I’d like to start by saying that although in the past I’ve written about some controversial subjects, I tend to stay away from the biggies because blogs can so often be taken out of context and come back to bite us on the arse. Subjects like sexism, homophobia or racism are always going to be emotive and I don’t expect to unite the world with one little blog post. However, I’ve become more aware of, and more shocked by, the levels of racism that seems to have become acceptable in so-called civilised society, amongst well-educated and usually moderate people.
I’m by no means a naive person, I know racism exists in all walks of life and have written previously about idiots like the English Defence League. Before I go on, I’d like to say that I do believe that racism is subjective and because of certain liberal values, political correctness has gone a bit mental. I remember a few years ago my friends’ Mum, who is a social worker, came home and told us that they’d been given a new language directive at work and they were no longer allowed to use the expression ‘mixed race’, and that they must now say ‘dual-heritage’. This seems rather an excessive way to go around the issue of ‘what to call someone’ to me, but I don’t make the rules.
But I think i was first made aware of “middle-class racism” when the furore over Rastamouse started. I saw several people complain about the use of patois in a children’s programme, bloggers and tweeters up in arms that their children would turn into thieves and layabouts. Aside from being a massive, glaring generalisation of an entire culture of people, their short-sightedness floored me. Surely, learning other accents and cultures enriches the lives of our children?
Since the riots, I’ve seen a shocking amount of Facebook statuses and Tweets, talking about how immigrants and people of non-British ethnicity were “99% responsible for the riots” and was shocked when my best friend (who is of Nigerian heritage) went on Facebook to say just how disappointed she was that no less than seven of her online friends had been making racist comments about the riots and surrounding events. I don’t want to get into a row about the cause of the riots or the politics surrounding it, but I know this; I watched HOURS of live news footage of those riots and I saw just as many white faces, or mixed race faces (you know, those people who are still HALF WHITE) in those crowds as I did black, asian or a.n.other faces.
But it’s not about the perpetrators or what percentage was foreign or domestic. It’s about the way we choose to react. It’s about the fact that yes, some were black, some were young, some were old, some were women, some were men….the only pattern is that they were all PEOPLE. They all committed the same crimes, so what the hell does their ethnicity or economic standing have to do with it? Don’t bemoan the colour of their skin, bemoan the fact that they were violent, opportunistic tossers.
I know I’ll never get everyone to agree and I’m sure you all have a scathing response to write, stating immigration policy and crime statistics, but I don’t want to be part of a community where colour is more important to people than criminality. It’s not a race issue, it’s a ‘raising your kids the right way’ issue.