placard featured a picture of a coconut tree with some coconuts on the ground. Sunak and Braverman were depicted as two coconuts.
The Met Police are now investigating the woman and on X, the force wrote:
“We’re investigating the person in this photo in relation to a hate crime that took place today.”
However, many are questioning if carrying a banner with images of Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman as ‘coconuts’ is a hate crime.
The depiction of the imagery refers to the term ‘coconut’.
In this case, it is being used to describe a person of South Asian descent as being brown on the outside and white on the inside.
This term is often used within the British South Asian community to describe a person who has no real connection with their roots or culture.
Depending on the person, it is often said as a joke but it may be offensive to those receiving such labels.
But this is the first time that this terminology is being seen and highlighted as a hate crime, especially by the police.
It might be because the placard depicts two government ministers, including the Prime Minister, turning it into a hate message. However, it is unclear.
Despite the police appeal, comedian Tez Ilyas saw the funny side and questioned why it has been categorised as a ‘hate crime’.
Along with laughing emojis, he tweeted:
“How is this a hate crime?”
How is this a hate crime?! ?? https://t.co/behdkUPLDv
— Tez (@tezilyas) November 11, 2023
Many replied to his tweet and asked the same question. One user said the woman’s placard was racist, writing:
“Tez, its racist. I remember at school there was a thing, ‘bounty bar’, was used as a racist slur.
“This is the same thing. You can say how crap Sunak and Braverman are without the racism.
“Anyways don’t come for me… I’m fighting people that I assumed were intelligent, peeps I’ve followed for years… don’t want to fight you too!”
Another agreed: “It doesn’t get more racist than this. Among anti-racists, you find some of the worst racists of them all.”
However, many others are still unsure why the incident is a ‘hate crime’.
One user said:
“If someone takes offence it’s a hate crime. That’s how it works these days.”
Another asked: “How is that a hate crime?”
The CPS website states that the law recognises five types of hate crime based on:
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender identity
A crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if the offender has either:
- Demonstrated hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
- Been motivated by hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
In conclusion, the only possibility that this placard can be categorised as a hate crime is related to race, hence it is deemed as racist.