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Racism redux

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dr.bob
1280956.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:38 am Reply with quote

I notice we revived the sexism thread, but there doesn't seem to have been another thread to discuss racism since the old thread got locked, so here goes.

There's an awful lot of fuss on twitter today over the choice of BBC Radio4 to broadcast a re-enactment Enoch Powell's famous "Rivers of Blood" speech on its (not quite) 50th anniversary. Weirdly there seems to be no condemnation of The Torygraph's decision to publish the text of the speech.

Given all the reactions to the speech, I figured I should actually read what the man said to get the criticism in context. One thing that surprised me is that the oft-quoted phrase about "In this country in 15 or 20 years' time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man." was not actually said by Powell himself. He was simply reporting something that he'd been told by one of his constituents.

Now, don't get me wrong. The rest of the speech is still pretty racist. He sympathises with a woman living in an area of high immigration who is taunted by her black neighbours. When you realise that the woman earns money by renting out her spare rooms to lodgers, and that the reason for the taunting is that she refuses to rent any rooms to black people, then the answer to Enoch's rhetorical question "And is she so wrong?" is a pretty adamant "Fuck yes!"

One thing that really struck me, though, was the part where he talks about "the impact upon the existing population" and says:

Quote:
they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated.


This speech was made 50 years ago, so I find it a bit depressing that the same kind of logic is still being used by the right-wing press today. Exhibit A is this 2015 article from the Daily Express which claims:

Quote:
Over 20,000 British schoolkids will miss out on places at their preferred primary as the UK's education system struggles to cope with surging immigration.


Exhibit B is this 2016 article in the Sun stating:

Quote:
EDUCATING the children of EU migrants costs our schools £3.2billion a year.

Employment Minister Priti Patel blasted the titanic cost as a stark impact of
“uncontrolled immigration”. She said the vast numbers of extra kids were partly to blame for thousands of youngsters failing to get into their school of choice.


Still complaining about immigrants stealing our school places 50 years later? I guess some things never move on.

The one thing that really struck me about the speech, though, was the choice of language. Whereas today politicians try their best to appear like normal members of the public, effecting various speech patterns to get their message across, it's clear from this speech that Powell was deliberately trying to appear one of the elite, using all sorts of strange words and phrases that only someone cultivating an air of privileged education would choose. I'm still not sure what a "pabulum" is.

However, we should credit Powell with getting one thing right. This whole speech is all about predicting what "preventable evils" might befall us in the future. Right at the beginning, he says that:

Quote:
by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary.


My emphasis. I think we can definitely conclude, after 50 years, that the worry about rivers of blood and the black man having the whip hand over the white man have proven to be entirely imaginary.

 
Spud McLaren
1280959.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:02 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Quote:
EDUCATING the children of EU migrants costs our schools £3.2billion a year.

Employment Minister Priti Patel blasted the titanic cost as a stark impact of
“uncontrolled immigration”. She said the vast numbers of extra kids were partly to blame for thousands of youngsters failing to get into their school of choice.
Now, what struck me about this bit was that it's being said by a woman who is a descendant (and an obvious one at that) of people who emigrated to this country, and who was born only four years after this speech was made. And here she is, pitting herself on the "us" side against the children of present-day immigrants and refugees. What better example could she inadvertently have given of the practicality of integration?

 
Baryonyx
1280962.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:18 am Reply with quote

My dad's counter argument for the old 'Britain is full' rubbish is that if true, we must enact a one-child policy immediately. No UKIPpers seem keen on this idea.

 
barbados
1280970.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:43 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:


Now, don't get me wrong. The rest of the speech is still pretty racist. He sympathises with a woman living in an area of high immigration who is taunted by her black neighbours. When you realise that the woman earns money by renting out her spare rooms to lodgers, and that the reason for the taunting is that she refuses to rent any rooms to black people, then the answer to Enoch's rhetorical question "And is she so wrong?" is a pretty adamant "Fuck yes!"

Yes she is wrong, but are her neighbours not also wrong? Conflict is a spiral, and if you get caught in it someone has to be the bigger man so to speak, and if someone has a problem with me, then it is up to me to prove that person wrong - without it their impression will not change. The woman was getting abuse, because she wouldnt rent out rooms to the people that abused her. Which one is more wrong?

 
CB27
1280980.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:32 pm Reply with quote

On the surprise that Priti Patel made the remarks she did, unfortunately I've seen too often that many people who are either immigrants themselves or descendants of immigrants, appear to side with movements that seem to attack immigration at their core.

In London, considering most people voted to remain in the EU, when I helped canvass prior to the vote, I got the distinct impression from many people who were from immigrant families that they were going to vote for Brexit, and that the main reason they were going to do so was because of immigration itself.

Similarly, polls in the US appeared to show that, not only was the share of the Latino vote lower for Clinton than for Obama, but that Trump got a bigger share than Romney did. All this despite some very targeted comments about Latino immigrants by Trump during the campaign.

So it seems that racism has some kind of appeal to some people who seem blind to the fact it's targeted at them.

 
Baryonyx
1281044.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:38 am Reply with quote

Maybe there's a selfish sense of 'we got through the door and that's fine but now it's really out of hand so we need to shut this door, keep all this lovely stuff to ourselves'

 
Spud McLaren
1281053.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:09 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
The woman was getting abuse, because she wouldnt rent out rooms to the people that abused her. Which one is more wrong?
First of all, I know you explained it above but I'm taking this quote out of context, so let's tidy it up a bit.
Quote:
The woman was getting abuse because she wouldn't rent out rooms to some people who consequently abused her. Which one is more wrong?
The people who didn't get the rooms were wrong, but understandably so.
The woman was just wrong.

 
Spud McLaren
1281055.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:14 am Reply with quote

In other news a FB friend and work colleague is of the opinion that it's the 50th anniversary of the speech and that providing that the programme deals with it in the right way, such historic items ought to be aired and discussed. Whilst I agree that history ought not to be rewritten or swept under the carpet, I can't see that resurrecting this particular episode is going to be very helpful at this time. No matter how it's treated I can see it playing straight to the confirmation bias of certain factions.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1281060.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:34 am Reply with quote

Baryonyx wrote:
Maybe there's a selfish sense of 'we got through the door and that's fine but now it's really out of hand so we need to shut this door, keep all this lovely stuff to ourselves'


I wanted to post that, but didn’t.

 
barbados
1281067.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:45 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
barbados wrote:
The woman was getting abuse, because she wouldnt rent out rooms to the people that abused her. Which one is more wrong?
First of all, I know you explained it above but I'm taking this quote out of context, so let's tidy it up a bit.
Quote:
The woman was getting abuse because she wouldn't rent out rooms to some people who consequently abused her. Which one is more wrong?
The people who didn't get the rooms were wrong, but understandably so.
The woman was just wrong.

I was looking at from a point of view that we don't (and cant) know what is was that made her have that opinion. I recall from my parents, the real thing was more to do with fear than anything else They were told to be wary of "the bogeyman" and the bogeyman looked like black people did in the early days of immigration.
So you could say they were both, just wrong rather than judging one by today's standards.

 
Spud McLaren
1281093.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:55 am Reply with quote

Yes, I have personal experience of that kind of conditioning, but if you keep an open mind you can see past it. I change my opinions if there's evidence to suggest that my old ones were badly-founded (and there's evidence of that on these boards), and I expect others to do the same.

Incidentally, did black people look different in the 1950s and 1960s from how they look now? ;-p

 
cornixt
1281096.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:19 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Similarly, polls in the US appeared to show that, not only was the share of the Latino vote lower for Clinton than for Obama, but that Trump got a bigger share than Romney did. All this despite some very targeted comments about Latino immigrants by Trump during the campaign.

So it seems that racism has some kind of appeal to some people who seem blind to the fact it's targeted at them.

It's more complicated than that. Romney is Mormon, which is not-quite-Christian so he played down religion to avoid anyone looking too deeply into it. Trump got a lot of support from the Christian community for his pro-Christian rhetoric and promises (despite his non-Christian actions). Hispanic immigrants are mostly conservative Christians so they voted for that and ignored the rest.

 
barbados
1281097.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:27 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
Yes, I have personal experience of that kind of conditioning, but if you keep an open mind you can see past it. I change my opinions if there's evidence to suggest that my old ones were badly-founded (and there's evidence of that on these boards), and I expect others to do the same.

Incidentally, did black people look different in the 1950s and 1960s from how they look now? ;-p


That’s true, keep an open mind and opinions will change however are you expecting opinions to change retrospectively? The woman in question, indeed most of our parents - who are now dead had an opinion for a reason. Is it a wrong opinion by today’s standards? Sure, was it wrong then? We’ll never really get to the bottom of that one because the world has changed so much.

I’d suggest that the skin tone has changed in some cases ;)

 
dr.bob
1281098.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:56 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
Now, what struck me about this bit was that it's being said by a woman who is a descendant (and an obvious one at that) of people who emigrated to this country


Similarly, when reading Enoch's speech, particularly the bit where he said:

Quote:
Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population.

As time goes on, the proportion of this total who are immigrant descendants, those born in England, will rapidly increase.


The words "Angles" and "Saxons" kept running through my mind.

CB27 wrote:
unfortunately I've seen too often that many people who are either immigrants themselves or descendants of immigrants, appear to side with movements that seem to attack immigration at their core.


Gina Yashere does quite a lot of funny material about how her Nigerian mother is strongly against immigration. I think the suggestion there is that new immigrants try very hard to appear "more British than the British", even to the extent of denouncing immigrants, which they no longer see themselves as.

 
'yorz
1281103.  Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:21 am Reply with quote

That's my mommy-dearest to a T. Emigrated to Australia in 1982 and has always thoroughly disliked those perpetually rat-arsed and work-shy/job-allergic aborigines (slightly politer worded, but to the same effect). Foreign folk that come bobbing towards 'her' coast on their inflatables should be sent back straight away.

 

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