Just Talking

There is a discussion to be had concerning allowing racists to talk.

The liberals who want them silenced think that talking in public legitimises their views, hurts those against whom they hold prejudice, influences children and so propagates their bigotry.

The liberals who want them to speak take freedom of speech as an overriding principle, say that racist views are better expressed as, like boils, they can then be punctured and drained, that children influenced by bigoted language have not been given the principled counter-ideas that would make them immune to it, and that if racists speak in public everyone knows who they are, and it is not kept hidden where it can propagate in the darkness to raise its vicious head at a later date.

Racism exists in every nation. Whenever you hear someone say their’s is the best country to live in, that their women are the most beautiful, their language the best and so forth. The language of exclusivity is everywhere and it births prejudice.

It’s All About Housing

I spent some time with family – unusual for me as, though I have family, I have not really engaged with them for most of my adult life. The reasons are simple enough I consider my mother a brilliant artist and they can’t stand her.

I found out they all voted to leave the EU. Now my cousin, who is bright, knows the EU is not to blame for all the ills in this country but, as he said, he had to protest somehow and this was the most effective protest he could make against his own government.

I can get that. My aunt though, dislikes immigrants taking all the houses because they have large families, leaving local people homeless or in expensive accommodation. It’s an excuse I have heard a lot and it is pure racism, which she admits. But it underlines how vital a good and fair housing policy really is for a stable society.

How Communities Bond

Humanity isn’t always interesting but sometimes it is fascinating. Sociologist and anthropologists find new things about the dynamics of society and how people relate to each all the time, and these facts make a huge difference to how we act. Or should, if we knew about them.

Take the example of two people in the UK living next door to each other. One is British by birth the other obviously not. Every Sunday they wash their cars and they chat as they do so. Friends? Neighbours? Liberal society working well? Not really, for the British man, born and bred, turns out to be a neo nazi member of the British National Party.

These kinds of casual interactions do not cement society, but the ones they have found out that do, are amazing. People who dance together and sing together and, yes, eat together, bond better. In fact singing together is the number one most importance thing  we can do to end racism.

People who bay with the wolves know more than we ever thought.

Skin Depth

There was a famous film based on a book, called Bhowani Junction which dealt with the racism of Anglo-Indians towards Indians. A racism based upon skin colour and inspired by the racism of white people for dark skinned people. A racism that still has its logic rooted in the fact that white people had the industrial revolution and swept the world with their machines taking over land and decimating less mechanically minded peoples who were predominantly non-white.

This whole inverted racism experienced by non-whites for other non-whites, a racism of gradations of colour,  is one of the strange inheritances we have from the days of white empire making. It is actually seen in marketing very strongly for most black actors in Hollywood have some white ancestors and the deep-black African actor is rarely seen even on TV.

But for non-white people to be antagonistic towards each other is an absurdity because it both empowers the racist and cheapens the fight against racism at the same time. It gives credence to every hack eugenics philosophy from the Greeks to the Nazis. It deserts the unfolding struggle to view the whole human race as one race, and denies that every human endeavour is the inheritance of everyone of us, not the preserve of one country or another.

Terence, writing two thousand years ago, said it for all time:

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto;  “I am a person, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”

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February 2019
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