Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Racism - Making Me Proud To Be British

Last week we had a bit of a furore over here. It's been written about by old DD and published on Groundviews over here. I can't add much to the words of DD, he's summed it up nice and succinctly, obviously without my wit, but I'd like to tell you what my thoughts are on the subject.

First, let's set my stall out in an attempt to avoid misunderstandation. It's a new word, one that I just made up, I think you know what I'm talking about though. It's when things are misunderstood. It should not be confused with the word "misunderstandasian", which is when a person fails to understand Asians, a concept many of us are probably familiar with.

My opinion is that the BNP is racist, that it holds views that are morally and fundamentally unpleasant, wrong and against the principles of many basic Human rights. They've used a topic that's at the forefront of much of the British public; that of immigration, to attract attention and publicity, maybe even support, to their frankly vile and despicable cause.

But they're also a legitimate and legal political party, both here and in Europe. They've won some seats in the House of Commons here and also in the European Parliament. Their views are unpleasant yet they're also legitimate. As far as I'm concerned as long as the party is legal, then they should be given an outlet, as much as other parties are given one.

The appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time on BBC TV must have created some turmoil in the minds of those boffins who decide who will appear on the programme, of that there's no doubt. They would have known that the publicity and uproar would have given them a boost in viewing figures, I heard somewhere that in was in fact a four fold increase, pretty large by anyone's standards.

Perhaps they would also have wondered if that increase would be worth the price they would have to pay, the price of negative criticism etc.

Before I saw the programme I felt a strange sense of fear. It was a little bit condescending and patronising towards less bright people, but it was still there. People I considered as reasonably intelligent and normal, those like me, would be quite capable of seeing the BNP for what they really are. The fear was that their leader would be given a platform that would enable him to put across a good and positive impression of both himself and his party to those who were a bit gullible, those who'd get fooled.

My fears proved to be largely unfounded.

As I, and a few million others, though they weren't actually in my living room, watched, we saw Mr Griffin make an idiot of himself. He fudged, he hedged, he squirmed. He attempted to deny the undeniable, then, in the case of the hollocaust, he attempted to deny that he had denied the undeniable.

He tried to chuckle heartily when people pointed out huge big failings in his logic, as if someone was making a small wisecrack about the colour of his tie, rather than a massive flaw in his argument.

I'm sure there were a few people who might have been impressed by him or his party, but that will happen in this sort of situation. To most people his appearance was a huge success, if his intention was to make a total idiot of himself.

What I also thought was that his and his party's opinions are those of dissent. They go against the norm, against most public opinion. There are some countries, so I'm told, in which dissent is outlawed, in which dissenters are jailed, killed or supressed, maybe even given really nasty Chinese burns.

I think of myself as Sri Lankan and British. I'm happy with that, there are no contradictions in my mind.

Watching Nick Griffin make a twat of himself on the BBC made me proud to be British. I felt good that we have freedom of speech here and that people like that are allowed to air their views, no matter how disagreeable they are.


Paul said...

Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

Darwin said...

I'm glad he was allowed on QT, it was hilarious to see him make such a complete ass of himself. I think more people got to see him for who he truly is, so that's a good thing. Anyone voting for the BNP after this seriously needs to get their heads examined.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Paul - I think I agree with you! Thanks for the comment

Darwin - My sentiments exactly.

Scrumpulicious said...

I also am glad that he was allowed on QT. Where else would he have been able to answer questions from those who his party discriminates against?

Like Darwin said, he proved to a whole nation that he's a pleb (for want of a better word!).

However, I think that there were valid points regarding the questions raised to Jack Straw regarding the lack of immigration control that may have contributed to the increase in number of votes to the BNP. Points which Mr Straw didn't defend very well (in my humble opinion) and doesn't do any favours for the current government wanting votes!

PseudoRandom said...

I agree, the fact that his right to free speech was upheld made me feel all warm and fuzzy about this country :-).

What disappoints me is that there was virtually no attention paid to the actual policies of the BNP. The whole show was basically dedicated to discrediting Nick Griffin's character... his character is not what got the BNP votes! I would've liked to have known about their plans for education and healthcare, for example. You and I know that they don't actually have any concrete policies...but this was a golden opportunity to expose that fact to people who haven't realised it yet, and I think it was missed.

Also, Jack Straw completely fluffed the question on whether Labour policy was a catalyst for increased BNP support. It was an opportunity for him to expose the BNP for the vile, manipulative creatures that they are...and all three major party reps missed it 'cos they were too busy bickering amongst themselves over who was to blame.

Immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, but someone on QT should've highlighted the fact that immigration alone cannot be blamed for all of this country's ills. There was a very brief comment by Straw (I think) about immigrants being made scapegoats by the BNP, but I felt it was something that could've been discussed more in depth.

David Blacker said...

The UK sounds just like Sri Lanka -- over here the racists are all making twats of themselves on TV too -- the only difference is that the racists are government politicians, and nobody realises they're twats.

sittingnut said...

er mr sri lankan briton or british sri lankan or whatever , it is very barve of you (very!)to agree with everybody else about bnp and this old nick character that nobody outside uk care about ( he matters to others only if british are racists and vote for him )

but why don't you take a risk for once and say where you stand in relation to racists who were holding protests and conducting attacks in uk against sri lanka on behalf of tamil tiger terrorists.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sittingnut - Thanks for reading and for the comment. My position on racism is simply that I abhor it, in whatever form and against whatever race. Yet fundamentally I wonder if each of us has a slight dose of racism in our make up.

I guess the questionable point is the link you make, where you jump from the fact that people holding protests to the statment that those protests were racist.

It's good that you don't care about the BNP and things over here. Have a good weekend out there.

sittingnut said...

i don't care about bnp if they are not elected.

btw i don't agree that "each of us has a slight dose of racism in our make up" . most ppl don't . if you do in your "make up" may be you should admit it openly instead of trying to spread it to mitigate it.
now to main point -

i don't make a 'jump' when i say ppl who held protests and made attacks ( why drop attacks from your comment btw) against sri lanka in uk are racist . anyone supporting ltte or its ideology is racist. don't you agree ? so are those who supported appeasing the fascist ltte . don't you agree?
and those ppl in uk were supporting ltte as their signs, slogans, and demands, as well as their targets for attacks, all indicated . don't you agree?

i gave specific instances in my blog at the time. so no "jumping " pl.

why have you never made ( and going by circuitous language in your comment , still highly reluctant to make ) a specific condemnation of them as you correctly did with this old nick griffin?
do answer. pl :-)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sittingnut - Fair enough, you don't have to agree with me. I think I can accept that different people can have different opinions on the same set of facts. Can you?

I dropped the use of the word "attacks" because I wasn't aware of any actual attacks in the UK, as you stated.

If it helps you to understand I'll try to explain. I condemn ALL terrorism.

However, like many, I believe that some of the issues that caused the LTTE to be formed in the first place should be addressed. Many of them are being addressed now, which I think is positive and progressive.

You continue to use an unusual form of logic, that of "your complaint about x isn't justified unless you also complain about y." I've seen you use it both on your own blog and on other's and, whilst it's perfectly within your rights to take that approach, it's one that I don't agree with.

It's tantamount to saying that people have to criticise everything they see wrong in the world or they have no voice.

Best anyhow.

sittingnut said...

sorry about length of following but since you tried to put words i did not say in my mouth several times, i had to repeat my simple point several times while correcting your distortions.

why can't you ever quote me saying what you say i am saying?
"your complaint about x isn't justified unless you also complain about y."
that is indeed "unusual form of logic", but also a base lie on your part bc i did not say anything similar to that, or anything that can imply that.
can you quote or specifically point to the words i used here or anywhere that say anything similar to that, or anything that can imply that?

as i clearly said your ( very brave!) condemnation of nick griffin was justified. i also pointed out that you have not condemned ltte supporting racists who attacked and protested against sri lanka. i asked that you do that . you did not, in any specific way. but your not doing so, does not make your condemnation of old nick unjustifiable.

in other words, you said x, i agreed with x. i also asked that you say y. i did not say x is justified only if you say y.

who is "jumping" and distorting? :-)

to carry this forward,
point i am making is that you avoid saying "y" by choice. but when asked to, you choose to repeat the whole alphabet (see below). you showed that you are capable of saying one letter when you said "x". so why not "y" then? that is my point :-)

"I condemn ALL terrorism." "My position on racism is simply that I abhor it,.."
all good and expected. but meaningless when unspecific. ( you are repeating the alphabet, i just want "y" . )

why avoid specific condemnation of ltte and racists supporting it ? you were rightly specific about bnp . why not be specific about ltte and its supporters? that is what i am asking here. don't jump or distort, just be specific.

i see that you avoid defending your earlier false charge of my unjustifiably "jumping " to conclusions about racism of protests. good.
as for attacks, i suppose some ppl choose to be blind. on the other hand, some almost went blind due to acid attacks of ltte supporting racists.

"....people have to criticise everything they see wrong in the world or they have no voice."
no that is not what i am saying . i am saying that you you have a right to criticize (or not criticize) anything you want, and you have shown you are capable of doing that . but you freely choose not to criticize specific things, even when they are pointed out to you.
you rightly criticize racism in general , you rightly criticize specific racism of bnp, but you choose ( and go to great lengths) not to be specific when it comes to criticizing racism of ltte or its supporters. that is what i am saying.

can you please elaborate on the " issues that caused the LTTE to be formed in the first place " according to you ( in another post perhaps) ?
i personally thought and said ltte was nothing but an armed group of criminal thugs using a racist ideology to justify their crimes , and also said how that criminal group should be dealt with in my blog and elsewhere ( while others were advocating appeasement, and you as far as i can see avoiding saying anything ). i also said it is perverted logic to reason that tamil grievances ( which are real ), caused ltte ( let alone justified its actions), any more that poverty causes and justifies theft .

may be you think it is something different ? what was ltte according to you ? that may explain why you are sooooo reluctant to condemn racism of ltte and its supporters .

to repeat again , specific condemnation of ltte and its racist supporters who held protest and made attacks in uk is what i am asking you to do . your not doing that says... you choose not to condemn of ltte and its racist supporters .

i am not saying anything more than that ( certainly not that your choice invalidates anything else you said about other things, or you should have "no voice" etc ) . i am just clarifying your free choice not to specifically condemn racism ltte and its supporters. :-)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sittingnut - You are of course perfectly entitled to your opinions, I wish you luck with them.

sittingnut said...

thanks again for confirming the fact that you freely choose not to specifically condemn racist ltte supporters who held protest and made attacks in uk.
that is all i wanted. :-)

chamira said...

Just to point out, the BNP do not have elected MPs in the House of Commons (as you claim in the post), they have local councillors.

A point that has not been made is the the BNP constitution has always been illegal and only recently changed. Does that make all it's previous council election victories void?

The QT was a farce and Griffin did better than expected as all he had to do was fend off personal attacks. The reports are the appearance has increased BNP popularity.

The immigration/multiculturalism debate will rages on here because 1) people do not understand the liberal economics that drive it - cheap labour force used to threaten and coerce the 'native' working classes,and 2) that people refuse to accept the humanity of people of different ethicities, and allowing them to live their lives according to their customs & requirements. Considring that most of these people were considered sub-human about 50 years ago, its not surprising.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Chamira - Thanks for pointing that out, I stand corrected.

I guess the fact that some elements of the BNP's constitution were deemed illegal appears to make little difference to the election victories. Perhaps it's similar to other councillors or MPs who get elected and then fail to do what they said in their manifesto.

The reports about the huge increase in the BNP's popularity after QT are coming from the BNP itself, hardly a respectable source in my opinion, therefore something I take with a pinch of salt.

I agree fully with your point about racism and multiculturism. It's just global economics and supply and demand, and almost every nation has been happy to take advantage of the positives throughout history when it suits.

Thanks for the comment.

chamira said...

RD, probbaly the best assessment of the whole QT thing is here: (having only looked at the Guardian and the New Statesment, I being chronically left-ish).

But you know what,having lived here for over twenty years,having endured fights at school, my parents being spat at, endless taunts of paki and sambo & what not in small Midlands towns in the 80s, I didn't think we'd be facing the same mindless racism again.

Yes, we're far better off than the rest of Europe in terms of race relations, but with the fudged immigration 'debate' and the avoidance of any colonial history, i can't see things getting any better, only worse. So much so that it is one of the resons I'm leaving the country. Unfortunately the BNP have stopped their repatriation offers.