How to be Racist

It seems near on impossible to flick through any social media site without finding continued references to racism.  The common factor between the vast majority of such posts is that are almost all completely, and absolutely wrong.  It is striking that a word that used to have such potency has been overused and obfuscated to the point that it has been rendered meaningless.

The simplest and clearest definition of racism is thus:

prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Please note the last word in that definition.  […] based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.  In recent times we have had the scandal of Boris and the Burka where former foreign minister and London Mayor, Boris Johnson suggested that women that wear the burka look like letter boxes.  I have seen countless accusations that these remarks are racist.  First and foremost it is worth considering that Islam is a religion and not a race.  Thus we have a more accurate term that at a push, if you wish to reason that there is a heinous motive behind the comment, may well fit better.

dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

For islamophobia to be accurate it is necessary to demonstrate that Boris Johnson has a dislike of Muslims which is not implausible.

Similarly there have been countless accusations of racism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  These claims fall down for the very same reason.  Judaism is a religion and not a race, despite what Halachic Law states.  Accepting the noxious idea that dipping your head in water changes your ethnicity would be the equivalent of acknowledging Jihadi as a race.

One of the biggest of the antisemitic rows within the Labour Party is the adoption of IHRA guidelines that most civilised countries have adopted to define what antisemitism is.  One of the key issues is that Labour have removed a line that warns against ‘claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’.  antisemitism is defined in the dictionary as:

hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

This is where lines begin to blur.  Stating that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour does not make any sense as simply the idea alone does not express any form of superiority, Judaism isn’t a race, Israeli is a nationality and the statement is just plain stupid.  However, it is absolutely antisemitic as it demonstrates clear hostility towards the notion of a Jewish state.

The common thread between islamophobia and antisemitism is a single word – prejudice:

preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

The truth is that not only that the vast majority of opinions we encounter online and in real life are blatantly prejudicial.  In the Boris example the snippets from his article that have been shared online are from an article entitled ‘Denmark has got it wrong.  Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that’s still no reason to ban it’.  Thus the quotes that are being banded about in the press demonstrate dislike but it is hard to argue prejudice, nonetheless, it is a clear example of islamophobia.  The notion that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour demonstrates a blatant hostility and subsequently can be defined as antisemitic.  The fact is that arguing that either of the aforementioned examples are racist is unequivocally, unquestionably, inarguably, absolute bollocks.

Funnily enough there is a word that comfortably describes people who falsely accuse others of racism without throughly considering the meaning of their words, whose actions, indignation, and feigned offense, is actually driven by their own ignorance as opposed to actual fact.  It is a word more closely associated with racists, homophobes, extremists, the pious, the holy, and the damn right vile.

bigot
ˈbɪɡət/
noun
a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

The Blackest of Protests

This morning the Polish Parliament voted on a new anti-abortion law that will make it easier to host a Nazi parade in the centre of your capital city than it will be for a woman to get an abortion.  This is abhorrent, indefensible and insane for a country which already hosts some of the most stringent anti-abortion laws in Europe itself.

For all intents and purposes it will be illegal for a Polish woman to have an abortion unless her own life is threatened.  This will exclude dozens of quite horrendous medical conditions, rape and sexual abuse and somewhat adequate explanations as to why any woman would wish to have the free will to decide what is best for her in the 21st century.

This comes at a time when there is a struggle for identity upon our continent.  Where Poles have been targeted for assault and abuse due to their nationalities.  Now Polish women in their own country face a significant loss in their ability to dictate their own fate, and we can at least make them feel less alone.  It is time for those of us that have encountered, admired and been somewhat bewitched by Polish women to stand up with them and say ‘Poland, if you don’t want them, we will happily take them somewhere they can have a say in their own destinies!’

czarnyprotet

A Gaggle of Cun….

It seems that barely a week is able to pass by without an underclass of social media users sharing images of something disgusting.  This week’s image in question, which incidentally, I am not going to share, is of a dead Syrian child lying on a beach.  It is an image so repugnant in its very idea, that there is absolutely no need for anyone to ever share it.  Unless they are morally obtuse, self-absorbed, shitbergs.

This social media underclass of keyboard warriors and online campaigners believe that they are making a difference.  In my own encounters with these feckless morons the most common defence that I have encountered is that they are, in fact, ‘raising awareness’.  In this particular case they might be right.  There might be someone, probably called George, that lives in a closet, has an allergy to news, and has only one friend in the entire universe responsible for shaping their world view.  Them.  In such cases it is indeed true they are raising awareness, raising awareness that George should likely try living a life in the real world.  However, putting George to one side for a moment, I cannot help but wonder what it is precisely that they are raising awareness of?  Death?  Their penchant for collecting pictures of dead children?  The fact that life is unfair?  That war is fatal?

The fact is, these click-baited mindless morons gain a sense of usefulness and righteousness from their actions.  They are honestly that stupid that they believe with a genuine conviction that sharing distressing images does something positive for the causes which they care about.  That all they are required to do is click one button, or touch one screen and life will become inordinately better.  It is self-delusion of a scale that in past centuries would have landed them inside mental asylums, and yet, today, is the true epoch of our modern age.

The saddest thing of all is that this sharing, caring, generation of internet zombies are, deep down, exactly the same as George.  They are all blithely unaware of the universe which lives outside of their own doorsteps.  It is as if the genius of Zuckerberg is that he has convinced us that we are regal in our kingdoms.  That we Gods of the touchscreens are able to shape the perceptions of others through tacit use of shock and awe.  That humanity is a community interconnected by screens.  It is not.  It is a living, breathing dying gaggle of gene machines.  Humanity cannot be saved by the power of want.  The force of intention does not put food in the bellies of refugees.  The awe of image cannot stop wars.  The divine power of the share button cannot stop people dying, no matter how many times you share a photograph of a dead child on a beach.

On the Topic of #Hejty

The internet is a wondrous thing. Not only has it completely transformed communication but it has managed to shrink geographical proximity to irrelevance. Alas, like all good things it doesn’t come without a health warning.  It takes the human mind approximately 7 seconds to make a judgement or a decision and a further 11.7 seconds to write something unpleasant or abusive.

The strangest thing is that many people feel as if the anonymity offered by the Internet protects them from the human rules that govern our interactions. It doesn’t. All a predilection to attacking people online under the cover of anonymity proves is that you, in fact, are a massive arse.

The fact is that science has proven that it takes a great deal more time to write something unpleasant than to make a judgement based on information. This means that the unpleasant vitriol spewed by many online has nothing to do with human emotion and everything to do with callousness.

There are some things in life that are deserving of our wrath.  Not the person whose perspective or sexuality differs from yours. Nor the person that looks differently.  But for those actions that cause misery and suffering for the assorted creatures that are stuck on our floating rock.

Vertigo Vertigoing Vertigone

Have you ever noticed how the truly arrogant souls amongst us do not suffer from vertigo?  It’s a miracle of science, or perhaps the omnipotent omnipresent deity that nobody who isn’t mental has ever met.  I’m quite amazed that they can see anything but darkness, considering their heads are so far up their own arses that they can taste yesterdays dinner.

You may be wondering what’s got my goat.  Nothing.  I don’t have a goat.  What I do have is a chip on my shoulder.  But then I’ve always been a messy eater.  Truly I am angry.  I hardly notice the difference anymore because I feel exactly the same way every single day.  I am angry at what our world has become, about what people have become and most of all I am angry about the way in which we admire others.

To borrow a phrase from another writer, we are the Pepsi generation.  The generation of brands before bands, of product before integrity, we have fully embraced the concept of manyana to match the death of human ambition.  And yet still we raise people up on pedestals and worship at their feet.  All the while we are waiting for them to fall. When they do, we cause a stampede as we run over their bodies, each footfall carefully aimed and we tear at their carcasses without every stopping to ask ourselves what the fuck are we doing?  Never once do we ask ourselves why we need heroes?  Deep down we know that by proving that our heroes are fallible, we somehow excuse our own shortcomings.  That if someone more intelligent, attractive and/or richer than you can’t resist stumbling down the local park and performing sex acts on homeless vagrants how could anyone expect you to?  If some middle-aged actor can’t turn down a big mac, how could you?  If some talented musician ends their own life because they were unhappy, how unhappy must you be with your lot in life.

We embrace weakness.  We celebrate it.  It comforts us, and wraps us in a warm blanket of our own shortcomings, where we can lay immobile without ever feeling the compulsion to try.  We have become obsessed with protecting our children from failure.  Failure has become a dirty word, one which we all do our level best to avoid.  And we are all well aware of what the best strategy is,  after all, how could anyone fail at anything, if they never ever try…