[Content Note: racism, transphobia, state violence]
Around Christmas last year a blog about antiracism and antiracists popped up on Twitter (it's in full below). I remember seeing this blog when it first came out but some of the discussions about racism//antiracism have, for obvious reasons, popped back up online and in real life. The author of the blog makes some big claims about people they describe as 'antiracists' (their inverted commas) and those who engage in 'thought-policing, faux-outrage and wokeness'(1) on Twitter and I thought it would be interesting to explore the arguments used in the blog and the claims of 'linguistic scare-bombing' as well as some of the other arguments made in the piece. A little note: I'm intentionally not naming the author, nor sharing the article. You're welcome to look up the original blog, but this is not a personal go at the author. If you know who it is, fine, but don't jump into their mentions, don't snitch-tag them into any discussions. This is bigger than that. This is about the ideas shared and about analysing the claims made. I share some of the authors concerns about online hostility (though we may disagree on the substance of this) and am more interested in encouraging people to explore the actual evidence behind the blog's claims which I hope to show are often baseless. I've left the whole of their blog, unedited, at the bottom of this piece if anyone would like to cross reference it. I've also heavily quoted the blog in the text.
More notes: This has ended up being a bit long so I've split it into the following sections if, like me, you have short attention spans.
1) Looking at language (2)
2) Victimhood & 'Scare-Bombing'
3) The Evidence
Now, this is an argument that is regularly repeated online: look at the dictionary definition. It's important to note that the author doesn't cite the actual dictionary definition, nor the claim that it is the 'widely-understood and widely-used definition' accepted in the UK. We have no literature review, no analysis of this claim, despite this being a central pillar of the author's argument. They wish to use this to prove that the words have been 'redefined to fit the beliefs and objectives of those pushing for a so-called 'antiracist' movement, as well as the development of new phrases used to silence, scare and belittle those who criticise or resist said movement.' It has, the article states, been changed by 'White Fragility and other radical-left literature... so that it can only refer to systemic racism where only BAME people can be the victim because of power structures. BAME people literally cannot be racist according to this redefinition; they can be prejudiced but not racist; only white people can be racist.' [Here's a little link about racial categorisation and terminology which might be of interest.
The author is making 2 arguments:
1. There is one simple definition of racism which is widely understood
2. This definition has been 'redefined' by 'antiracists'
This is a really common argument around racism: there is a simple definition in the dictionary, this is the only definition people understand by the term, so this is the only definition it's appropriate to use. I think this one of the key issues our society has around tackling liberal notions of racism. Large parts of our society do not agree on what racism is, so how can we combat it? Better people than me have attempted to look at this.
It's good practice to look at where words come from. This can be tricky, which is why dictionaries and lexicographers (people who make dictionaries)
'Segregating any class or race of people apart from the rest of the people kills the progress of the segregated people or makes their growth very slow. Association of races and classes is necessary in order to destroy racism and classism.'
Here, I think, we have a useful display of the term being used to describe systemic, rather than individualised oppression. It's also intersectional (see below). Now, this doesn't mean that this is the be all and end all definition, that's not how language works - and that's why I think that the argument that the term has been 'redefined' is difficult to agree with. The term appears to become more widely used in the 30s to describe the Nazi policies of subjugation and extermination of people racialised as not-Aryan though this, again, is difficult to prove as we have to rely on print and some scant audio media. It does not really allow us to know how it was used (if at all) in wider societal discourse. The term becomes popularised in the English language in the late 60s [see fig 1](4) and it is at this time that Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton, the authors differentiated 'institutional racism' from 'individual racism' in their 1967 book Black Power.(5) The following year the Kerner Commission, a report into the cause of the 1967 race riots in the US, said that racism was specifically a white problem: 'White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it and white society condones it.'(6) Two years later the US Commission on Civil Rights defined racism as:
'any attitude, action or institutional structure which subordinates a person or group because of his or their color', adding that an 'institutional structure was any well-established, habitual or widely accepted pattern of action' (i.e., behavioural) or 'organizational arrangements whether formal or informal (i.e., administrational).'(7) (quoted by A Sivanandan)
Clearly as the term started to gain traction, people realised how imprecise the word was, and attempted to add more clarity. Over the following decades a number of books and articles published by black writers and academics look at racism and explore the terms and concepts involved (There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack by Paul Gilroy, the Race and Class journal from the Institute of Race Relations, and many many more. Frantz Fanon wrote about structural anti-Black racism in the 50s). Looking at the popularity and use of the term in print media, and the time at which writers, activists and academics were using this term it is difficult to argue that there was a fixed and original definition. Documents such as 'Racism in America; and how to combat it', published by the US Commission on Civil Rights, discusses this difficulty and attempts to produce a nuanced definition, but this does not mean it is the definition people on the street would understand or use. Clearly, as the blog we're responding to proves, there is still a range of meanings placed upon this word (isn't semiotics fun!). The fact that we are still having these conversations today shows that it is still a live debate and rather undermines the claim that our author's definition is 'the correct, widely-understood and widely-used definition of the word'. Our author may claim that this is the correct, commonly used definition, but by whom, and in what contexts. It was definitely an argument used by the BNP, but I don't want to lump our author in with them.(8) However, by not critically looking at the context of these terms and arguments the piece makes the same arguments as those I assume they would not position themselves with.
The idea that the definition of racism has been redefined recently is simply not true. That the author has decided on their understanding of the term does not mean they are correct, and it means that their arguments about racism are one dimensional because they are not rooted in an understanding of the history of racism. As well as this, their rejection of other interpretations of the term without any analysis really undermines any argument about 'redefinition' which the author puts forward.
Hopefully this has shown that the definition of the word 'racism' is much more complex than a 'simple dictionary definition', and that the term has been widely used (from at least half a century ago) to include systemic oppression of specifically black people by white society.
Now, a definition and historical look at the concept of race is something glaringly missed out of the blog. I would assume (happy to be wrong) it is due to the idea that (from our author's simple dictionary definition) racism is merely about treating someone with a different skin colour to you negatively. Now this is where things get a bit spicy isn't it, and this is often what the debate is really about. Far better people than me have written about this. Many people have dedicated large chunks of their life to writing about this. Sadly, many more have had to suffer the injustice of racism.
I was going to try and give a history of racism, its beginnings in scientific racism and its influence on the accumulated wealth and legal structures which are still endured in our society but, to be honest, it would barely scratch the surface. If you're interested in more detailed histories about scientific racism, colonialism and the history of racism in Britain have a read of Alana Lentin and Nadine El-Enany's new books to add to your Reni Eddo-Lodge and Akala, listen to the Surviving Society podcast (especially this episode)
Honestly, I'm not interested in arguing about whether white people can experience racism. The history of ideas around race were set up to subjugate people who were not white and the narrative has by and large remained the same for hundreds of years (the talk starts at 21mins). There is no question that people can be nasty to one another, they can use people's skin colour as a way to insult them, or dismiss their ideas. But really... I think it's a moot point. I think the majority of times people complain about experiencing racism due to being white, is because of class rather than race. I think it's also used as a smokescreen to divert the argument away from understanding the systematic way in which racialised people have been oppressed throughout the history of the UK.
If you want to describe being mean to people racialised-as-white racism, fine. I think it's simplistic and not very useful and it will lead to people thinking you're diminishing the existence and reality of racism experienced by black and brown people in the UK, but feel free. If, however, you are more vocally concerned about that kind of racism than by the systematic oppression of black and brown people in the UK, then I'd suggest you've got your priorities very mixed up (and if you think the term 'systematic oppression' encourages victimhood, please see below).
'There is a difference between being an antiracist, using the standard English definition of words (which I view as the correct one), and being an 'antiracist' when you use the redefined and bastardised, woke, intersectionalist, SocJus terminology.'
There's a lot to unpack in this sentence. We've got the claim that there is a standard English definition of words - this is following on from the author defining 'racism' (which we've problematised above) and then explaining the prefix 'anti-' to come up with a loose definition of anti-racism meaning being against 'the view that one race is superior to others or the belief that prejudice or discrimination against people based on their race is acceptable'. Ignoring the fact that the author's definition of racism is basic, not referenced, and not properly analysed, the key crux of their disagreement with 'anti-racists' is what it means to be 'against' these things. Here the author sets up an elaborate straw man argument about who it is they disagree with. To our author, 'antiracists' are people who subscribe to Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility and show [a] level of unquestioning adherence to these tenets [see full text below] that you would associate with religious 'guides to living' like the Ten Commandments and Mitzvot.'
There are people who read, like and use this book. It is on bestseller lists, touted by celebrities and promoted by large corporations (I'm sure the author shares my distrust of brands posting black squares in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement). This is specifically because DiAngelo's liberal, individualised understanding of racism is perfect for people, groups and institutions who have no real interest or desire to change how they live or operate, but don't want to feel bad.
The author claims that 'To be an 'antiracist' you must agree with every single one of these.' Again, some may say this. I too would argue that this is wrong, but I've also not seen or heard it. I'm sure they're on some people's suggested reading lists and I think it is interesting to read about the concept of white fragility, even if it focuses more on white people feeling bad and their responses to racism rather than arguments for structural change. I think (but this again, due to the lack of references from our author, is speculation) that this stems from a misunderstanding of the hotly debated discourse around anti-racism in the UK, blended with articles from right-wing(9) publications and commentators writing about what anti-racism is and how it is the real racism. I'm not going to link to it, but the contrarians over at Spiked (Trotskyists turned libertarians) love this topic. There is no absolute anti-racist position. Many people prefer to use it as an adjective/adverb to describe something people do, rather than to describe a characteristic. To a certain extent I am persuaded by this line of thinking.
It seems the author's main frustration is with White Fragility as a book, which, fair enough. Me too. It's focus is on individualistic 'self flagellation' which can be marketed and packaged as part of corporate racial awareness training sessions rather than a sincere commitment to challenging the structure of society which perpetuates this form of oppression. DiAngelo is not the be all and end all voice on antiracism and I would beware anyone telling you that she is (though, I've not really seen this, apart from in this blog and other commentators who write for publications like Spiked). I'd also beware anyone trying to sell you a simplistic answer to racism. It is so baked into our society that many people do not want to believe racism is really an issue. A large part of the country believe the British Empire was something to be proud of but many don't know that both Labour and Conservative governments destroyed thousands of documents documenting tourture, sexual violence, explicit instructions for how to manipulate members of colonies as well as details of extreme racist beliefs from colonial officials as part of Operation Legacy. Many Labour members and voters also do not want to recognise the complicity their own party has in racism and anti-immigrant sentiment over the years. I hope I don't need to go into why the Conservative party is a fundamentally racist institution.
So when the author says 'extreme SocJus activists and especially 'antiracists' have weaponised language as a means to silence, scare and belittle (rather than persuade or argue with) their dissenters' I find it difficult to know exactly what they mean. The language hasn't been weaponised, the author just disagrees with how people are using these terms. They (rightly) complain about DiAngelo but don't look at authors like A Sivanandan who was writing in the UK 40 years ago about antiracism and the problem of Racial Awareness Trainings (like the ones DiAngelo profits from). These critiques of liberal approaches to combating racism are ones I think the author might actually be quite interested in. They look at race and class (the author mentions the importance of power which 'affluence' gives people) and have a deep analytical understanding of the history of immigration and 'integration' in the UK, something which is not understood enough (myself included).
Our author also gives us their own definition of what anti-racism is: their own specific definition of racism with the added prefix 'anti'. Here the piece makes the distinction between antiracists (how the vast majority of teachers may legitimately view themselves) and those who the author puts in quotation marks as 'antiracists'. The author then goes on to conclude that they 'feel that some who called themselves 'antiracist' are in fact racist themselves.' More controversially and without any evidence (see below) the piece declares these 'antiracists' are actually 'sowing division and hate'.
I think it's important to recognise that our author does mention that 'I believe that Britain does have a problem with racism, both in terms of the internalised views held by people, racist abuse and prejudice on an individual and incidental level, as well as institutionalised racism, especially in the media and legal system'. It seems as though they are happy with the term 'institutional racism', but want that to be specifically different from individualised, personal incidents of racism. I would largely agree with this, however they don't mention where this racism comes from and via this absence the blog seems to suggest that racism is not simply a white issue, which as we see above, flies in the face of historical uses and understanding of the term racism.
The author responded to this blog post accepting that their use of the word 'woke' was inappropriate:
'Criticism of my use of the word woke is the one criticism of the blog that I think is fair, and it was made by a few people in the immediate aftermath. While there once was a sweet point where the word woke could define a particular ideology and set of norms, it seems to be becoming a word that can be used to describe anyone who cares about things beyond their individual bubble. I've heard someone describe fast-food chains as woke for releasing vegan options. Woke and wokeness will soon become the new 'PC gone mad.' I also agree that it was disrespectful to use a word grounded in civil rights activism in a blogpost that discusses activism.'
As far as I am aware the author still uses the term.
Another term the author throws in without defining is 'radical left'. This refers to the horseshoe theory of political ideology and the 'radical left' would mean those on the extremity of the left of the horse shoe. However, there are many critiques of the horseshoe theory, a significant one being that it doesn't really usefully describe the complexities of political ideology. There are a whole variety of ideologies on the far left, from communism, to anarchism, and the myriad of different understandings of what these two ideologies mean. So when the author describes the radical left, who do they mean? Is the author talking about Socialists? Anarchists? Communists? Marxist-Leninists? Stalinists? Trotskyists? Maoists? Social Democrats? You just have to look at history (from Kronstadt to The Spanish Civil War) or the weird and wonderful world of twitter dot com to see the raging debates between people who are often placed together like this. Or the parodies. Now this isn't necessarily a problem, we lump things into categories for ease to understand them in a general sense. However, the blog describes Robin DiAngelo as a member of the 'radical-left', and uses this to try and scare people away from her ideas. This is really very disingenuous. DiAngelo has a decidedly liberal outlook on racism (see Sivanandan above). I would encourage the author to critically engage with the political nuances they're describing before trying to dismiss someone's idea on anti-racism due to a misunderstanding of their politics.
I'm interested by the term SocJus activists and I'd be really fascinated to look at the history and evolution of this term. It's not defined in this text - and I've never actually seen it shortened in this way - but it's a shortened version of Social Justice, often followed by the term Warrior and often abbreviated to SJW. It's a term widely used on reddit, Twitter and 4chan and is used pejoratively to describe people the speaker/writer thinks is doing something which appears good but is actually in their own self-interest ('virtue signalling'). Like 'woke', I'm not sure many people really use it to describe themselves, but happy to be proved wrong.
A key part of the argument in the blog is that the language 'antiracists' use is to argue their case is 'linguistic scare bombing'. I've never seen this term before or since. I've done a bit of digging but honestly have no idea where the 'linguistic scare bombing' comes from. In fact - and fair play to the author - if you search the term this article's at the top. Excellent SEO work. The blog describes it as 'a way of using insulting and emotionally-charged language against somebody who is arguing with you in an effort to get them to shut up.' It 'can cause the victim to retract their viewpoint, agree with the scare-bomber or refuse to say what they actually think for fear of negative consequences, as opposed to having been persuaded to do so based on reason and facts.'
It goes on to say that 'such negative consequences include public shaming, the tarnishing of their reputation or attempts to negatively affect their standing with colleagues and even threats to their jobs.'
If I'm going to be picky (I am), this term is a nice little autology. It describes itself. Using the word bombing (to persuade people that someone else's writing is intimidating) is using emotionally charged language. If you accuse someone of 'scare-bombing' you're doing to get them to stop saying what they're saying. Nice little rhetorical technique isn't it? Sure my old Cicero A Level students would have found plenty of examples! The author then gives examples of a few phrases which anti-racists use to scare people into silence. Let's have a look at them!
'As well as fragility, 'White guilt' is used to shut down debates and mock white people. White guilt is the concept of individual and collective guilt held by white people for the transgressions of white people in the past, such as colonialism and slavery.'
White guilt is a liberal, racial awareness training term used lots by people like Judith Katz who was an early proponent of paid courses and seminars to combat racism. It absolutely is used to shut down debates and mock white people. I think it can be a useful term to understand white peoples' upset (as does the author in the follow up blog) and being linked with racist structures, but I also think it can be used to individualise what is a structural problem. The A. Sivanadnan article is good on deconstructing this.
''White supremacy' according to dictionaries is the belief that white people are superior to other races.'
Gonna be picky here. If you're going to quote plural dictionaries please cite them. From a simple Google search, this looks like the author has taken part of the Wikipedia entry on White Supremacy which tells us 'the racist belief that white people are superior to people of other races and therefore should be dominant over them'. Merriam Webster tells us that a white supremacist is :'a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races'. Dictionary dot com states that it is: 'The belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to people from all other racial and ethnic groups, especially Black people, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society.
I have highlighted the ideas of power and control to contrast with the absence of them in the definition given in the blog) because the author claims that this use of the term, when used by (fake) 'antiracists' is specifically 'much harder to define and more closely linked to structural and societal power where supremacy is how white people find themselves in positions of power at the expense of non-whites and maintaining the status-quo to keep white people in this position of power.' Have a little browse of definitions of the term. Power, control and societal structures are clearly rooted in them. As we have seen above, early writing about racism and white supremacy believe that US and UK society is built to benefit white people. Which wildly contradicts the blog's unfounded claim that ''antiracists' have chosen to create and accept an alternative definition of the term. The redefinition has given them power to wield over others' and seems very much like the 'victimhood' of which the author accuses 'anti-racists'.
The blog claims that 'No one wants to be accused of being a white supremacist (how fragile!) and going by the dictionary definition of the word, very few people are.' I agree, there is a definite stigma about being called racist or a white supremacist. Moreover this doesn't mean that people don't believe or support white supremacy (personally I tend to prefer to describe people's actions, rather than their character as I believe people learn, grow and change. One of the reasons I'm taking the time to write this blog is because I used to believe many of the same things the author does). If the author had taken the time to read the Wikipedia article they used for their (partial) definition of the term they would have seen that the term is about beliefs and power. If we look at the disproportionate use of state power between different races, the economic inequality, the health disparity and so on we can see that structurally there is an imbalance of power. This is how the ideology of white supremacy manifests itself in our society. We (white people) may find this uncomfortable, because it implicates many of us (especially those of us who are middle-class), but it is far more uncomfortable to have to face stop and searches regularly, or being placed in detention centres (white immigrants who outstay their visas rarely get put into detention centres), or sentenced more harshly or are paid less, all because of the colour of your skin.
I'm sure the author would be up in arms if this was a regular occurrence for white people. They would rightly describe it as racist. But this doesn't happen in the UK. The structures of state power do not punish people because they are white. They absolutely do if they are working class, or disabled, or women, or trans, or gay - these are points for another blog. But it is not the colour of their skin which does this.
The author has a pretty good working definition here: ''Whiteness', is a reference to the structural and societal norms and systems which produce white privilege and is used by academics to identify behaviours and norms associated with white people.' It's an ideology which can help produce and reproduce white supremacist thinking. I think lots of people get upset when their worldview is put into a category, especially an ideological one. In day to day conversations, people talk of a 'far-left' or a 'far-right', or 'extremist' ideology. Capitalism is not regularly thought of as an ideology although a large proportion of our society would seem to subscribe to it. We're already eating trash can (not a huge fan of Zizek, but this video is a good little introduction to ideology). We see the ideology of whiteness in the defense of the British Empire (above), in the claims of 'black on black crime', defense of slave owners as 'of their time' (do we really think the millions slaves thought their enslavement was justified?) or claims the abolition of slavery was due to white British MPs (when Haiti gained independence via a slave revolution three decades before and the Maroons in British colonies had been fighting for their freedom and leading uprisings for 2 centuries prior). These are examples of whiteness because they justify arguments that white people are better than people of other ethnicities. They give agency to white people and remove it from others.
That the author claims that 'it is a free pass to make sweeping negative generalisations and racist slurs against white people' misunderstands what whiteness is. It makes sweeping generalisations because it is about a collective ideology. Not everyone will subscribe to every belief, ideology doesn't work like that, but it does try to draw together examples to understand the wider undercurrents of white supremacy.
Whilst I disagree with most of the blog, I take serious issue with the following:
'Seeing how the word whiteness is used on Twitter reminds me of the sweeping generalisations and the nasty, racist, ignorant statements I used to hear people make about 'pa**s' when I was a child.'
This is simply disingenuous. It may very well remind the author about seeing people suffer explicit racial abuse, but these two are not equivalents. The author acknowledges this in a follow up blog. But to contrast the term 'whiteness' with a racial slur (which is exactly what the rhetoric of this sentence does, even if the author admits that in reality, they are not the same) is an attempt to scare people away from using the term. Bringing up notions of whiteness in any sort of contrast with a racial slur which was used to fuel wide ranging violence and murder shows a lack of understanding about the gravity of racism at the very least. In the follow up blog the author says they're not really 'equating' (antiracist educator's words) the two. At best this is a clumsy phrasing: 'I'm not saying they're the same, but it does remind me of that horrible slur'. If they're not similar then how does it remind one of the horrible slur? It's okay to admit that your phrasing was inappropriate. It doesn't mean you are racist, it means you're open to dialogue.
The blog proudly states in its conclusion that it 'will continue criticising blanket victimhood' It rails against people 'who have completely bought into intersectionality and grievance studies literature are enlightened saviours.' If the author believes in structural racism (which they say they do) then they're accepting that structurally people from ethinc minorities will face more prejudice in their daily lives than white people. This is not blanket victimhood. It's an understanding of a power imbalance (which is not the only power imbalance - there are many. See the link to Kimberle Crenshaw's essay on which coins the term intersectionality below). This doesn't make people victims. Our author also accuses 'antiracists' of this without evidence whilst they make themselves out to be victims of 'totalitarianism', the 'thought-police', and 'scare-bombing' which 'can cause the victim to retract their viewpoint'.
Now, being big into textual analysis I think it's amusing to find so much evidence of this text filled with its own 'linguistic scare-bombing'. Our author puts those they are arguing against in inverted commas to suggest sarcasm or misuse of language: 'antiracists'. These people are described as 'extreme SocJus activists.'
Their beliefs are defined as 'thought-policing, faux-outrage and 'wokeness'', 'redefined and bastardised, woke, intersectionalist, SocJus terminology.'; fear and silencing, it's a fundamental part of the 'antiracist' and SocJus activist creed; Fear is a powerful method of control. History is full of examples of how those in positions of power used fear to suppress dissent and to keep those under their control from rebelling and rising against their oppressors.
And their actions are defined as: 'weaponised language as a means to silence, scare and belittle'; 'the movement is toxic and totalitarian'; 'gang culture'; 'public shaming, the tarnishing of their reputation or attempts to negatively affect their standing with colleagues and even threats to their jobs'.
Going through the text I'd suggest that the above quotes are examples of 'linguistic scare-bombing' (though, it's not my term so maybe the author would disagree). The use of the word totalitarian evokes ideas of authoritarian state power, systemic oppression and persecution. To use this to describe the arguments of 'antiracists' seems highly exaggerated, especially when we have actual examples of authoritarian state power being used systematically against people in the UK (like the Prevent programme). I highly doubt the police are going to come after the author for their blog post.
The author uses examples of physical violence as a simile for accusations of racism or white supremacy. Linguistic scare-bombing and online shaming can be used and seen as the Twitter equivalent of public executions in dictatorships – have a look at what happens when you don't toe the line.
This is clearly using 'emotionally-charged language against somebody who is arguing with you in an effort to get them to shut up'. In their response they claim:
'it's clearly not a literal comparison. It's about the use of very public deterrents to get people to do what they're told. I am comparing historical totalitarian approaches to control to those used on Twitter by the extreme-left.'
It doesn't need to be a literal comparison to draw an emotional response. Using the phrase 'public executions in dictatorships' is going to shock. No one wants to be accused of doing things linked to public executions in dictatorships. There is no 'dictator' authorising the 'linguistic scare-bombing' of people. Twitter is not telling people to be 'woke'. Again, don't do the thing you're accusing people of if you want to be persuasive. And probably don't compare something to public executions in dictatorships unless they're like or similar to public executions in dictatorships.
Similarly, the use of 'witchhunt' doesn't make sense. No one is being burnt at the stake by 'anti-racists' (but a number of Black Lives Matter activists have been violently murdered in the past few months like Oluwatoyin Salau). It's simply not right to compare 'unjustified shaming' to a 'witchhunt'. One is making someone look bad, maybe damaging their reputation (which, yes, can be nasty), one is the wholesale subjugation and murder of women. Please stop making 'not  literal' comparisons to very violent situations.
The blog claims that the way anti-racists often put forward a 'dystopian view of the country'.
If by 'dystopian view' the author means data, anecdotes and testimonies of people who live here, then it simply ignores decades of research (just look at the IRR's back catalogue) because it doesn't fit with how they see the world. If this description of society is not one you recognise, then maybe that is because it is not what you personally are experiencing. That does not mean it is not what other people are experiencing.
Continuing the 'totalitarian' theme 'anti-racist' tactics are described as 'thought-policing', a reference to George Orwell's 1984. A book lovingly misrepresented online. It's a book about coercive state power, not about getting called a racist on Twitter. Again, if you would like to argue against coercive state power, have a look at the suppression of protests against the (state sanctioned) selling of weapons used to commit genocide in Yemen. Look at Yarl's Wood,]. Look at our prisons and our police. This is what our current government supports. In 1984 the thought police are an extension of the state, sanctioned by the government. No one is calling the police on the author for having opinions they think are shitty.
So, hopefully having addressed two of the main thrusts of the blog, the claim that certain terms have been 'redefined' and that 'anti-racists' use scarebombing to shut down debate, here's a general look at some of the examples and evidence the blog uses.
The blog lists the key tenets of 'anti-racism'. When going through the text I wrote this comment:
'Please cite these. Like, if you're going to build up an argument to then knock it down at least reference this. Otherwise it feels very strongly like a strawman. I agree, many of these do seem like tenents believed by some people who claim to do anti-racist work, but some seem conflated or actively misrepresented. I may be wrong, but people can't really engage with it because they don't know the source or context for these statements.'
To be honest I think this comment refers to quite a lot of the accusations made by the blog.
'I will continue criticising blanket victimhood and the suppressing of discussions of issues around affluence and childhood experiences by those want to push intersectionalist issues at the expense of others.'
There is a misunderstanding here about what the term intersectionality means. I'd urge everyone to read Kimberlé Crenshaw's essay which coins the term. Intersectionality is a way of looking at the various ways in which class, race, gender and other perceived 'deviations' from the status quo interact. It is a more nuanced way of understanding social structures. It does not say that everyone who is black is worse off that everyone who is white. It says that middle class black people will be afforded certain privileges that working class white people are not, but acknowledges that they will still be treated differently because of their skin colour. Look at the teachers, athletes, academics etc pulled over for stop and search by the police. This, and I cannot state this enough, does not mean that 'working class and white'(10) people do not face (sometimes extreme) challenges, but that they will not face these structural issues (in the same way that black people do) because they are white.
'These people are usually very well-educated and financially secure which allows them to overlook the importance of affluence on power and oppression and instead allocate different levels of victimhood dependent on a person's biological and protected characteristics.' They're absolutely right, class is key to understanding power and oppression, but class (affluence here) is also impacted upon by race. Why are non white people from all backgrounds besides Chinese and Indian more likely to live in 'deprived' neighbourhoods? It is so common to use the term white in front of working class as though these people are working class because they are white. Why when people talk about the 'traditional' working class do they mean white people? Black and Asian people have been used as the working class for hundreds of years. Working class and white people undoubtedly suffer at the hands of middle class people who buy up property in their areas, outsource jobs, shut down factories, refuse them loans, look down, sneer and so on. But these things happen because of class, not race. Black and Asian working class people also have these things happen to them, but they are also subject to interpersonal and structural racism. Black middle class people will likely not face all the same issues as white working class people, but they are still subject to interpersonal and structural racism. This does not mean there is a hierarchy of what people experience. But it is a way of understanding how different things about us change how we interact with, and experience life.
'SocJus requires activists to band together in a way that views the world through terms of power and oppression and through an intersectional lens. So if, for example, somebody loses their job for saying something supposedly transphobic (see the Maya Forstater case here)'
Unfortunately I think this example somewhat undermines the blog's case (and isn't to do with anti-racism, so it's a little spurious). Anyhow: Maya Forstater didn't lose her job. Her contract had ended and the company didn't want to reemploy her on the basis of her tweets, comments and campaigns.
Maya Forstater claimed that her employer 'refused to continue her employment because she expressed 'gender critical opinions'; in outline, that sex is immutable, whatever a persons stated gender identity or gender expression.' In the employment case she argued that her gender critical views are a philosophical belief and as a result of her employment not being continued she had been subject to discrimination. In fact the Employment Tribunal concluded that her beliefs were not worthy of protection under the Equalities Act 2010 under religious belief because her views were so 'absolutist they were not considered worthy of respect in a democratic society'.
This is probably because she very publicly refused to treat trans women as women, mocked a non-binary person as a cross-dresser and joined & supported anti-trans lobbying campaigns (which is detailed in the court transcripts). I probably should remind everyone that trans people are protected under the Equalities Act 2010. You may not believe that trans women are women, but you do not retain the right to any employment of your choosing if you choose to publish the fact you believe this. The Tribunal itself states this:
'people cannot expect to be protected [by the law] if their core belief involves violating others dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.'
I would recommend reading the Decision of the Tribunal ( under the heading of 'Analysis') from paragraph 74 onwards. This is not thought-policing. This is her contradicting someone's right to a private and family life, people thinking she is nasty and not wanting to employ her, and the courts affirming their right to not employ her. Maya Forstarter's language and actions are not 'supposedly' transphobic. She acknowledges that her opinions are offensive and hurtful and that they deny trans people should have the right to exist in their chosen gender (like 'trans women are men', see p.6 of the court transcript for further examples), but carries on . This is transphobia. To claim she is the person being bullied completely ignores this. And yes, if you are going to choose to support someone, 'via hashtags like #IStandWithMaya' who is happy ignoring and mocking people's requests to treat them equally to not question their legal right to exist, to use the correct pronouns and to treat them with respect then people are going to think you're an arsehole.
'What is said or done matters far less than the race, gender, sex or sexuality of the person saying it or doing it.'
Yes. We live in a world where context and power mean things. If you refuse to take into account who says what, where and how then you can understandably think that a white person saying the n-word is the same as a black person. But we know that to not be true. We know there is a power imbalance. We know context matters. What is said and done also matters. Which is why the author tries to invert one of their examples 'If Benedict Cumberbatch was black or Asian'... ' If Sarah Jeong was a white woman and spoke about how black people are dumbasses'. They didn't do these things. So we have our first example of racism in the blog, and it's a situation where two people, an actor and a writer, say things which are perceived to be offensive, and apologise whilst still keeping their prestige, status and wealth. What a cruel world.
The author turns to 'Jamilla Jamil' [sic] and claims that she is racist because she tried to 'cancel' JK Rowling. The author claims this is because JK Rowling is white .
'[T]he target (JK Rowling) fitted the bill – a white, influential, woman who shared an opinion on a trans-rights legal case which wasn't in line with the accepted opinions permitted by radical trans activists'.
Jameela Jamil was criticising Rowling because Jamil thinks Rowling is transphobic. Regardless of what you think about that debate, I don't understand how this is an example of racism.
Towards the end of the blog we seem to get a major reason for the blog, a specific teacher who the blog claims 'is very quick to denounce others and often uses the 'white X' terms as slurs, alongside blocking, to silence those who dare question his doctrine.' They were 'critical of those sharing #IStandWithMaya hashtag', which if you believe trans people have the legal right (which they do) to change the gender identity assigned to them at birth, seems fair enough because Maya Forstarter was campaigning against this right. I can guess which teacher this blog is talking about but I don't know about the specifics of the accusations around the podcasts, the author or promoting eugenics (although there is a weird and worrying trend of educators talking about racial differences in IQ which has its theoretical foundations in eugenics). The author then accuses them of hypocrisy for some tweet about Ja Rule:
'Yet, for some reason, the same tweeter promoted an 'old-school' rapper called Ja Rule (is Ja Rule old-school?) who was widely criticised for his homophobic and transphobic abuse of 50 Cent.
Firstly, Ja Rule is 44! All his awards are from the early 2000s. Yes he is old school! Anyway, on a more serious note, yes Ja Rule is a silly clown who says nasty things. How this teacher 'promoted' him, I don't know. If he's defending the homophobia and transphobia then yes, that's crass. If you have a problem with the teacher let's have some actual evidence and analysis, not broad strokes labelling. Especially if you are going to accuse them of displaying 'many examples of this type of hypocrisy'. Otherwise this feels like a tit-for-tat game of accusations, especially if you're going to accuse someone of supporting transphobes whilst also defending transphobes.
The author makes it explicitly clear that 'Britain has a problem with racism'. They also accept that their 'whiteness' has helped them form the view that racism in British society is not as bad as 'antiracists' make out. That their version of society is 'dystopian'. They tell us that 'many black and Asian people hold the same view'. Do they have some statistics on this? Of course there are black and Asian people who do not think that the country is structurally racist. There are many thousands of Sunderland fans. Doesn't make them right. Doesn't disprove that Newcastle is a better club.(11) Priti Patel telling us that the Home Office isn't racist doesn't mean that it isn't because her parents were Ugandan-Indians who fled Idi Amin. If you want to talk about bad identity politics, this is it. Because it's using Patel's ethnicity to justify outright falsehoods about race. The Home Office is institutionally racist, many of its branches, the police and prisons, immigration detention, visa applications and the government's new points based system are (and have been routinely shown to be) racist.
The blog turns to what it sees as a potential solution: 'work of Andrew Moffat and his 'No Outsiders' program and the CLPE and their 'Reflecting Realities' work which 'have already had a positive impact and are helping to address the problem of a lack of representation in schools and have done so in a way that spreads tolerance and love.' This actually maps quite nicely with the Priti Patel argument, that the UK govt, Johnson's cabinet and the state cannot be racist because there are some Asian people there. This is a liberal notion that representation is the way to solve racism. I agree that representation is important, especially in schools, but it will not stop people being racist. It will not solve people's material problems caused by structural oppression which is baked into our legal and immigration systems. And let's not forget that the exploitative garment workers factories in Leicester were run by south-Asian men. Their ethnicity didn't stop them from exploiting their workers (though let's also not let the government off the hook, who had been told about these exploitative practices for years and did nothing, nor the people who owned the businesses using the factories who outsource exploitation around the globe). This is why understanding intersectionality is important, class exploitation is also a huge issue in our country.
The author urges us to be 'solutions focused' and I would agree. Combatting racism has to look at both racism on an individual level, but also at a structural level. You will not stop the 'other problems in education, such as the higher rate of exclusions for black children or assessment bias which negatively impacts (among other groups) black boys' by having more black teachers, or members of SLT (though I think that would help the situation a lot!). You will do it by funding schools properly, building more schools so we don't pack 30 kids into a classroom (and for secondary teachers, having to teach many classes of 30). By making teachers able to understand where their students are coming from and building trusting relationships rather than making them conform via threats of detentions and exclusions. There are many, many schools which do this well on a shoestring budget, imagine if we gave all schools the resources to be able to do this.
But to claim, as the blog does, that 'anti-racists should try 'isolating issues and then looking for solutions via discussion, debate, research and reflection is the way to go' seems quite patronising. This is what anti-racists (and a whole host of anti-racist literature, referenced above, but also the history of scholarship for over half a century) does. They look at issues, discuss them, debate them, research them and reflect upon them. The conclusion is that racism is a structural issue which must be tackled as such. They may not want to debate people who refuse to take the time to read through their work, because they have substantial evidence which has been gathered for decades. The fact that the author has not given any substantial evidence refuting what they claim anti-racists say is quite telling.
I hope I've shown that this blog is pure rhetoric. It provides little substantial evidence for its claims that certain words have been redefined to fit a 'radical left, SocJus agenda'. A lot of the language used in the piece is opinion. We regularly have words like 'feel', 'believe', 'think'. And that's perfectly legitimate as an opinion piece. As I used to teach students in my debating and Model United Nations clubs: it is important to remember that if you want people to believe your opinion you should back this up with evidence. Especially when you say things like 'when debating anything it is important for a person to put forward their view and why they think it using their experiences, facts and reason' . For the weight of this subject and the invective used against the authors' 'antiracists' it would have been much more persuasive to work with some more evidence.
(1) Look at this meme they link to the word 'wokeness'. Can people on the internet please stop calling things which are not cults cults. And can we all please learn what a strawman argument is, and learn to not use them.
(2) Liberal. I use this term a lot in the blog. I use it loosely. The term has slightly different meanings in the US and the UK. I use it here mainly as 'social liberalism' to mean people who believe that a good model of economic governance is capitalist democracy, a balance of free markets, welfare state and the expansion of civil and political rights including freedom of speech but not hate speech. I do not mean classical liberalism. Liberalism focuses on individual rather than collective rights and has an individualistic approach to understanding and combating racism.
(3) Though in fact they wanted to 'kill the Indian, save the man'.
(4) Though this must be taken with the caveat that, again, this is only looking at texts, and doesn't take into account how it's used more widely.
(5) Kwame Ture and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, Vintage Edition (New York: Random House, 1992), 4.
(6) Kerner Commission, 1.
(7) Racism in America and how to combat it. (1970, 5)
(8) Now, this is an example of what the author does later. It is making an unfair and exaggerated comparison for effect, and just because I write that 'I don't want to lump the author in' I am actively doing that. To clarify, I do not actually think the author is a member of the BNP or aligned with their views.
(9) Eugh, I hate terms like left/right wing. They lack so much of the nuance but hopefully you'll agree that papers like The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail ( and on Sunday), The Sun and The Express - all of which have recently published articles about how actually it's antiracists who are racist - are generally understood to be 'right wing'. I'm not saying the author of the blog has read or reads all or any of these papers, but the sentiments expressed in the blog echo the same talking points and are part of the same discourse. I'm not linking to any of their websites to give them ad revenue.
(10) I'm trying to find the link to the Surviving Society Podcast [https://soundcloud.com/user-622675754] which discusses this further. I'll link it in if I can find it, it's an interesting variation of the term.
(11) Obv we have more fans too, and a much more evil ownership. So there.
This blog cannot start in any way other than looking at linguistics and how commonly-used words have been redefined to fit the beliefs and objectives of those pushing for a so-called 'antiracist' movement, as well as the development of new phrases used to silence, scare and belittle those who criticise or resist said movement. The word antiracist appeals to the vast majority of teachers in the UK, especially those who have avoided Twitter and haven't witnessed the onslaught of thought-policing, faux-outrage and 'wokeness' I now associate with the platform. Ask any number of teachers living in the UK if they are antiracist and you will be met with a vast majority of yesses. People may acknowledge that they have unconscious biases regarding race without feeling that they themselves are racist. If racism is the view that one race is superior to others or the belief that prejudice or discrimination against people based on their race is acceptable (as in the actual dictionary definition of racism and the one accepted in the UK), and the anti- prefix means against, then it is reasonable for the vast majority of teachers to view themselves as antiracist.
I believe that Britain does have a problem with racism, both in terms of the internalised views held by people, racist abuse and prejudice on an individual and incidental level, as well as institutionalised racism, especially in the media and legal system. I speak for many when I say that teachers have a part to play in challenging and preventing racism. Linguistics are important in identifying the beliefs and norms of the 'antiracist' movement. There is a difference between being an antiracist, using the standard English definition of words (which I view as the correct one), and being an 'antiracist' when you use the redefined and bastardised, woke, intersectionalist, SocJus terminology. From this point on, I will be talking about 'antiracism' in inverted commas as a term used by those who are utterly committed to 'antiracism' and sketchy intersectional theories, like critical race theory, rather than as a term for those who are actively fighting racism in terms of the commonly-accepted definition. As you will read below, I feel that some who called themselves 'antiracist' are in fact racist themselves. I use inverted commas in this piece a lot to suggest sarcasm or misuse of language.
For anyone reading this blog who is preparing to 'educate' me, I'd like to point out that I have read a few of the books that you will no doubt recommend to me, namely Akala's Natives, DiAngelo's White Fragility and Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race. Natives is a very good book and will be an enlightening read to many, well-written with accurate references to history intertwined with Akala's personal experiences. While I do not agree with every point made, the thing that makes this book leaps ahead of the other two is that points are actually made with clear descriptions and evaluations of each point before moving on with a narrative and argument that carries itself well throughout the book. White Fragility, on the other hand, is a waffly mess of a book, full of assertions, mistruths stated as facts, redefinition of key language, linguistic scare-bombing and denunciation of those who do not follow DiAngelo's ideology. It is this book that has achieved biblical importance among the radical left and the 'antiracists.'
White Fragility and other radical-left literature has attempted to redefine the word 'racism' so that it can only refer to systemic racism where only BAME people can be the victim because of power structures. BAME people literally cannot be racist according to this redefinition; they can be prejudiced but not racist; only white people can be racist. 'Antiracists' have adopted a set of tenets, largely from White Fragility, including:
Racism exists today in both traditional and modern forms.
Racism is an institutionalised, multi-layered system that distributes power and resources to uphold the status quo for the benefit of white people.
Society has conditioned everyone to be racist.
All white people benefit from racism.
You cannot not be racist. You must either be 'antiracist' (according to their own definition of the word) or racist. There is no middle ground. If you would class yourself as 'not racist' then you are probably, in fact, racist.
There is no end goal to the movement. Racism must be continually searched for, identified, analysed and challenged. No 'antiracist' ever completes 'the work.'
'Antiracists' should not ask themselves if racism has taken place. Instead, they must assume that it has and ask how racism manifested in said situation.
Whites are comfortable with racism and therefore systems and procedures which maintain the comfort of whites should be treated with suspicion.
Resistance to the 'education' offered by 'antiracists' is to be expected and should be explicitly and strategically addressed.
Now, I agree with some but not all of these. To be an 'antiracist' you must agree with every single one of these. 'Antiracists' need to show the level of unquestioning adherence to these tenets that you would associate with religious 'guides to living' like the Ten Commandments and Mitzvot. To question the ideology and claims asserted in accepted texts like White Fragility is to show oneself as 'fragile.' 'White Fragility' as a term, according to DiAngelo, refers to '…a state in which even a minimum amount of racist stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviours such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.' I don't class myself as an academic, far from it in fact. I find it hard to write in any style other than how I talk, which is probably why I dislike the academised, convoluted, labyrinthine styles of radical-left literature like White Fragility. Yet, I need to point out that while the book is on the reading lists of many US and UK universities, and accepted by many university professors and 'antiracists' as gospel, it is not. You might want to follow this link to see a more academic critique of how the book is used as a tool to convert people to the 'antiracist' movement and some methodological problems with DiAngelo's research. What I want to talk about is extreme SocJus activists and especially 'antiracists' have weaponised language as a means to silence, scare and belittle (rather than persuade or argue with) their dissenters.
One of the key points I want people to take from this blog is that I do not think 'antiracists' are a force for good. Instead, I feel the movement is toxic and totalitarian. Until around 2017, I associated phrases like 'you're either with us or against us' with gang culture. Now, along with fear and silencing, it's a fundamental part of the 'antiracist' and SocJus activist creed.
Fear is a powerful method of control. History is full of examples of how those in positions of power used fear to suppress dissent and to keep those under their control from rebelling and rising against their oppressors. It is interesting that a movement so utterly obsessed with societal power, oppression and victimhood is so quick to use the power of fear to get people to act how they want. Linguistic scare-bombing can be described as a way of using insulting and emotionally-charged language against somebody who is arguing with you in an effort to get them to shut up. Linguistic scare-bombing can cause the victim to retract their viewpoint, agree with the scare-bomber or refuse to say what they actually think for fear of negative consequences, as opposed to having been persuaded to do so based on reason and facts. Such negative consequences include public shaming, the tarnishing of their reputation or attempts to negatively affect their standing with colleagues and even threats to their jobs. See the case of Bret Weinstein for an example of a man who ended up jobless for daring to question radical-left, SocJus doctrine. Linguistic scare-bombing and online shaming can be used and seen as the Twitter equivalent of public executions in dictatorships – have a look at what happens when you don't toe the line. The classic examples of linguistic scare-bombing include frivolous '-ist' and '-phobe' insults. I won't go into those. I want to talk about the following 'antiracist' phrases and their links to linguistic scare-bombing: 'white fragility', 'white guilt', 'white supremacy', 'whiteness' and the word 'solidarity' with a particular focus on the use of 'white solidarity.'
I strongly believe that when debating anything it is important for a person to put forward their view and why they think it using their experiences, facts and reason while simultaneously opening themselves to the possibility of being persuaded otherwise by somebody else with an alternative view using their own experiences, facts and reason. The trouble with 'antiracism' is that its tenets are followed so unquestionably that it does not cater for disagreement. You cannot 'win' an argument about race with an 'antiracist.' The closest you will get is a dismissive comment like, 'educate yourself,' 'it's not my job to educate' or, if you're lucky, a genuine recommendation of a blog, journal or book which may challenge your view, although these recommendations are far more likely to be offered with disdain and sneering than a genuine attempt to help people 'educate themselves'. Instead, you have two options. Option one is to agree with everything that an 'antiracist' says and then you might be given the honour of becoming an 'ally' as long as you are willing to commit every waking second to 'the work' and obediently following the 'antiracist' tenets while also embracing intersectionality. The only other option is that you are a racist showing your 'fragility.'
As well as fragility, 'White guilt' is used to shut down debates and mock white people. White guilt is the concept of individual and collective guilt held by white people for the transgressions of white people in the past, such as colonialism and slavery.
'White supremacy' according to dictionaries is the belief that white people are superior to other races. 'White supremacy' according to 'antiracists' is much harder to define and more closely linked to structural and societal power where supremecy is how white people find themselves in positions of power at the expense of non-whites and maintaining the status-quo to keep white people in this position of power. The antiracist definition of white supremacy doesn't contain the theme of hatred of other races or superiority over other races that the dictionary definition has, and this is why 'antiracists' have chosen to create and accept an alternative definition of the term. The redefinition has given them power to wield over others. No one wants to be accused of being a white supremacist (how fragile!) and going by the dictionary definition of the word, very few people are. The 'antiracist' knows this and they know that directly accusing someone of being a white supremacist (if they have the bottle to do so) or accusing them of 'contributing towards a white supremacist agenda' or similar (if they're less brave) is a great way of silencing or scaring those who dare criticise their doctrine without actually having to argue anything or do anything. The double-attack of the linguistic scare-bomb followed by the block button has become a rather effective tactic used by 'antiracists.'
'Whiteness', is a reference to the structural and societal norms and systems which produce white privilege and is used by academics to identify behaviours and norms associated with white people. In reality, it is a free pass to make sweeping negative generalisations and racist slurs against white people. Search Twitter with phrases containing the word 'whiteness' like 'whiteness has no bounds' for examples. Seeing how 'antiracists,' as one of many examples of the totalitarianist stance of the movement, have redefined the term racism so that white people cannot be victims of racism, as well as how it is supposedly impossible for BAME people to be racist, 'whiteness' gives racists (using the correct, widely-understood and widely-used definition of the word) impunity to prejudice, discriminate and say what they want about white people. Seeing how the word whiteness is used on Twitter reminds me of the sweeping generalisations and the nasty, racist, ignorant statements I used to hear people make about 'pa**s' when I was a child.
To understand the use of 'solidarity', you need to understand intersectionality and how several intersectional or social justice movements (around race, gender, sexuality and trans rights mainly) work. A lot of discourse with the radical left and SocJus activists revolves around deliberately making things far more complex than they are, or, where convenient, far more simple. These activists like to group the population. I like this scene in American Sniper where the father groups the population into three groups (sheep, wolves and sheepdogs) and lectures his sons about the types of people in each group and how he wants his boys to grow up to be sheepdogs. The radical-left, SocJus movement has subconsciously created three groups to categorise the population. Those who have completely bought into intersectionality and grievance studies literature are enlightened saviours. Everyone else is either a victim to be saved or someone with the wrong views who needs to be challenged or 'educated.' These people are usually very well-educated and financially secure which allows them to overlook the importance of affluence on power and oppression and instead allocate different levels of victimhood dependent on a person's biological and protected characteristics. SocJus requires activists to band together in a way that views the world through terms of power and oppression and through an intersectional lens. So if, for example, somebody loses their job for saying something supposedly transphobic (see the Maya Forstater case here), all activists in the intersectional movement must criticise or even bully this person as well as those who show support, via hashtags like #IStandWithMaya, for example. Remember passivity and inaction are not allowed. You will frequently see the term 'solidarity'. Solidarity, as a term, means I stand with you. You might expect to see it on Twitter on a case-by-case basis, where based on facts, a victim may be identified and the message of solidarity may be sent by someone as an offer of support and to comfort said victim. In reality, SocJus activists use it whenever someone stands up to an oppressor (always white and usually male) or is perceived to have been oppressed by somebody (always white and usually male). What is said or done matters far less than the race, gender, sex or sexuality of the person saying it or doing it. See the reaction to Benedict Cumberbatch's use of the word 'coloured' as opposed to the reaction to Sarah Jeong's claim that white people are dumbasses and how she enjoys being cruel to old white men. The reaction to what was said was based on the race and gender of who said each thing. Benedict Cumberbatch and Sarah Jeong were judged harshly or leniently based on their races and gender. And depending on if you are the sort of person who follows the linguistic contortionism of radical left and 'antiracist' doctrine (and it is a doctrine as there is no room for disagreement) you may describe the act of treating somebody differently based on their race as prejudice, yet to me it's 100% racism. If Benedict Cumberbatch was black or Asian, those who criticised him would have let the misuse of an outdated word slide. If Sarah Jeong was a white woman and spoke about how black people are dumbasses or how much she enjoys being cruel to old Asian men, her career would have almost certainly been over. To the radical-left, solidarity is a way of allying the demographics and social connections joined by intersectionality.
'White solidarity' is a refusal by white people to hold other people to account for their supposed racism. In reality, it means 'People are criticising an 'antiracist' for something they've done (often an unjustified shaming of a dissenter, a Twitter witchhunt or the use of linguistic scare-bombing) and I don't know what to do so I'll just indirectly call them all racist.'
The 'antiracist' movement is one that claims to be doing good but is sowing division and hate. The totalitarian approach has no place in modern society. I will never agree with the 'antiracist' redefinition of the word racism and that is one of the reasons I am no longer talking to 'antiracists' about race. Another reason is that while I agree Britain has a problem with racism, I do not share the dystopian view of the country as often put forward by 'antiracists'. I concede that my 'whiteness' has helped me form that view but then many black and Asian people hold the same view and are often dismissed as not really being 'black' or 'Asian.' See the denunciation of Kanye West for supporting small 'c' conservativism and Donald Trump. I prefer a solutions-focused approach to problems. The work of Andrew Moffat and his 'No Outsiders' program and the CLPE and their 'Reflecting Realities' work have already had a positive impact and are helping to address the problem of a lack of representation in schools and have done so in a way that spreads tolerance and love. There are other problems in education, such as the higher rate of exclusions for black children or assessment bias which negatively impacts (among other groups) black boys. I don't think the solutions to these require a revolution, or to 'smash the kyriachy.' Taking every issue back to systemic racism will have little impact. Isolating issues and then looking for solutions via discussion, debate, research and reflection is the way to go. Also, I am not going to debate something with somebody who is more obsessed with winning the argument than they are with discussion. You are not allowed to disagree with 'antiracists' and if you do you are racist yourself, or 'fragile', or unable to control your 'white guilt', or a 'white supremacist', or enabling a 'white supremacist agenda', and anyone who supports you is also racist because they are embracing 'white solidarity'. Finally, 'antiracists' are often incredibly hypocritical and often racist themselves. See this example of Jamilla Jamil and hypocrisy here where in one tweet she talks about the dangers of cancel culture and then in another tweet two months later she chooses to be an active participant in cancel culture because the target (JK Rowling) fitted the bill – a white, influential, woman who shared an opinion on a trans-rights legal case which wasn't in line with the accepted opinions permitted by radical trans activists. As an example of both hypocrisy and what I perceive to be evidence of racist beliefs and attitudes, a prominent UK 'antiracist' teacher has shown that he is very quick to denounce others and often uses the 'white X' terms as slurs, alongside blocking, to silence those who dare question his doctrine. Among many others, this teacher was critical of those sharing #IStandWithMaya hashtag, he denounced three white men for hosting a podcast and smeared them with white supremecy jibes, he refuses to engage with and recognise a certain white author's work around education and brands the author as racist and promoting eugenics (he isn't and he doesn't). This tweeter engages in the denunciations, the linguistic scare-bombing, the shaming, the quote-tweeting, the pile-on inductions and shows all of the cross-group solidarity you would expect of a follower of the SocJus movement. Yet, for some reason, the same tweeter promoted an 'old-school' rapper called Ja Rule (is Ja Rule old-school?) who was widely criticised for his homophobic and transphobic abuse of 50 Cent, exactly the sort of action that would usually prompt a passionate and fiery denunciation and criticism from this teacher. After all, if three people hosting a podcast can be given a label as severe, emotive and reputation-damaging as white supremacy, what label should be given to a hugely-influential musician attacking a fellow musician with homophobic abuse? There are many examples of this type of hypocrisy, which is almost identical to that shown by the differing reactions to the transgressions of Benedict Cumberbatch and Sarah Jeong, which is somehow acceptable among the radical left.
Racism among 'antiracists' is something that I hope gets called out more. Please don't be silenced by their linguistic contortionism and threats. I have seen first-hand the damage that can be done to a person's professional standing if a) they don't see eye-to-eye with their line managers and b) some vengeful person decides to report fairly innocuous Twitter comments to their employer. Therefore, I am not going to name-and-shame tweeters who I feel are guilty of racism. This blog isn't about vengeance or retribution. But there are five 'antiracists' who I have absolutely no interest in engaging with, as they have shown time and time again that (using the correct, widely-understood and widely-used definition of the word) they are racist themselves. Their views and influence are, in my opinion, toxic.
The 'Why I'm Not Talking to Antiracists' title of this blog and theme of the previous paragraph is not to be taken literally. I won't talk to 'antiracists' who engage in the thought-policing, debate-ending and scaremongering tactics outlined previously. If you want to talk to me about what I think, and if you think I'm wrong and want to convince me otherwise, then please do so. If this blog 'blows up' I won't reply to individual messages and criticisms. Instead, I'll leave it a few days and release an updated version where those messages are addressed. I realise that this blog is the very definition of 'White Fragility' and I don't care. If you are going to claim that this blog is evidence that I hate minority groups or you choose to call me racist or alt-right I will block you and reemphasise that I do not perceive myself to be any of these things. Yet I am aware that your experiences, your view of the world and redefinition of language may mean that you view me as racist or part of the so-called alt-right. Go ahead. You are entitled to think whatever you want. I just have no interest in engaging with you.
I will write a later blog about how I think a change to the KS3 curriculum can address: problems of racism, a lack of knowledge about the British Empire as well as discussing colonisation and how I think this should be approached in schools. I will continue resisting 'wokeness,' including retweeting woke parody accounts as some of the things Twitter users share are the very definition of ridiculous. It's telling that so many people's first introduction to the excellent Titania McGrath account is falling hook, line and sinker for one of the tweets. The faux-outrage, illogical reasoning and language of the radical-left and SocJus activists on Twitter means I often genuinely can't tell anymore which of their tweets are real and which are someone like Andrew Doyle taking the piss. I believe in individualism, the importance of reason and the freedom of thought and will continue to advocate those values. I will continue living my life the way that I want. I will continue to stand up for those who I think are being treated unfairly. I will continue criticising blanket victimhood and the suppressing of discussions of issues around affluence and childhood experiences by those want to push intersectionalist issues at the expense of others. I would like to recommend The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray which has helped me formulate my views as well as the language needed to resist wokeness. I will continue thinking about what I can do in my day-to-day interactions to improve happiness and contentment among others while reducing harm. I hope that I have encouraged people to say what they think without fear of bullying or silencing from those who for some reason see themselves as the goodies while simultaneously being vile.
Update: This blog was critiqued (badly) by Hashim who is part of a group called The AntiRacist Educator. You can see his post by clicking here.
My response to Hashim can be found here.