In which I make hilarious satire (and am misinterpreted as being an Anti-Christian Honky Hater)So earlier today while waiting for my bus I overheard some guy walking past say “Nah but, look I’m not being racist or anything, but I think they’re just born different from us. You can’t blame them for being like that, it’s just how they are”.
Now I’m not being racist or anything but the guy talking was white. No seriously, I have loads of white friends and everything so I totally don’t hate white people. Some people without visual impairment and with a correct understanding of ethnic groupings might even consider me to be a bit of a “guai lo”. I just mention because as well as being white he had a cross tattooed on his arm. Yeah I know, he was one of those White Christians, so obviously I was terrified! (No, it’s cool, I can say that, I used to go out with a White Christian so it’s ok, it’s not offensive).
Anyway, being in the presence of this
I come from Bradford, which has a high level of Immigrant communities from Pakistan among many other nations. It is a very multi-cultural city, which is awesome. There have been troubles but they were largely caused by right wing groups and the infiltration of our police force by those right wing groups (See Bradford Riots) I grew up with people descended from most places on earth. My dad was born in Glenties, Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. I mention my multicultural upbringing not because I’m about to say something massively racist and need to justify it (“I’m not racist, when I was a kid I used to play with loads of Asian kids”) but because as well as the good things, I also got exposed to the racial stereotypes of nearly every race on the planet.
I also noticed an evolution of racism. As I got older, people started using ways to mask their racism, not well, but enough to give plausible deniability. It’s like when the EDL say they’re not racist, they just want to protect England from Islamic fundamentalism (by warning us of the dangers of “them muslamic death rays” and then starting football riots). You know they ARE racist, but they don’t say anything that you can pin as undeniably racist.
Anyway, I thought about a few of these veiled racisms and wondered. If these people really AREN’T racist, if the comments aren’t meant to be an attack on Islam or Middle Easterners/South Asians, then how come I haven’t heard any of the same things about White Christians, now that they’re back in the news as murderous fundamentalists. So I sent out the following Tweets and posts on my Facebook.
Tweet #1: I'm not being racist, but these white Christians use our public services, take our jobs and don't even try to integrate into our society.
Tweet #2: And did you hear they banned Ramadan lights because it would offend Christians!
Tweet #3: And why haven't the Pope and Archbishop apologised for the Norway attack yet?
Tweet #4: And a woman at an airport wasn't allowed to wear a crescent moon pendant outside her shirt!
Tweet #5: And all their worship and prayers are in Latin! For all we know they could be shouting "death to the left!"
Tweet #6: My friend helped a white woman with her shopping last week and she told him not to go to Oslo!
Tweet #7: I haven't read the bible but I'm told that its all about stoning women and killing liberals.
Tweet #8: I saw a white guy near an airport so I reported him. It was probably nothing but you can't be too careful
Now I thought I was being HILARIOUSLY satirical, and that it was fairly obvious what I was on about. People justify racial targeting of Muslims because terrorists ARE Muslim (In actuality, the IRA killed many more Britons than Al-Qaida ever has, and (few) people would think I should be stereotyped as a terrorist for being Irish). Well last week the terrorist was a white guy who thinks Muslims should be racially stereotyped. I thought my point was self evident.
Most of my friends replied with “What are you on about?” and similar comments. One reminded me I was white (which was a shock when I checked “OMG I’m a cracker!!!”. Another congratulated me on attacking religion. Some people I didn’t know told me where I could find bibles. In other words, they thought I was a Self hating white guy who hates Christians (those bastards with their charity work and forgiving nature!).
Don’t get me wrong, the people who I know personally that messaged me are all intelligent people. I would like to think that perhaps my upbringing just exposed me to more of those comments in their usual form than they were exposed to in their upbringing and so they didn’t know what I was parodying. (Edit: To clarify, my parents most certainly didn’t raise me with those comments, I mean the city and schools I grew up in).
My friend Mathew Wilkins, while discussing the unfolding horror in Norway told me he thought that the cunt (which btw is the only name I’ll ever give him, I refuse to even commit any other to my memory) wasn’t mad, that he was indoctrinated, that anyone could have done it with the right (read: wrong) upbringing. I disagreed, and said I thought that it was so different from any way I could perceive myself thinking or acting that there must be a difference in the wiring of people who can be so extremist (whether political or religious) that they would massacre innocents. In the end, after remembering that only 72 years ago our nation had to begin a war because a large proportion of a whole country came to a similar (and even the same) state of mind, Mathew convinced me that perhaps he was more susceptible to the indoctrination. That most people will bend slightly to such upbringings, that others will go wholeheartedly to the crazy murderous side.
It scares me to think that given different parents, I could be, if not gunning down school children, calling people Pakis or Niggers. That if I had different influences, I could be one of these people marching with the EDL, truly thinking that what I was doing was right, that I was defending my country whose values were under attack.
But I did have my upbringing, and I deplore all forms of fascism, whether it be based on race, gender, sexuality or hair colour. I’ve fought and bled for those values, which many saw as taking it too far. But I’m proud of my scars, and would fight for the same reasons again. Does that mean I have the same “susceptibility” as the cunt? Not to the level that I’d gun down a racist for saying something, but to the level that I’d punch a guy in the face for telling my friend to go back to Pakistan. I’d like to say the difference between the cunts of the world and the rest of us is that “they’re just born different from us. You can’t blame them for being like that, it’s just how they are.” but I think that’s only partially true. I think that it’s a lot to do with upbringing, and I thank god that I was raised how I was.