Racism isn’t dead in Britain – We just pretend it is
A month or so ago, Chris York reported yet another “Disgusting Racist Rant Video” by a woman on a London Tube. This not news, considering that racism is still widespread nationally and internationally albeit to different degrees. Thankfully, the woman was denounced by other passengers on the train who branded her a “bigot” and a “racist”. The young man who recorded the atrocious event on his phone exclaimed that “You really don’t expect to see it in this day and age”.
The statement by the young man is also proclaimed by many “progressives” in Britain. How could such a heinous racist tirade ever happen in public? After all, it is 2015 and racism in 2015 hardly exists. If we really think about this, it is evident that is not the case.
Racism still persists but it is less explicit than it used to be. There are no racially assigned bathrooms; no signs with the words “No – insert ethnicity here- allowed” in public places; no racially segregated schools. Ethnic minorities and immigrants are permitted to do just what white, British people are permitted to do – and this apparently means that racism has been eliminated. On the extreme end one may claim that immigrants even have a better time in Britain than Brits themselves; after all, as the Telegraph reported, there are “Twice as many EU immigrants claiming unemployment benefits in the UK than vice versa”.
This is all nonsense. This idiocy should not be taken seriously. One merely has to look at statistics , pick up a newspaper or roam the internet to find something that demonstrates racism is far from “shocking” in 2015. Statistically speaking, rates of poverty are highest for Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Black Africans. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that 2/3rds of Bangladeshis live in poverty and 70% of children in Bangladeshi households are classified as poor, Black African children were the second most deprived.
Ethnic minorities constantly face structural discrimination. This is through “ethnic penalties”, through the abhorrent “racial profiling” culture perpetuated by the police which stops Black Britons 28 times more than whites (also let’s not forget Stephen Lawrence and Mark Duggan!) , by airport security which stops Asians 42 times more than whites thanks to the “just and fair” schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This is only a snapshot, there is more; according to the Institute of Race Relations, in 2011-2012 the police in England and Wales recorded 47,678 “racist incidents” (on average 130 incidents per day). For the ridiculous BNP slogan that “Racism cuts both ways”, evidence shows that only 0.1% of the white population experienced racially-motivated hate crime as opposed to 1.8% Asian/Asian British and 0.95% Black or Black British. These apparent, yet neglected practices of discrimination are not only projected onto British ethnic minorities, but apply to immigrants that have left their countries to start a better life in Britain too.
The fact that people are so willing to accept that racism does not exist due to the fact they do not see it before their eyes is worrisome. Casual racism persists , and it indicates that racism is still a reality but has transformed. Take Jeremy Clarkson for example, who has recently been fired from the BBC. Despite several cautions, he has continued to make numerous racist comments and has publicly stated that he sees “no problem with it”. In 2014, he had no problem stating “catch a n****r by his toe” just as he had no problem in exclaiming that the solution to long waits at the airport is “to introduce a bit of racism”,
The worst part of such comments is not Clarkson himself; after all, the media is full of individuals who express their bigotry daily, one only has to Google Katie Hopkins to see what kinds of gems we have in Britain. The real problems lies with the ordinary people. It took the BBC embarrassingly long to fire Clarkson but as soon as it does so, more people sign a petition to bring back Jeremy Clarkson to Top Gear than the campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In fact, the Independent has reported that it is the fastest-growing Change.org campaign in history. Who cares about social justice? More important things await, such as rectifying the injustice that has been imposed on Jeremy.
Other forms of racism are also completely bypassed by people and are just explained through “it’s just politics”. It is somehow acceptable allowing Nigel Farage to publicly support the five-year state school ban on UK immigrants. It is permissible for David Cameron to introduce a policy barring EU nationals from benefits for four years. After all, this is just politics and how the system is, we must not question it.
However, as soon as someone is explicitly racist, everyone loses their mind. How dare someone actually say what the state of affairs really is like? A woman shouting to people speaking a foreign language on a train is despicable; Rozanne Duncan stating she “Has a problem with Negroes’ Faces” is atrocious. Yet Farage, Clarkson, and other public figures are permitted to continue being implicitly racist, merely because they sugar coat it.
This hypocrisy has to end. No one likes to be labelled as a racist, as John Mcwhorter states, “Socially, being accused or racism is almost as feared as being accused of paedophilia”. Nonetheless, self-reflection in one’s behaviour is necessary. You cannot call yourself an ally in the fight for racism whilst simultaneously signing a petition to get Mr Racist back on the BBC. You cannot denounce a woman and label her as a bigot on a train then vote Conservative or UKIP on the 7th of May.
Unfortunately, the reality is that racism is still everywhere and it still has to be eliminated. This is not achieved through a faux-anti-racist movement that seeks to call people out on their explicit racism, whilst indulging in casual racism. It is accomplished through tackling the vehement racism that is everywhere, the casual, subtle racism that people dismiss as being “banter” or “just politics”.