Changing our understanding of racism


by Sunny
13th November, 2006 at 4:02 pm    

I’d heard of Kriss Donald only fleetingly before the three scumbags were convicted for his horrific murder last week. His name was frequently cited by BNP sympathisers as a supposed example of the media playing down racist murder perpetrated against whites.

Now that we know media restrictions prevented extensive coverage until last week, the trolls have already moved on to other victims who can be used as a means for their political ends. To their immense credit Kriss’s parents did their best to ensure he was not used as a recruitment flyer for the BNP.

But that does not hide the fact that we have a problem in this equation. The issue isn’t media bias (which is too subjective to warrant debate) but how we perceive racism.

Last Thursday I was invited to a discussion on BBC Asian Network radio asking “Is racism a big problem within the Asian community?” The simple and straightforward answer is yes and unsurprisingly almost all listeners who phoned in (of Asian origin) agreed.

These examples make some on the left cringe. Racism is not supposed to be a problem within minority communities because they are meant to be the victims in a global power-structure where the odds are stacked against them. Or that they cannot be racist because they themselves have been on the receiving end of prejudice.

But this dynamic ignores the fact that most people behave pretty similarly regardless of whether they are of the minority or majority ethnic group. The experience of ordinary people, as confirmed on the radio phone-in, was that Asians have as much a propensity to be racist than non-Asians. There is no point even denying something so obvious.

The international power structures matter very little to the gangs on the streets of Pollokshields, in Glasgow, where Kriss was brutally attacked. There it is every person or gang for themselves and race becomes a proxy for people’s frustrations or gang allegiances.

But to deny that minority groups can ever be prejudiced or “racist” has unfortunate consequences on a wider scale.

First, it neutralises a strong anti-racist and anti-prejudice movement within those groups. This is sorely needed since the level of animosity between Sikh, Hindu and Muslim groups is rising not falling. It is also necessary to counter the racism expressed at other races, primarily African-Caribbeans. But such anti-racist movements are neutralised by self-appointed “community leaders” who usually have little interest in interfaith dialogue (especially within Sikh, Hindu and Muslim groups), or by the major anti-racist campaigners since they refuse to accept minority prejudice and focus only on white people.

Second, this dynamic means minority organisations who are prejudiced against less powerful groups such as women, smaller religious sects and homosexuals of the same backgrounds, are not penalised for their actions.

In other words some white liberals will look away when an Asian organisation does something outrageous and preserve their indignation for white groups. Sometimes in fear of being branded racist or simply because those organisations are seen as victims. Again, this only reinforces prejudice within our communities.

The third problem is the obvious one. By letting racist and prejudiced “representatives” grab all the headlines, a distorted vision of the Asian community is presented in the media. People start assuming we are all mostly homophobic, misogynistic or religious nuts. Except that good manners prevents them from saying it openly.

Lastly, these policies help feed BNP propaganda that the system is stacked against white working class people.

To use Kriss Donald’s murder as a political stick de-legitimises what actually happened. His memory simply becomes a propaganda machine for whoever wants to push their own agendas.

But this does not excuse the fact that we need to examine the conditions that allow such horrific crimes to happen. As one local blogger wrote, the problem here is more of deprivation and gang-violence than racism. In general the different ethnic communities get on well with each other.

We also have to be careful of a media narrative that completely goes the other way, discovering black/brown on white racism as if is the big new threat. Proportionally, ethnic minorities are still more likely to be a victim of a racist attack.

Nevertheless, the academic framework for racism needs to be broken down and applied to real life. Institutional prejudices do exist, there is little doubt about that. In many cases however that prejudice is based on class and sex as well as race.

So I’ll repeat what I said the other week: the fight by minority groups for equality of opportunity, dealing with social deprivation and under-achievement is a fight that concerns all Britons. It should be made into a broader struggle than about being one tribe over another. It is no longer useful to look at “racism” through the traditional narrative.

[also posted on comment is free today]


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  1. ZinZin — on 13th November, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    The third problem is the obvious one. By letting racist and prejudiced “representatives” grab all the headlines, a distorted vision of the Asian community is presented in the media. People start assuming we are all mostly homophobic, misogynistic or religious nuts. Except that good manners prevents them from saying it openly.

    Considering that i live in a town thats 99% white i understand your fustration on this point. In such places the only visible ethnic minorities work in BME restaurants/fast food outlets and the only time they find out about their viewpoints is through the media. Which is why i chastise the guardian for giving a platform to Islamists, but then why blame the guardian when the islamists and other religious nuts are given funding, power and prestige by the establishment.

    On a broader point racial/religious groups competing with each other for funding is part of political MC. The anti-racism movement has neglected the problem of tensions between asians along communalist lines and black/asian racism towards each other instead they focused on white-racim only. They were right to do it but they did not keep their eye on the ball.

    An excellent article. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nick — on 13th November, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

    “In other words some white liberals will look away when an Asian organisation does something outrageous and preserve their indignation for white groups.”

    Sunny, you are so right. Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that feminism apparently exists only for white middle class women?

    Where are the feminists protesting against the veil or the second class status of many (though of course not all) women in minority communities? If they’re not white (and indeed middle class) it appears they don’t exist.

  3. Chris Stiles — on 13th November, 2006 at 6:23 pm  


    “In other words some white liberals will look away when an Asian organisation does something outrageous and preserve their indignation for white groups.”

    For too long a lot of liberal organisations took the view that “Racism = Power + Prejudice”, thereby dismissing prejudice on the part of non-majority communities as to be relatively unimportant.

    Ironically, they then tended to deal solely with power relationships – even using their own equation this was wrongheaded.

  4. William — on 13th November, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

    Sunny

    I agree

    It is no longer useful to look at “racism” through the traditional narrative.

    I also agree

    We also have to be careful of a media narrative that completely goes the other way, discovering black/brown on white racism as if is the big new threat. Proportionally, ethnic minorities are still more likely to be a victim of a racist attack.

    I listened to the radio prog and while I knew that racism existed amongst Asians I was surprised that so many were willing to phone in and admit it. It was a shock when the one guy said I am not racist I have black freinds but would not like a relative to marry someone black. (the bells! the bell!)

    Myself I am not sure what to do in the sense of broader policy. Maybe we can just take responsibility as individuals to challenge stuff when we encounter it. Of course it racism has to be admitted for change to take place. It is possible sometimes to change people. I once met a white guy who was appallingly racist. We, freinds and self etc challenged and talked to him over time. It turned out that his dad was in the National Front and had indoctrinated him. He, his son is not like that now. He definitely was full of myths, lies and crazy ideas about other races and cultures.

    I agree thought that quite a lot of so called youth racism is actually about gang culture. There does seem to be tribal rivalries where parties gangs become hostile to anyone other than themselves but don’t necessarilly have any myths or notions of the others that they become hostile to. Also they don’t necessarilly have any ideology in the way the BNP do (if we can call it ideology).

  5. Galloise Blonde — on 13th November, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    Not entirely true Nick. There were, for example, plenty of articles on the veil by feminists like Joan Smith and others. I can’t comment much because it would sidetrack a thread which is supposed to be about racism, and (plug) I am way busy organising a conference on honour crime.

  6. Not Saussure — on 13th November, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    Nick, if you check out groups like the Southall Black Sisters, I think you’ll find feminism doesn’t ‘exist only for white middle class women’. I don’t know what they’re doing now, but certainly when they started, some 20-odd years ago, they found it far easier not to work with ‘white middle class women’ — who, for understandable reasons, tended not really to understand their concerns and priorities. That may be why they don’t get as much publicity as otherwise they might enjoy.

  7. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 13th November, 2006 at 8:15 pm  

    There is a difference between individual racism and the structural and institutional racism that discriminates against minority groups in terms of work, education and criminal justice. Yeah, I’ve been in mosques where my presence is clearly a source of discomfort an emnity, no due to me being a possible spy (this is pre-9/11), but coz I’m white. And I have been pushed around and offered ‘lessons’ in Islam, despite having a RS degree, coz I’m white. Big deal.

    Coz I have never been in an all Asian school where white kids were treated like they were inherently dim coz they were white, or in an all black police station where white folk were allowed to drop dead in custody coz they were white, or an all black office where white people were forced to make tea and do crap jobs coz they were white.

    If you don’t get this difference, you need your head examining.

    Wasalaam

    TMA

  8. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 8:19 pm  

    Those that blame ‘institutional racism’ for all the failures in their community need their heads examining too.

    We also have to be careful of a media narrative that completely goes the other way, discovering black/brown on white racism as if is the big new threat.

    It’s already happening to a certain extent. Certain newspapers and media outlets and bloggers are bloodthirsty for a little scapegoating at the moment, you can tell by their howling.

  9. Gibs — on 13th November, 2006 at 8:33 pm  

    I disagree Galloise Blonde. What Nick says IS true. Why do “feminists” or “women’s lib” not complain about the MASSIVE problem of forced marriages taking place in this country.

    On the rare occasions that one or two of them do “raise their heads above the parapet”, they are promptly admonished by “so called community leaders” – whereupon they decide that it would be best “not to rock the boat” any further.

    As for some of the Asian Women’s welfare organisations, their attitudes to such issues seems to be one of “Yes I know forced marriages and misogyny are wrong …but you have to understand that in the Asian culture…”.

    Sorry – but I DON’T understand ! (except the “forced marriages are wrong” bit).

  10. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 8:35 pm  

    Gibs, you are talking nonsense. What experience do you have of Asian womens organisations like Southall Black Sisters? It’s not enough to say that, you have to demonise and misrepresent Asian feminsists too. Pathetic.

  11. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

    Where do people like Gibs crawl out from? Which rocks do they hide under? Asian feminists organisations have got more bravery in one fingernail than people like him, working at the grassroots, denouncing cultural oppression of women, only to be derided by people like Gibs who it seems to me is more interested in a scatter-gun, flailing punching and kicking attack on Asians generally than in getting to the roots of the problem. Pathetic.

  12. Clairwil — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:00 pm  

    Or why do so many men only get fired up about women’s rights when the oppressed women are a different colour/religion/culture?

    Is that because ‘we know how to treat our women’?

    Oh and happy news from Pollokshields. The BNP have turned up again to exploit the memory of Kriss Donald.

  13. Gibs — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:01 pm  

    Soozy. No need to get angry. SBS do indeed do a good job in difficult circumstances. However I did not agree with their opposition to the government’s proposals to make forced marriages a specific criminal offence.

    I didn’t try to deride SBS. I just felt that their stance gave comfort/succour to those people who were indeed apologists for this disgraceful practice. (That wasn’t of course SBS’ intentions – but it was an unfortunate side effect).

  14. Anon+1 — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

    How is the BNPs use of a REAL story propaganda?
    Its sheding light on stories that would otherwise be nicely hidden away.
    The BNP have some amazing policies that will really benifit Britain and the environment but these are all overshadowed by this pathetic tag of “Racist” “Facist” and “Nazi” to keep them from gaining any serious power as everyone is scared of being branded in this way.
    Now im not stupid enough to think no BNP voters are racist, alot of them are but you cant blame these people seeing as Muslims seem to intergrate into other communities so badly, I see this in my day to day experiences all the time and see what is driving people to the BNP in their 1000′s. Infact if you want to know something you people might find disturbing is that nearly every private conversation ive had with white people over the past year all show these “racist” taints, from my friends father who is a retired policeman to my local hairdresser.
    Its not just the BNP who are driving people to think these views, its your tight nit communities.

    Oh and yes, the system is stacked against the white working class. Im from an awful estate in one of the worst citys in the UK and i see things that make me feel sick. 23 years living in an area where most peoples hopes and dreams for the future rely purely on winning the fucking lottery, and while waiting for that to happen they fuck, fight and watch TV.

  15. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:30 pm  

    Dont patronise me Gibs. You are of the kind that sees no nuance or difference or goodness in Asians. You should be thankful to me for giving you an opportunity to modulate your disgraceful generalising slander on Asian feminist organisations, working on the frontline, at the grassroots, under-funded, under staffed, but still battling tenaciously, just so you can fit it into your narrative of the nasty Asians and the stupid feminists.

  16. Moving Target — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:41 pm  

    “Coz I have never been in an all Asian school where white kids were treated like they were inherently dim coz they were white, or in an all black police station where white folk were allowed to drop dead in custody coz they were white, or an all black office where white people were forced to make tea and do crap jobs coz they were white.”

    Y/J

    Sorry mate, but this comes accross as handwringing of the highest order.

    Believe it or not some ‘white folks’ even the dodgy working class variety are alright and not into the oppression thing. It’s just what happens that when a ‘darkie’ joins the office, we make them do us tea all day (????).

    Believe me, being a minority in any context is very often not too much fun. There are numbskulls of all colours, and where white people are a minority in areas of London, Leeds, Bradford, Birmingham – they are very often victims of racism.

  17. Moving Target — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:46 pm  

    We also have to be careful of a media narrative that completely goes the other way, discovering black/brown on white racism as if is the big new threat.

    It’s already happening to a certain extent. Certain newspapers and media outlets and bloggers are bloodthirsty for a little scapegoating at the moment, you can tell by their howling.

    How f*cking dare they eh?

    White working class people stick up for themselves?

    Don’t those Chavs know their place?

  18. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:50 pm  

    What the hell does the white working class have to do with scapegoating minorities, Moving Target? I was talking about sections of the media, which as far as I know are probably the same people who demonise the white working class and depict them all as savages and alcoholics and hoodies.

    So why are you getting angry with me?

  19. Gibs — on 13th November, 2006 at 9:53 pm  

    Soozy,

    I wasn’t trying to be patronising nor was I trying to slander any organisation in particular. I merely expressed a point of disagreement on a particular issue. No offence intended.

    Also, I do happen to think that “feminist” organisations as opposed to “Asian feminist” organisations have shied away from the issue. This is wrong, since they should be concerned about the welfare of ALL women in the UK (ie not just white women).

  20. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    Gibs, you shouldnt go around making generalisations like that and expect not to be picked up on it. Your tone and generalisations were ignorant. You can thank me for making you correct yourself.

  21. Moving Target — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:04 pm  

    Soozy

    Apologies for jumping down your throat – it did p*ss me off when you said that “…bloggers are bloodthirsty for a little scapegoating at the moment, you can tell by their howling.”

    I took this to mean that this to mean that anyone with a keyboard, whom often (in my experience)seem to be telling it like it is and trying to do something about it, are indulging in scapegoating.

    Apologies again for being a touchy f*cker.

  22. Galloise Blonde — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Gibs. This year we have helped 185 women, some of whom were at risk of forced marriage, some of whom were at risk of honour crime. We have organised two conferences, one in English and one in Kurdish. We have given numerous interviews in the media. We have organised training courses and social events for isolated women. We have lobbied MPs and Lords, and we work with the police to give guidance on these issues. So far, we are all volunteers doing highly demanding work for no money at all. So I don’t think that anyone can tell me that feminism is just for white middle-class women.

    There are a lot of other organisations out there that we work with much like our own. Maybe they’re under your radar, but there are dozens. And some of them did not follow SBS’s lead on the forced marriage criminalisation. We didn’t. And we do complain about it.

    But anyway, your argument is bizarre:

    As for some of the Asian Women’s welfare organisations, their attitudes to such issues seems to be one of “Yes I know forced marriages and misogyny are wrong …but you have to understand that in the Asian culture…”.

    Sorry – but I DON’T understand ! (except the “forced marriages are wrong” bit).

    You have blatantly made up a quote to support your argument. When people say ‘you have to understand that in Asian/whatever culture…’ it’s to lead into a discussion of their opinion, based on ground-level knowledge, of the best way to combat the phenomenon, practically, within the context. You might not agree that their conclusions are right, but to imply that seeking context is cultural relativism is just wrong.

    I really did not want to derail this thread. Sorry.

  23. Galloise Blonde — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:07 pm  

    And what’s with the quotes around feminist? Is that supposed to mean something?

  24. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:07 pm  

    Well Moving Target, I am of the opinion that some right wing bloggers are up for a witch hunt of asians. But if that does not include you then there is no need to be offended.

  25. Sunny — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:08 pm  

    Whoa. Given we are all roughly on the same side, I’m not sure what the argument is over. SBS are excellent and have been pioneering for decades – no doubt about that. However I was critical when they decided to oppose the criminalisation of forced marriages. They made some good arguments on that front too but I was disappointed that Pragna Patel went down the “this will only demonise marginalised communities” line.

  26. Soozy — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    Yeah but it hardly corresponds with Gibs ignorant caricature of Asian womens organisations in post number 9 does it Sunny? Never mind, he has corrected himself after my intervention, that is good enough.

  27. Clairwil — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    Anon +1

    ‘How is the BNPs use of a REAL story propaganda?’

    Well it’s quite simple they are using that story to create a distorted picture of life in Pollokshields. Given that Kriss Donalds family have requested they don’t get involved, their involvement shows gross insensitivity towards suffering white people. My family live in Pollokshields, I lived there most of my life and currently live close by, I have friends in the area and I can tell you that we do not want that nazi scum in our area. As I’m sure it matters to you let me point out that most of my family, most of my friends and I are white. My grandparents fought the fascist filth during WW2. I am grateful for their sacrifice and object strongly to being confronted with the same vermin today.

    We are all supposed to respect your right to support chucking all non whites out the U.K, could you not respect the right of the people of Pollokshields to be left to grieve in peace and keep Nazi trash out?

  28. Moving Target — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

    Soozy

    My view – racism is not limited to one colour or group. It’s a way of life in those parts of London where white people are a minority they can expect to get grief on the grounds of their race. That’s my story anyway living in Wembley and working in Southall for a good few years. The same crap that Asian or Black people also get from numdskulls, where they are a minority.

    By standing up and trying to something about it, this is not a witch hunt – but no-one seems to be doing much about it, especially not middle class politicians.

  29. El Cid — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:21 pm  

    Sunny,
    I’m encouraged by your (and funkg’s) even-handed and straightforward approach to the question of racism. I’ve long believed that it would take 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants (or in Sid’s rare case, 1st generation) before the issue got the long-overdue revisionist treatment. It’s very tiresome when you hear some prominent ethnic politicians (e.g. Dianne Abbott) behave principally as spokespeople for their tribe. I mean in some respects it’s natural, but when you live in a country that is as multicultural as ours, it’s just not enough.

  30. El Cid — on 13th November, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

    Moving target
    If you try just a little bit and listen a bit more, you might find that you can agree with people on this blog more often than not. Stop feeling sorry for yourself (all the time).

  31. Clairwil — on 14th November, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    Just for my own research which Scottish murder got the biggest coverage in England Jodi Jones or Kriss Donald?

  32. Sahil — on 14th November, 2006 at 12:38 am  

    Little to add Sunny, great post! Bigotry is abound everwhere, against everyone, who is not in the given group. Frankly, at times I’m shocked by what my parents say on the dinner table, and I’d say I’m from a progressive family. A long way to go? Probably, but hopefully we’ll get there soon :)

  33. Moving Target — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    F*cking Hell El Cid – you sound like my Dad!

    Hands up – I have been known to be on the maudlin side.

    When you say feeling sorry for myself – what – too much moaning?

    I was thinking more along the lines of ‘righteously indignant’ until you ‘done’ me.

  34. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 10:42 am  

    Many of us second and third generation ‘immigrants’ whether originating from India, Barbados or Ghana have had heated debates with older educated relatives who were more English than the actual English. I once visited my father who retired back to the Caribbean, who had studied as a barrister at the inns of court in Holborn. My father chastised me for not joining the British armed forces, he was proud of canvassing for Margaret Thatcher during the 1979 election. My father was a prolific traveller, and was proud to be a holder of a British passport, which at the time was captioned ‘subject of the British empire’. My father kept a portrait of the Queen in his front room, and was a great admirer of British traditions and customs. In my mind my father was an anachronism, a relic from an imperial past when some of the sons and daughters of the empire were able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to the very few.
    It would be easy for me from a post modern context to blame the reasoning’s for my fathers failure to pass his bar exam to racism, many of my fathers letters were pleading in his request for assistance. Yes with hindsight I believe that my father should have been sitting in the House of Lords, but you can’t change the cycle of history.
    As 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants we had to often endure the failures of the British educational system along with the WWC, as for me I did not benefit from some of the educational opportunities of my father.

    From the post war period up until now it became easy for many liberals in the establishment to sneer at many facets of English customs and traditions, whether its mocking the royal family or abolishing fox hunting. Many Black and Asian people in the post war period, had no choice but to join left leaning reactionary organisations to counter bigotry and discrimination. Many older and young middle class Asians and black people are natural conservatives, for example back ‘home’ many of my relatives are pro death penalty right wing conservatives but this does not sit well with many UK liberals.
    I seriously don’t believe many black and asian groups ever wanted ‘special treatment’ they just wanted justice and equality. Like with any groups trying to deliver change the lunatic elements often will shout the loudest over moderates and start imposing their views (numerous examples)
    I was listening to Radio 4 this morning, the national anthem was played for the birthday of Prince Charles, in my opinion this should be now COMPULSORY for all media, from BBC 1 extra, to BBC Asian Network. We need to return to the values of Britishness which does not exclude, but reinforces the sense of belonging for all. Following on from a channel 4 programme on English identity, who can honestly call their selves 100% English? Its clear that most of us will have mixed ethnic identities locked into our DNA from the genes of Genghis khan to the horn of Africa.
    Emphasising Britishness does not mean that our Asian or black or mixed race kids can’t learn about Nehru, Mancherjee Bhownaggree, Marcus Garvey, or Mary Seacole but this will have to go hand in hand with the UK national curriculum and how they all relate to UK history. All of our children need to be equipped to deal with the changing global economy, not fed stuff that’s not getting to enhance their grasp of the society around them.

    Anon+1 you may feel the system is stacked against the white working class. But tell me, who are the ACTUAL ruling classes of this country? Can you think of any black or asian led bodies who campaigned for priority over WWC over housing? No. Can you think of any black or Asian groups who want to ban Christmas? No. In the grand scheme of things not only have WWC feel the system is stacked against them, so do many afro-Caribbean’s and Asians who were early immigrants to the UK and therefore denied priorities in housing etc. you mention 23 years living in an area where most peoples hopes and dreams for the future rely purely on winning the fucking lottery, and while waiting for that to happen they fuck, fight and watch TV. Anon+1 you are an articulate and forthright person, like I have stated on previous postings, this marginalised group need support.
    What ACTUAL support have you given them? Have you helped them find jobs? Probably not. Have you helped them complete application forms? Hmm. Do you help them draft CVs, forms towards CSCS cards, drivers licence, passports, vouchers, one to one counselling, NO, NO NO! don’t waste you time on these forums having and pop at ‘immigrants’ get out there and help the WWC constructively. I do all of these things, and you know what? I do it not cause im paid to do it, I do it in my spare time too and not just with one group.

  35. Chairwoman — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:14 am  

    funkg – What you are is a Londoner, helping your fellow Londoners.

  36. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:17 am  

    The first point I would like to make is that im on annual leave from work which is why im writing all this stuff. The second point I would like to AGAIN emphasise, is that all good civic minded people will stand up and intervene, in cases when its white on Asian/black crime, Asian/black on white etc.

    Who controls the media? The ruling classes, do MCB, CRE et al represent all communities no they don’t, should white attacks on asian/blacks receive more coverage? Well I don’t control the Media.
    Cases like Anthony Walker and Steven Lawrence received the huge amount of coverage they did because of the dimensions of the story whether its to do with class, looks or aspirations. On Tottenham’s lads blog, he ask why was the (mixed race) ethnic background of Bradley Tucker not mentioned in the murder of Peter Woodham?
    I know Canning Town and I would guess Bradley Tucker may have run with a white gang, so what relevance does his ethnicity have?
    Does anyone remember Kelso Cochrane? No of course not he was a black man murdered in 1959 in Notting Hill. My point is that throughout history the media have always focused on particular murders for their own reasons to sell papers.

  37. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    Random. Can spomeone tell me what ‘chattering class’ means?

  38. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:25 am  

    C/O WIKI,

    The chattering classes is a term often used in the media and by political commentators to refer to a politically active, socially concerned and highly educated elite section of the middle class, especially those with political, media, and academic connections.

    The term “commentariat” is roughly synonymous with the “chattering class”, although it connotes more authoritarian manners.

    This group is assumed to have good connections with the politically powerful and the conclusion is made that its concerns can be quickly translated into political action. It is believed to have an influence on the political agenda out of proportion to its numbers.

    The term is often used in a derogatory sense, to suggest that those concerned have a soft-left agenda which is unrealistic (“chattering” suggesting both a preoccupation with theory rather than practicality, and a lack of real experience of the problems under discussion), unserious (“He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.”) and elitist (unconcerned with the beliefs of ordinary people

  39. Chairwoman — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    The chattering classes are professional, middle class people of any creed and/or colour, who set the world to rights, using an agenda set by The Guardian, The Independent, Peter Snow or John Pilger, over a few bottles of good New World wine at dinner parties.

  40. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 11:46 am  

    Thanks guys. I let myself lose a pub argument by letting the other convince me chattering classes were the working class with delusions of grandeur. They should have PP installed in all pubs

  41. soru — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

    ‘Racism = Power + Prejudice’

    I think a better model is:

    Class = Power

    The social class you are in is _defined_ by how much power (financial, educational or social) you have. Class relations in that sense are overwhelmingly important, a black Hollywood film star has massively more in common with a fellow white member of the celebrity elite than they do with a black New orleans slum resident. Class is, or should be, the main course on any political menu.

    Racism = Racialism + Bigotry + Xenophobia.

    Racialism: the belief that there are different breeds of people, in the same way there are of dogs, and that those different breeds are as different as ponies and thoroughbreds.

    Bigotry: the refusal to listen to reason, accept rational arguments. Like prejudice, but without the possibility of appeal.

    Xenophobia: the more or less natural tendency to be worried by people different from those you know.

    Put all those three together and you will have something that few in the modern world will defend, making anti-racism politically uncontroversial.

    The problem with the ‘liberal’ approach (which I think is specifically american in origin) is that it tries to solve issues of class by the lever of anti-racism, and that’s simply the wrong tool for the job. The only reason it even exists is because of the offical american ideology that their society is somehow ‘classless’, and so talking about class is taboo.

    Also,

    Fun = TV + Pie

  42. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:11 pm  

    Nice one soru. I never knew racialism was a proper word.

    By the way, did you guys catch 100% English last night? The look on the faces of the racists when they realised their DNA had high levels of south asian and middle eastern strands was priceless

  43. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    Easy steps for the upliftment of families/communities (In response to the victimhood culture that exist)

    I don’t want to come across as condescending but can anyone add to this list?

    Walking: Walkers have less incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases. They live longer and get mental health and spiritual benefits.

    Eating meals at the table: Sociologists have long agreed that the simple act of eating food in groups lends itself to close relationships. As a social construct, family meals promote conversation, the sharing of ideas, and a sense of belonging.

    Helping kids with homework: The Government’s Get On campaign, encourages adults to brush up their basic skills, and is a free course. Apparently more than nine out of 10 parents agreed that helping their children at home made a difference to their academic achievements at school.

    Eating fresh local foods (Street markets Etc)
    Teaching kids to cook
    Reading books
    Switching off the TV
    Participating in civic activities; Scouts, cadets etc
    Attending free museums, churches historical sites

  44. The Informer — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    funkg

    Your posts are very nearly bringing a tear to my jaded eye. I’m not taking the p*ss either – you are officially a hero.

    One small point – in light of opportunties denied. I give a small example with some personal involvement. I work in the law and recall being involved in a case where the lawyer was a specialist and a campaigner in Human Rights cases. She was outraged (and taking legal steps to stop it) that her client, a pregnant asylum seeker from DRC, was to be dispersed to a particular town in the north of England. The accomodation was a flat in a dodgy council estate, in which in the lawyers view, the conditions were unacceptable. The estate was in a poor state of repair and crime ridden. The lawyer’s view also extended to a belief that her client was sure to face racism. It struck me at that time that her compassion did not extend to the individuals already unfortunate enough to live there – as indeed the ‘locals’ were mentioned in pretty disparaging terms. I do recall also a similar case to the above with a young Kosovan man being dispersed to Liverpool but I had rather less involvement.

  45. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    “I don’t want to come across as condescending but can anyone add to this list?”

    Wanking: Scientifically proven to balance blood sugar levels, strengthen lymphatic glands and release endorphines that can cure all diseases. It’s still in the research stage

    I didn’t have time to read the relevance of your proposal but I had fun

  46. Jagdeep — on 14th November, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

    Great post (#33) funkg — especially this (rewind selecta!)

    I seriously don’t believe many black and asian groups ever wanted ‘special treatment’ they just wanted justice and equality. Like with any groups trying to deliver change the lunatic elements often will shout the loudest over moderates and start imposing their views (numerous examples)

  47. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    Yes Kismet wanking my be fine on a weekday night just before you go to bed. Wanking uses up valuable energy and resources better targeted to more ‘meaningful’ activity. How about instead 50 push ups? If you smoke skunk weed before an important engagement, it won’t really help towards getting that job or sealing the deal.

    I agree with you on your points Informer, many wealthy liberals unintentionally like to see ethnic minorities as ‘victims’ who will bring out the begging bowl on tap it makes the middle classes feel superior. WWC stuck on sink estates aren’t fashionable, they eat crap food, mangle their grammar, read the Sun newspaper and tend to have a habit of spouting off non PC statements now and again.
    Whether its raising money for Africa on a marathon or trekking in Nepal ‘helping locals’ or helping a school in South America, it helps salves the conscious of the liberal middle classes and negates the real local community initiatives that can be taken.

  48. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 3:28 pm  

    Funkg I find your comments truly offensive. Would you go up to a blind person, steal his white stick off him, twirl it like a little girl’s baton then throw it in the river saying ‘you don’t need this anymore’

    Hm?

    Then don’t take away wanking from a wanker

  49. Jai — on 14th November, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

    =>”By the way, did you guys catch 100% English last night? The look on the faces of the racists when they realised their DNA had high levels of south asian and middle eastern strands was priceless”

    Yes it was excellent. I thought Carol Thatcher and the young soldier (who turned out to be 20% South Asian) in particular both reacted very positively.

    There were some unpleasant types, though. It was obvious that the woman with the Battle of Hastings obsession had real psychological problems dealing with the revelation of her own ancestry (the next day she even threatened to sue the programme makers), and the elderly woman in Kent who hadn’t visited London since 1960 was the worst of all. Her “relief” at not having any African ancestry was nasty to watch.

  50. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

    Norman Tebbit was also superb. His elation at being told he was all european was quickly quashed when the readings pointed out this was because his ancestors didn’t have the means or drive to travel around to broaden the mind as so many others in those times did, making his ancestry, according to the DNA specialist. ‘boring’.

    A lot of racists never think about that. If you’re 100% from one place, it means you come from a long line of cowards that don’t have the balls, passion or intelligence to take in the world they live in.

    Brilliant.

    (Jai, I thought you lived in America?)

  51. Jai — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    =>”A lot of racists never think about that.”

    They should perform that DNA test on the leaders of the BNP (and their members & supporters), and see what happens when they get the results.

    =>”Jai, I thought you lived in America?”

    I’ve said lots of times that I’m from London. I think. Well, I thought I’d made it reasonably clear anyway ;)

  52. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    I’d love to get mine done. I wonder if I can blag one somehow…

    (I got confused with all your sepia mutineering)

  53. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

    PS. I’ve got a feeling a lot of these BNP results would shock them. I’ve got this theory that violently angry people truly hate what’s a little part of them (the hitler being totally non-aryan thing). It’s what you do when you stop hating yourself, you start hating people that reminds you of what you hated about yourself… translated into blinkered bigotry over generations.

  54. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

    It really makes me cringe in this day and age, when I hear the term ‘racial groups’ DNA test makes a mockery of the differences in human beings, purely down to their ‘race’.

  55. NorahJones — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    The ‘comedian’ dude was the one that got me. He started by saying you needed to go at least 12 generations back to be able to consider yourself english and that Ian Wright could be as patriotic as he liked but black skin meant you were definitely not english and then it turns out his DNA is mostly Ukranian! Soon changed his tune. Oh, how I laughed with glee. Mostly at the silly moo that lay flowers at old Harold’s grave in Hastings who threatened to sue when she was told she was part Romany Gypsy… Fnaar fnaar.

  56. NorahJones — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    Why are you cringing funkg? Would you rather we bashed our differences out?

  57. William — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

    I was listening to Radio 4 this morning, the national anthem was played for the birthday of Prince Charles, in my opinion this should be now COMPULSORY for all media, from BBC 1 extra, to BBC Asian Network.

    I remember when the national anthem was played at the end of the day on TV and after cinema showings. Please no not again.

    Random. Can spomeone tell me what ‘chattering class’ means?

    Well to me quite a few of PP belong to them. This is said without criticism

  58. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

    Norah that’s you adding point’s I do not share, ‘bashing out differences’ I don’t know where that came from.
    Maybe im an idealist or sentimentalist but I cringe when I hear ‘racial groups’ because we are one human family with many variations, no two people apart from twins share the same DNA. Referring to different races in my view can reinforces ignorance, we can talk of clans, ethnic groups, tribes etc but racial groups I don’t know. Maybe we do need to bash out our differences, especially in the monotheistic religions where there are common threads.

  59. Jagdeep — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

    I think the chattering class is the kind of liberal person who has an element of pomposity about them? I always thought that it is the element of condescension that makes them so risible? Not really in tune with anything outside their political abstractions or limited social circle.

    (An example of chattering classery — the type that says you should abolish grammar schools for ‘equality’ in the comprehensive school system thus denying low income families sending hard working sons or daughters to schools of excellence that work on selection — all the while sending their own children to private school because they can afford it)

  60. Kismet Hardy — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    William, it’s probably a good thing the chattering classes are here. It’d be rather quiet if they weren’t…

    Ooh let’s start our own class. The blogging class. People that vent their frustrations through the keyboard because no one in the real world wants to hear my shit. Our shit, I meant our shit. I’ve lost everyone again haven’t I?

  61. NorahJones — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Apologies funkg, I read something else rather than what you were saying, feeling a little quick off the mark today…

    I’m much from the same school of thought as yourself.

    Sorry again :-)

  62. Don — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    ‘If you’re 100% from one place, it means you come from a long line of cowards that don’t have the balls, passion or intelligence to take in the world they live in.’

    Yup. More of a gene puddle than a pool. I’d always assumed I was more or less 100% scots genetically, because all four grandparents were from the highlands, where there was little possibility of mixing with outsiders. They men often went for soldiers, but tended to export rather than import genetic variety. But now I’m intrigued. If the price comes down a shade I could quite fancy one of those tests.

    For these people to have been so convinced and so wrong seems to imply a lot of hushing up and denial. Pity, really.

  63. funkg — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:25 pm  

    The point about the national autumn was made without irony William, it was my attempt to start a debate on how to forge a new UK national identity. We don’t have to resort to American ideas of flag waving, but we have to reinforce a sense of belonging to this land.
    Yes my idea of playing the national anthem may seem ridiculous and non enforceable, but is it right that young people can reside in a land without any idea of its history, constitutions and traditions?
    Are all young ethnic minorities destined just to be consumers of global brands, listening to grime and with no desire to want to join in British events such as the Proms, Chelsea flower show, Burns night, Lewes bonfire festival etc?

    Prince Charles wants to be the defender of faith, Charles has been a constant for decades out serving Presidents and Prime Ministers, so why not have the national anthem played on his birthday?

    We need our young people in our urban cities, feel part of this land and to perhaps want to engage in the Police service and armed forces, and really belong. A lot of young people have little grasp of Britishness, and find American customs more easily accessible than British.

  64. Don — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    We really need a new national anthem. Something by The Clash, maybe. Or commission Jarvis Cocker.

    ‘destined just to be consumers of global brands’

    Absolutely, and of course this cuts across all ethnic lines. There has been intermittent talk of defining ‘Britishness’, but I doubt if the Proms means anything to more than a tiny percentage. I suspect ‘Countdown’ is more of a unifying cultural factor. But as you say, looking at how to forge a new national identity is a key question.

  65. Chairwoman — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

    When I was younger, I really felt British. Just the thought of living somewhere else made me homesick, but with each year, I feel less British, and more foreign. It is not I who has changed, but the attitudes of the ‘indigenous’ population who have become more insular and less inclusive.

    I feel that this is directly attributable to a combination of right-wing prozletyzing by the newspapers, and left-wing political correctness by national television and the government. Whatever the cause, it leaves people like me feeling very much on the outside.

  66. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    The premise of “100% English” was just brilliant. Now aren’t you curious about how pure Nick Griffin is? ;-)

  67. El Cid — on 14th November, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    Shit man, where can I get one of these DNA tests? I’d love to know more about my history.
    As for new national anthems: how about the British Hustle by Hi-Tension? You don’t what I’m talking about do you?

  68. El Cid — on 14th November, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    And funkg,
    when you standing for parliament? do you need a communications strategist? or someone to make the sandwiches?

  69. William — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:07 am  

    I have no problem with ideas that might help people feel they belong or help with cohesion etc. I suppose the problem I have with the national anthem is that it says God save the Queen. Again I wouldn’t say get rid of the monarchy but it is not for me. I feel being a royalist is a kind of bad psychology. it’s a kind of hang over from when we thought the King/ Queen had divinity. Now of course no one thinks that but is it
    still a kind of milder psychological alternative.

    I am interested in all this stuff about ethnicity identity etc. One because it matters how human beings get treated and stuff. Also perhaps because I am white and became a Buddhist in the late 70’s so in a way took on an important aspect of a culture from somewhere else which after time became my own culture. Also identity/belonging is said be important for mental health. To be honest I have seriously been asking the who am I, who are we in connection with all this and I find it hard to come up with any clear cut answers. We are asking what is Britishness etc but I actually don’t know. The more I ask the more things become negated in some way. Perhaps that at least can be used as counter arguments against
    Racist views bit like the DNA stuff on TV.

    I mean I don’t think every day I am British I am British. When I do think I am British (I am Scottish) it may only be for a minute or two and I don’t particularly celebrate it. What is it? Fish and chips. Well when I ate them it was once a week and the meal lasted 20 minutes. Democracy? Well that is partly conceptual and other countries are democratic. If it is all bound up with identity then is there such thing as an autonomous self like a static package of something like a brand or do we just experience a stream of thoughts and feelings about people and events in the outside world.

    I agree there should be laws to stop discrimination etc. But then issues of integration etc are problematic. There was a program on More4 Saturday, “Ghetto Britain“. They went to a Muslim area where they were interviewing Muslims who said they wanted to stay in that area with people they were familiar with etc. So just leave them be. Why should people have to integrate so long as they have respect for others. Obviously there may be others problems, with ghettos etc employment, housing etc but they can be sorted out some other way.

    I feel I have an open mind on all of this and am in a process of learning about issues so I feel I am open to change.

    To me the chattering classes are just people who like to gas off about issues a lot. I regard myself as one of them. Often they are educated people but not always. They may or may not be pompous.

  70. Sunny — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:21 am  

    Excellent comments funkg and William, thanks.

    By the way, good to have another Buddhist on here. That makes three of us (I’m partly, and so is Kesara). We need more! (whoops, I’m getting tribal again).

  71. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:00 am  

    I was practised Buddhism for seven years, but made a concious decision to stop. Although I find the philosophy sound, I had problems with the organisation.

  72. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:01 am  

    That should, of course, read ‘I practised…’.

    Can we please have a preview, Sunny? I hate typo-ing :-)

  73. funkg — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:22 am  

    Thanks el cid, I’ve no plans to stand for parliament but im sure a lot of us on here can form our own party, how about the ‘Common Values UK Party’ Or does that sound crap? I like the idea of British Hustle, maybe someone can remix it!

    If I can just have my final word on some of the topics discussed. My idea of a new national identity, was not to revert back to a halcyon 50s model of British imperialism but more along the lines of a more all-encompassing model. More ethnic minorities attending Ascot and the Proms may be a ridiculous notion to some, your right Don, but these are just examples of how some people can shift from being mere ‘campers’ in the UK, to active contributors into UK life. Some people want to be left alone to get on with their way of life in the UK that’s fine that’s what parts of democracy is all about, but at some point even these people have to engage with the wider community, look at the Amish in the states.

  74. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:51 am  

    funkg – I am a Jewish middle aged woman. My maternal grandparents came here in the early 1900s. My paternal grandparents two generations earlier. Jews attend Ascot and the Proms. Although they are present, how accepted are they actually?

    I don’t know whether things have actually changed, or whether I have just taken off the rose-coloured glasses, but I have started to feel like the proverbial child in the cold looking through the window at the warmth and comfort within.

    While I have sympathies with, and understanding of your stance, I wonder if that’s just papering over the cracks with some elegant wallpaper. I think that most immigrants want to be really accepted, but at best we’re merely tolerated.

    Jews are usually used as an example of how the alien corm integrates, but beneath the surface, the old prejudices bubble away. Most of us look the same, sound the same, watch the same television programmes, support the UK in sports, but we are still considerd to be different. And I don’t just mean the hat and beard crew in Stamford Hill and Golders Green.

    The problem is not the immigrants, but the residents. I am sure that people wouldn’t ghetto-ise themselves if there was acceptance and welcome from the host population.

  75. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 10:06 am  

    =>”where can I get one of these DNA tests?”

    According to an ongoing discussion on the Channel 4 message board about the show, the following organisations perform the relevant DNA tests for details on one’s ancestry:

    Oxford Ancestors
    DNA Bioscience – Ethnicity Testing
    DNA Heritage

  76. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 10:31 am  

    Jai – I am so tempted!

  77. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    =>”Jai – I am so tempted!”

    Yeah well, I tend to get that a lot from the laydeez.

  78. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:31 am  

    I too a tempt with the laydeez

    But I fail always

  79. Sid — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:37 am  

    Laydeez Love Cool Jai?

  80. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:56 am  

    Chairwoman I find your comments really interesting. Especially because the Jewish community is often labelled (including by people like me) as a model for other minorities to emulate in terms of how to work towards eliminating obstacles of prejudice to ensure you are not vulnerable on a day to day basis.

    However, you have been (meaning your family) in this country for several generations, are white skinned, not immediately identifiable as Jewish, but you still feel that way. What is the reason for this. Is it a general low level anti-semitic feeling you encounter, that Jews are ‘not really English’? I guess this is the difference between integration and assimilation. Everyone should integrate, but is assimilation (ie: dissapearance into the mainstream) really possible or entirely desirable?

    Or are you being too pessimistic?

  81. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Jagdeep – When I was younger, I did not feel like this at all. although people have assumed that we have totally bizarre and arcane religious practices (though what can be more bizarre and arcane than transbubstantiation – sorry Leon :-) ), they were interested rather than prejudiced. I can truly say that the most antisemitic remark addressed to me was that Stephen Speilberg looked so Jewish.

    So it has come as rather a nasty little surprise when nasty little remarks started coming out of the woodwork. Remarks usely include the phrase ‘You people’ or ‘Your people’. I don’t really mind the people who laugh at what I call the hat and beard brigade, because if you insist on walking around in a version of 17th century Polish court dress, then you leave yourself open to ridicule. But I find that using Sir Philip Green and Roman Abromovitch as examples of the Jew in the street, and implying that there is something dirty about success, if the successful person is Jewish is offensive. And what about our Leader? How cunning of him to involve a Jew in his neferious cash for honours plan.

    I could go on, nothing big apart from the occasional unpleasant remark out on the road, but the recent relentless drip, drip, drip of the snide and underhand remarks have certainly taken the gilt off the gingerbread of life in the UK.

  82. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    Remarks usely include the phrase ‘You people’ or ‘Your people’

    That is EXACTLY what I hate too. This is absolutely what cuts me, when people speak to you in those terms. ‘You people need to do this. Your people are not doing things. You people need to do that’

    I know it is obnoxious, but when I come across examples of that I often invert it and do the same to them to make them understand the arrogance of it all.

    Sad to hear your dissilusion. I guess that will be there to a certain extent. The trick is to acknowledge it without being knocked out of your stride, not turning into one of those ‘victimhood’ fetishists.

  83. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:50 pm  

    Philip Green is pretty cool, and has pretty great ideas of coming up with money for charities:

    http://www.vogue.co.uk/vogue_daily/story/story.asp?stid=35325&date=&sid=

    But Abramovich is just the most cycnical twat. At least Khodorkovsky tried to bring some liberal change (Albiet in his own interest) in Russia, whilst Roman sits in his mansion and keeps Putin happy so long as he gets crony access to even more Russian resources on the cheap:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2006/06/20/cnabr20.xml

    But take you point about low level anti-semitism Chairwoman. It’s a disease that persists, and seems on the grow. Here’s the EUMC report, which takes survey questions across the EU, pages 13 onwards:

    http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php?fuseaction=content.dsp_cat_content&catid=449677441f3f3

  84. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:12 pm  

    Sahil – Of course Abramovich is a cynical twat. But he’s a twat because he’s a twat not because he’s Jewish. And as for Putin….

    Antisemitism is a little weapon that the ruling class, whoever they may be, but not me, nor a 12 foot lizard, keep up their sleeves to bring out and placate the general population when the going gets tough.

    Hence the policy of all US administrations since the inception of the State Israel that keeps Israel and her neighbours in a permanent state of unease, so that if push comes to shove, the Jews are to blame.

    Jagdeep – I don’t feel like a victim, I just feel pissed off. I also feel that I wasted a whole lot of time and loyalty to a country whose population will never acknowledge me as ‘English’, barely ‘British’, and actually (not-so) secretly despise me. BTW one of the criticisms constantly levelled at Jews is that we are ‘too clever’. Only in this country is being clever
    something to be reviled.

    Sometimes I wonder what we’re all doing here.

  85. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    And we’re too bookish and not very good at sports.

  86. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:30 pm  

    Chairwoman, I know exactly what you mean. I guess we just have to face up to the fact that we’ll always be viewed as not quite belonging to a large part of the society we come from. The danger with some people is they turn away in anger and become bitter. I say use it to take them on, work harder and fight to excel at what you do.

  87. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    I’m a bit past the proving myself stage! I was however at the cutting edge of my career back in the 70s, but that was considered a feminist victory as there was a lull in antisemitism at the time :-)

  88. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    “Sahil – Of course Abramovich is a cynical twat. But he’s a twat because he’s a twat not because he’s Jewish.”

    Of course, but I’d prefer if someone less twaty ( :) )was mentioned. Actually here’s an interesting story that happened concerning Roman and Leeds football club. Chelsea accused the previous Chelsea chairman of anti-semitism:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,283-2318361,00.html

  89. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    Sahil – That was very interesting. Though my interest in football has always been academic (I love the theory and politics, but hate watching it. Just to blow my own trumpet, I was once 21st in the Times Fantasy Football women’s league)I have been of the opinion for quite some time that Bates was probably one of the most loathesome figures in the English game. Totally self-serving, and I’m sure he has certain prejudices bubbling under.

    But the thought of him and Roman battling it out in the High court is one to savour.

  90. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    =>”Laydeez Love Cool Jai?”

    Funnily enough, I genuinely considered changing my username over on SM to “LLCoolJai” earlier this year ;)

    **************************

    Chairwoman,

    I’m sorry to hear about some of your negative experiences of life here in Britain. I didn’t know that it was still difficult for Jewish people in the UK — although some prejudice towards “the other” is of course always present amongst the more ignorant/stupid/nasty sections of any society. Unfortunately this is frequently the case if one does not belong to the same religion and/or ethnic group as the majority of the rest of society, at least if a particular population has been broadly homogeneous in this matter for a very long time.

    =>”I am sure that people wouldn’t ghetto-ise themselves if there was acceptance and welcome from the host population.”

    I think this is something many in the majority British population sometimes forget, especially when making arguments about various immigrant groups “self-segregating” and “refusing to integrate/assimilate”. Britain may be a lot more open-minded about non-white/non-Christian groups these days (generally-speaking), but it wasn’t always that way, and certainly not when most Asians started arriving here from the subcontinent and East Africa during the 60s & 70s.

  91. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    Jai – No, it isn’t really more open. That’s the big con. It’s more polite. Britons lack the guts to be openly racist, unless they’re drunk and/or BNP, they are politely racist, ‘Your people’, ‘But where do you really come from?’, ‘What fascinating customs you have’. I could go on and on. But I won’t.

    Yes, Asians had a really hard time here in the 60s and 70s. And you played it our way. Heads down, work hard, fit it. What can I say, it’s better than getting the proverbial knickers in a twist.

  92. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    To be honest with you, the prejudice some people in the West have against Jewish people has always been something I’ve found weird (I believe it has its historical origins in the Church and the development of Christianity, no ?). Like many Hindus & Sikhs, during my college years I also found it strange when some Muslim students (and later colleagues) exhibited prejudice against Jews, especially because our parents had come from the same part of the world — which is very far away indeed from Israel/Palestine — and, in India at least (I can’t speak for Pakistan etc), there isn’t any anti-Jewish streak in the local society. I’ve mentioned my bemusement concerning the latter previously here on PP as you may recall.

    =>” And you played it our way. Heads down, work hard, fit it.”

    Well, that’s what the parents’ generation did. UK-born Asians obviously did the same to some extent, but they also reacted to racism by adopting some elements of “gangster” culture, bolstered by the rise of gangsta-rap etc. The transformation was quite noticeable from the early 90s onwards.

    I’m pretty sure that in many cases (not all, and I’m not saying this is the sole reason), the sympathies towards jihadis amongst many British Asian Muslims is also a reaction to racism they may have experienced, and certainly to the racism they may have observed their parents & grandparents subjected to when they were growing up. It was definitely a major cause behind the religious radicalisation of some young Asian Muslims during my time at college — revenge for the racism their families had experienced.

  93. Don — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    There was an interesting item on Radio Four as I was driving home;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/thinkingallowed/

    which argued that the decline in public spaces has had a seriously negative effect on our ability to function as a varied community. I found it relevant to this discussion; street markets, Turkish baths, lidos, city farms, parks, town squares, many have either vanished or have become so neglected and run down that people no longer mingle comfortably.

    It made sense to me, where such places still exist, and newcomers such as farmer’s markets, there is a sense of people feeling more relaxed with diverse fellow citizens. In a souless mall or noisy, traffic-ridden street, people are hunched in upon themselves and reject contact but in a well kept public space they can open up.

    In my neck of the woods (and we are pretty rural) the only time I see white and asian people interacting in a positive and unselfconcious way is on a weekend in our local riverside recreational space – kids playing, dads running the barbie, mums and grannies gossipping. Or at a school fete or the farmer’s market, or similar uncommercial gatherings. I know from general chatting that many families travel twenty or thirty miles most summer weekends just because they enjoy the atmosphere.

  94. William — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Some people want to be left alone to get on with their way of life in the UK that’s fine that’s what parts of democracy is all about, but at some point even these people have to engage with the wider community, look at the Amish in the states.

  95. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

    “But the thought of him and Roman battling it out in the High court is one to savour.”

    Exactly :) . I can’t stand either of the parties involved. Led blood spill I say!

  96. funkg — on 16th November, 2006 at 9:20 am  

    Don,

    You have raised an excellent point

  97. Ravi Naik — on 16th November, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

    “It was definitely a major cause behind the religious radicalisation of some young Asian Muslims during my time at college — revenge for the racism their families had experienced.”

    Jai, I totally disagree with you on this one. I don’t believe that racism has *anything* to do with the radicalisation of Asian Muslims. Going to extremes such as blowing yourself up and plotting to kill innocents requires a considerable amount of effort from those that propagate their evil ideology. Most of the arguments focus on how muslims are being slaugthered in the Middle East.

    The fact is that most people, including whites, have faced some form of discrimination or the other. Not everything has to do with race, other factors like sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, beauty, culture of origin, social status, affects us in one way or the other. And the vast majority does not become radical.

  98. Jai — on 16th November, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    =>”I don’t believe that racism has *anything* to do with the radicalisation of Asian Muslims.”

    It’s a precipitating factor in some cases, but not the only one. I made this very clear in my previous posts. And it’s not as though the fanatics concerned are going to admit in public (at least not to a white audience) that their actions are partly motivated by revenge for the way they perceive themselves to have been treated. Events in the Middle-East provide a pretext for some people and a viable reason (from their perspective) for others.

    Being a holy warrior is going to be regarded as more glamorous, macho, exciting and “important” than being an accountant stuck in Huddersfield, for example.

    It’s also naive to think that some of these people aren’t reacting to the fact that they regard themselves as being mistreated within Western society, by individuals and by the wider population as a whole (even though their reactions may be disproportionate, some of their perceptions distorted, and their own attitudes may partly be to blame too).

    I also had first-hand experience of numerous Asian Muslims during my college days stating explicitly that one of the reasons why they were becoming increasingly radicalised was indeed because of what they regarded (rightly or wrongly) as prejudice towards Asians from the majority population.

  99. Ravi Naik — on 18th November, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    “It’s also naive to think that some of these people aren’t reacting to the fact that they regard themselves as being mistreated within Western society”

    Your reseasoning is similar to those that claim that accepting the Koran makes them radical, terrorists and anti-western. This is clearly not the case, no matter if British Asians explicitly tell you so. What is behind radicalisation and terrorism, is an ideology of hate and fundamentalism that leads to dehumanisation. Consider what happens in most wars, where soldiers become full of hate and commit attrocities against civilians. Such actions cannot be explained in the context of a peaceful society, such as ours.

    Hence, radical muslims in this country are not in a war zone, they haven’t suffered any attrocities, and if they cared about the prejudices of western people against them, they would not be radical or terrorists in the first place, which foments such ill-feelings.

    Britain has a radicalisation problem because there is a platform where hate and ressentment are instilled in the muslim youth. In other words, radicalisation happens not because of the experiences the youth have in the West, but rather how radical ideologues interpret for them, giving them a distorted, one-side view.

  100. Refresh — on 19th November, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    “than being an accountant stuck in Huddersfield”

    What’s wrong with Huddersfield?

    For that matter what’s wrong with Accountants?

    Sorry only read the last two posts. We’re clearly re-entering the bullshit phase!!

    Come on guys, fine words are not enough, sprinkle in some intelligence.

  101. Chairwoman — on 19th November, 2006 at 12:41 pm  

    Refresh – I’ve only been to Huddersfield once, and I thought it was a handsome little town.

  102. Ravi Naik — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    “We’re clearly re-entering the bullshit phase!!
    Come on guys, fine words are not enough, sprinkle in some intelligence.”

    I don’t think that what Jai and I wrote to be either bullshit or retarded. However, I do suggest you follow your own advice, as I suspect your post has nothing to do with accountants in Huddersfield and more like a flamebait. :)

  103. Refresh — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    Chairwoman, Huddersfield is indeed a handsome town, as are many of the northern towns and cities.

    Having lived for large parts of my life in the North and South – I like both. The difference is that, as before, the North has been a victim of vicious economic policies of the past.

  104. Jack — on 19th November, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    ::: In other words, radicalisation
    ::: happens not because of the experiences the youth
    ::: have in the West, but rather how radical
    ::: ideologues interpret for them, giving them a
    ::: distorted, one-side view.

    Well said, Ravi. Similarly, the BNP and white power groups provide their own narrative of world events to disenchanted youth (jews control the world, immigrants take your jobs, etc). It is the same fundamentalist brainwashing that creates a new generation of radicals.
    It is about time we focus on the broader struggle against every form of fundamentalism, coming from white power thugs, islamists or whoever wants to take us back to the Middle Ages.

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