Monday, 6 February 2012

Black and white

Post by Ash

The recent concern over acts of racism both proven and alleged within the Premier League (Suarez at Liverpool and Terry at Chelsea) remind us all that the spectre of discrimination within  our society is never that far away. After all, what we see on the field of play is often no more than a reflection of what we ourselves may experience in everyday life. Yes, great strides towards eliminating such prejudice have been made, and we can rightly be pleased by our standing as one of the most racially-integrated societies in the world. But then the reminders of the distance still to be travelled are rarely far away.

It could be a casual jokey remark from someone in your company or hearing , or an uncritical reference to an alarmist newspaper story. It could perhaps take the form of a regurgitation of statistics, purporting to show the numbers of immigrants taking `our` benefits, or some anecdotal story about the laziness of certain ethnic groups. It could even be, as I was unfortunately recently privy to, a repetition of the old mantra that a house being sold in your predominantly white neck of the woods is to be purchased by a ` non-white` (you can probably imagine the actual words used; conveniently transferable to fit various minorities) accompanied by stern warnings of the impact this will have, both financial and social.

 These instances all have one thing in common, particularly when no attempt is made to place any of the dialogue within either a critical or objective context; they demean. Not just the character of the  perpetrator, but those of both the individual or group who are prepared to tolerate receipt of  such `pearls of wisdom` without question or rebuttal, and of course, those who are the targeted subject of the abuse.
A genuine, thoughtful, and sensitive discussion about the  concerns  experienced along the road to integration is always to be welcomed. In that way communities move forward. In the meantime however, we all have a duty as best we can to challenge ignorance and prejudice about such matters, no matter where, how or when this occurs . These `little battles` may be tiresome, lose us some sympathy, paint us as over reactionary  (`I didn`t really mean it like that, you know`, you may subsequently be told),leave us feeling awkward, and possibly create into the bargain the impression that you`re a fun-less whinging liberal. But fought they must be. After all, that most basic human  principle of  `love your neighbour` was surely never meant to be optional upon your neighbour`s  colour.

The more we challenge such matters, be it at the pub, the match, or in the shop, the sooner we`ll all be able live in a truly tolerant, integrated and open-minded society.



  1. Brilliant, Ian! I am just preparing a service with much the same message.
    Graham the Anonymous

  2. These remarks appear to be aimed at the indiginous members of the population. However, if you read it as though it was aimed at the immigrant population,you get an entirely different slant.

    Take Muslim prejudice against the Infidels (ie the rest of us):
    There apppear to have widespread prejudice against fraternisation (let alone inter-marriage) with what they describe as a corrupt western society.

    Little or nothing is said about that.

    Take Same Sex Marriage: To disagree is 'Homophoebic',but surely marriage is all about procreation. This can be argued as discrimination against heterosexuality - but we are not allowed to say so.

    Take Blacks versus Whites: A prominent Black M.P. can make racist remarks about Whites without recrimination, but Whites cannot retaliate without the threat of punishment.

    To quote an old saying: "What is sauce for the Goose should be sauce for the Gander"

  3. I think most of us would agree that ALL racism is unwelcome from any group of people. The above comment is true in the sense that it's not just white people who can be racist. However mainly white western culture has, for centuries, dominated, marginalised and oppressed minority groups and rival cultures, so I can't really blame these other cultures for being somewhat fed up and outspoken. A black MP such as Ms Abbott made a 'racist' remark, however I think it was taken way out of context by such rags like the Daily Fail. And, she did have a point, colonialism definitely does use the divide and rule agenda, but I would add not just on black culture but other cultures too. What I don't agree with is perhaps being 'lumped in together' with the views and policies that my Government of past, present and future may have carried out, or those people who hold particularly intolerant views and express those views aggressively either verbally or physically. I am all for freedom of speech, but I feel there is a line that can be crossed when there is incitement to hatred. Hate speech comes in many forms and some of it is very subtle. Basically I don't like being judged arbitrarily and so try not to judge others myself. I'm speaking from a British Irish ancestry and experienced racism (though mild) during the 80s. I think retaliation of 'you said this so I can say that' mentality is stupid and pointless. 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.' A very wise man said once upon a time.

    I'm afraid I'm one of those people who get very edgy when people start making judgements about the Muslims and Muslim culture without having an in depth knowledge of them or their religion that they practice. And on the point of western society being is! We can talk all day about Muslim extremists and their 'intolerant' views while completely ignoring some of the Christian extremists and their intolerant views and be deaf to the Muslims who live and preach tolerance, compassion and equality every single day. I would argue that plenty has been said about the Islamic faith and Muslim culture over the last few years, a great deal of it extremely negative and racist coming from an ignorant and ill-informed point of view. That is not to excuse the terrible acts of crime committed by those few extremists. I could write more here about that but it really is a whole other comment. So, I would forgive them if only the Muslim world can forgive our acts of extreme violence too. With regards to their cruelty and misogyny in places like Saudi Arabia for example, which we consider completely backward, that is about a culture that has yet to move forwards, and I would hope we could support and encourage those that are fighting for justice and a better world within their own culture. I would also remember that we, as a white western Christian culture have also been (and in some areas continue to be) misogynistic,homophobic,brutal and lack compassion. Nor do all those who claim to be Christian follow the teachings of Christ. I'm just very wary of finger pointing and would prefer to take a balanced view.

    Apologies, will have to split comment as there isn't enough room... to be continued.....

  4. If, as a Christian, a Muslim, an atheist or in fact any person of faith or none, wishes to have an opinion that marriage is purely for pro-creation then that is entirely up to them. However, should the State have any authority over a private matter and does the State get to dictate private morality? Therefore if a religion wishes to conduct a same sex marriage they should be allowed to do so. With commercial ventures such as a B&B, you wouldn't argue that you should have a sign up saying No Blacks, No Irish etc would you? Those days are long gone (I hope!) But back to the point, marriage is not necessarily all about having children. One would hope it is a genuine commitment of a couple dedicating their lives to each other, to live in love and be strengthened by that commitment. Of course for many reasons it doesn't always turn out that way. But would you deny marriage to childless straight couples? Or those that marry much later on in life? No of course you wouldn't. So I would examine this and see that really it's not about having babies or bringing them up in a safe secure family that can only be achieved by one man and one woman. There is plenty of well documented evidence to suggest that this 'perfect ideal' of marriage being one man and one woman is in fact not all it's cracked up to be. There are many different types of family which work very well and help bring up perfectly well adjusted children. So this dislike of same sex marriage is not based on evidence or any practical value of marriage. So I would now examine my attitude and ask myself....perhaps I just don't like gays? If that's so then that would make me homophobic because I am placing my values upon another without justification.

    So in my humble opinion, to quote old sayings is akin to keeping up old traditions, not all of them are healthy and some should be done away with completely.

    Finally, nothing is ever as black and white as it seems ;)

  5. There is much in what you say Liz. but at the same time we must not blind ourselves to the fact that Islam is working to an agenda, and that agenda is to gradually take control of western countries one at a time until islamic sharia law is universal in the west.

    Britain is in line to be the first country to fall.

    There is a demographic time-bomb ticking away Liz.
    The indiginous population has a falling birth-rate - now well below the number required to maintain itself. Against this the islamic birth-rate is well in excess of break even.

    It has been calculated that Britain will come under islamic rule within the next fifty years, and the USA not long afterwards.

    I agree with the philosophy of 'Live and let live' - but only as long as it does not affect the rights of others to do the same.

  6. Hi Cynic, thanks for your reply. I agree that it shouldn't be the case that one group dominate over another because their views will then become more predominant to the betterment or detriment of the whole. So fostering an inclusive and tolerant society where all views are heard and where different factions come together and work together to create community, trust and understanding is the way forwards. I understand this sounds idealistic and easier to say than to put into practice. However, it isn't impossible and has been achieved in many places, while other places still have a long way to go.

    My own personal opinion is that if you are an ethical person and believe that the human race is one race made up of many interesting people and ideas and deserving of compassion then you should live by those ethics or values no matter how daunting a task it seems.

    Now with regards to the Muslim agenda, where is this agenda to be seen? Where are the facts, the evidence to support your argument? Are you reading from the Koran? From a Muslim cleric, from a Muslim extremist point of view or from popular media sources? Or do you have access to documents that ordinary folk do not? The above is quite a statement you are making, and one I have heard before, yet so far has not been supported by any real facts or evidence. Therefore just to state such an argument as fact is a little worrying because it creates fear. And there is plenty of that to go about whipped up by the media and politicians for their own nefarious ends already. (part 1)

  7. How do you feel about Christians or Western Society dominating the Muslim countries and their culture? Christian evangelists calling for crusades and death to Muslims (as well as many other groups)? Do those few represent us all? They certainly don't represent me and my views. And this will be true of those is other faiths such as Islam.

    There may be a few Muslims who interpret the Koran for their own ends, who may preach that their way is 'better' their values more 'Godly' and that the West should follow. Funnily enough there have been plenty of those in the Christian faith over the centuries and there still are. However, what you don't hear about and should, are the Imams working tirelessly with other faith groups in their community, carrying out community projects for the benefit of all. Those dedicating themselves to educating their young men and women against the hate speech of extremism. An Imam in Canada recently has began a process of re-education with regards to the rights of women and is working very hard to end the oppression of women within Muslim culture. That doesn't sound to me like they have a deadly plan to take over the world, that sounds to me that they share a common ground and want to integrate and be part of the country they now live in.

    As for the ebb and flow of population, Britain is and always has been a 'mongrel nation' what has made Britain great, interesting and diverse is these different flows of population that I feel add to us as a country, it doesn't take away. Most of the things we call 'British' are in fact no such thing originally, but it becomes so. Yes Britain is changing, this is not a new phenomenon, it has happened since the dawn of ancient British history, but for those who for at least a few years have been used to a certain way of life, change can seem scary and threatening.