I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the statement “I hate it when people use the word ‘racist’ to shut people up” or something like it when racists are challenged on their abhorrent views. I often see statements like this on the comments threads on Telegraph blogs or Huffington Post. The funny thing is, the ones who use that statement will often say something really racist in the next sentence.
Racists don’t like to be called racists. That’s understandable. It’s a pretty horrible word but then racists are pretty horrible people; there is really nothing nice about them. Scratch a racist and you’ll likely find a sexist, an anti-Semite and a bully underneath.
Then there are those who use weasel words to claim they aren’t racists but actually succeed in achieving the opposite of what they’d intended to do.
Here is my Top Four.
- “What’s wrong with loving my own people”?
- “I’m not a racist, I’m an ethno-nationalist”
- “I’m concerned about immigration, that doesn’t make me a racist”
- “Anti-racism = anti-white”
The first one attempts to refute the charge of racism but fails to work, because when the phrase “my own people” is used it refers to a specific ethnic group. It also implies that the speaker loves every person who shares their pigmentation regardless of never having met them and regardless of their ideologies. The speaker fools no one but him/herself.
The second one uses the compound word “ethno-nationalist” to claim that the speaker isn’t racist but some kind of nationalist. But the construction of this compound informs the reader or the listener, that only one ethnic group can have citizenship bestowed upon them – in other words, the ethnic group of the speaker.
The third phrase is fairly common and was used by Michael Howard when he was leader of the Tory party (“Are you thinking what we’re thinking”?). The trouble with this innocuous looking phrase is that it is used to deflect attention away from some pretty unsavoury notions. More often than not the phrase will be accompanied by revealing remarks like “swamped” or will make a reference to hygiene or contamination.
The fourth phrase is a favourite of Telegraph commenter, “danoconnor” and has been adopted by others. There are two things about this phrase that interest me. First, there’s the insistence that anti-racism campaigners hate white people or that anti-racist efforts are directed against whites. No, we hate white people who are racist. There’s a big difference. Second, it suggests a well-developed sense of victimhood on the part of the speaker who will also make the claim that most violent crime is committed by blacks on whites.
Perhaps the worst excuse that I’ve heard is “racism is natural”. Yes, someone actually said that on Telegraph blogs. He then proceeded to compare the entire country to an enormous village where they’re suspicious of strangers and lynch them upon sight. “Us simple folks don’t take kindly to yo metropolitan Fancy Dan ways ’round here, fella. Now git yo ass outta here or git it lynched”.
If you’re the sort of person who uses racist language and insists that certain ethnic groups leave the country, then you’re a racist. If you think Enoch Powell was “right”, then you’re a racist. If you think that by saying “Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion” lets you off the hook, then you’re most likely a racist. There’s an old saying that can be applied in all cases: “If the cap fits”.