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What’s in a name? (Examination of racism)

I was minding my own business, well as much as you can on Twitter, when I got a #followfriday from someone who suggested I follow a girl in America who happens to have a blog and as I am nosey I had a poke around in it and found this clip

Apparently it’s called Def poetry. It wasn’t so much the quality of the poem but the content that caught my imagination. The guy is making a point about the frequent and ill-judged use of the word nigger by some black people to address each other. I apologize for using the word but It’s just the once and I am using it purely to point out what he was saying. It just got me thinking about racism which I don’t usually do. Of course we hear it in the news all the time with the Stephen Lawrence trial taking place but it’s not something that affects my daily life, what with me living in white dominated leafy Surrey. We sheltered white people are lucky that racism is something that tends to happen to other people. What occurred to me though that racism is so often thought of as a white versus black thing.

I am pretty sure that many believe racism to be about discrimination based on a person’s skin colour, when in fact racism is defined in the Oxford dictionary the skin colour doesn’t get a mention.

Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior:

You often hear black comedians or angry black people directing their barbs at the ‘white folks’ I think that is a bit simplistic in the current day. Certainly racism, intolerance and discrimination have stalked black people since the white folks turned up and started running the place. But as an example back in the old slave collecting days it was the Arabs who did most of the collecting slaves for sale. Racism though is a far bigger picture than just black and white but that picture is easy to draw because it is the society that is most visible.

Our known cultures revolve around the USA and the UK with some mysterious Nations whose language we don’t speak off in the wings. What is my point? Well for example I would be interested to know how many black people or Indians are prospering in Japan? How many white Europeans are senior executives in Japanese Companies? How many Aboriginals are in senior positions in Australia? Why is it that the domestic staff and manual labourers in Middle-Eastern countries generally come from the sub -continent or Asia? How many Christians or Jews have any sort of authority or credibility in Muslim countries? Please don’t quote the Arab spring uprisings as a sign of change in the Middle-East. Religious tolerance will not change one bit. These are just people who want a vote and an Ipad. They will still hate the neighbours and the Israelis.  The current uprisings are as I have said before, just a rearranging of Tyranny.

Back to the white folks though. We hear of white Supremists in USA, Germany and Russia. But if you look at the definition of racism, white supremists are just racists, let’s not give them too much credit by giving them a special title of their own to make them sound more fearsome.  White supremists and Neo-Nazi’s make us think of proper Nazi’s from the war who delivered their venomous hatred with Machine-guns, Tanks, Artillery, and a ‘Final Solution’. These new guys though are just fools gathering for us to mock when they go for a noisy walk in bulk. Maybe a simple phrase like ‘super racist’ can be used to indicate they are more hate filled than the ordinary racist in the street.

Looking back at the racist folk who actually just don’t like, or are scared of black people, you do have to wonder where this attitude came from and this boils it down nicely for me. Let’s briefly change the racist title to anti-black for the purposes of simplicity. A proper racist doesn’t like Asians or Arabs either but then they don’t meet or interact with many Asians plus they might know some kung fu so best not take a chance of upsetting them. Sadly we do have bands of Arab Muslim extremists regularly calling for the overthrow of Western civilization and ideally the execution of we infidels on the television so they are easier to have a case against.

Back to the most common and visible racism though. Has the anti-black been maltreated by black people? That would explain an antipathy if it was genuine, but I’ll wager it’s not the case. Have they read of centuries of mistreatment of white people by black people? No as again I doubt your proper anti-black person is much of a reader and that tale won’t be found in any history book because it never occurred. So when these characters are in the European football stadiums making monkey noises and hurling racist abuse at the Black players and it is far worse in Continental Europe than it is in the UK. They are simply and clearly demonstrating that they are complete neanderthals live on TV. Sadly they don’t get this though and not enough is made of it.

I was going to start about education but I got depressed and changed my mind. Even the England Soccer Captain doesn’t like Black people. He screamed racist abuse at an opposition player and quite why he hasn’t been stripped of his title and evicted from the sport is beyond me. But then the elderly white man in charge of world soccer does think it’s OK to abuse those of other races during a game of soccer so I don’t know where you go with that. If you want to see this hatred in action properly have a look at the next global soccer tournament over this way. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that black players in, and black or asian supporters of teams playing in the Euro’s 2012 might get a rather rough reception in Poland and the Ukraine. Also the African and Asian Nations players and supporters might not get a totally warm reception in Russia at the Soccer World cup in 2018 either.

Where has the hatred come from? It is quite simply an extraordinary display of ignorance. I think we give racists far too much credibility by making the description something that requires some sort of understanding of what it means. These people are not racists; They are stupid, breathtakingly ignorant and ill-informed. We need a new far more derogatory term than racism. Racism should be for the national aversion to allowing those not of your race to join in your culture. You form your own opinion of which those nations might be I believe I know some of them but I won’t say here as I wouldn’t like to be harangued for calling a whole country racist. That’s not how you win friends or influence people. I’m just trying to get people thinking. I think maybe we need to stop taking individual rather than national racists so legislatively seriously and poke fun at them instead. Shame and exclusion is a better motivator for change than a rule surely. Rules were made to be broken but fear of shame and ridicule keeps us in check and dictates our actions. Shame and ridicule can make one understand their views are actually wrong rather than just against the rules.

I do know that in the UK and the USA. Any person from any race can take part in any element of culture and society they choose to, within reason. There are those who will espouse their dim witted views on the culture, skin colour or race of those they are ignorant of but thankfully, those people don’t tend to be in charge of anything important any more. I know of people who, when discussing Black or Asian people, say “but they aren’t like us”. Well some are and some aren’t but we can’t do much about that and why should we. I thought these days we celebrated diversity rather than feared it like we did in the old days. I think mostly we do, but that’s easy for me to say, I’m not the diverse.

9 replies »

  1. Great points! Glad that you take on such a taboo subject. Thanks a lot for the shout-out. 🙂 By the way, I love this line: “These people are not racists; They are stupid, breathtakingly ignorant and ill-informed.”

  2. Thanks Shauna. I do like a taboo subject because we all tip toe around things that we dont know how to articulate maybe. I did one on phobes a while back. I hope I am not an ist or a phobe. Well apart from my Shark phobia of course.

  3. Good sense as usual Sandy and you do have a knack of saying something quite harsh in a gentle way, which is good because it doesn’t ‘frighten the horses’ and scare off debate.
    Scaring off the debate though is what has happened in the UK. The term Racist has been used to label so many people that it has become devalued. So many people, who have genuine concerns about their culture and livelihood have been wrongly branded as racist because they have dared to ask for a debate on how many people are allowed into the UK, and whether they need to have any means of self-support, and the exceptions to that as a requirement, that once normal balanced thinking people have become resentful and angry. They still aren’t racist but they are now more entrenched in their positions and whereas they once looked for debate they have now given up on debate and just want their way.
    We all, I suspect have an opinion on who or which sections of the political community / activists are responsible for this damaging demonising but knowing that doesn’t help.
    Real racism is still a big problem and needs to be addressed but as with labelling sceptical Climate Change opinion as ‘Deniers’, deliberately associating them with The Holocaust, the real worth of the message has been hijacked, cheapened, de-valued and therefore weakened by those worse than mischievous activists.
    The use, but not abuse, of legislation to fight alleged racism is a valuable part of any toolbox aimed at eradicating racism. But using that same legislation, wielding it like a club to crush dissent is mindlessly stupid and guaranteed to ingrain resentment and anger. Sometimes, for instance with youngsters, their prejudices are learned behaviour from parents and older siblings, simple but firm and reasoned education can work wonders, even with older people. That should be the starting point in many cases, it isn’t.
    Finally, so called ‘Positive Discrimination’ which seeks to set itself up as something good and great because the end justifies the means and for that reason alone, is at least as obscene as any other sort of discrimination, also serves to corrupt and devalue the proper message and as a result engender resentment and hatred.
    Basically, fighting racism is much too important a matter to be in the hands of corrupt self-serving politicos and the full of its own and importance arrogant judiciary.
    Sorry it’s so long, I’ve tried to clip it where I could.

      • Ah, sorry Sandy, I did fear it was a little long, but I have to admit to being fearful of being misunderstood if I had tried to say it in too clipped a style. Let’s face it, racism is one topic none of us want to be misunderstood on.

        I’ll try to be brief in future, but that may depend on how serious the topics are of course. Apologies again.

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