Monday, 4 September 2006

Of course all white people are racists!

On 3 July 2002, Joseph Harker’s article, ‘Of course all white people are racist’ appeared in The Guardian. (Where else)

In this he said:

“When the head of the crown prosecution service said he believed almost all British people were racist, he was roundly condemned. It was A MOMENT OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD, commentators said. But one thing no one seems to have paused to consider was the possibility that he was right. In fact, what about: ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST.

I don't mean they are all wilful bigots, of course. But RACISM IS A COMBINATION OF PREJUDICE AND POWER. And sadly prejudice is a deeply ingrained human trait. Globally, white people are the dominant group, and in politics, economics, the media and all aspects of society, this power is used every day. It starts from the top and filters down to white people everywhere, regardless of their individual economic situation…

Every day the white power structure - be it global, national or local - makes decisions which impinge on the lives of black people… The actions of those in power create a constant drip of negative images which seep into the national consciousness. Why is it that every time a TV news report mentions unemployment, or school exclusions, or crime statistics you are virtually guaranteed to see a black face? Black and Asian people are seen far less often on reports on the health service, for example, where they make up a high proportion of nurses and doctors. Do you question it each time? Has this negative imagery become normalised in your own mind?..

But the media is not entirely to blame. It is a chicken-and-egg situation in which editors know that their readers care less for non-white lives - they see the evidence in their sales - and hence devote less time and effort to covering them. Which makes the hypocrisy of their response to the crown prosecutor all the more stark.

And despite changes since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry - with black faces now regularly seen on TV in adverts and as presenters - the negative imagery still persists. Take the World Cup, where Egyptian and Ecuadorian referees were treated as second-rate, yet the Scottish official who missed a blatant goal-line handball was still somehow up to the job.

Some ‘non-racists’ like to pretend that racial differences don't exist - they even proudly claim not to notice skin colour. This is manifest nonsense. Purporting to be ‘colour blind’ is as ludicrous as suggesting you wouldn't notice a person's gender. What's important is what you do, not what you see.

It is naive to believe that the long history of racial distortion - which goes back to the days of slavery and colonialism - has not had a lasting effect on the individual subconscious. We receive these messages virtually from birth, and as children's thought processes develop, they build up into a bank of subliminal stereotypes. A black man and white man walking down the street: Which one is the doctor? Which one is good at sport? Which one does drugs?

Reaching adulthood, how can people realistically cast off all they've come to believe as a child? Even black people themselves are not immune, and these images have had an impact on their own self-esteem.

WHITE PEOPLE NEED TO ACCEPT that, no matter how many anti-racist demos they've marched on, THEY INEVITABLY MAKE ASSUMPTIONS, however subconscious, which are INFLUENCED BY A RACIST SOCIETY and which help to form their views and opinions. TO REFUTE THIS IS TO BE IN COMPLETE DENIAL. But this is not a blame game. INSTITUTIONAL RACISM IS NOW AN ACCEPTED TERM, but it's not the inanimate ‘institutions’ which are racist; it's their staff who perpetuate the overall inequalities by their actions. THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PERSONAL RACISM IS SIMPLY A PREREQUISITE BEFORE ANYONE CAN BEGIN TO ERADICATE ITS PERNICIOUS EFFECTS.

As a black man, I admit I am bound to suffer from prejudices of my own. I CANNOT BE RACIST, HOWEVER, BECAUSE IN THE GLOBAL ORDER I DO NOT BELONG TO THE DOMINANT GROUP. If I were to mistreat a white person, no matter how low in social status, the weight of this country's white power structure would come down against me. As Stephen Lawrence's parents found, this force does not come to the aid of black people.

And how could I be racist anyway? I assure you, some of my best friends are white.”
'All white people are racist.' If all white people are racist how come there are all these laws to stop us behaving normally?

'I cannot be racist.' If you cannot be racist, Harker old hack, you can certainly be a black man who has benefited tremendously from political correctness. I mean look at you. Look at the job you've got! Do you think it was your talent as a writer and thinker that got you where you are? We don't think so, do we?

You got the job because you're black. And we don't get the jobs any more because were white. And British.

I'll tell you something you are good at, Harker. You're good at sneering. You're good at pointing the finger. You're good at blaming others for your own inadequacies and you're good at demonstrating a complete lack of gratitude for what you've ended up with because of the white man's tolerance and generosity.

You're also very good at ignoring the poor white types who have never been a part of any 'dominant group.' You know, those who spent a lifetime down the dark, damp mines when one or two of you were picking cotton in the summer sun for a month or so every year.

And then there's the other stuff. The robbing, the raping, the killing.

You, Harker, are about one hundred times more likely to kill me than I am to kill you, that's what the latest crime stats say. In this country where all my ancestors are buried.

Here's a question for you, Harker: if we're all such racists, why do you choose to live amongst us? Why don't you go live in Rwanda or Haiti or South Africa even? It's been so wonderful out there since Saint Nelson got to be President, hasn't it? I mean, it's not still the rape and murder capital of the world since that lovely, fluffy, black OAP came to power, is it?

But you won't do that will you Harker? You much rather live alongside us soft, white, amenable, easy-going, racist types than have to hang out with a lot of people who think, act and behave just like you.

F*** you, Harker. I don't like you. Does that make me racist? I don't like Tony Blair either and he's not black. Nah. I don't like you because your a tw*t. A tw*t who gets to patronise a whole world of white folk just because, in these fabulously indecent times, you're black.

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