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  • Liberal hypocrites?

    by Sunny
    20th October, 2006 at 9:46 am    

    Expat teacher has an interesting question on his blog:

    Liberals are often accused of being hypocrites. … I only bring this up because my mother-in-law said to me many years ago that as I grew up, I’d get more conservative. It was both the “right” thing and the “easier” thing to do. I scoffed, but now I’m reconsidering.

    I would argue until I’m blue in the face not to have any racial profiling at airport security, but I do breath a sigh of relief if no one named Mohammad gets on my plane.

    Or what about if you’re faced with two dark alleys: one full of white youths and another full of black youths. Which one would you take? If you feared for your safety by taking the latter one would that make you racist? I would disagree. There are a few points to be made.

    1) Such a response is rational. Whether through perception (by way of media moral panics) or actual statistics you may think that by having a Muslim on your train or airplane statistically increases the chance of you getting blown up. Similarly it is statistically more likely that a group of black youths are more likely to mug you than white youths. Or at least that is what the arrest rates tell you, assuming the police are consistent on that (which is a whole new debate).

    So it is rational to worry that the chances of you being mugged or blown up have increased. It would be perfectly rational for an Asian lady to avoid going down a road full of white skinheads. No?

    2) People usually play down potential deviance by those sharing their tribe, whether that be race, religion or nationality, while being a bit more suspicious of those that are different. This seems more psychological to me than social.

    Thus I’d argue the behaviour is not necessarily illiberal or racist, but rational. Racism would be when you think black people are genetically or socially inferior, or more likely to be criminals regardless of socio-economic factors. Thus is doesn’t stop you from being a liberal since a good liberal should be about arguing for equality of opportunity, the freedom to express thoughts and so on.

    There are other examples however that Expat gives like buying an SUV while wanting to care for an environment. Yes, I’d call that being hypocritical. What do readers think?

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    Filed in: Culture,Race politics

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    1. Leon — on 20th October, 2006 at 10:41 am  

      Sunny, I’m not convinced about your concept of rational decision making in the situations you gave. [Most] People lose the capacity for rational thought the minute the feel threatened (or at the very least it erodes significantly).

      I know no one who thinks about stats while making decisions while walking down the street! In fact I’d argue that the average person really doesn’t have a detailed knowledge of various stats to guide them through their fear based moments.

      When people say things like “statistically more likely that” I normally roll my eyes. There’s no context, stats depend on context. You’re not statistically more likely to be mugged by a black person (aside from the overall numbers) in the middle of devon.

      I think we all need to use very careful wording and qualifiers when using numbers in relation to racism.

    2. Sahil — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:04 am  

      Hi Sunny, I think there one point I want to challenge:

      You said that the response of ‘liberal hypocrites’ due to perception is rational, even if there is no statistically significant reason for this. This I believe is wrong. The entire point of rationality is supposed to be an objective, internally consistent, reason for one’s action or reaction. Perception is created by various means, and many times has little to do with reality.

      In relation to the statistical justification for the ‘liberal hypocrisy’, I still think that even though terrorism incidence has increased in absolute level, the probability of one being involved in a terrorism atrocity is so low, that the level of paranoia we see (at least in the papers) is not justified. I have a better chance of being hit by a drunk driver, or happy slapped, than being killed in a terrorism incident.

      While I say all this, I myself do look more carefully at people who look ‘a bit muslim’ (I myself look a bit muslim) than I do at a ‘white’ person on the tube. I know I’m not behaving rationally, but I still do it. It’s because people are not calculating machines that can work all the various threats in their lives and optimally adjust their behaviour. We react more to psychological barriers, that don’t necessarily reflect reality.

    3. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:19 am  

      Fear is complex and personal, in my experience.

      I was a trendy squater in Brixton in the mid 1980s. It was wierd - the white punks, who thought they were so right on, mixed very little with the black and Asian folks, who seemed to be the majority. In the Summer, it was a complete mugging fest. EVERYONE I knew had been mugged - not that any of us had much to rob! And every single one I knew was robbed by young black men, except one French guy who was mugged by a black 12 year old! I managed to escape mugging only by being a very fast runner!

      Before then, I would have happily walked down the black road before the white one - only in recent years have I managed to walk like a ‘normal’ person instead of like an Aspie, and white men easily spotted me for a geek. But after that, I was often scared if I was on a street with just one another black guy. I took a white to get over that.

      Now it tend to be the other way because black and Asian folks don’t give me stick over my geekiness at mosque. It’s just embarrassing when I confuse people because I have such difficulty recognising faces, and I can tell black/Asian brothers think that is down to my thinking ‘they all look the same’!



    4. nyrone — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:22 am  

      I find that often, only people themselves know their own intentions. That’s why i tend to judge people’s actions rather than their words and avoid broad psychologial generalisations…because words are cheap and can discarded like rubbish, and when people ‘provide’ the infomation for ‘statistics’ in ‘polls’ they are probably fictitious in the first place. I hardly need to wade into topics of context here, it’s a blunt fact that people lie when being interviwed about how many one night stands they have had ETC..

      people tend to make decisions based on (as has been stated) a combination of factors that cannot be counted on 1 or 2 hands…it’s impossible to navigate the centre of that minefield for anyone besides the person in question, and that’s precisely why it’s crucial not to decide or guess the life paths of others based on one’s experiencies.

      Leon…are you kidding? people don’t refer to statistics before making decisions when walking down the street??? get outta here!!
      Just kidding! I agree with you here, and the older I get (im may get worse!) the more I find myself thinking that the ‘tipping point’ that results in conflict in any area is a thin line mostly blurred when facilitated by a culture or atmosphere of hostility and frayed nerves.

      How many times have I seen a fight in a club spill over and explode, because the environment practically pushes it to transpire. You can feel something in the air, and then you see their eyes go crazy and then you see them go bonkers to ‘prove themselves’ or ‘do what they are expected to do’ probably watching movies…

      mental process of guy in club: Hey, did that guy just kis his teeth at me?? i should probably react….BOOM!

      bottom line is that there are simply too many abstract and intrinsically (perhaps psychological and sociological) factors that come into play when considering a ‘point’ to take, and like all the best case studies (NOT like the way this Gov deal with Asylum seekers) it’s best to conduct a case-specific study, that factors in all the various variables.

    5. nyrone — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      I do agree with the allegience to tribe point made though..It’s something I find myself thinking about daily, and an issue that MUST be gotten to grips with if humanity is to evolve and progress.

      It can be demonstrated quite well like this:
      .. An army major working in his barracks for the last 25 years will obviously find it more difficult to pay fair attention to an injunction that accuses the army of deep-rooted institutionalized corruption for 30 years in his area, than perhaps a man who has just started working there a few weeks back…

      It seems to be a natural reaction to defend what is similar to us or what we represent (cue company reps idioticaly defending their crappy and incorrect party line….anyone watch the Labour rep onQuestion time last night? What a fucking disgrace of a human being!), but when we are often so wrong, why can’t we just adapt a little humility and contemplate the possibility we are simply wrong? It boils down to indeciseveness and uncertainity being percevied as negative traits…people seem to feel afraid of sitting down and thinking from their own minds for a minute, because it’s projected as a symbol of cowerdice, fear, flip-floppyness and weakness…

      Regarding the hypocrites statement…isn’t there a balance? Is walking on grass evil cos you kill ants? is drinking orange juice bad because there is a strong possibility that someone was unfairly treated or expolited in the nexus of making that juice? isn’t sleeping at night wrong, because you could be using that time to do or help someone?

      or my fav….isn’t it a fucking joke that we discuss the various ills of poverty and hunger, and then leave half our food on a plate at a resturant or at home…I mean seriously, in KFC…does ANYONE actually drink their entire Coke or Sprite? how can we let food in our fridge go expired? because it does happen…

    6. terry fitz — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      This is the classic liberal, with a small l, conundrum. I have been active in the anti fascist movement for over thirty years and the five times I have been the victim of an attempted mugging the perpetrators have all been black.

      I have seen in that time how black youth have become more and more anti white and anti Asian. I think there are several reasons for this. Firstly a culture of victimhood has grown up amongst African Caribbeans encouraged by the Race Relations Industry which in an attempt to expand its powers found racism everywhere. If it didn’t exist it was invented.

      Then a couple of generations of so called black ” radicals ” demonized white people. Darcus Howe wrote an article in Race Today in 1974 in which he described black youth mugging white people as a revolutionary act. The Guardian journalist Joseph Harker has said that all white people are racist and advisor to the Mayor Lee Jasper sent me an email saying that all white anti fascists are racist as well!

      For the last thirty plus years we have seen this campaign poison the minds of a couple of generation of black youth who have told that the reason for failure is the fault of the white person walking down the street. There is then no need to examine oneself as to why things have gone wrong, it is all whitey’s fault.

      The advent of Rap and Hip Hop only made worse an existing situation. Both Black newspapers the Voice and New Nation run articles decrying low black academic achievement and high crime rates and then include a music supplement which glorifies gangster music.

      Generally Asians have, at least until recently, been outside of this syndrome. High academic achievments and business success have set these communities apart from those orginating in Africa but in Tower Hamlets I can see a change.

      A generation of Bangladeshi youth is growing up with little chance of real employment. The rag trade has moved to other continents and there are only so many Indian restaurants that need staff.

      The majority of racist attacks in Tower Hamlets are by Bangladeshi gangs on whites. Once again white skin is seen to identify the enemy.

      A recent article in Eastern Eye on the Lozells area of Birmingham found that Asians simply did not trust or like blacks. The mixing of Asian and black children at school ended at four oclock at the gates.

      The ancient Chinese had saying if they wished you bad luck,” may you live in interesting times “. I am not wishing anyone bad luck but am afraid we are living in interesting times.

      Terry Fitz

    7. TottenhamLad — on 20th October, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

      …similarly it is statistically more likely that a group of black youths are more likely to mug you than white youths…

      Or gang raped…

      Sunny the ‘race realist’ :) how things change…

    8. Leon — on 20th October, 2006 at 12:39 pm  

      I think TottenhamLad has proved my point about the use of statistics and the wording used…

    9. El Cid — on 20th October, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

      “Or what about if you’re faced with two dark alleys: one full of white youths and another full of black youths. Which one would you take? ”

      I’d avoid going down either, believe!! That’s a shite example in my opinion — it really is. But maybe that’s because I’m ageist and live in the inner-city. In my experience, a white person is more likely to assault you just for the hell of it, but that’s not fact — just personal experience. Too often we mix the two together and generalise, and that’s where the problems start.

      Liberal hypocrisy in England often manifests itself as white on white hatred. If the native anglo-irish moan about immigrants clogging up scarce public services or call for tougher anti-crime policies, then that’s because they are horrible people, our secret shame. No consideration is ever taken of the fact that they may have grievances that people in leafy suburbs never experience. No consideration is given to the fact that more established immigrant groups — of all hues — might feel the same way. No admission is ever made of the fact that many middle class liberals are really not so liberal that they would actually let their kids go to the same schools as poor or foreign people.

    10. Jagdeep — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:17 pm  

      Firstly a culture of victimhood has grown up amongst African Caribbeans encouraged by the Race Relations Industry which in an attempt to expand its powers found racism everywhere. If it didn’t exist it was invented.

      Terry Fitz - Hi! I really enjoyed reading your post, thanks for writing it. You see, the above quotation I took from your post, it struck me that this is exactly the tactics used by certain ‘religious identity politicians’. What they have done is replaced race with religion, and then made the whole meaning of their existence to sniff out and hunt down prejudice against their religion. And it comes down to the same thing, inculcating a sense of victimhood so deep and so occasionally hysterical, that it becomes self perpetuating and self mutating. I detest this attitude.

    11. Chairwoman — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

      Nyrone - You needn’t be a food hypocrite any longer. Don’t have the giant KFC drinks, get a smaller one. And the food in your fridge or larder get thrown away when they have actually gone off, not when the use by date says they have. They are there by EU directive as our masters think we are all too stupid to use our eyes and noses to determine whether something is still edible. Also, to avoid legal action they dates are far shorter than they actually need to be.

    12. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

      interesting points sunny. in any case we humans are all hypocritical to some extent or the other. pretending its only ‘liberals’ is just another hypocritical tactic. Ho Ho ho. Who cares, we people are always trying to engage in some sort of one upmanship.

      most people who constantly have the race card on their mind would suggest any social discrimination that involves people with different skin colours as racist.

      of course everyone has different ways of rationalizing things :-)

      “Racism would be when you think black people are genetically or socially inferior, or more likely to be criminals regardless of socio-economic factors.”

      yep - and that kind of thinking has been rationalized as well! :-) all sorts of scientists in the old days suggested that it was rational to think that black people aren’t very clever as a race based on extrapolating results from the Stanford -Binet intelligence test. Nazis ‘rationalized’ their actions.

      Minefield to go down but very brave of you. :-)

      oh yeah - and your usage of psychological vs. social - sorry what happens to ‘social pscyhology’ in this ‘distinction’? does any conceptualization of the social not involve a psychological process? were you perhaps referring to a particular form of social understanding ( which would also be pscyhological in any case) sorry for being so pedantic.

      talking about ‘Good Liberals’ - is starting to sound rather religious to me and along the lines of this is what Good Christians do. frankly, i know this will be coming across as some sort of postmodern ‘hogwash’ and possibly nihilistic sort of thinking and deconstruction- but i can’t see that we humans are at all consistent. unless that’s in our inconsistency. :-)

    13. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

      yeah id say that sort of ‘victimhood’ is often quite the opposite - ‘attackhood’ more like. is it just me or is there a reason why everything on PP seems to end up being about race?

    14. El Cid — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

      The advent of Rap and Hip Hop only made worse an existing situation.

      So what have Outkast, Kanye West, Tribe called Quest, even Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five, actually done?

    15. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

      everything is about choices when it comes down to it. And degrees of hypocrisy. If we’re going to be honest. It’s hardly a binary 1 or 0 situation is it!?

      if we don’t have enough choices, obviously there will be more hypocrisy rather than less. if ken wants us to be environmentally friendly and not drive cars, then he needs to think about the flip side - providing good public transport. if the govt. is serious about the environment ( and id like to see dear David wriggling out of this in the future) then sorry they must needs do something about the shocking state of the rail industry - particularly shocking since the so-called efficiency gains of the privatization never materialized. Things got worse if that were possible. HA HA. Only the muggins of this country insist on riding up and down in trains ( like me) when others are driving past. CAN YOU BLAME THEM? no - why? because there aren’t very many choices realistic choices for most people. i can manage to go on trains now and buses - what about the day when i can’t manage it so easily?

      as an environmentalist it’s a hard thing to have to face but if im honest obviously there will come a time when its not going to be so easy for me.

      and back to the business about degrees of hypocrisy - let’s think about the environment - anyone can say lots of different things. again it’s going to come back to the various points along a spectrum of different people’s perceptions of luxury and necessity. it’s not so straightforward all the time is it? in the old old days central heating was a luxury. It takes a lot of energy but who’s suggesting everyone in Britain switch their heating off completely? no one yet as far as i can see - but they might.= we humans breathe out CO2 - has anyone yet suggested mass suicide? probably not.

      someone could come along and say well unless we’re willing to a) not have any children b) never switch the heating on c) always take cold showers and d) top ourselves so we don’t breathe out CO2 -> that we’re all hypocrites

      :-) And in some sense - they’d be right - obviously. So then what? it comes back down to choices. And thinking responsibly where one can, and ‘minimizing’ one’s impact on the Earth and living sustainably where possible. Unfortunately, actually making the ‘where possible’ easy doesn’t seem to be that high on our governments’ minds - so then what is everyone to do. ken keeps rabbiting on about making recycling compulsory across London - but has he seen some of the apalling services provided by some of the London Boroughs? CLearly not. NO plastics recyling in 90% of the Borough - no easy ways to re-use anything. All this excess packaging when many consumers have indicated it’s not important to them. Ah well. SO back to the point at hand - not focusing on the things it is easier to sort out rather than leaving a bunch of individuals to make difficult choices when they haven’t got too many options. oh its very easy to do that - and then only the muggins will be doing without this or that etc. and what changes? nothing much. people just poke each other about how hypocritical they are and fat lot of good that does.

    16. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

      el cid - no. 9 :-) yeah man i wouldn’t go down either alley. ho ho ho.

    17. Sunny — on 20th October, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

      I know I’m not behaving rationally, but I still do it.

      Hi Leon and Sahil. I take your point. Perhaps using the word ‘rational’ gives the wrong impression. I’m not suggesting that a person sits there and works out probablilities but I’m saying they make a decision based on their fears or perceptions - that is the rational part.

      It is ‘rational’ as such to worry about a gang of drunk skinheads coming towards you as it is to worry about a gang of hooded black youths. More than say a bunch of old ladies coming towards you. My point is that such quick calculations of the mind are not wrong nor do they expose hypocrisy. They do however expose people getting easily bogged down by perceptions.

    18. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

      yeah i think leon has good points in no. 1

      in any case all statistics are open to very dubious interpretation. sorry to say this, but its usually pseudo-scientists that rabbit on about statistics.

    19. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

      nyrone - no. 4 - good points - yeah
      prejudices - yep. makes more sense to talk about prejudices than ‘racism’ per se - usually anyhow. it goes all ways. so many people seem to be prejudiced against the ‘middle classes’..

    20. Sunny — on 20th October, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

      Liberal hypocrisy in England often manifests itself as white on white hatred. If the native anglo-irish moan about immigrants clogging up scarce public services or call for tougher anti-crime policies, then that’s because they are horrible people, our secret shame. No consideration is ever taken of the fact that they may have grievances that people in leafy suburbs never experience. No consideration is given to the fact that more established immigrant groups — of all hues — might feel the same way. No admission is ever made of the fact that many middle class liberals are really not so liberal that they would actually let their kids go to the same schools as poor or foreign people.

      El Cid - I think that is the nub of the issue. But there’s a problem here. Is the bad public services and congestion a result of bad management by the govt and under-investment or over-crowding?

      For example in Barking/Dagenham this year during the Local Elections the racists started spreading lies that Africans were being paid 50,000 pounds to move into the area into housing - thus depriving white working classes of housing.

      This was patently false. Similarly - I find that most ‘grievances’ conjured up by these serial complainers are more to do with Labour incompetence rather than immigration. That is where the real issue lies.

    21. Jagdeep — on 20th October, 2006 at 2:31 pm  

      No consideration is given to the fact that more established immigrant groups — of all hues — might feel the same way.

      Read an hilarious article in Easter Eye about Indians around West London, mostly Punjabi men in the building trade, complaining about the Polish people taking all the employment and jobs, and behaving badly and not fitting in - hilarious! Ironic for sure, but I take it as a sign of integration — if you feel British enough to be offended when ‘outsiders’ are offending your civic sense you’re an Englishman, my son.

    22. Kulvinder — on 20th October, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

      Im not sure what a liberal is meant to be since its context dependant (a conservative would be different how?) but as a libertarian let me assure each and everyone of you that despite having the most ‘fuck yeah right on’ views of anyone on this forum (state determined ages of anything is bollocks) 90% of my instinctive reactions are full of degenerate hate.

      There is no crime i haven’t thought of committing, no community that i haven’t thought of destroying and no sexual act that i haven’t dreamt of doing.

      If thought crimes existed, id be in for life.

      And yet im sane and happily walk alongside the fluffy bunnies because even i know comparing instinctual and stress induced emotions to rational consideration is nuts.

      If a bunch of white/black/brown boys get on the train im travelling on and theres been recent trouble there am i going to feel nervous? yes! the rationality of my opinion is skewed because im probably shitting myself. My feelings may be irrational but they can still be understandable that doesn’t mean however that ill order them off the train or pre-emptively karate kick them in the nuts.

      Without taking a nice considered view of everything over a glass of something nice im likely to be thinking of buggering you senseless before stealing your wallet and killing your people. And damnit i don’t care.

      So all of you walk about with positive vibes eh?


    23. Uncleji — on 20th October, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      Its painful to admit that there maybe a basis to greviences, even if the bias is unintended. Outlined in “The New East End: Kinship, Race and Conflict” by Geoff Dench, Kate Gavron there was a basis white residents complaints that Bangaleshi were given prority for council housing. This was not due to their colour etc but was a result of a change in the awarding housing on the basis of need rather then time on list locality. Of course this was only part of the picture as the Bangeli were given the worst housing in the worse areas.

      Incidently the reason why Asians aren’t as well behaved in Tower Hamlets are because they had to organise themselves gangs to protect themselves against racist attack, like punjabis did in southall in the 1970′s. Only problem was some young Bengali learnt the lessons of violence too well.

    24. nyrone — on 20th October, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

      Chairwoman - Thanks, I’m starting to think that potato salad goes off a few days before the expiry date…and as for smaller drinks at KFC, you know my point….
      If we simply record each time we personally let food go to waste, it’s utterly atrocious and hypocritical to then take an amplified stance on the ‘materialism’ debate that most people concerned with welfare are interested in. We flush it down the drain and then plead insanity…

      My main issue with hypocrisy is that it appears to be so deeply engrained and prevalent in most people that i know, that I find it hard to merely talk about it without falling into a state of despair..everyone talks about peace, justice and ‘respecting others’ but how often do people practically exemplify that in the course of their day? maybe I’m missing something, but it feels like everyone is an angel on Blogs writing about ultra-respectable tolerance and cohesion ETC, but then I wonder if they severly change their tne when they walk outside their rooms. Isn’t this the daddy of hypocracies?

      Juggy/Terry Fitz - really perceptive points, which flow in with what Sonia was saying about everything being about ‘race relations’.
      It’s something that needs addressing (oops! more race relations!) because it feels like many Asians live in a giant multi-storey mansion, and yet spend all our time locked up in one room.

      isn’t this human nature? we tend to talk more with people that do the same job as us (rather than other departments) tend to have friends that share our sense of humour (so…does your dad beat you up too?) and most confidently discuss topics we are actively connected to and can express an opinion about?

      I’m not making myself terribly clear… but are many Asians perhaps guilty of endlessly banging their own drum for the sake of themselves? and therefore isn’t that hypocricy too?

    25. Kulvinder — on 20th October, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

      Out of curiosity how many of you like to ‘think nice things’?

    26. nyrone — on 20th October, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

      Kulvinder - we should hook up! You sound like one depraved psycho! Let’s share notes….

      I’ve only been robbed once (13 years old at Kebab shop by big black guy who first showed me a giant scar across his chest, then told me he “aint going back ta prison” and then put a knife to my chest and told me to “hand it over, bruv”…what can I say……Croydon!

      Funnily/sadly enough, this was in full view of the 2 kebab shop staff who watched it all and then didn’t even ask me If was ok afterwards. In fact, because I didn’t have my £20 anymore, they wouldn’t give me the kebabs for my family that I had just ordered.
      pretty upsetting…….I was pretty hungry.

      I learnt from my mistakes though, and the second time I was on the verge of getting mugged by a group of young black kids at night, I did the only thing that I thought would protect me….I acted like Dustin Hoffman from Rain man!

      I kept shouting at myself and twitching in the hope they thought I was some kind of mutant freak!
      Boy did it work! I never saw them again!
      Insanity 1
      Normality 0

      …despite those 2 episodes, I’m not scared of black kids and groups at all anymore. It’s groups of white kids…and there is a pretty simple reason for this..

      CCTV footage on BBC tends to show white teens doing crazy shit on young asian men! Like using them for target practise and shit! Chucking bottles at their head, doing the karate Kid 1 move on them, stamping on their face and basically acting like sadistic animals.
      This kind of leads me to believe that those gung-ho chav groups have nothing to fear and are so off their heads, they would do anything for “a laff”

    27. sonia — on 20th October, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

      yes i dont know what a liberal is meant to be either. i dont see how in the first place we can typify people the way such categorizations imply. obviously people might have a bit of x a bit of y and a bit of z in them.

    28. saurav — on 20th October, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

      I’m not suggesting that a person sits there and works out probablilities but I’m saying they make a decision based on their fears or perceptions - that is the rational part.

      Sunny, I think it’s understandable that a person would make this choice, though by any rational understanding, it is at least partly racist (i.e. overtly fearing or hating another group on the basis of their group membership). I think it’s understandable because these things are societally produced generally, not usually the product of a pathological individual. It’s okay to say that it’s not good to discriminate against Black teenagers against White teenagers while acknowledging that this is what many people do and it’s a social and personal issue. Whatever gets emphasized tends to be acted on. Otherwise, we should be more terrified of a car accident than hijackings, according to this chart from National Geographic.

      This, additionally, is why it’s all the more important not to justify these behaviors in terms of rationality, but in terms of mercy and openness towards irrational human responses in a state of fear and terror. This is also a good reason why fear and terror are intrinsically productive of racist behavior. And it’s also a good reason to make sure you pick your news sources carefully. No sense in watching sensationalist and biased coverage of local crimes like most local TV news shows in the United States.

    29. Graham — on 20th October, 2006 at 11:55 pm  

      Yer know what? The black youths and white youths are likely to be working together - covering both alley’s to maximise returns. I have known some right little bastards in my time and they are a lot cleverer than you think (especially when it comes to relieving middle-class people of any race, colour or religion of their dosh…)

      If you really have to go down one of the alley’s then you had better learn to front it out and give them the decision as to whether they want to use a lot of energy in kicking your head in or wait for a better and weaker opportunity to present itself…

      Personally I would choose the black kids, as experience as taught that they are less likely to be violent (but I wouldn’t really want to bet on it.) white kids tend to sense that there is something not quite “right” about me and would certainly want to say something which might lead to confrontation . I’ve never been called a “paki” “yid” or “Turkish bastard” -(none of which insults really apply in any way as far as I know, I guess they were feeling their way) by a black kid…

      The point about punks in Brixton brings back memories. During the real slating of the black community by the tabloids in the late seventies most of the muggings I knew about were actually being done by a bunch of white, Scottish punks. How do I know? I couldn’t possible reveal that! I’m a nice civilised blogger now!

    30. terryfitz — on 21st October, 2006 at 10:58 am  

      Sunny is correct in saying that the BNP spread lies in Barking and Dagenham about Africans being given £50 000 to move from Hackney and Tower Hamlets. I was working with the local anti fascist group Barking and Dagenham Together and we distributed several thousand special broadsheet newspapers produced by the Searchlight group which totally disproved the lies. The problem was that no one believed us. The Africans for Essex “scheme” is now an established suburban myth!

      As regards Uncleji’s post about Bangladeshi youths now involved in criminality learning their skills in the anti fascist groups that confronted the NF and early BNP this is I am afraid a definite urban myth which needs to be debunked.

      I was involved in organizing the first self defence groups in the east end in 1976. Various forms of these existed at times of heightened racial tension finally petering out in the early nineties.

      As it seems the average age of Bangladeshi drug dealers and muggers is about twenty it is clear that non of those currently involved in criminality could have been a part of the self defence groups. The last Bangladeshis active in that movement are now in their thirties and the earliest are my age getting on for sixty.

      Terry Fitz

    31. BIRDZILLA — on 14th November, 2006 at 4:55 am  

      How about ROSIE O,DONNELL who wants gun control then gets gun for her adopted child bodyguard and just look at the KENNEDYS they can afford all those armed guards but they want gun control and might i say the same to the UN and especialy KOFI ANNAN who has violated NYCs notorious gun controls

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