Facebook/Twitter and racists
One of the less savoury sides of social media, particularly Facebook, is the small minority of racists who regularly post messages.
In that annoyingly invasive way that racists have, they dress up their racism in reasonable clothes in an attempt to make anyone who takes issue look sensitive. Obviously, being racist they’re generally too stupid to see how they give themselves away.
The current trend is Islamaphobia, with “news” stories regularly posted in which a Muslim has committed a crime and is thus portrayed as representing all Muslims. After one such posting, I tried asking where the story about white British Christian Ian Watkins sexually assaulting young children was, and whether he represented all Christians or Britons, or indeed all the Welsh, but answer came there none.
Other religions similarly escape: it was never claimed when Charles Saatchi hit the headlines that Jews routinely discuss difficult issues by putting their hands round their spouses’ necks, and Parsis are not generally labelled as 100% homosexual with big moustaches, despite their number including Freddie Mercury.
The racists’ general argument is that Muslims are destroying traditional English life, with even those who commit crimes in other countries having this power. Oddly, the racists never state which traditions they want to bring back. Knocking all your teeth out (a pre-dentistry tradition that continued until the 20th century), losing half your children to diphtheria or bringing back 14-hour days in satanic mills perhaps? Maybe the world wars or women being banned from voting? Sending children up chimneys and only travelling by horse? Only having three television channels and no mobile phones? Obviously, they don’t actually mean anything: they’re just racist. There never was a golden age of Britishness.
Sometimes the world plays into their hands, and so was the case recently when Universities UK — which represents university vice-chancellors — said that, under some circumstances, seating plans that segregated the genders would be allowed, if requested by speakers from orthodox religious groups. By which they mean hardline Muslims.
It’s worth pointing out that no speaker has made such a request: the organisation was using a hypothetical case featuring a hypothetical speaker invited to talk about his faith, and hypothetically requesting segregated seating areas for men and women. But it’s drivel like this that plays into racists’ hands, because it’s so stupid. No-one in their right mind is going to agree with it.
Anyone who has travelled will know that if you go to other countries, you follow their customs: if you go to a Muslim country you dress modestly, just like if you go to Australia you don’t drink much and go to bed early. (No really: Ozzies hate British visitors going over and keeping them up late drinking).
Similarly, anyone living in England should follow our customs, one of which is that we treat both sexes equally. There was a time when we didn’t, but that was 100 years ago during the Golden Age Of Sending Kids Up Chimneys and we’ve made some changes since then.
If you don’t like it, go and live somewhere else. It’s not racist to state that, but it is wrong to side with racists because of it.
The bigots also had a field day when a school in Accrington recently banned Enid Blyton books, on the grounds of them being racist.
Unfortunately, Blyton was writing at a time when right wing views were more widely held, and she was of her time She had golliwogs as baddies — replaced by Sly and Gobbo for television — and when Noddy meets the Tootles, he finds Romany gypsies who camp illegally and steal his car. She also vaguely disapproves of the rougher working classes and derided the law – she did invented the Plod, after all.
You can still buy the older books but the modern ones have been re-written to be PC and they suffer accordingly, being much less interesting and dull to read: Blyton is not popular because she was a bad writer.
Upon hearing of the Accrington ban, the racists rallied round the cause, because it was (they said) a loss of Britishness to ban a series of books that featured golliwogs, one of whom was called Nigger. The word is part of our language, the racists claimed.
Strangely they did not use other words that were equally popular at the time: “Hey, the bluenose big cheeses have bumped off that broad Blyton!” was not a phrase we saw used.
Racists don’t argue thus because they want to protect all old fashioned words and ideas. It’s just that racist one and, by deeming it to be somehow special, it only reveals their racism. They want to protect it because it causes offence to people of a different colour; we doubt they’d defend a book that used words like spackers and flids, both acceptable at one point but not now.