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.
bigotˈbɪɡət/nouna person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.