Islam, racism, and answering a critic.

August 1, 2013

It tends to be the case, that those without legitimate argument, or consideration, resort to the most ludicrous and uninspired diatribes, just to be heard. Their thoughtless minds crave recognition beyond what they are actually capable of achieving through serious inquiry and comment. This is true of my newest – and I’d say, most ridiculous – critic. In his article on ‘Western Man’s Hatred For Muhammad’, Hakeem Muhammad makes a lot of points. Mainly aimed at me. The theme overall is, if you criticise the Prophet Muhammad, you’re a racist. I will seek to discredit practically everything his ridiculous article had to say, point by point. But first, allow me to demonstrate what kind of person we’re dealing with. When, on twitter, someone referred to Hakeem as the village idiot, Hakeem replied:

hakeem
– So, that’s the level of debate we’re dealing with. To the point where, my white windowsill, in Hakeem’s mind, can only mean that I don’t think black paint worthy enough to circle my window.
Whilst analysing the points Hakeem raises in his article, keep close in your mind, the fact that he thinks the phrase ‘village idiot’ is a racist slur.

The fallacies keep on coming. When one tweet from an Atheist read “oh god!” Hakeem, ingeniously jumped in with:

god
– Yes! Exactly! If I say “unicorn” it invariably means I must believe that unicorns exist.

So, onto the points. I have identified six key points, that I wish to address:

Point 1:

“…the egotistical belief of Western man that anyone other than a white man could have such power and meaning in the world.”

– Here Hakeem has completely exhausted the object of ‘Western man’. All Western men (apparently this doesn’t apply to women) cannot possibly stand anyone but a white man in a position of power. All Western men. All of them. When he notes ‘all’, this suggests an in-built trait. Perhaps a subconscious cultural trait, that ALL Western men cannot escape. We filter out any social and intellectual progress, if it happened to come from someone with darker skin, according to Hakeem. This means, ALL Western scholars in any field, naturally do not pay attention to established science, if it has come from someone with darker skin. That’s the suggestion Hakeem is making with his ill-thought out phrasing. The word ‘all’ is key. So, if someone wants to point out to Hakeem that the President of the USA is not a white man, and that at least one white man, must have voted for the President, that’d be great. On this point alone, Hakeem falls short of logic a five year old could see through.

Secondly, because it is aimed at me, I trust Hakeem will do the decent thing, read through my articles on American politics, and note my support for President Obama (I base my support of the President, on his values; race is meaningless to me), and my articles describing the horrendous racism of certain Republicans in the US. Such as, my article on Dan Riehl, for example. I will not be misrepresented, by someone trying to score cheap points, simply because he has no reasonable contribution to make to this debate.

My beliefs are based on concepts; secularism, democracy, social justice, equality, science. Race plays no part. Race is meaningless. By shaping criticism or satire of Islam, as a race issue, Hakeem loses, because he fails to answer the criticisms of the faith itself, choosing instead to reframe our arguments, to suit his nonsense. It is ideological supremacy and anchored morality that I object to.

He also fails to note the horrendous racism pushed by Islamic scholars (including the Prophet) in the past. More on that, in point 4. Faith is colourless. It is simply an idea. A concept. Like Communism, like Capitalism; both colourless. Islam is no different. It is therefore open to all forms of ridicule and critique that every idea is open to.

Point 2:

“futileDemocracy” (whose criticisms I will respond to in a later article). My critic states that he became an atheist “by discovering that Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin, and John Stuart Mill were greater than every prophet combined.” All of his ideological role models are white men. It is only one of many examples that illustrate that Western man only looks to white men as a source of enlightenment in this world; in their minds, only a white man is capable of holding such a position of esteem.”

– Firstly, I didn’t “become” an Atheist. I’ve never had faith. Right from birth. Hakeem became a Muslim. Paine, Darwin, and Mill simply strengthen my lack of faith and my displeasure at religious prejudice and privilege within the public realm. The second point Hakeem lazily makes is that by only mentioning three white men (this was in a tweet, by the way), I am quite obviously an awful racist. So, let’s follow that line of reasoning through: I also only mentioned men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist. I also only mentioned three heterosexual men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe. I also only mentioned three English-born men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe, who hates anyone who isn’t English. I also only mentioned three English men, all born below Junction 30 of the M1. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe, who hates anyone who isn’t born between Chesterfield, and the English Channel. Do you see how intensely irrational this logic is? Even more so, when we point out that Islam, is not a race. Perhaps he is then suggesting, that I have couldn’t possibly consider the thoughts of an Arab to be important to my personal values. Not true either. As my article on the great Arab free-thinker, Al-Ma’arri suggests. I end this article with:

“And that is what makes Al-Ma’arri – one of the few I name as personal heroes – worthy of greatness.”

– Predictably, Hakeem ignored the entire post in which I write just how much of a genius Al-Ma’arri was, but circled in on one particular sentence, to prove my awful white supremacy. Here:

“As far your admiration of Al-Ma’arri goes, even your praise of him takes racist overtones:
“Al-Marri seems to us, to be better suited to walking and talking in the streets of 19th Century Philadelphia with Thomas Paine, or sitting around a fire place, with a whiskey, deep in discussions in the mid-20th Century with Bertrand Russell, or joining Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris on stage for merciless debates with religious apologists in the early 21st Century; than he does to the Middle Ages.”
Were the people of color that were Al-Marrie’s intellectual contemporaries to unworthy for him? So much so that he needed white philosophers, white scientists, and white neo-atheists to have a dialogue with? Why do you want to take a thinker of color and say he is better suited to be in modern white supremacist society?”

– Again, I could also point out that the people mentioned are all men, and so it must prove my inherent misogyny. I could also point out that they’re all heterosexual, which must prove my inherent homophobia.
To his first point, no. The people ‘of colour’ were not ‘unworthy of him’. That entirely misses the point. Al-Ma’arri was an Enlightenment thinker, centuries before the Enlightenment. I simply suggest he is better suited to Enlightenment era, than the Theocratic era that he existed within. Race, again, is meaningless. It is the ideological atmosphere that I refer to, not skin tone. It is as irrelevant as eye colour, to the point I was making. To suggest otherwise is hideously manipulative. Al Ma’arri happened to live in the Middle East, so of course he is surrounded by people of Middle Eastern origin. Their race to this discussion, is meaningless. It is Hakeem who calls him “a thinker of color”. Ignoring his thoughts, his ideas, and his character entirely. Again, Hakeem introduces race. Not me.

I maintain that all supremacy based on traits or beliefs, are a great evil. Supremacy based on race, gender, sexuality, or religion are cancerous. They necessitate an unwelcome, and unjustifiable usurping of power for one specific group, and that cannot be spun to be acceptable. Equal rights under the law, and the democratic right to choose who you wish to place into positions of power is the very best and fairest system of governance the World has thus far imagined. And it works. Hakeem is angry, because his desire for a system based on patriarchy, hetereosexual, Theocratic supremacy… has no justification, and must be called out for the dangerous poison that it is.

Equally, had a white European, in 8th Century Europe, surrounded by deadly Papal power, produced works that would not be replicated until the Enlightenment, then I would suggest he (or she, gay, or straight, bald, or hairy) would also be better suited to the home of the Enlightenment too. Race, is meaningless. Hakeem reduces human beings down to what colour their skin is at every possible opportunity. Their achievements, are irrelevant to Hakeem. It is also important to note that the Prophets of Islam, are all Middle Eastern. Does this mean Hakeem must have a severe hatred for white Europeans? Or Chinese people? or anyone not from the Middle East? By his own mode of reasoning, that’s exactly what it means.

Hakeem says:

“Western man only looks to white men as a source of enlightenment.”

He takes this, from three names I mentioned on twitter, as his source. It is absurd to suggest that ‘Western men’ seek out white men, to the dismissal of anyone with darker skin, for progression of thought. Absurd, and insulting. We simply don’t see race as an issue. We can admire Thomas Paine without seeing his skin colour. Similarly, we can admire Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, or Frederick Douglass, with the same colourless admiration. I am certain those three, would wish us to see them, without race. Our Western society is built, maintained, and progressed by different races, sexualities, genders. All of those are irrelevant to the forward march of progress. Their aims, goals, and ideas are what is important, or as Martin Luther King summarises: The content of their character.

Hakeem’s constant attempts to categorise all Western men, is becoming eerily similar to the racism he apparently doesn’t like.

Hakeem’s nonsense continues:

“You are so misguided by white privilege that you cannot even think of such basic racialized barriers to such discussions and want to absorb thinkers of color into your white philosophical traditions.”

– This is a beautifully crafted line of condescension and idiocy in which Hakeem, again, exhausts the object. I struggle to know where to begin. Firstly, I am almost certain that people who are not white, yet promote secularism, democracy, and the scientific method would be insulted at the suggestion that they are “absorbed into white philosophical traditions”. Hakeem is obsessed with race. He summarises my positions – secularism, democracy, atheism – as ‘white’ traditions. Here, he completely disenfranchises anyone who isn’t white, who has made valuable contributions to the progression of Western traditions. Frederick Douglass, dismissed. Democrat and secularist, Martin Luther King, dismissed. Rosa Parks, breaking down racial barriers, dismissed. Neil deGrasse Tyson, dismissed. Nelson Mandela, dismissed. Recently, Maryam Namazie and her commitment to freedom of expression, and women’s rights, dismissed. All of these people – democrats, secularists, feminists, humanists – are important names in the progress of what Hakeem calls “white philosophical traditions”. Hakeem’s refusal to acknowledge such wonderful names in the development of Western thought, goes to prove that his main problem is quite simply; those people aren’t advocating a Theocratic, Islamic Empire, and therefore, must be racist.

Point 3:
Hakeem then issues a diatribe of complete irrelevance, at the beliefs of Charles Darwin. Two points need to be made here. Firstly, I couldn’t care less what Darwin personally believed, about, well, anything. I don’t care what his favourite drink was. I don’t care if he slept around. I don’t care if he stripped naked in public and scared old ladies. I couldn’t care less. My admiration for Charles Darwin is derived from his most wonderful discovery and his method. The very basis of modern biology, zoology, medicine, rests on the discovery Darwin so brilliantly made. Similarly, I enjoy the art of Caravaggio (a white, straight man; I’m so racist/sexist/homophobic). My admiration for Caravaggio’s works, in no way suggests I condone the terrible crimes he committed.

Secondly, only a fool/religious fanatic, would choose to place Darwin, the man, in the context of the 21st Century. Hakeem writes his confused mess from a point of privilege that Darwin didn’t have the luxury of; because of the wonderful developments in genetics, and biology in the 100+ years since Darwin’s death, Hakeem has the hindsight to show us where Darwin was mistaken. Darwin did not have 21st century information, in the middle of the 19th Century. Darwin was of course influenced by the prejudices of his era. He also did not have a fully developed evolutionary theory. He was also limited by the prejudicial lexicon of his day, which is why we often see him use the term ‘savages’. Evolutionary theory, was in its infancy, and had centuries of religious intolerance, power, and dogma to contend with.

Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1858, the same year as the famous Lincoln/Douglas debates. The slavery question had plagued both sides of the Atlantic for centuries, and now, in order to attempt to justify the unjustifiable, pro-slavery advocates were looking for ‘scientific’ rationale for the institution, given that religious logic wasn’t cutting it anymore. Arguments coming out of the pro-slavery camp, from writers like Fitzhugh, and Lewis Henry Morgan, were used to back up the prevalent idea at the time, that the African American race, had fallen away from God, become ‘uncivilised’ and had no way of improving that condition. It was religious based logic.

This wasn’t lost on Muslims either. Ibn Khaldun (whose statue stands in Tunisia today) in the 15th Century said:

“The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage.”

– Hakeem of course, in trying to protect the vile structure of religious abuse and dogma, conveniently chooses to absent Islamic racist history, because it doesn’t work to strengthen the system of horrendous power he advocates.

Of course, Western religious writers were just as racist. John T. Roberts in 1878, wrote the book “Adamites and Preadamites” in which he suggests that Adam, was the father of the white race, and the black race, came from ‘preadamites’, who were to be treated like animals, as God had, by putting them on the ark, equal to animals. This is the level of racial prejudice advanced in Darwin’s time. It was largely based on religion, but now demanded ‘scientific’ rationale to back it up. Darwin did not offer that. If he were truly basing his work, on white supremacy, his findings would have been far different, and far similar to other notable naturalists at the time, whose findings were all made to fit racial prejudice. Darwin however, was neither trying to prove the ‘white race’ superior, nor disprove it. He was trying to rationalise the very very limited evidence he had gathered. Here, in The Descent of Man from 1871, we see just how groundbreaking his research was, in breaking down the notions of white supremacy that dominated every aspect of life in mid-19th Century:

“I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the “Beagle,” with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.”

– He was ‘incessantly struck’. Which suggests, the whole idea of such close similarities between races, up until that very moment, for Darwin, was unthinkable. This demonstrates the World he inhabited, the subconscious prejudices he inherited, and the importance of his work on progressing scientific understanding of ‘race’.
He then completely blows away the argument that the ‘white race’ and ‘black race’ are from two separate lines ordained by God as superior and inferior:

“As it is improbable that the numerous and unimportant points of resemblance between the several races of man in bodily structure and mental faculties (I do not here refer to similar customs) should all have been independently acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who had these same characters.”

– An incredibly revolutionary idea for the time. Hakeem though, sees Darwin as being static. Like Muhammad. Whose thoughts are timeless. He is entirely incapable of understanding the difference between dogma, and method. Enlightenment methods, are what I appreciate. The famous names of the Enlightenment, I do not seek to emulate their personal lives and beliefs. They are not infallible. They were subject to the same cultural prejudices that we all are. Hakeem, cannot understand that concept. Being religious, dogma is all he knows.

Darwin, whilst of course still displaying 19th Century prejudice, still managed to advance the argument beyond the understanding of the time. Darwin argued that people are not different species, that all people are descended from ‘savages’, that religion plays no part in the advancement of civilisation as suggested by his contemporaries, and that it was culture responsible for progression, not biological traits. He overturned the common ideas on race in the 21st Century, by providing scientific explanations. Of course, science is incomplete, and that was true of Darwin’s time. Darwin absolutely managed to somewhat break the barriers of the time. He was not a Prophet, he was not in contact with the Divine, and therefore, he cannot transcend the time period.

Unfortunately for Hakeem, the same cannot be said for the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet is in contact with a Being that can absolutely transcend all confines of time, which makes His laws, binding forever. His view is as ‘right’ in 7th Century Middle East, is it is in 21st Century Britain, according to Muslims.

And yet, that Being doesn’t see fit to tell the Prophet that it might be unwise to marry a 9 year old girl, that it might lead to problems surrounding child marriage in future Patriarchal Islamic nations, and that, actually, it is just wrong. It just isn’t on His list of cares. He intervenes to tell the Prophet to pray facing Mecca, yet doesn’t bother to intervene to prevent the Prophet marrying a child. Which suggests that to Allah, child marriage isn’t actually wrong in principle.
Darwin didn’t have all the answers. His was a search dedicated to progression, over time. He set the tone. The Prophet Muhammad on the otherhand, apparently had all the answers, and they just so happened to be incredibly misogynistic, homophobic, violent answers.

If criticism of Islam can be considered a race issue, that surely, Hakeem’s criticism of Atheism, has racist connotations. Well, yes, it would appear so:

Point 4:
Hakeem’s most impressively funny point:

“Neo-Atheism is the result of Western man’s white supremacist ideology.”

– Bare in mind, no one else, other than Hakeem, has mentioned race at all up until this point, he is the one obsessed with pointing out just how shitty he considers white, Western people to be. (Islamist superiority complex, as I call it).
He then goes on to contradict himself, by suggesting that it isn’t only new Atheists that are “the result of Western man’s white supremacist ideology”, but also, the free-thinkers of the Enlightenment:

“The European “Age of Reason” predictably coincided with pseudo-scientific racism, which classified blacks as being less than human, unworthy scum.”

– So, Atheism in general, is written off, as white supremacist by its very nature. I cannot even begin to tell you how insulting this is. How, Hakeem thinks Atheists are inherently white supremacists. This is a horrid line of reasoning, for which he offers no evidence. Secularism, and Democracy are not inherently racist ideologies.
He is of course, quite right, that the 18th/19th Enlightenment built on already established racist attitudes. But it also eventually began to crush them, as you would expect, from a method based on reason. The Enlightenment is named as it is, because it inspired rational thought based on available evidence, challenging religious dogma. It promoted progress, – sometimes it got it wrong – it eventually lead to the abolition of slavery (though, the Ottoman Empire continued to use slaves, until around 1890, 25 years after it was abolished in the US). It eventually lead to universal suffrage. It eventually lead to the decriminalisation of Homosexuality. Try being gay in Saudi Arabia. We musn’t forget that the Enlightenment inherited racism and prejudice from religious societies of old. Christians had long been insisting that there was a World Wide Jewish conspiracy to kill Christian children. Religion is divisive by its very nature.

Let us also not forget, that racism is most certainly not confined to the West (which Hakeem seems to be suggesting), and certainly not a completely new phenomena, created and perpetuated by the Colonial Western powers. Islam is no better. Al-Tabari, a very important Islamic historian and Qur’an commentator, writing in the 9th century, said:

“Arabs are the most noble people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds.”

– It’d take a brave Islamist to suggest Al-Tabari’s blatant racism and Arab supremacy, is the result of ‘white’ Western philosophy. It would take just as brave a man to suggest this superiority complex, isn’t still prevalent among those wishing for a Pan-Arab Caliphate.

If we are to claim that philosophical traditions are the result of ‘white supremacy’ we must also point out, that Islam, was based on Quraish supremacy, and so will naturally reflect the prejudices of the Quraish. Sahih Bukhari 9:89:329:

“Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, “There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, “All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish.”

In fact, it appears that the Prophet was hard at work forging racism, long before the Colonial powers took up the mantle. Sahih Bukhari 9:89:256:

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”

That racist tradition, was carried on. Renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Qutaybah said that Africans:

“…are ugly and misshapen, because they live in a hot country.”

The great Islamic scientist, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (also influenced by the prejudices of his time, much like Darwin) said:

“Many have seen that the ape is more capable of being trained than the Negro, and more intelligent.”

– Racism is far more prolific within the writings of certain revered Muslims, than any modern ‘neo’-Atheist.

Hakeem’s refusal to acknowledge horrendous racism in Arab nations, shows his intent to promote typically Islamist anti-Western hypocritical “principles”. Egyptian writer and journalist Mona Eltahawy noted that racism was responsible for police brutality in Egypt that led to the crackdown on Sudanese refugees. Eltahawy noted:

“The racism I saw on the Cairo Metro has an echo in the Arab world at large, where the suffering in Darfur goes ignored because its victims are black and because those who are creating the misery in Darfur are not Americans or Israelis and we only pay attention when America and Israel behave badly.”

– Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe, wrote a song in which she refers to Nubian people in Egypt as “monkeys”. This is the result of pan-Arab nationalism, the notion that Muslim Arabs, are superior. Walid Phares, a Professor of Middle Eastern Affairs, wrote that Arabism and its desire to degrade indigenous non-Arabs, was an exercise in politico-cultural ethnic cleansing. Arabism – another word for Islamist imperialism – is racism.

The Enlightenment promoted the concept of free thought, and social progression through reason, this gives room for prejudices to eventually be overcome, for improvement; a generation builds on the advancement of the previous generation, of course it struggles at times, and of course it doesn’t get it right all of the time. But it places its faith in people – regardless of skin colour, gender, or sexuality. We are seeing this today, with gay marriage becoming more and more accepted. This is an Enlightenment achievement, whilst the Catholic Church, and Islamists continue to humiliate gay people. Islamism, promotes static dogma. It promotes 7th Century ‘values’ that cannot update, nor progress. That is the difference. Of course, Hakeem will find some ridiculous way to blame the West for this, being the Islamist supremacist that he is.

Point 5:
Here, Hakeem gives us the true reason, that he dislikes all things that aren’t Islamic:

“They also seek domain over God; hence, they have adopted neo-atheism. What better way to rule God than to deny God’s very existence?”

– To summarise, Atheism threatens the power structures – like Patriarchy – that Hakeem holds so dear. He wishes to control people, with dogma. With threats of hell. With barbaric punishment that has no rational basis. He wishes people to be slaves to his faith. And so, as pointed out at the top of this article, he is willing to argue in the most ludicrous of terms, just to defend that illegitimate power structure that benefits him so much. He is obsessed with controlling others. He doesn’t wish you to think for yourself. His whole miserable article can be summed up with that. And so, it isn’t just criticism of the Prophet he now has a problem with, it’s Atheism itself. He categorises those who simply dismiss the idea of a God based on a lack of evidence, as white supremacists. The desperation of those seeking to uphold archaic power structures, is, I’m sure you’ll agree, hysterical.

Point 6:
And after slowly losing all mental capacities, Hakeem treats us to the most hypocritical of all of his points:

“In the next article, I will explain why secular egalitarian ideologies such as socialism, anarchism, and secular humanism lack a moral foundation.”

– Great! More reasons why anyone who isn’t Muslim, is inherently terrible. Philosophies he considers to be “white” (his words, not mine), are lacking a moral basis? By his own logic, we must conclude that Hakeem believes white people, do not have a moral basis. The idea of religion providing the only source for which morality is anchored, is an old one. It is an argument that was destroyed about 130 years ago by Kropotkin, and has been repeatedly destroyed over and over, yet seems to still be used by (admittedly, only a few now) religious apologists who have seemingly never read anything other than literature that backs up their own point.

The suggestion of racism, to describe anyone who has a criticism of Islam, must stop. It is killing important discourse before it is allowed to begin. Islam is an idea, a concept. Nothing more. All ideas and concepts must be open to criticism, satire, and ridicule. This is how humanity progresses. I dislike the Prophet Muhammad. I find him to be a violent, sexual predator. I find him to be dangerous, I find his words and his deeds to be disastrous. I find him to be a fraud and a thug. This would be the case, whether he be white, black, Asian, straight, gay, male, female, tall, short and any other biological trait. If we are to suggest that criticism of Muhammad, is race based, then try to point specifically to the racist remarks of those doing the criticism.

By being so broad in your suggestion that criticism of Islam or the Prophet is inherently racist, you simply seem overly defensive of your ideology, that you will play any taboo card, in order to try to discredit the argument in lieu of actually discrediting the argument. If we are to seriously suggest that criticism of the Prophet is inherently racist, then we must suggest that Islam itself has a race element, an ideology based on race (from the words of the Prophet, and famous racist scholars of Islam, this isn’t far fetched)? Exclusive, to it’s own definition of ‘race’. If we note that Islam has no element based on race, then we must conclude that criticism of Islam and its doctrines, are also not based on race. The Qur’an calls us ‘unbelievers’ (whilst threatening us with hell), some Muslims call us ‘Kuffar’, Hakeem calls us ‘neo-Atheists’. Either way, Hakeem, and others like him – those without rational arguments – are far more guilty of the discrimination and derogatory dogma that they claim to abhor, than they’d ever care to admit.


The Privilege of Dan Riehl.

July 20, 2013

Conservative commentator Dan Riehl is apparently more annoyed at the President for speaking out on the fact that he has experienced being followed in shops simply because he is black, than he is that the President has experienced being followed in shops simply because he is black.

He also didn’t get this angry when Donald Trump and the Tea Party faction demanded the President’s birth certificate, in one horrendous display of racial profiling.

Yesterday, President Obama stood in the White House Press room, and shared his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin ruling. The President said:

“I think it’s important to recognise that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience in this country, of being followed when they’re shopping in a department store. And that includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street, and hearing locks click on the doors of cars. That happened to me. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator of a woman clutching her purse nervously. Those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.”

– For what it’s worth, I rate this as the President’s most important speech. It was impromptu, and that gave the speech its honesty. It was personable, heartfelt, and it struck right to the heart of the privileges that do not face the average white American every day, yet affects the average African American every day.

Predictably, conservatives across America react nonsensically, not wishing to know the feelings the first African American President has toward race relations in the country. Typically, as conservatives tend to be with women, with minorities, with the gay community the message coming from them is loud and clear; “we don’t want to know, shut up and deal with it.” Dan Riehl, rather oddly, says:

Untitled-1
– Apparently President Nixon’s Southern Strategy; a strategy designed to provoke racial tension in the south thus attracting white supremacists over to voting Republican, isn’t considered racist. Nixon is also on tape saying:

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white, or rape.”

– Apparently considering a child of mixed-race to be as terrible as rape, doesn’t qualify as racism.
Apparently, President Lincoln’s thoughts on race relations being:

“I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.”

– is not racist. Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and many more US Presidents owned slaves. Apparently, this isn’t racist. Nor Ronald Reagan’s subtle racial remarks on “Welfare queens” and his strategy to appeal to “George Wallace inclined voters“. But, President Obama sharing his experiences of a post-civil rights culture slowly trying to shed its racist past, makes him the “first Racist in chief”. The President was not suggesting the creation of a brand new social and economic system, based on black supremacy. The President was highlighting racial inequality and ingrained cultural racism.

Dan Riehl believes that any African American suggesting that America might still have race problems, or highlighting that racism, are themselves a racist for doing so. Dan Riehl is under the impression that the status quo, as long as the cracks are kept silent, is acceptable. He can enjoy the privileges afforded to him by virtue of his skin colour, without having to think too much of those that the system leaves behind.

So what are those unearned privileges afforded to Dan Riehl?

Well, it starts with education. Naturally, when a particular minority has spent 200+ years discriminated wildly against when it comes to standards in education, as well as healthcare, housing, justice, opportunities; they are at a disadvantage from birth. It is institutional. To alleviate those disadvantages, there must be a concerted effort to increase standards through funding among other things. Half of all public school funding, comes from property taxes. And so, the poorest areas (and those who have already suffered discrimination in housing, for decades) are disproportionately underfunded. Dan Riehl’s facebook page, tells us that he studied at Steinert High School in New Jersey. New Jersey is ranked second highest for graduation results, test scores etc……. New Jersey is also the second highest spender per pupil, spending on average $15,000 per pupil. Whereas Mississippi for example (which has an African American population 23% higher than New Jersey) is ranked 48th for student success, and spends just $9,708 per pupil. Dan Riehl is privileged simply by being born in a State that for white, economically advantaged students, is an educational haven.

Of course, had Dan Riehl, during the 90s, and right up until 2003, drove through New Jersey, he would have had the privilege of not being suspected of being a drug kingpin, and pulled over, in the nationwide scandal in which officers in New Jersey testified that they were told by their superiors to racially profile motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 95.
Most drug users in the US, are white. In fact, only 13% of drug users in the US, are African American. And yet, 74% of those sentenced to prison for drug use in the US, are African American. African Americans are on average, 11 times more likely to be imprisoned for drug use, than white Americans. If Dan Riehl wanted to use drugs, he will experience the privilege of being far more likely to get away with it, simply for the colour of his skin. In fact, he could have happily driven trucks full of heroin through New Jersey, and been able to do so, because officers were busy watching out for African Americans.

The denial of white privilege by those who gain the most from it, is not new. Currently, it seeks to turn any sort of alleviating of institutional racism into a sort of privilege for African Americans. For example, over here in the UK I often hear the claim that a Pakistani person got a job ahead of a white British person. As if that’s inherently wrong. Similarly, in America I often read claims that a white person didn’t get into a particular college, because, despite getting lower grades, the place was given to an African American person (not forced, just given). In both cases, the white person claims to have been the victim of some sort of reverse racism. And in both cases, neither bother to accept that not only does affirmative action not force a company or school to “put aside” places for people of different races (it is race neutral), but they also don’t seem to understand that white people have also been given a place ahead of them.

For example, A study by the American economic review between July 2001 and May 2002 entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination” found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a black sounding name. It proved that regardless of credentials, African American applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. And so the claim that work placements or college placements should be “based on merit” is fine, but isn’t the case in reality. In October 2012, the African American unemployment rate was around twice as high as the white unemployment rate. In fact, in one in six industries, white and black segregation has increased since the 1980s. Dan Riehl is privileged, simply by having a white sounding name.

In 2001, Gallup reported that 40% of white people believe that African Americans are treated the same as white Americans in the US. By contrast, only 9% of African Americans believe they are treated equally. Similarly, in 1962, 95 of white Americans believed African Americans had the same opportunities to get a good education, as white Americans. 1962. Prior to the civil rights act, and in the midst of Apartheid America. Dan Riehl has the privilege of being able to say “sure, they’re treated fine“, whilst never having to experience what it’s like for 91% of African Americans who completely disagree.

But white denial (which I characterise as a defence of white privilege; a way to try to ensure that ‘white‘ must come first) goes much further back. The philosophy employed in attempts to defend slavery in the south prior to the Civil War was full of denial.
The American Social Theorist George Fitzhugh argued that the Capitalism of the north would disproportionately affect African Americans, given that they were, in his mind, less able. And so slavery, according to Fitzhugh, actually protected African Americans. Fitzhugh comments:

“We do not set children and women free because they are not capable of looking after themselves, not equal to the constant struggle of society. But half of mankind are but grown up children and liberty is as fatal to them as it would be to children.”

– Suddenly, we have a philosophy of white, patriarchal denial. The privileges bestowed upon white Americans, defended as philanthropic. As if beaten, and immiserated African American slaves, treated like animals, should thank their ‘Masters‘ for the kindness of protecting them, from being free. Obviously, they have no choice in whether they wish to be enslaved or free in the first place. Perhaps they should have thanked their ‘Masters‘ for that too. The justification from Fitzhugh for slavery is as filled with a defence of white supremacy, as it is with denial. And it continues. Generation after generation, conservative white people insist that there is no problem. Fifty years later, they admit, there might have been a problem fifty years ago. During the antebellum period, any attempts to suggest an abolition of slavery, or African American civil rights, was met with conservative anger and derision by which it claimed those policies were in fact, anti-white. During the civil rights era, any attempts to equalise education, transport, housing, for African Americans was met with conservative anger and derision, by which it claimed those policies were in fact, anti-white. Today, it is no different.

Today, as then, those arguments simply reflect a desire to uphold a system of unearned, racial privilege and barriers that perpetuates a lack of opportunity, suspicion, fear, and poverty. The sort that President Obama was absolutely right to touch upon, and the sort that plenty of white President’s have used to their advantage in the past.

Dan Riehl will never accept, nor even understand the privileges that have allowed him to get to a position in which he refers to the nation’s first African American President, as ‘racist‘ simply for describing the prejudice he has faced in his own life. Riehl isn’t concerned about losing rights. Riehl is concerned about losing privilege.

Conservative America apparently doesn’t like to accept that there is an ongoing race problem in the US. What a completely new and original response from them.


‘Stand your Ground’ means ‘fear of black men’.

July 17, 2013

When a particular race, alongside a particular cultural choice – dress sense/music taste – is portrayed so negatively through media, laws like ‘Stand your Ground’ cannot be fair and balanced and will always work to the disadvantage of that particular race. All the law does, is give credit to unfair stereotypes.

In 2012, 17-year-old African American teenager Jordan Russell Davis, pulled into a gas station with a group of friends. As typical teenagers, the boys had their music played loudly in the car that day. Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old white male, and in his car alongside the boys, took exception to this and told them to turn their music down. An argument ensued. Dunn pulled out a gun, fired around 8 shots at the car full of teenagers, and killed Jordan Davis. Dunn claims the boys got out of their cars, and pulled a gun. Witnesses say that didn’t happen at all, and in fact, only Dunn got out of his car. No gun was found in the car of the teenagers, or on any of the teenagers when the police arrived. Dunn’s defence team have invoked Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ law, claiming that by opening fire on a car full of teenagers, killing Davis, Dunn was acting:

“…responsibly and in self defense.”

You’re going to have to forgive me for repeating myself a little, from yesterday’s post on Trayvon Martin and racism in 21st Century USA. I wanted to expand on ‘Stand your Ground’ laws, which requires cross over from a previous post.

A Federal lawsuit in Georgia in 2012 required Georgia strike down its ‘Stand your Ground’ law, because it didn’t specify what circumstances justified “standing your ground”. According to the lawsuit, courts in Georgia had:

“…accepted the race of a victim as evidence to establish the reasonableness of an individual’s fear in cases of justifiable homicide.”

– What this essentially means is, “I shot him, because I was scared, because he was black“. Whilst ‘Stand your Ground’ applies to both black, and white people, it disproportionately affects African Americans, due almost entirely to preconceptions stirred up by media outlets. The perception, the socially conditioned perception of young African American men, as somehow violent, is reflected in Michael Dunn’s claim that he shot Jordan Russell, because he was worried the boys might be in a gang. This isn’t reasonable, by anyone’s standards. Racial ignorance cannot possible be a defence.

The Tampa Bay Times found that around one third of those citing ‘Stand your Ground’ in cases in Florida, had actually started the confrontation that led to the violence. They also found that of those cases involving the death of an African American person, the defendant went free 73% of the time.

Stand your Ground laws were lobbied heavily on by the National Rifle Association. The NRA boasts as a board member Ted Nugent. Nugent – who, Republican Rep Steve Stockman called a true ‘Patriot’ – once said:

“Working Hard, Playing Hard, White Motherfucking Shit Kickers Who Are Independent.”

“I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”

“There’s a lot of white people in this crowd. I like that.”

The link between the NRA, Stand your Ground law lobbying, and racism is not at all ambiguous or subtle. It is quite obvious. In 2007, an NRA, typically delirious brochure entitled: “Freedom In Peril; Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century” in which African Americans are portrayed as violent trying to destroy white America was leaked. A picture depicting ‘street gangs’ shows African American, and Latin Americans, in hoodies, and bandanas. Perpetuating a stereotype. Cut to 2013, and an African American teenager armed with nothing but a packet of skittles, is murdered by a racist with a gun, citing “Stand your Ground” laws to protect him. “Stand your Ground” laws rely on the perpetuation of negative stereotypes, which then make it far easier to transfer the blame from a racist with a gun, profiling an innocent man… to the innocent man, because he doesn’t conform to a dress code, and a skin colour, that is deemed ‘acceptable’ by the NRA and its racist board members. Suddenly, ‘reasonable self defence’ becomes ‘it’s reasonable to shoot him, because he’s black and in a hoody, and The Wire once showed a black guy in a hoody killing someone’.

It’s doesn’t take too much consideration, to draw a direct link between a racist National Rifle Association lobbying for a particular law, and that law leading to the horrendous deaths of young, innocent African Americans.

Section 1 of the ALEC version of Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ law states:

“The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful act was occurring or had occurred, they are immune from prosecution or civil action from acting in defense of the themselves and others.”

– In Trayvon Martin’s case, simply being black, was enough for George Zimmerman to have ‘reason to believe’ the teenager was going to commit a crime. However, this apparently doesn’t apply to Trayvon himself, who surely acted in self defence when noting that he was being stalked, by a racist with a loaded gun. Surely he had the right to act in self defence too? Surely the aggressor, is the person who initiates the stalk, with a gun, of an unarmed, innocent kid? The law, in Florida favoured the murderer. And this seems to be a trend.

A study, by John Roman, at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, found that in States without ‘Stand your Ground’, a white person is likely to be found more justified in killing an African American 250% more, than a white person killing another white person (this is horrendous enough). But even worse, in ‘Stand your Ground’ States that number shoots up to 354%.

A further study at Texas A&M University found that States with ‘Stand your Ground’ laws have on average an 8% increase in homicides, after passing the laws. Around 600 extra homicides than before the laws were passed. The Study concluded:

“the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide.”

– As well as being racist, ‘Stand your Ground’ laws encourage violence and murder.

Florida, Georgia and States with ‘Stand your Ground’ laws have got to a stage in their history, where the colour of someone’s skin, the music they listen to, or the clothes they choose to wear, is processed as reasonable justification to murder someone, completely irrespective of the persons behaviour.

And yet:
Richard Nixon: Disgraced, shamed, had to quit, only pardoned because of his friends in high places. White. Republican.
George W Bush: Disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, alleged to have done cocaine. White. Republican.
California State Republican Rita Lavelle: Convicted of perjury. paid a $10,000 fine, and was place on probation for five years. White. Republican.
Reagan’s National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane was imprisoned in 1990 and fined $20,000 for his part in the Iran-Contra affair in ’86. White. Republican.
President Reagan’s Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House, Michael Deaver was convicted in 1987 of committing perjury in statements submitted to a Congressional subcommittee and then grand jury. White. Republican.
Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Deborah Gore Dean was convicted by jury of accepting an illegal gratuity, on three counts of trying to defraud the Federal Government. White. Republican.
Paul McKinley, recently won the Republican primary to represent 2nd Congressional District. Served almost 20 years behind bars for armed robberies, aggravated battery, and burglaries. White. Republican.
John Poindexter, another National Security Advisor, was convicted in 1990 on five charges of lying to Congress by obstructing Congressional investigations into Iran-Contra. White. Republican.
Darrell Isa. U.S. Representative for California’s 49th congressional district. Twice arrested on weapons charges, pleading guilty to a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm. Arrested on suspicion of car theft.

Maybe we should all start profiling anyone who looks like they might have ever voted Republican? Perhaps we should start following every white Republican, recording every last word they say, in case we catch them lying, or about to commit a felony? Perhaps we should all assume, until they prove otherwise, that Republicans are guilty of lying to Congess, driving under the influence, selling arms to bad guys, and committing armed robberies? Stalk a white Republican today.

In a wholly white privileged, patriarchal system; the black kid being stalked is to blame. The woman who was raped is to blame. The person in poverty is to blame.

‘Stand your Ground’ simply means ‘Fear of black men’.


Trayvon Martin and racism in 21st Century America.

July 15, 2013

The Trayvon Martin murder case has opened up wounds in American social life, that have been poorly bandaged for decades. A young boy, unarmed, confronted by a racist ‘neighbourhood watch’ patrolman with a gun, is confronted simply for ‘looking suspicious’, and is shot to death. The defendant is subsequently acquitted. The defendant, who, apparently cannot understand the difference between someone who is black and committing a crime, and someone who is black and not committing a crime, shoots the man who isn’t, and wasn’t going to commit a crime (I’m almost certain George Zimmerman would not have racially profiled Trayvon Martin that night, had Martin been white), and is acquitted. You would have to suspend all reasonable faculties, and wish away reality, to believe this has no racist connotations. But if you are in doubt here is Zimmerman’s 9/11 call in which he refers to Trayvon Martin as a “fucking coon“.

The privilege afforded to white Americans in everyday social situations, may be less noticeable on the surface, than it perhaps was fifty years ago, but it is still there.

A study by the American economic review between July 2001 and May 2002 entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researchers sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and African American sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas African American applicants with stronger resumes than other African American applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, African American applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant.

Another study conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 46% of Mississippi Republicans think interracial marriage should be illegal. Interestingly, Sarah Palin is the favoured candidate among Mississippi Republicans who think interracial marriage should be illegal, by 17 points more than second place. It is of course no surprise that a Tea Party-styled candidate may be favoured among racist voters, given Tea Party rallies tend to include racist overtones.

Several times over the past few years, Palin has been on stage with Ted Nugent. The same Nugent invited to the State of the Union. Rep. Steve Stockman (R) said of Nugent’s invitation to the State of The Union:

“I Am Excited To Have A Patriot Like Ted Nugent Joining Me In The House Chamber To Hear From President Obama.”

– Both Palin’s appearance with Nugent, and Stockman’s insistence that Nugent is a “Patriot”, or a real American that Stockman can respect is rather telling given that Nugent once said that real Americans are:

“Working Hard, Playing Hard, White Motherfucking Shit Kickers Who Are Independent.”

– The seemingly racist Ted Nugent, loved by the Republican Party as a “Patriot” once said of the United States of America:

“I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”

– This is the man the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party embraces as a Patriot. A Confederate racist. So it is no surprise that Sarah Palin supporters in Mississippi would like to see interracial marriage banned.

On a side note, Ted Nugent is an NRA board member. The NRA lobby for ‘Stand your Ground’ laws, the very law that failed Trayvon Martin, and is already appearing to be a law of white privilege. A Federal lawsuit in Georgia in 2012 required Georgia strike down its ‘Stand your Ground’ law, because it didn’t specify what circumstances justified “standing your ground”. According to the lawsuit, courts in Georgia had:

“…accepted the race of a victim as evidence to establish the reasonableness of an individual’s fear in cases of justifiable homicide.”

– What this essentially means is, “I shot him, because I was scared, because he was black“. It is a white privilege defence. Ted Nugent, Confederate, racist, advocate of laws that threaten the lives of innocent African Americans, and according to Republicans; a ‘Patriot’.

Institutional racism – an economic, social, or political structure designed to advance one race to the disadvantage of another – is particularly subtle, and so less noticeable in 21st Century America, than it was 40 years ago, though it still exists. If you are African American, you are three times more likely to be pulled over in your car and searched for drugs than if you’re white, despite the fact that if you’re white, on the few occasions when you are pulled over you are four times more likely to have drugs on you. If you are white and you drive past the police without them pulling you over, you are experiencing the privilege of being white. The war on drugs then, is not a war on drugs, if it were, those statistics would be a hell of a lot different. The war on drugs would go where the drugs actually are, not where the people with dark skin are.

Fox News’s Geraldo blamed Trayvon Martin for his own death, rather creatively:
Geraldo-Rivera-GeraldoRivera-on-Twitter
– Geraldo went on to clarify that:

“What I was trying to do was caution parents that allowing kids to wear hoodies or similar clothing in certain circumstances, particularly if they were minority young men, could be dangerous,”

– I’d say allowing your children to watch a ‘News’ network that pushes the seemingly racist agenda of a particular party, is far more dangerous, and perpetuates the problem in the first place. The danger of wearing a hoody, is the product of Fox News, Republican style politics of fear and division. Fox News: Throwing fuel onto the fire, and then blaming those burning for being too flammable.

Thirteen US States currently completely disenfranchise ex-felons. It is predictable, that this form of voter disenfranchisement disproportionately affects minorities; usually people from poorer minority backgrounds, who have already felt the effects of institutional racism within the school system, health system (The infant mortality rate for African American women was 2.4 times the rate of white women), housing system and justice system. Due to previous convictions, 5.3 million Americans were not allowed to vote in 2004.

In June this year, the conservative lead Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, allowing States to change their own voting laws. The Voting Rights Act was of utmost importance in the fight against institutional racism, covering those States most affected by institutional racism through voting restrictions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia & South Carolina.
The Act prohibited States from imposing:

“voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”

– The Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b) which creates a formula which determines what a State must do to be subject to Section 5, which forces a State to seek approval from the Department of Justice before changing voting rules. Without Section 4(b), there is no Section 5.
Predictably, like a dog pulling on its leash, desperate to break away; within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas announced it would rush ahead with changing Voting rules. As if Republican Texans had waited decades for this moment. The Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott announced he would be immediately reinstating the Voter ID rule:

“With today’s decision, the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas.”

– Voter ID costs fall heavily on African American, and Hispanic communities. A hugely disproportionate number of those without photo ID, registered to vote, are Latin American.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University found that in the last decade alone, Section 4(b) and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, protected minority voters, by striking down 43 attempts to change election rules in the noted States. Between 1982, and 2006, the Justice Department struck down 2,400 state and local voting rule changes. Thanks to voter protection for minorities, the proportion of African Americans registered to vote in Alabama increased from 19% in 1965 to 73% in 2004. The provisions struck down by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, were working.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was left in place by the Supreme Court. Southern Republicans believe this to be enough to prevent racist policies creeping into the States. Section 2 allows the Federal Government to prosecute any local official introducing racist electoral policies. However, this relies on the victims of the racist electoral policies, pursuing legal action, finding a lawyer, knowing who to contact, where to go. Suddenly, the victims are the ones who must shoulder the burden.

Suppression of minority voters, and playing on race issues, is a key factor in Republican election strategies, and has been for a very long time. Nixon’s Southern Strategy was a way to realign racist voters in the South away from the Democrats, over to the Republicans. Nixon’s strategist Kevin Phillips told the New York Times:

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”

– Well, in 2013 Republicans have the racist vote, and so the Voting Rights Act is no longer required to “prod” them over to the GOP, and so the Voting Rights Act is no longer beneficial to Republicans. In 2013 this means, voter ID, trimming down early voting, enforcing long waiting times at voting booths, banning ex-felons from voting, and as was happening in Michigan in 2008; attempting to block people from voting if they turned up to vote still registered to their foreclosed home. These measures are all designed to suppress minority votes. The Republican Party is institutionally racist.

But it isn’t just conservatives that show horrendous racial prejudice. After the Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, Minnesota State Rep. Ryan Winkler, a Democrat tweeted this:

winkler
– An incredibly ironic statement, in that he is referring to Justice Clarence Thomas, an African American, as “uncle Thomas”, a phrase used to describe an African American who betrays his race to win favour from a structure of white privilege. The implication being that Justice Thomas couldn’t possibly have any other reason for opposing Section 4(b), than to suck up to those he must consider to be his white superiors. A second implication being, that African Americans must place their skin tone at the front of all policy considerations, whilst white people can have a multitude of reasons for opposing or supporting particular policy.

Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel told the court that Trayvon had called her moments before the confrontation with Zimmermand, and had said he was being followed by “some creepy ass cracker“. In an article for The Slate, Craig Pittman says:

“So when Trayvon Martin, who was black, referred to George Zimmerman, a light-skinned Hispanic, as a “cracker,” did he mean it in the “hey, look, it’s a son of the pioneers!” way? Given that the term was modified by the adjective “creepy-ass,” I would have to say no. ”

– The implication being that Martin was the one that introduced racism to the confrontation. It is of course, intensely unimportant given that Zimmerman himself didn’t think to mention this, and so it didn’t actually figure in his decision to confront Trayvon. If Martin did use ‘cracker’, of course it was meant in a racial sense. The fact remains that had Zimmerman not racially profiled, and followed Martin in the first place (the introduction of confrontational racism into the situation), then the term ‘cracker’ (used by Martin in this context, whilst trying to walk away from Zimmerman) would not have been used. Zimmerman introduced racism, and very confrontational racism, into the equation. Any ensuing racism on the part of Trayvon Martin, can only be considered secondary, and completely unimportant to the case, after the fact that Zimmerman had already racially profiled him. The racism that lead to the death of unarmed, innocent Trayvon Martin was on the part of armed, racist George Zimmerman, and no one else.

Trayvon Martin was followed and stopped, because he was black. George Zimmerman – despite his previous appearances in court for domestic violence, battery, speeding and alcohol abuse – will never have to experience that level of profiling. At night, in the street, he is presumed innocent. Trayvon Martin, on account of his skin colour, was presumed guilty. Racism is a social structure, not simply an individual revealing private prejudices.

Those who insist that white privilege is no more, that racism is dead, that a framework built on race-based power is a relic of the past, are the very conservatives on the Supreme Court, and the ruling Republicans in Southern States who stand to gain the most from perpetuating racism and white privilege. America has an institutional racism problem, whose weakly applied bandage is slowly peeling away.


What Tories Say

August 19, 2011

“Our members are the most socially-engaged, the most civic-minded, the most neighbourly bunch of people in Britain.”
David Cameron, 2010.

It wasn’t long after not winning the election (or before actually), that the Tories who had clearly been told to keep quiet for the past few years whilst Cameron built up his “progressive, green Conservative” persona, managed to make it known just how much contempt they have for anyone who isn’t them. I thought i’d provide a definitive list of the things Tories say:

“You might ask how all the single mothers congregating with their push-chaired spawn are able to afford both their beer and their tattoos – I have a horrible idea I am paying for both.”

– Recently suspended for calling the rioters “jungle bunnies”, Tory Councillor on Dover District Council, Bob Frost.

“Good candidate, shame he’s black.”

– Tory Councillor John Major (not ex-Prime Minister) on an interviewee for a position as Chief Exec. of Monmouth County Council.

“half a wog.”

– Tory Councillor John Major (not ex-Prime Minister) on a slightly tanned work colleague.

“I think I have behaved impeccably. I’ve done nothing criminal. Do you know what this is about? Jealousy. I’ve got a very, very large house. Some people say it looks like Balmoral, but it’s a 19th century merchant’s house. It’s not particularly attractive, but it just does me nicely and it’s got room to actually plant a few trees. I still don’t know what all the fuss is about. What right does the public have to interfere in my private life? None! It reminds me of an episode of Coronation Street.”

– Tory MP for Totnes in Devon, Anthony Steen when questioned about his expenses claims, of which he claimed £87,000, for servicing his stately home, including 500 trees.

“There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.“

Theresa May, the Equalities Minister. Seriously.

“Evidence is quite clearly emerging that man is not having the impact on the climate that the EU climate alarmists claim.“

The website of “Freedom Association“, of which Tory MEP Roger Helmer is a key member. He is our East Midlands MEP. We received his campaign leaflet, of which it said:

“Conservatives played a key role in making new laws to cut carbon emissions and promote renewable energy“.

This part of the leaflet, was a major factor for the campaign, given that it had an entire section dedicated to:

“tackling climate change”

– We can always trust the Tories to have a public agenda that soon gets trumped by their private agenda. The leaflet then tells us just how busy and relevant their work in the European Parliament has been!

“You can still buy your fruit and vegetables in pounds and ounces thanks to Conservative MEPs“

– No more sleepless nights for me!

“Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”

– Tory Councillor Gareth Compton of Birmingham County Council, talking about writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. You can bet if she’d have said the same thing about him, most Tories would be up in arms about the disrespect a Muslim is showing to England.

15 hours in Council today. Very hard hitting day and the usual collection of retards in the public gallery spoiling it for real people.

– Leader of Kingston Upon Hull County Council. The “retards” being protesters, angry that the 15 hour day he had to so horribly endure, ended by him and his councilors making 1300 people redundant. They must have spoiled the joy on the faces of the miserable Tories who take such delight in instant job destruction.

“I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”

– Tory MP Chris Grayling. By his logic, businesses should be allowed to turn away anyone they don’t like the look of. If you’re Black, Grayling’s logic says that if a shop owner doesn’t want you in their shop, for being black, tough. A Gay couple shouldn’t have to worry that they might get turned away, for no other reason that the B&B owners religious bigotry. Same old Tories.

“Given some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.
If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.””

– Tory MP Philip Davies cloaking his apparent desire to see disabled people in the UK treated as a source of cheap labour, in bubble wrapped manipulative, like-he-gives-a-shit language.

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– Tory MP Philip Davies, after an act of vandalism which was later proven to have not involved any Muslims at all.

“Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?”

– Tory MP Philip Davies.

“I can understand how it looks, but it is being a bit too politically correct.”

– Tory Councilor for Bolton, Bob Allen’s half arsed apology, in which, like every Right Winger when they’ve said spewed some deeply offensive moronic bullshit, blaming political correctness, after he posted a photo of a gorilla next to comments about an Asian colleague.

“IF YOU DON’T PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS YOU WILL RECEIVE 3 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ABSOLUTELY FREE.”

BNP Tory Councillor Simon Farnsworth for Ribble Valley council, at the end of a racist email joke sent to Tory colleagues. Then forwarded by Councilor Ken Hind. My favourite, is Hind’s apology:

“I am privileged to name amongst my friends and associates many who are of Asian or African origin.”

– He can’t be racist! He knows a black person!

“I object to being required to embrace an agenda that actively supports and positively discriminates in favour of people who I consider to be sexual deviants and who engage in practices contrary to my religious beliefs.”

– Tory Councillor for Derbyshire County Council, Patrick Clark, on Homosexuality. Another brilliant excuse:

“The term deviant just means different, it was not derogatory.”

Conservativehome.com, quick to distance themselves from Clark’s comments, went full force with their attack on his 1950s style homophobia and dogmatic religious nonsense:

The “sexual deviants” reference was pretty unfortunate

– YEAH! That told him!

“All women should be sterilised”

Tory Candidate Ross Coates offering his gem of wisdom on the “problem” of women getting pregnant at work.

“close to the minimum wage”

– Tory MP David Wilshire, describing his £64,000 a year salary.

“Recruiting ethnic people into key public sector organisations— in place to protect us—is a risk.

– Tory MP, and ex-Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, Patrick Mercer, on revelations, which not surprisingly turned out to be entirely false, from the Daily Mail that the police force had been infiltrated by Muslim Extremists working for Al Qaeda.

“I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless.”

– Tory MP and ex-Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, Patrick Mercer, on his time in the Armed Forces.

“The witch hunt against MPs in general will undermine democracy. It will weaken parliament – handing yet more power to governments. Branding a whole group of people as undesirables led to Hitler’s gas chambers.”

– Tory MP David Wilshire, comparing MPs during the expenses scandal, to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. This is a few weeks after it was revealed he had claimed over £100,000 for the running of his own company. Apparently, we should be proud of that essential democratic tradition of profiting from public funds during economic downturns.

“Should rioters also lose benefits? I approach this question with a belief that loss of benefits for a significant period might be a deterrent to some rioters, irrespective of whatever other punishments the courts may rightly impose.”

– This beautiful statement was made, as I was writing this. Tory MP James Clappison calling for rioters to have their benefits cut. Interesting moral crusade, given that Clappison claimed over £100,000 despite owning 24 houses, a cricket club, 75 acres of land and a farm. His claims include TV licence, a cleaner, and Sky TV. The hypocrisy is outstanding. Actually, it makes my head want to explode. I cannot comprehend the upper class stupidity at this level. They are oblivious to the real World. To be fair to Clappison, he is trying to join the 21s….actually, the 20th Century, by claiming £295 in 2007….. for a VCR.

“Yes, if you can believe it, homosexuality will be on the curriculum for students studying maths, geography and science.
This plan is ludicrous and pushes political correctness to new bounds
I would have thought raising educational standards and teaching our children to read, write and add up is far more important than imposing questionable sexual standards on those too young to understand their equality czars.”

– Apparently Tory MP Richard Drax (full name: Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax) doesn’t think teaching children the importance of social acceptance is a reasonable idea. He seems to believe we either teach kids that homosexuality is not a great taboo, or we teach them how to read. Apparently we can’t have both. He then claimed he had meant that kids just wouldn’t understand teaching homosexual issues. Meanwhile, Tory Schools Minister Michael Gove said that our history class rooms should:

“celebrate the distinguished role of these islands in the history of the world, a beacon of liberty for others to emulate”.

– If that isn’t propaganda of the worst type, I’m not sure what is. I wonder if children will understand that?

Cameron’s morality machine 2011, is in full swing!


Tweeting Tottenham

August 7, 2011

What an eventful day. Whilst David Cameron is away, and George Osborne is on Holiday in California (coincidentally, the same week that the US credit rating is downgraded…. that’ll teach them, for letting him into the Country), from my tiny screen in an old miners cottage in Victoria, Australia, I have followed minute by minute coverage of the Tottenham riots. Twitter is a great tool. It has the power to both inform, and be woefully incorrect. The riots have been the top trend today. So I followed along on Twitter. More specifically, following the right winged reaction to the riots in Tottenham.

The causes remain unclear. All I know is that a man was shot and killed by police, which led to community outcry over the abuse of power by the Met. The Met is saying that their officer was shot at first, and fired back, shooting a gangster who was armed. In that case, I have no sympathy for the man. If you fire at the police, then don’t express shock when you’re fired on. It is hardly a case of police injustice and brutality, if the man had shot at police. That actually is about as much as anyone knows. Twitter is alive with people telling me about their “reliable witness“. As if i’m supposed to just accept the reliability of a supposed witness. If it is true that the guy shot first, the fact that he even carried a gun, suggests he wasn’t exactly an innocent victim of police brutality. The problem is though, many people claim he wasn’t armed and didn’t fire. Given the Met’s recent record, one can hardly trust their statements. I am not entirely sure who to believe, and think the adage of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to both the Met and the dead man on this one. No one knows the truth other than the police officer involved.

The riots seemed to start with a protest against police brutality, and just turned into a mass loot. The community of Tottenham this morning will be in ruins. The riot will have caused more pain to the innocent people of the city, than anyone else. It cannot particularly be defended.

The Right Winged outcry was the most outrageous of the comments sweeping Twitter, shortly followed by Sky News journalists begging the public for information, given their own apparent incompetence.
Here are some of my favourites:


– The opportunistic attacks on multiculturalism are a little unnerving. The situation in Tottenham is not a multicultural issue. Muslims are not fighting Christians on a daily basis across the Country. People live quite happily 99/9% of the time, side by side. Kids play with each other in schools regardless of cultural background. Multiculturalism has absolutely worked. On the whole, people live together in harmony. That is a testament to the brilliance of multiculturalism. I can sit discussing football with Sikh, Muslim and Jewish friends without it becoming a full scale riot.

The people tweeting comments like those above, tend to conveniently ignore the 99.9% of the time when absolutely nothing is happening in the way of destructive race relations, and focus on the 0.01%. The Tottenham riots, are not a part of that 0.01%.The used it as a chance to express their vicious Nationalistic ideology, their fascist bullshit. And when brought up on it, they say the following:

– I then asked this idiot to elaborate on the correlation between Marx’s Das Capital, and the Tottenham rioters. He responded with this:

So far, right winged tweeters have blamed black people, jewish people, Chinese people (One had wondered why a Chinese takeaway hadn’t been looted and thought it convenient), people on benefits, socialists, students and anyone with slightly darker skin. Amazing.

The entire thing could have been avoided, had someone shone the Bat Boris signal. Only Boris could have stopped the madness, from his Boris Bike.


The wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

A couple of nights ago, Twitter was alive with the news that Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies had stood up in the House of Commons and said this:

“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.

“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that, given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same, they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.

“My view is that for some people the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a help.

“If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.”

Philip Davies ideal England is one in which sweatshops, full of people with disabilities create cheap goods for the overly privileged Tory benches to feed from, whilst the sweatshop bosses drive up to the gates of Downing Street in their brand new Mercs, accompanied by a lovely big donation for the Tory Party.

Perhaps we could use the £161,300 in expenses he claimed rather dubiously in 2009, on top of his £65,000 a year salary, to pay people a better salary? On the subject of his expense claims, he claimed the most of all Bradford MPs, and claimed £10,000 more on his second home allowance than Bradford North MP Terry Rooney. I am not entirely sure how that’s warranted, or helps him does his job to a greater degree. Incidentally, claimed for more in second home allowances than my dad makes in a year. Unsurprisingly, he clings onto this gravy train by opposing much needed Parliamentary reform. The lobby for Parliamentary reform, Power 10 label Philip Davies as one of the six MPs who will happily block reform of Parliament. This isn’t surprising, given just how much he has financially benefited from the current corrupt nature of Parliament.

Nevertheless, there is an unnerving essence to a member of our national legislature, insinuating that a person’s worth should be based solely on their physical or mental capability, and then using defensive rhetoric, heartfelt sentiment, to sound as if he only wishes to help disabled people, rather than line the pockets of his Party’s donors, and make it easy for employers to exploit without worry. It is equally as unnerving for a politician to tacitly suggest that wage discrimination is not only acceptable, but entirely the fault of those who are being discriminated against. His words sound as if he is suggesting being disabled is a lifestyle choice, that requires a bit of a punishment. That punishment should apparently be an agreement to work for less money that one needs in order to live, along with the added expense that comes with certain disabilities.

It would be right to point out that those with disabilities, who Davies wants to be paid less, did not cause the financial problems we’re now in. Ironically, for Davies, it was the private sector’s excessive greed (of which he clearly has no problem in promoting) that caused the mess, through unproductive excess profit being used – not to pay people better even when it had accumulated enough to easily manage paying more – but on dodgy asset deals. The problem in 2007 wasn’t that there appeared to be a lack of capital caused by the need to pay disabled people, or anybody a national minimum wage, but by the fact that there was an abundance of concentrated excess capital that wasn’t being put to good and productive use. Wages were stagnating for the majority of people, whilst wages at the very top climbed higher and higher. That, is entirely the fault of the private sector. Is Davies saying that if we dropped the minimum wage, wages would flourish, failed Tory economics would be proven right, and disabled people would be working shorter hours, for a loyal boss, who paid wonderfully? Because I foresee a bunch of employers driving even bigger Porsche’s whilst their £2 an hour disabled employees can no longer afford adequate care. Davies certainly didn’t offer any added benefits that some disabled people may require due to being paid below minimum wage. Grants for specialised equipment? Incomes and the ability to pay for necessary care and equipment cannot always be planned for even on a week to week basis, for those suffering certain disabilities. To promote the idea of wage discrimination against those with disabilities, at the same time as cuts to Disability Living Allowance take hold

It is a minimum wage for a reason. Do we really believe employers wouldn’t use an “opt-out” for their own advantage? Wages at the top are already obscenely high in the private sector. In 2009, for example, the chief executive of the Anchor Trust, which provides home for the elderly, took home £391,000. Anchor Trust is a charity! Whilst donations are down and employees are facing redundancy it is ludicrous for a CEO of an organisation that so many people rely on, to take home almost £400,000 a year.

I continue to be of the opinion that if an employer cannot afford to pay somebody a decent enough wage to live on, he/she shouldn’t be running a business. They are a danger to the public. £5.89 is not a lot of money, and to suggest that the rest of us are entitled to at least that, whilst a disabled person is entitled to less, purely because of a natural affliction is sensationally regressive.

The far right narrative is the problem, not minimum wage legislation. Philip Davis is attempting to remove responsibility for fair pay away from the employer, and onto the employee. Citizens UK found that of the companies in London willing to sign up to paying their lowest paid members of staff a “National living wage” rather than a “National minimum wage”, of £8.30 an hour, they managed to lift 3500 families out of poverty in 2009. It didn’t have an adverse affect on prices, in the same way as the minimum wage introduction in the late 1990s didn’t have an adverse affect as many Tories claimed it would. Campaigners for a National Living Wage are screaming out at Tesco, who have failed to ensure their cleaning staff are paid a fair living wage, despite the company making £3.8bn profit last year. Employers do not, ever, take paying their staff a respectable wage seriously. Ever. Surely if they were made to pay more, of which they can definitely afford, the money would be divided among a workforce who would pay more tax, and use the added disposable income on goods and services from businesses across the Country, rather than wasting it on the very very small band of wealthy elites?

A study in America called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. I wonder if Philip Davis thinks black Americans should agree to work for less money than their white counterparts, purely because they are black? What about a black person with a disability? Back to slavery?

We should though, not be surprised by the ignorance that Philip Davis displayed. Here is an MP who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which state that it is unlawful to discriminate when selling goods or services, education or facilities based on sexuality. Davies therefore thinks it is acceptable for a school to expel a gay student. Or for a shop to ban a lesbian lady purely for her sexuality. He also voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. So, he wants more freedom for shop owners to ban people based on sexual orientation (individualism and all that Libertarian bollocks) yet that same individualism, he doesn’t extend to the most privileged of people passing that privilege onto their children, who may or may not have worked or produced anything worthwhile in their entire lives? Oh the hypocrisy.

In 2011 he even invented his own logic based on a lie, when it comes to making cigarette packaging plain:

“I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that.”

– The objection I have with the line “it would not have any basis in evidence” is that it does have basis in evidence. Cigarette companies spend millions on their packaging, and over the last couple of decades, they have used the idea of “light” packaging to sell products to people who believe smoking “light” fags, means less danger. A 2004 British Medical Journal research article found that:

The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (≤ 7 mg)

– So smoking a cigarette from a package that claims to be “ultra light” means nothing. But do people really believe “ultra light” means they are at less of a risk of developing lung cancer? Does the advertisement on the packaging work? If it does, then Davis is either a liar, or a massive idiot. Well, surprisingly……. he’s a liar or a massive idiot. A University of Toronto research paper, titled “‘Light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes: who smokes them? Are they being misled?” published in 2002 found that:

In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M (light and mild cigarettes) to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on cigarette packaging.

– The policy of plain packaging is absolutely based on evidence. It is time we started to ignore the “nanny state” hysterical screams from manic, misinformed, ignorant right wingers.

Not only that, but in 2006, after an act of vandalism was initially blamed on a group of Muslim men, Davies said:

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– It later turned out that the act of vandalism was caused by white men. Davies did not apologise, nor did he take the same tough far-right, BNP-esque line with the white vandals as he had done when he imagined the vandals were all muslim.

You might think the incessant stupidity stops there. You’d be wrong. In 2009 Davies asked:

“Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?

Maybe he would be happy for black people to take a pay cut after all.


Racism in America: Today

April 13, 2011

When the United States was beginning to form, there was a hierarchy of oppression that kept everyone subservient to someone above them. The King of England demanded goods from the Jamestown white elite who exploited and controlled the white frontiersman who, in order to appease the elite with money and land, slaughtered Indigenous people and brutalized African slaves. Many whites joined Indigenous and African rebellions. The white elite worked to stop this because they knew such an alliance would become too powerful and would succeed at overthrowing the control that the elite and the King had. So in order to separate the whites from everyone else, they started giving more privileges (land and better treatment) to the white servants. This worked. The working class whites effectively abandoned the movements for change and to this day these groups have problems working together.
– Howard Zinn, 1980.

46% of American Republicans in the State of Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. I will elaborate on and explain this later.

After my blog on the racism of Abraham Lincoln, I wondered whether race is still a divisive issue today as it has always been, in America. In the UK, race is still an issue, though it is far more subtle and much less noticeable, but it exists nonetheless. There isn’t this notion of white supremacy, nor do we have the history of the “founders” being slave owners or massive racial segregation up until very recently. We don’t have a KKK equivalent and we didn’t fight a civil war to protect the rights of States to own slaves. Race is certainly a problem in the UK though. We tend to become far more Nationalist during times of economic hardship and the need to blame immigrants or anyone who doesn’t happen to fit the narrow band of what it means to be “British” becomes an almost accepted narrative. Political parties push immigration reform to the top of their agendas, giving credit to such racial tension. Race is used as a divisive mechanism to subvert attention away from a failing class system.

Here in the UK, with talk of economic austerity, it was only a matter of time before the issue of race was introduced into the equation. We know that poorer areas like inner city Liverpool, Manchester, and Hackney are going to face the toughest council cuts. Low socio-economic areas are predominantly mixed race or black and Asian. So it was only a matter of time before David Cameron would bring race into the mix. He then suddenly made a speech against multiculturalism, in which he mentions the words “islam” and “muslim” 36 times, and “Christianity” once. Race is yet again being used as a divisive wedge.

Back to the USA, and the 19th Century, before the Civil War. It has long been argued by the rather hermetic Southern America that the Civil war was a war between the States (the South) and the big bad Federal Government (the North). Yes. The States rights to own and perpetuate slavery. The charge against a big bad Federal Government invading the lives of its citizens does not hold up when you look at the evidence, and is actually rather rudimentary.

The American lawyer and journalist William Walker, in 1854, after a failed attempt to set up a Republic of Sonora in Mexico, with the intention of it becoming a State of the Union; invaded Nicaragua for control of a vital trade route between New York and San Francisco. He succeeded in his efforts, and took control of Nicaragua, renaming it “Walkeragua” (seriously, i’m not making this up). In 1856, President Franklin Pierce, officially recognised Walker’s regime in Walkeragua as legitimate. His regime began to Americanise Walkeragua, by instating slavery, using American currency, and making English the official language. He advertised his new Country to American Southern businessmen by advertising the fact that his new quasi-State was pro-slavery and would remain so. By the time Walker revoked Nicaragua’s 1824 Emancipation Act, the rest of Latin America took note, and invaded. He fled and was bought back to the U.S where he was welcomed as a hero of the South. As “States rights” go, invading another sovereign nation and revoking its anti-slavery laws, is about as big and as bad as a Federal Government can get. He died before the Civil War kicked off, but the South referred to him throughout the Civil War as “General Walker“. The South did not just fight to preserve the institution of slavery, they wanted to expand it, on a grand scale, to the point where Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposed that the 36°30′ parallel north be a line that separates the northern free states, and the southern slave states, all the way down to the tip of South America. American racism has always been rife.

In 2011, membership of white supremacist organisations has increased tremendously. According the the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist organisations in the US, the number of members is up by 48% since 2000. Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement (the Nazi Movement) in America, who the FBI classify as terrorists, said:

“The immigration issue is the biggest problem we’re facing because it’s changing the face of our country. We see stuff in England and Spain like this. … They are turning those countries into a Third World ghetto.”

Well, I live in England, and he’s right!!! Here is the River Thames in Central London a few years back:

Here is the River Thames in Central London today:

Sad times.

The largest white supremacist group in America; Stormfront have a website with a forum, which includes systematic attacks on white jewish people. They appear to use “Jew” as a term of race. White, black, Jew. On a discussion about the economic crises, a member called “Crowstorm” whose nationality he has set as “Jewnited States of America” says this:

The problem is, Jews look White so when people see a Jew do evil, they don’t say “look at the evil Jew”… no, they say “look at that evil White man.

– It is an odd statement to make for a variety of reasons. First, a Jewish person is not the colour “Jewish“. It isn’t white, black, jew. If he’s a white man and Jewish, then he’s a white Jew. Jewish is not a race. But not just that, but race itself is not biological. It doesn’t exist. It is a fantasy. An abstraction. Like Nationality and Religion. All man made abstractions, meaningless nothingness used to create tension between low socio-economic groups to ensure disunity. If poor white people are blaming poor black people for all the trouble in New Orleans after Katrina hit, then their attention is on each other, and not on the very rich folk in Washington (both white and black) who washed their hands of the plight of anyone who isn’t a very wealthy lobbyist decades ago. And lastly, no one says “look at the evil white man”, because for the vast majority of people, race isn’t an issue; if you’re evil, I don’t care what colour you are.

Another quite extraordinary post on Stormfront was from a school teacher who taught apparently in black schools. Here are some of the quotes from it:

I was away about two minutes but when I got back, the black girls had lined up at the front of the classroom and were convulsing to the delight of the boys.

Many black people, especially women, are enormously fat.

Blacks, on average, are the most directly critical people I have ever met: “Dat shirt stupid. Yo’ kid a bastard. Yo’ lips big.” Unlike whites, who tread gingerly around the subject of race, they can be brutally to the point.

When a black wants to ask, “Where is the bathroom?” he may actually say “Whar da badroom be?”

Many black girls are perfectly happy to be welfare queens.

There is something else that is striking about blacks. They seem to have no sense of romance, of falling in love.

Pregnancy was common among the blacks, though many black girls were so fat I could not tell the difference.

My white students came back with generally “conservative” ideas. “We need to cut off people who don’t work,” was the most common suggestion. Nearly every black gave a variation on the theme of “We need more government services.” One black girl was exhorting the class on the need for more social services and I kept trying to explain that people, real live people, are taxed for the money to pay for those services. “Yeah, it come from whites,” she finally said. “They stingy anyway.”

It is impossible to get them to care about such abstractions as property rights or democratic citizenship.

– The “teacher” goes on to say he doesn’t understand why his black students think he his a racist. Surely it isn’t racist to think that black students are inherently lazy, fat, illiterate, racist, anti-democratic, communist sluts who just don’t understand why being indoctrinated in Conservative ideology is a wonderful learning experience and are incapable of love?

The days of burning crosses and wearing silly costumes are over. White supremacists tend now to fight their cause with mainstream language like “We just want to protect our children and live in a safe environment“, the language is manipulative because they are simply masking the fact that they blame anyone with slightly darken skin for why their neighborhood isn’t safe.

A study by the American economic review between July 2001 and May 2002 entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant.

Institutional racism is particularly subtle, and so less noticeable. If you are black, you are three times more likely to be pulled over in your car and searched for drugs than if you’re white, despite the fact that if you’re white, on the few occasions when you are pulled over you are four times more likely to have drugs on you. If you are white and you drive past the police without them pulling you over, you are experiencing the privilege of being white. The war on drugs then, is not a war on drugs, if it were, those statistics would be a hell of a lot different. The war on drugs would go where the drugs actually are, not where the people with dark skin are. It is a racist institution.

Christopher Columbus is hailed as the founder of America. He has a day named after him. It is not taught in any history class at American schools the true horror that started the day that Columbus found an island in the Lucayan Archipelago in the Bahamas that he named San Salvador, though it was actually already named, by the population who lived there, as Guanahani. Within years, Spanish adventurers had captured thousands of the native Taino population, enslaved them, and took their women captive as wives/sex slaves. The Spanish had utterly devastated the Taino population by the turn of the 16th Century. Epidemic disease brought by the Europeans was bad enough, but the Spanish settlers placed too much strain on local crop farmers, and the survival of the Spanish was considered more important than the survival of the Taino’s and so the food naturally ended up in the hands of the Spanish. Columbus when he landed, wrote of the natives:

“We can send from here, in the name of the Holy Trinity, all the slaves and Brazil wood which could be sold.”

– We know what he had planned. Nicolas Ovando, the governor of the Indies from 1501 to 1509, decided he needed to ensure the Taino’s knew their place once and for all. He did this by inviting the much loved Taino queen Anacoana and local tribal chiefs to a dinner to celebrate his governorship. When they were all in the room, the Spaniards set it on fire, killing most of those inside. The ones who got out, were tortured for days on end and then killed. Queen Anacoana was tortured and hung. By 1510, the Taino’s were virtually extinct.

To be honest, there really isn’t much you can celebrate about Columbus. Apart from bringing with him the biggest genocide in history, he was a rather simple man. He believed Cuba was in Asia, that he hadn’t discovered a new land, that the entire continent of South America was an Island, and to pay his debt to the Spanish crown he raped his way across Central America taking as many as 1200 women and children slaves for Europe; children who had, without a second thought, been stripped away from their families. But don’t take my word for, take it from the man himself:

“We shall take you and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault .”

I cannot think of a worse man to idolise.

Back to the present day, as if Stormfront and institutional racism and selective history aren’t enough to convince a person that racism is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, certain lovely little advertisements have deep racist connotations, still.

Aunt Jemima, a trademark for breakfast food owned by Quaker Oats is still going today. Aunt Jemima represents the notion of a good little black ex-slave girl who just loves her servile role as servant to a white middle class consumer.

Equally as subtle, is Uncle Ben’s rice. It would be ridiculous for a company now, to have as its fictional spokesperson, a black man using the name “Uncle” which was a term used by the children of white slave owners to refer to their slaves. If a newly formed rice company were to say “Well, you know that we white people used to ship Africans in to farm our rice fields, as slaves? Well why don’t we make our spokesmen black?” they would be lambasted as a hugely racist company. But Uncle Ben is a tradition, and so it appears acceptable, though the stereotype behind it perpetuates the racist sentiments it subtly encourages. This kind of subtle cultural racism has not gone unnoticed. In an episode of the Sopranos (the greatest show on TV) Tony warns a black guy away from his daughter. Tony then has an anxiety attack when he sees a packet of Uncle Ben’s.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh North Carolina, found that 46% of Republican voters in Mississippi think interracial marriage should be illegal. 14% said they weren’t sure. I cannot comprehend that number. It does indeed show that race is an issue, and especially with Republican voters. There is still the essence that the white race is superior and should be protected. This sentiment has found its outlet with the Tea Party movement of recent months. Whilst Glenn Beck spews his bullshit, insisting on top rated “news” channel that Obama has a deep seated hatred for the white race, his equally as vacant and mind numbingly moronic viewers stalk the streets with signs like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Now I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that the Tea Party is an inherently racist organisation, it is mainly a vehicle to promote the incoherent ramblings of an uneducated economically far right puritanical Republican group wholly run by Corporate America to advance its interest at the behest of even the idiots who indirectly fight for the rights of Corporate America, now slowly morphed to include racism as part of their base.

It is sad to see notion of race being such an issue in 21st Century America. One would have hoped that the social wedge of racism, placed to draw attention away from class and a deeply unequal wealth system would have crumbled away, or intellectually and politically dismembered for the disease that it is. Race is not real. Class is.


Racism in America: Lincoln

March 2, 2011

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 brought with it the utopic notion that racism in the United States of America was over. I certainly do not the doubt the momentous appointment of an African American man to the office of President of a country that was built on racial genocide and slavery. A country that less than a century ago, during the life time of my grandparents, did not allow a white child to attend the same school as a black child simply on the basis of race. The elevation of a black man to the highest office in American politics is symbolically another step on the road to tackling the evils of racism.

This blog isn’t meant as an analysis of Obama. He is essentially part of an establishment that favours financial institutions, oil companies and private health insurers above the lives of the less wealthy, and panders to the apparently widespread American belief that the very wealthy deserve massive tax cuts at the behest of the most vulnerable. He is no different in that respect regardless of his skin colour.

I wanted instead to focus on the beliefs of America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, and his complex and often contradictory approach to slavery. Like Jefferson before him, it is almost impossible to figure out where Lincoln stood on the issue, and conflicting books are widespread. Lincoln’s party politics and his true beliefs seem to be confused much of the time, and yet history tends to stick entirely to his party politics regardless of the motives. I wanted to explore those motives more in depth.

Yesterday I went along to see an hour long lecture by Professor Richard Carwardin, the President of Corpus Christi College Oxford and winner of the Lincoln Prize for his book “Lincoln: A life of purpose and power“, a favourite of George W.Bush. Obviously there is a very limited and narrow version of Lincoln’s life one can present in just an hour, but Carwardin alluded to Lincoln as a great emancipator, as if he had been way a head of his time and the progressive champion for the freedom of black slaves, willing to fight a war for its eradication.
I would argue differently.

Lincoln wasn’t happy with the fact that slavery had become an issue by the time he took office. Lincoln told the esteemed journalist Henry Villard;

“I will be damned if I don’t feel almost sorry for being elected when the niggers is the first thing I have to attend to.”

Lincoln was not prepared to go to war for the abolition of slavery in itself. He had agreed to back an amendment to the Constitution, penned by the Representative from Ohio, Thomas Corwin, that would have made it Unconstitutional for Congress to amend rules or abolish slavery. Lincoln backed it.
The Corwin amendment read:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State

In his inaugural address, Lincoln referenced the proposed amendment, stating:

“Holding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

Interestingly, the amendment passed Congress by the two-thirds majority needed, but was never fully ratified in the State legislatures, and is still up for ratification, as it was never thrown out. If it had been fully ratified, one must wonder just how different the U.S would look today. The fact remains though that up until the outbreak of Civil War, Abraham Lincoln supported a Constitutional Amendment rendering it impossible to abolish the institution of slavery.

The worry from the Republican Party of the Lincoln years, was not so much the moral implications of ethical dilemma of the owning of slave labour, but the economic problems it creates. They worried that slave labour merely worked to undermine wages of the poor white working classes, and just created a new dominant class known as “Slave Power”. They worried that the Slave owning classes in the South were just violent and expansionist people with a goal of Empire. This paranoia wasn’t without merit, but it was borne out of the relatively new Nation’s deep suspicion of Empire and too much power. Lincoln charged that the Southern Democrats and slave owning classes were out to take over Cuba and the war on Mexico seemed to confirm those suspicions. The Civil War Confederate cry of “States rights!!” was simply the right for the very wealthy land owners in the South to keep and abuse people with darker skin, and the right to centralise power within very few hands. Only the free States were fighting for States rights.

Lincoln’s famous signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. It is doubtful whether the proclamation actually freed any slaves whatsoever. Depending on your source, it was either the greatest achievement of the short Presidency of Lincoln, or it was useless. No one really knows. One thing is for sure, Lincoln signed the proclamation as a further attack on the South (rightfully so). In September 1862, he demanded they return to the Union or he would free their slaves. Not “and i’ll free your slave“. It’s an ultimatum. If you rejoin the USA, you get to keep your slaves… if you don’t, we’re freeing them. He is more concerned here with preserving the Union – an abstract concept – than ending slavery. The Proclamation not only didn’t free slaves in the Confederacy, it didn’t free slaves in the slave holding States in the Union – Kentucky and Maryland.

The Proclamation looked good for Lincoln, as it put real pressure on the Confederacy. France and Britain were very anti-slavery, and he needed support and recognition of the legitimacy of the USA in a war that at the time, no one knew which way it might go. With the support of France and Britain, and so legitimacy, it helped Lincolns case. It was similar in a way, to how old European powers gained legitimacy. When Henry Tudor took the Kingship away from Richard III, he was a nobody on the European stage and England was at civil war, much like America. Tudor needed an air of legitimacy, so he married Elizabeth of York; she happened to be the niece of Richard, and daughter of King Edward IV. This was the legitimacy Henry required, and won. He rather secured himself, by marrying his son – Arthur – off to the daughter – Catherine of Aragon – of the most powerful family in Europe; the King and Queen of Spain. The marriages and alliances were all about protecting himself, and securing his throne, not about love nor about the wellbeing of his Kingdom. Lincoln signed the Emancipation declaration, to protect his Throne by winning the support of the English and the French. Up until the Proclamation was signed, it seemed Britain was on the side of the Confederacy, having been involved in the provision of the British made warships the CSS Alabama and the CSS Florida.

Lincoln knew the Proclamation, which freed black slaves in Confederate States that fell to the Union forces, would compel black slaves and freed slaves to help the Union armies. He stressed in a letter to his friend James C. Conkling:

“I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do, in saving the Union.”

The freedom of the slaves with the passing of the 13th Amendment was a tiny ripple in the water. Saying to a group of people who have had no access to education, to family ties, to survival, to anything other than a system that treated them as less than human for so long, that they are now “free”, is worthless. It is not freedom. It would take another 100 years before the real reforms were introduced. Lincoln was not a head of his time. The abolitionists were calling for equality, not just the ending of slavery. Economically, black Americans would be held down for more than a century in place of White privilege. Lincoln may have given them freedom, but he certainly did not give them anything anywhere near equality, and he knew it.

Even the banning of slavery expanding into new territories was a rather obscure policy that was not designed for the sake of the wellbeing of black Americans, rather it was an attempt to keep black people from being shipped to America full stop. It was a white supremacist policy that today would be deplored as vicious and racist. Lincoln, when talking about the banning of slavery expanding to new territories stated that he did not want the United States:

…….to become an asylum for slavery and niggers

The expansion into the West was an opportunity to spread the white race for Lincoln, who had no desire to see black people live there, stating in 1858 in Illinois, that:

in favor of our new territories being in such a condition that white men may find a home … as an outlet for free white people everywhere, the world over.

Lincoln was therefore using race as an unnecessary social divide. Race had only really became an issue, during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Up until then, nobody really cared what race you were. White slaves existed in the Colonies way before black slaves. The worry was that they would join hands and rise up, so race was used to divide them. Tell a poor white slave that he is more important in God’s eyes than a poor black slave, and suddenly there is no chance they will rise up together and overthrow the economic powers that hold them both down.

In 1853, Lincoln backed the Illinois State law that banned freed black people from moving to Illinois. They weren’t so free afterall. Lincoln it seems, was obsessed with the division of black and white, and even Mexicans, whom he referred to, out of the blue, for no reason, as:

“most decidedly a race of mongrels. I understand that there is not more than one person there out of eight who is pure white.”

He was a power obsessed, white supremacist.

The great emancipators in the Congress and the abolitionist leaders who pressured and pressured for Lincoln to keep to his line on abolition. Thaddeus Stevens, in the House of Representatives, and Chairman of the Ways and Means committee was a committed Abolitionist. This man was ahead of his time. He helped runaway slaves escape to Canada. He protected the rights of Jewish and Chinese Americans and he defended the rights of Native Americans. Stevens was a hero of the Civil War era and should be remembered as such, far above Lincoln. But one man stood out as great, even beyond that of Thaddeus Stevens, and that man was Charles Sumner, the Senator from Massachusetts.

Charles Sumner absolutely hated the institution of slavery. As did his father before him. He argued that freeing the slaves would achieve nothing, unless it was accompanied by a raft of legislation promoting equal rights both politically and economically. This was 100 years before equal rights began to take shape. He is responsible for one of my favourite quotes from history, that I tend to live by when shaping my political thoughts:

“The Utopias of one age have been the realities of the next.”

Sumner argued in a court case, that segregation was an abomination. The year was 1848. The case was Roberts VS Boston. It lead to the ban on segregation on the basis of race in all public schools in Massachusetts. It was over 100 years before the rest of the country would catch up.

Sumner’s extraordinary career taught me that it is okay to think radically, even if the rest of your contemporaries think that you are an idealist living in a dream land. The contemporary Senators did not like Sumner for his radical ideas on racial integration and equality, one Senator suggested that Sumner was unimportant and should be ignored:

“The ravings of a maniac may sometimes be dangerous, but the barking of a puppy never did any harm.”

It is a myth that Lincoln was a great emancipator and forward thinker and it is a great injustice that men like Charles Sumner go unrecognised and ignored by history.
Sumner’s face should be on Mount Rushmore. Not Lincoln’s.

Anyway, as Sumner argued, The Proclamation was meaningless, the 13th Amendment was the result of much pressure put on the administration. Lincoln himself once remarked quite tellingly:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

He stresses exactly why he felt compelled to free the slaves. It was not on grounds of compassion or freedom or respect for the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, far from it, he did it for the sake of his own power:

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”

Abraham Lincoln was not a great emancipator. Nor was he one of the great forward thinking abolitionists of the time. He was a racist and a white supremacist who put his own position and power above that of the rights of a group of people who had different coloured skin. It is quite extraordinary that history teaches us that President Lincoln was one of the great Presidents who ended the horrific institution of slavery. The reality is far more ambiguous. It is much like the celebrating of Columbus day as a great day in American history, when in fact it simply marked the beginnings of a mass genocide. History should be taught with equal weight to both interpretations, if the subject is as ambiguous as that of President Lincoln and the question of slavery.


O’Reilly proves the existence of God.

February 2, 2011

I quite liked this video.
It is disturbing to my sense of rationality, that Bill O’Reilly is one of the most watched men in America. In this video, he proves the existence of God (in the illogical world of Christian America, if nowhere else) by saying the the tide goes in and out.
Just incase the American Right decide my EVIL SOCIALIST ATHEIST agenda is misleading, O’Reilly actually said:

“I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

It is been quite some years now, since humanity first discovered why the tide goes in and out. We are pretty certain that it isn’t because of a God in a cloud somewhere using a big sea magnet. I am sure I learnt in very early school, that the tide is controlled by the Moon’s orbit.

Bill then goes on the defensive:

You’re calling me a moron.

Yup.
That’d be pretty accurate.
Sadly, I’m sure there are a number of American Christians who sat up during this, and said…
“YAR! That there is one heck of a good case for Jesus, yes sir! He was all like, what about the tides going out and shit, now i’m no racist but that nigra couldn’t god-damn answer him. Fucking Atheists tryna turn my Kids into an-tie Christian, an-tie- Amerkan pro-gay commies”

Perhaps O’Reilly was suggesting that the moon is ideally placed to create a tide. I doubt he was suggesting that, because, that’s not what he actually said. But for arguments sake, let’s say he was suggesting the ideally placed moon. It is only ideally placed, because we exist. There is no design or reason behind it. It is just there. It isn’t “perfectly placed” because we invented the concept of something being perfectly placed, purely because we’re here. It is rather vain of us to decide that the chaotic universe, and the size and scale of it, exists, purely for us. There is no reason, or logic, or cause, or meaning. It stands to reason that if a Moon is at a certain location, and the planet is at a certain location relative to its star, and conditions for life exist, then life will pop into existence. It is just how it is. It does not mean it was designed that way at all.

By measuring the total mass of stars and luminosity in our galaxy alone, there are estimated to be 100 billion stars, plus another estimated 200 million Galaxies. A star is like the Sun, so for every 100 billion stars, let’s say there are roughly 5-10 planets around each one. That would produce around 500 billion planets in our Galaxy alone. Is it not reasonable to suggest that one of those 500 billion might have a Moon placed in a position that has an affect on the liquid of its planet?

How arrogant one must be, to suggest that this was all created for us.

That being said, conditions on Earth are not perfect for human existence. They are adequate to say the very least. We have natural resources that are running out, not enough food to feed the World and billions of people live in abject poverty for their entire lives, on very inhospitable land. A cyclone is currently tearing its way through Queensland in Australia, only a few weeks after Queensland suffered severe flooding on a scale unknown to locals. If the Earth is the creation of God, for the intention of housing man, then God is a little bit incompetent.

We are an insignificant, tiny race of apes, in an unimportant dot on the map of the universe. There is no grand design for this tiny little dot.
Probability is irrelevant. We are surrounded by absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Saying “yeah, but you can’t disprove the existence of God” is meaningless. If I see a dog, I shouldn’t be expected to accept the possibility that it might be a monkey. Similarly, I have all the evidence for Natural selection, I shouldn’t be expected, when faced with such a plethora of evidence, to say “yeah, but it might be a God.”

Now, O’Reilly then uses a classic logical fallacy. If person X cannot prove their position, then person Y must be right in theirs. O’Reilly suggests that because Silverman was too stunned by O’Reilly’s intense stupidity that he didn’t answer him in the millisecond that O’Reilly allows his guests to actually speak, that he must therefore not be able to answer, and so he presumes he is correct.

O’Reilly then goes on to complain that by saying Religion is a scam and a myth (which it is), American Atheists are insulting Americans. This comes about two minutes before he calls Silverman a “loon“.

O’Reilly would insist he insults no one (except every week, when he refers to someone new, whom he disagrees with, but doesn’t give them the opportunity to argue their case, as a pinhead). Fox News spent most of 2008 attacking President Obama because Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address. The title of the piece just after the President’s speech was “Obama reaches out: addresses Muslims and Atheists in speech“. As if we’re the “other“. As if we, along with the Muslim community are a problem that needs to be addressed. The Fox host (I don’t know his name, but he looks about 12), said:

“It surprised me when I heard it, it made me do a double take.”

Why? Because some people aren’t all absolutely mad Christian Right Wingers? Mike Huckabee on that same show, said that Obama had acknowledged that some people don’t believe in anything….. “but themselves”. So, if I don’t believe in the Christian God, I must be a bit of a narcissist and nothing more. Am I unable to believe in beauty? Do Christians have a monopoly on beauty? When I see something beautiful, must I thank Christians for giving me that sense? Am I unable to believe in love? Must I thank Fox News for how I feel about Ashlee? Without Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, would I just be raping and murdering my way through life? Fox went on to ask if it was offensive to include a reference to Atheists in the speech. As if we’re non-human. We shouldn’t be recognised. But if we dare question religion……. we’re the ones being offensive. The mad World of Fox News.

Here is O’Reilly again, being insulting toward Atheism. Mocking it. Not logically, with well thought out, reasoned Philosophy; just the ramblings of a mad old hillbilly Christian, who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, and is just appealing to his very low-IQ’d viewers. Here, he refers to a sign that was shown by Atheists at Christmas, and says “No God, No Problem; be good for goodness sake” (which is a fantastic and optimistic and not in any way offensive at all; sign) a “dopey sign“. He then says:

“What is it about Christmas they don’t like”.

What a ridiculous question. Atheists aren’t attacking Christmas. We still celebrate Christmas. We don’t celebrate it for the birth of Jesus. I’m convinced he didn’t actually exist. We celebrate it, because it is a time when all our friends and family have time off work at the same time, we share gifts, we have a family meal, and we create memories and stories for our children. It is a small break from a very rushed life. We absolutely love Christmas. O’Reilly is trying to spread fear and hate. O’Reilly then, quite brilliantly says:

“Why do they loathe the Baby Jesus”.

As if we’re all sitting around, throwing darts at a printed picture of the baby Jesus. We get angry when we see the baby Jesus. Some of us can’t control that anger, and we actually vomit.

He then ponders how Atheists sell Atheism by “running down a baby, it’s just a baby”. That’s not what any Atheist has ever done, in the history of the Catholic Church allowing Atheists to exist without being executed for it. Nor is it what the poster is actually saying, or even alludes to. I’m not sure how more manipulative one massive twat could actually be.

Some equally as vacant Fox presenter tells O’Reilly that the sign is a:

“direct and deliberate smear against Christianity”.

In other words, anything that remotely questions a socially prevailing belief system, must be an attack on it. Atheists should all keep quiet, we shouldn’t question, we shouldn’t be allowed to present an alternative. We should accept that homosexuality is a disgrace because the Bible says so, we should accept that abortion doctors deserve to be shot, we should accept that the Pope shouldn’t be brought to trial for covering up child sex abuse, we should just accept that schools in America teach Christianity as fact and evolution as theory, and just ignore it, because the Christians’ point of view is far more valid and reasonable, simply because it is based entirely on tradition; another logical fallacy.

She goes on to say:

“What comes with Christianity are traditional values”

Really? Is that so? And what are those traditional values? Burning witches? Beheading perceived “heretics”? Hanging gay people? Fucking children? For every positive value one can loosely ascribe to Christianity, it is equally as easy to ascribe a pretty direct link between Christianity and shameful violence and corruption.

O’Reilly ends the piece by suggesting that Atheists are just jealous because we have nothing, that Christians have Christmas, and we don’t. He asks “what do they have?” and concludes “nothing”. We have wonderment. We have the understanding that nature is so beautiful and creative itself, without the need for a cruel and angry dictator in the sky. We see the stars and stare in awe at how inspiring it all is. We see a slug and admire how this ugly looking thing is so beautiful because it is as evolved as we are. We have Darwin (Not even the baby Jesus is as great as Darwin). But most importantly, we have fact. To quote the brilliant Douglas Adams:

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

I do not accept what Silverman is saying in the first video. He says that he believes people in America only go to Church because their is a social pressure to announce your belief in Christianity, but most people don’t believe it. I’d say that may be true to an extent, but for the sake of O’Reilly thinking Silverman is being insulting, I can go one better and say that those people actually go to Church because they are brainwashed and deluded; uneducated and illogical; unthinking and weak minded.

If O’Reilly thinks Silverman is insulting toward Christianity….. he obviously hasn’t read my blog.


A Social Retardation

September 5, 2010

In Melbourne, Ash bought me a beautiful leather covered notebook with such thick and elegant pages, and an amazing fountain pen. In it, I will be writing any simple thoughts or observations I have; a sort of book of my own social commentary, in the hope that it’ll require me to try to understand the World I live in, a little better and develop my own way of perceiving certain situations that may arise. I then intend to expand on my thoughts, in blog entries on here. Today, I wrote a few lines in it, in my rather unique yet inapt handwriting, about how annoyed I am with what I have heard from a few English people since being back in the UK. The picture above shows my first page.

I have been back in the UK now for four days and already I’m starting to dislike many of the people who inhabit this otherwise beautiful island. I have heard the word ‘paki’ used to describe anyone with a slightly darker skin complexion, three times already.

The word ‘paki’ offends me. I am not Pakistani nor do I have a dark skin complexion, so it isn’t that which offends me. It is the level of profound ignorance required to imagine that using such a derogatory term, is a sensible idea. I have faith in humanity, but when such archaic bullshit is uttered, my faith in humanity takes a knock back, and that offends me. I am embarrassed to be part of a species that can be so flippantly abusive and illogical. It has no merit, there is no intelligent argument, it isn’t making a point or arguing a case, it is simply racist ignorance and for a society that is no longer living in the dark ages, and for a society that more often than not, refers to itself, quite comically, as ‘civilised’ the term ‘paki’ runs so contrary to that, it only proves to me that humanity is still at a plainly uncivilised stage of development, almost a nascent stage of evolution, still needing to grow up before certain social ills can ever be addressed. Quite paradoxically, children in a nascent stage of human development do not have these negative stereotypical preconceptions clouding their World view. They will pay cars with anyone, regardless of Nationality and skin colour. Children are at a progressive stage of social interaction, far beyond that of their parents and the adults who run their World. They are then taught quite severe regression when it comes to social interaction between cultures and Nations. They are taught superiority and exclusion. For humanity to progress to the next stage of social evolution, this has to change.

These prejudices run so deep, and provoke such anger, that they actually produce nothing of value, and only add to the misery from which they came. They are pointless. They are easy to use, when the alternative requires deeper thought and inquiry. They are the reason I wish to become a teacher, to try to infuse into the minds of the young, that they do not need to follow the path left by the older generations, and that the only way humanity can progress in their hands, is through thought and cooperation and throwing away the silly and worthless prejudices of the past, and move forward a decent way. I want to teach kids to think for themselves, and to question absolutely everything.

Those who use the term, are racist. It is doubtless that many use the term, and think it’s okay. They are ignorant to the fact that by using such terms, the meaning behind it aimlessly finds it way to the next generation of very suggestible idiots. And so the cycle of hate, distrust and suspicion continues. It would appear self evident, that the word ‘Paki’, which implies a sense of superiority of ones own culture, Nation and heritage, is a product of a 17th Century social construct known as Nation States and with it, the lugubriously abstract concept of Nationalism. It doesn’t really exist. Humanity created it. ‘Paki’ and ‘Brit’ and ‘Spanish’ and ‘Chinese’ don’t really exist. We created the concepts. There is no biological basis for defining someone by a Nationality. It is senseless. The only thing that most certainly is a biological actuality, is that we are all human, and nothing else. Not a religion, not a Nationality, and not a Race. Defining people solely on the basis of their apparent National heritage is what I consider to be a social retardation, but so strong a social retardation, that it also acts as a barrier to progress. A barrier, whose only by-product is an inevitable mix of anger, hate, oppression, superiority complexes, and inter-generational ignorance.

The negative connotations around the word ‘Paki’ wrongly educates our children to associate negativity with a particular group of people based solely on their skin colour (I wont say it is based on Nationality, because the word ‘Paki’ isn’t necessarily used to describe those born in Pakistan; it is used by the ignorant to describe anyone who looks slightly Middle Eastern or North African). Some will argue that they are simply using a term of Nationality, much like calling me a ‘Brit’. It is weak minded and a rather nonsensical and fatuous argument. The term ‘Brit’ or ‘Spanish’ or ‘American’ is used almost exclusively as a term of National identity, whilst ‘Paki’ is used entirely exclusively as a term of abuse. It has no positive connotations. It is not used as a term of endearment. It is used to express hate. And so the different motives around how the words ‘Brit’ and ‘Paki’ are used suggest that they are in no way similar.

It offends me that people can be so feckless, and weak. It offends me that a species that has so much potential and has already achieved a great deal in its short history, can stoop so low. It offends me that a social retardation, like rain water in a broken pipe, can not be contained, and will merely leak down onto the next generation and continue the cycle uninterrupted. Society, is in no way ‘civilised’.


THEY BAND ENGERLUND SHIRTS N STUFF!

May 23, 2010

There are a ridiculous amount of Facebook groups (such as this one) and pages dedicated to telling me that the police have banned people from wearing England shirts, and flying England flags, incase it offends foreigners. An example, of one of the comments in that group, shows just how perfectly English and proud of their culture, history, and especially their language, they truly are:
“England till i die… And know 1 will tell me what to do with my flags or tops to wear, fuck the pakiz!!! Dont try and take over OUR country OK.”

“know 1” will tell him what to do with his flag!!! Know 1!!!!

It is obviously bullshit.

Every year, people tend to shout, pathetically; “OMG THE MUSZLIMISTS R TRYNA BAN CHRISTMAS CUS ITZ OFFENCIVESE N STUFF!!!11”. It is rubbish. It always amazes me that the majority of people in those facebook groups who claim to be “standing up for England“, manage to quite effortlessly rape the entire language. Or, of course they claim St Georges day is being banned, because it might offend people who are either gay, muslim, black, or anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow vision of what makes one “English” (which apparently, is simply limited to being racist, angry, ignorant and supremely illiterate). For example, I have decided for the next ten seconds, I will embrace what it means to be English, as perceived by a very select few idiots:
“DER WEL BAD!!!!11 TRYNA BAN ENGERLUND FLAGS N TAKE OUR WOMAN N DEY DONT EVAN TALK ENGLUSH ON DA FONE OR ANYFING. WERE GUNNA LOOSE SHACKESPERE TO DA MUZZIES!!!!11”
Sadly, ignorance is pretty damn easy. I might get used to it. Let me just let off some steam first.

No one, anywhere, has ever told you that being proud of England, is racist. Never. What I will tell you is, if you claim you’re proud of England because it’s for white people who aren’t muslim, then yes, you’re a racist. I find it ridiculous that people try to define what it means to be an abstract concept. I find it even more ridiculous that people will join groups like the EDL, thinking they are defending their weak and rather ugly version of what it means to be English. I didn’t realise it was “English” to join violent racist groups of hooligans, who threaten Journalists for printing negative columns about them. What amazes me, is that EDL and BNP supporters, can actually read.
The NUJ recently showed that a few journalists received death threats from the EDL. The police are currently investigating it.
One of the EDL’s chief strategists is a man called Alan Lake. He advises the Sweden Democrats on immigration policy. His immigration policy isn’t simply “extremists are evil”, it’s “anyone who isn’t like us, is evil”. Much like the EDL, who claim to be anti-extremist, yet will sit protesting outside mosques, that have no connection to extremism whatsoever. It’s just a group that people can say “LOOK! A SIKH JOINED!!! THAT MEANS WE’RE NOT RACIST!!!”
I don’t particularly care if they suddenly become non-violent (which is impossible, far-right organisations have a bit of a history of violence). They are still vicious, nasty little shits.
It is one of those groups, that appeal to the stupid, by using “clever” language to manipulate political and social discourse, make people feel they are a part of something, and to sustain itself, there must be an “other” an enemy, who they can direct their hate at. Muslim extremists, Christian extremists, and now Nationalist extremists are doing the same thing. And if people fall for it, so be it. I’m proud that i’m not as idiotic as them.

I also notice the BNP put up some wondrous candidates for MP and council elections this year.
Ken Booth, who referred to Auschwitz as a holiday camp for people, much like Disneyland.
Lynne Mozar, who when confronted by someone who simply questioned her economic policy, replied “fat slag”
Mathew Tait, who said that the the Equality and Human Rights Commission court case had forced the BNP to accept “people who we would wish to not have in our country really to be members of our party”. Damn them, for making you accept black people.
Mike Shore, who left the National Front in 2003, to start up a British version of the Ku Klux Klan.
Richard Hamilton, the BNP said they’d suspended him because he is a known Hitler supporter, who hates “niggers“. Apparently they didn’t suspend him for long.
Chris Beverley, refused to condemn Hitler, and said he doesn’t dislike him.
Ian Meller, fined £400 after being caught with a chair leg, threatening a gay guy, simply for being gay.
Barry Bennett, who said recently “I believe in National Socialism, WW2 style, it was best, no other power had anything like it,” ‘he wrote. “The ideology was fantastic. The culture, nothing like it. If it was here now, I’d defect to Germany.
Tess Culnane, was National Front candidate until 2008.
Jeffrey Marshall, when asked about David Cameron’s son who died, said “We live in a country today which is unhealthily dominated by an excess of sentimentality towards the weak and unproductive. No good will come of it.”

The Nation State is very much a part of this whole Nationalist debate, something that goes back over four hundred years.

The Nation State came around about 16/17th Century. It actually evolved through Protestantism. As Henry VIII started to question the legitimacy of the Pope, the Parliament of the day granted full power over the Nation of England, to the King. Something that hadn’t ever been done before. Thomas Cromwell was the key to it all. It was his legislation. He also completely reformed the way politics was conducted, by introducing a sort of bureaucracy and departmental governing and National institutions, which had never been done before. Protestantism was the basis for an emerging Nation State. To build that Nation State among the minds of the Kings subjects, required building a sense of National unity. Which was odd, given that Kings and Queens of Europe were marrying and producing children who were half English, half Spanish. Or Half French, half Italian, and so on. It was also odd, given that whilst the King and the Nobles still lived in luxury, the majority of the people, including the army, lived shit lives of squalor. The King and Court didn’t seem to give much of a shit about their people for most of the time. The problem was, that most people felt a sense of connection with the rest of Europe, due to their Catholic roots. They felt a strong bond with the Papacy. That now needed to change. The King and Court needed to direct that sense of loyalty away from the Pope, and toward the Crown. But the King is simply someone who lives and then dies. So basing a sense of loyalty on something far greater was needed. The State was born. The idea of England as a unified set of principles, was born. The King had to use a psychological weapon of some sort to persuade the people, that when they go to war, they are going to war for the good of England. What difference would it make, who was in control of England? Whether it be a French King, a Scottish King, a Spanish King, or an English King? They were all the same, with the same system. They were merely using the lower classes, to protect themselves and their wealth and status. And so with the onset of Protestantism (which wasn’t down to any religious reason, and was entirely down to a King and his council getting a little too power hungry), the government of the day, now had a complete say over the way their Country was run. Europe was governed by the Papacy in Rome before that. Even England, up until 1534 was pretty much governed by Rome. The Holy Roman Empire stretched across Germany and Austria and Belgium. It was one big nation. And it worked for Centuries. In fact, for the majority of British history, as i’ve stated before, from the year 0 to 2010, we were a strict Catholic country. Catholicism, is our traditional connecting value.

Fast forward 470 years, and America and Britain are now telling their people, especially those in the lower classes that they should put their lives on the line, in a war for the good of England and Britain and the rest of the World. When, on the contrary, those ridiculously brave men and women are dying, for the good of American and British business interests, and in fact, merely perpetuating the problem of Islamic extremism World Wide. I’m only surprised that it’s the extremist Muslims who have been the first to snap. I would have put money on it being the Latin Americans.

National Pride created by an elite set of rulers has never been about celebrating a common ancestry, or a common ethical standard. It has always been about Imperialism, either by force, by economic means, or by a mixture of both.

Nation States evolved during the colonial era, and are simply a left over of the colonial days. We drew straight lines on Africa. Go look at a map of Africa. It is divided almost into perfect squares. Do you think that is biological? It REALLY isn’t. We didn’t care about the tribes and who they identified themselves with. We just needed an easy way to know what land we’d decided were ours, and which were French owned plots of African land, for the purpose of slavery and exploitation.

Thomas Paine writing in section 3 part 2 of “The Rights of Man” over two centuries ago, says of the difference between the old Monarchical past and the new Globalised, democratic future;

“The one encourages national prejudices; the other promotes universal society, as the means of universal commerce.

The Nation States in Europe worked fine when we could strictly regulate trade, and capital and the influx of slaves. When economies were National. It embedded itself into our way of life, pretty quickly. It helped build our economy, so when we eventually became far more capitalist, we had a strong basis to work from, we had a massive advantage. Now, if you want the benefits of a globalised economy; cheap imports etc, then Nation States are hugely contradictory to that aim. If your borders are pretty much fully open to goods and to capital and are not rooted to their Nation of origin, and that capital is always looking for the best return on investment, then saying things like “British jobs for British people” is so unbelievably 17th Century Colonial reasoning, it’s not even worth trying to argue against. If capital and goods are able to flow freely across the World, then it stands to reason that labour should not be chained to it’s nation of ‘origin’, and so with labour comes different philosophies and cultures from Countries that have been colonial and protectionist for centuries. If you are the owner of a company, and you are looking for the best return on investment, and a Pakistani man applies for the same job as a white British man, and the Pakistani man is clearly better at the job, far more likely to raise profits, which in turn helps to create new jobs, why on Earth would you choose the Pakistani man? National identity is not compatible with Capitalism, because building a wall around popultion, is like building a wall around capital. It isn’t compatible with the aims of a globalised economy. It is only going to damage the country in the long run.

Our impact on the World, is quite real. The decisions that are made at the Bank of England, or at Westminster, can and do directly affect people in places like Afghanistan and African Nations. We call them “developing” because we assume that unless they follow our economic structure and accept that our way is the best way, they can never be “developed“, even if they are perfectly happy with the way their World is. We demand that they open their markets by lowing tariffs and removing any support for local farmers. We then flood their markets, and given that they don’t fully understand what a market based economy actually means, they are forced to give up everything they know, and succumb to our ways. We then put their wives and their kids in factories under appalling working conditions, for little or no money, working most of the day and night, so we can buy cheap shit from Primark, and then say “Well at least they’re earning” as if that’s justification. We cannot get away from the fact that we have a huge impact on the “developing” World, for our own benefit, and those people have absolutely no say over it. Illegitimate power. So who are the real victims of some abstract culture war, you dumb xenophobic, racist fucking idiot.

I do think National Identity is a human creation. And so, an abstraction. It isn’t real. We have assigned land masses to groups of people, and are deeply suspicious and unwilling to accept people who were born on other land masses, as being similar to us. We think that others, who were born on the same land mass as us, are the same, share the same beliefs and ideals and that no one else could possibly understand, and so they are “other”. It is nonsense. An abstraction.

The real social connections between people are based on ethical standards, but they are not rooted to a particular land mass indefinitely. Nor is it based on biology. If you identify your ethics, your standards, and your reasoning, to a particular culture, if that particular culture is the way you live your life, then yes, you are apart of that culture.

Pride in your Country, especially at times of international competition like the World Cup is great. I will be wearing my England shirt, for much of it. It is a time when people should indeed feel a real part of society in an increasingly individualist World. However, that sense of shared identity should be open to all who consider themselves a part of it, not just a few who happen to be white, and xenophobic.

There, now that I’ve got that off my chest, back to being an idiot:
“OMG DEY R SAYIN DAT ITS WRONG 2 SMEAR POO IN A MUZZIES FACE NOW INKASE IT OFFENDZ DEM!!!!!1 FUKIN POLITICAL CORECTNESS!!!1”


Never be tired of England

April 23, 2010

Happy St Georges Day.
Did you know that King George III never formally acknowledge the independence of the USA? Therefore, we still own it. Nor did we agree to the full independence of Australia (The Australia Act of 1986, I choose to ignore). Therefore, we still own that too. And when I get there in July, I will proclaim myself Governor of Australia for Her Majesty The Queen. We’ll forget this silly “independence” thing in no time.

The Daily Mail in it’s quest to tarnish Nick Clegg as some great evil, had this to say earlier this week:

“His wife is Spanish, his mother Dutch, his father half-Russian and his spin doctor German. Is there ANYTHING British about Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg?”

It’s amazing isn’t it?
Nick Clegg, the posh English intelligent Lib Dem leader, is apparently an evil foreigner, despite the fact, that he was born….. in Berkshire.
Given that the husband of the Queen is a relative of the Russian tsars, I hope the Daily Mail will soon begin an anti-monarchy quest.

Today is St Georges day.
It is beautiful outside.
I have sat in my garden with a book and a drink sat by me, for most of it.
The reasons I do not fly the St Georges cross flag is something I dislike about the way it has been manipulated. St Georges cross and the Union Jack have been hijacked by the far right in recent years, to show that they aren’t too keen on muslims. It is used by those who keep claiming muslims are out to destroy England, rape your children, punch your grandmother in the face, and ban Christmas. It is from those who use the phrase “it’s political correctness gone mad” to cloak their inherent stupidity and ignorance. “You know, you can’t even smear shit into a a pakistani man’s face in the shape of the cross of St George whilst telling him to fuck off out the Country any more, without the politically correct bias liberal media telling you it’s racist. It’s political correctness gone mad!!!” I don’t want to associate myself with that type of person. Anyone who associates England with “the white race” is disgusting, in my view.

But I do love this country. In fact, I absolutely adore this country. I do not appreciate the far right telling me that I hate this country, simply because I am not a nazi. I do not believe in a singular concept of “Englishness”. My views on Englishness, are pretty post-modern in that respect. I love this country, for my own reasons, which I will now list.

I love the English summer time. I love traditional English seaside holidays. I love the sound of English amusement arcades on the seafront. I love Tudor history. I love being in the city centre for Diwali celebrations. I love the English countryside. I love standing in the sea on the English south coast despite it being freezing. I love the scent of England in the early summer mornings. I love English Christmas, the food, Morcambe and Wise, and bucks fizz. I love red post boxes. I love the majority of the people who are always polite, friendly, and tolerant. I love that I am the grandson of a World War II navy veteran. I love eccentric Brits. I love Camden. I love not understanding a word the speaker says over the tannoy at a local Tesco. I love Newstead Abbey. I love Bradgate Park. I love feeding ducks. I love those little green or red or blue or yellow arm bands the local swimming pools give you, to let you know when your time in the water is up. I love how we are a mash of cultural differences and historical struggles. I love how we cannot go a day without at least one cup of tea. I love Brit pop! I love getting into bed, under a huge new duvet on a freezing winter’s night. I love wearing an England football shirt throughout the World Cup and Euros every couple of years. I love reading the papers before the World Cup that tell me that Wayne Rooney is at his peak. I love not understanding why our clocks go forward and backward every now and again. I love trilby hats. I love speakers corner. I love hearing the sound of an ice cream van. I love that we are part of Europe. I love Devon and Cornwall. I love our charity days like Red Nose day and Children in need. I love the National Health Service. I love that we are a country that still cares for it’s sick and injured. I love that we are a nation of compassion and acceptance rather than distrust, dogmatic individualism and miserable hatred. I love great British comedians like the Pythons, and Spike Milligan and comedies like Blackadder and Only Fools. I love our sense of humour. I love our sarcasm. I love talking to random people on the park when i’m taking the dog for a run. I love our political music like The Clash and The Jam. I love London. I love bike rides around England. I love black cabs. I love that on one long road just outside of Brighton there is a church, a mosque, a synagogue and a gay bar a little further down, and no problems arise. I love that we have minimum wage. I love the BBC. I love how overly excited our papers get when Wimbledon begins. I love our poets like Wordsworth and Byron. I love that Darwin was English. I love traditional English breakfasts. I love that we do not care what our leaders’ religious beliefs are. I love random games of football on the park. I love our regional colloquialisms. I love the words of Shakespeare and Milton.

I highlighted “I love how we are a mash of cultural differences and historical struggles” because I think it raises an important point. We have never been a single culture, that is now being “eroded“. You cannot erode something that is not static. We have always been a mash of cultures constantly updating and changing. There have been times when those in control or those sporting racist and xenophobic views have tried to impose uniformity, but Britain is great because we have always rejected uniformity in that sense. I will give you an example.

For the majority of English history, since the year 0, this country has been Catholic. Our history, is Catholicism.
Before the 1530s, England was a Catholic nation. The Catholic church was a predominant feature of every community within England. It’s Latin mass, it’s imagery and it’s elaborate dressings along with it’s rituals and rites were what defined England. We weren’t really a nation state at all. We were a vassal of Rome, in all honesty. Given that our own King could not divorce without the permission of the Pope, suggests that ultimately, control lay with Rome. The English people liked it that way. That was England. That was our culture.

During the Reformation Parliaments of the 1530s, the preambles to the statutes written by Thomas Cromwell, try to rewrite this culture, to suit their own needs. The break from Rome and establishment of an English Church would have been massive. Within the space of three years during the 1530s, the entire English system of power, law, and the basis of community had changed beyond recognition. The Henrician church and the Roman Catholic Church were vastly different systems of control and belief.

According to historian Sir William Holdsworth:

“The preamble to the Statute of Appeals is remarkable.. because it manufactures history upon an unprecedented scale.”

Anyone who happened to disagree with the King’s god-given right above the Pope, to be “Supreme Head of the Church in England“, was swiftly and quite horrifically dealt with. It did not bother Henry or Cromwell or Cranmer or any of the other reformers within Court, that the vast majority of the English public, did not believe the King had power above that of the Pope. English culture, for over a millenium, put the Pope as their true ruler, and no one else. Catholicism, (which by the way, was brought to us by immigrants – the Romans, after Claudius invasion of the Country) was so ingrained in the minds of the public, that people like Thomas More were willing to die for their opposition to Cromwell’s reform, rather than betray their beliefs.

The preamble by Cromwell, to the Act of Supremacy of 1534 intriguingly tries to force opinion again, rewrites history, imposes the Act as objective truth (so much so that the accompanying Treason Act made it punishable by death to say the King was not Supreme head of the Church, or talk about the Pope being Head before him), and one wonders whether Cromwell would have gone this far, had the Pope granted Henry his divorce from Catherine in the first place:

“Albeit the king’s Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognized by the clergy of this realm in their convocations.”

I cannot express just how momentous a change this Reformation Parliament truly was. We were now completely cut off from the Church in Rome, and therefore, cut off from Europe in it’s entirety. Propaganda from the government of Henry made it an offence to be Catholic.

A little over fifteen years later, after Henry had backtracked a little, adding more confusion to what it meant to be English; his son Edward was a child, and only allowed to read books by Protestant writers. He grew up anti-Catholic. When the Duke of Northumberland became the defacto King whilst Edward was still too young, the first thing he did, was rid the council of anyone who still held even slightly Catholic views. After Edward died, Mary then tried to revert back to Catholicism and rejoin the jurisdiction of Rome. Elizabeth, after Mary, settled the dispute, and created a settlement that held mainly Protestant beliefs, but incorporated Catholic beliefs too, although the authority of the Pope was still denied.

The point of this, is that we have never been one single minded Nation. We have always been a mesh of different beliefs and forced uniformity. Catholics viewed Protestants with suspicion in the same way that those racists who claim to be pro-British now view Islam. Irrational fear. There is nothing English about it. We have always updated, and we have always been in a constant state of change, there is no single identity. English culture is created by it’s people, and it is changed and updated with every passing generation. The people can be Catholic, Pagan, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Sikh, Black, White, Asian, Gay, Straight, fat or thin. It doesn’t matter. That is what makes Britain great, and it is the one thing I love most about this country.