A quick note to Paul B

Noting that someone is one generation off the boat is not racism.

It might well be nationalism, tribalism even, natalism quite possibly.

But it is not racism.

96 thoughts on “A quick note to Paul B”

  1. eh? OBVIOUSLY there are contexts in which “noting” somebody is an immigrant could be racist. You might not think it is in this context, although I cannot see why else anybody would second to a generation immigrant invoking one nation rhetoric

  2. As I’ve just pointed out to the juvenile cunt on the relevant thread.

    The dictionary definition of racist is there for all to see.

    Apart from anything else, applying it to anyone who says anything vaguely, possibly, perjorative about another’s antecedents cheapens the lives of those killed, tortured and dispossessed by actual racists.

  3. Fucking hell. Another one.

    Luis, here’s the Oxford Dictonary definition:

    ‘the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races’

    What is it in the complained-of form of words that defines ‘all members’ of Miliband’s race as inferior, or ‘all members’ of the writer’s race – and I assume you know it? – as superior?

    Come on, please do tell.

  4. fine, it needn’t be racism, it could be “nationalism” – you can’t claim to be “one of us” because your parents were foreigners. A sentiment that isn’t the same thing as racism, merely correlated with it.

  5. @Luis Enrique ‘oh sorry I see, you think it’s “nationalism” which is different from racism.’

    Obviously, nationalism is different from racism.

    To think otherwise would be to believe that Frank Bruno and Frank Skinner could not be of the same nationality because of their different races.

    Which would be to approach the juvenile PaulB version of racism in itself.

  6. I think nationalism is close to racism, hence I think Frank Bruno and Frank Skinner could not be of the same nationality because of their different races?

    Tim adds: that would be distinguishing between two people on the basis of their race. Yes, that is racism.

    As you might know, I’ve been working in Saxony recently. Peeps there are Saxons. As are lots of peeps in England these days. Racially, pretty much the same race. Genetically pretty much indistinguishable (in a manner which the Czechs, the other side of the mountains, are) from many of us. Indeed from me.

    But of different nationality. Different passports, different languages.

    Sometime these differences are important to note. Say, in a parliamentary election: you have to be a citizen of the nation you see? Other times not: as in a local election. Any EU citizen can stand, regardless of EU citizenship or indeed of race.

  7. You misunderstand PaulB. The reason he is correct is because him and his ilk have redefined the definition of racism. The man on the Clapham omnibus will think it means belittling someone of a different colour. But a progressive will know it mean belittling someone of a different nationality, or tribe, or skin colour, or hair colour, or ancestral background, or political background, or sex, or ethnicity. Well you get the point.

    It’s all designed to get more people who are simply obnoxious classified as racists. And when defined as a racist who would support them? No one who thinks that racism is purely based on colour. Which is everyone. But the actual crime was not being racist, just obnoxious. Once classified as a racist, that person can be easily ostracized without having to debate with their potentially valid arguments.

  8. Tim

    well he’s no business doing that has he? I mean, he’s only one generation off the boat! And I don’t say that because I’m racist, I just don’t think the son of an immigrant can join us inside our nation all one together. I’m not racist, I’m a nationalist, and sons of immigrants aren’t part of my nation.

    [I was trailing my coat a little @7]

  9. How is highlighting Millipede parent’s origins racism?

    American politicians regularly tie their (or their parent’s) recent immigration to US as a wonderful example of One Nation-ism. Tying their arrival to the American dream as a great empowering dream.

    Millipede tried to do it himself. But he also insinuated that being here already was somehow suspect (his pointed dig about Cameron and trees). Is that racist against people who’s parent’s did not come over recently on a boat/plane?

    Is something only racist when it’s your opponent pointing it out?

  10. @Stuck-Record

    Something is only racist when PaulB and people of his ilk – not his race, note – say it is.

  11. Philip Scott Thomas

    Err, it’s the Milipede himself who is invoking “One Nation”.

    Which is, when you come to think of it, a fairly nationalist sort of idea.

    As for the nationalist bit, there’s comedy gold over at Guido’s place.

  12. “To think otherwise would be to believe that Frank Bruno and Frank Skinner could not be of the same nationality because of their different races.”

    don’t be silly – I think Frank Bruno and Frank Skinner could not be of the same nationality, because Frank Bruno is only one generation off the boat!

    Come on Tim, you don’t need to explain the difference between a nation and a race to me. And you can call people who think second generation immigrants aren’t part of our nation “nationalists” rather than racists, if you.

  13. How is highlighting Millipede parent’s origins racism?

    when it’s cited as a reason he has no business invoking the paean of “one nation”. Except we have established it’s not racists, it’s “nationalist”

  14. The only way it could be racist would be if it were generally believed that white immigrants arrive by aeroplane and only darkies arrive by boat.

    These days I’d guess it’s the opposite, with the white east europeans driving across and coming by ferry.

  15. It’s of course not at all unusual for the son of an immigrant to aspire to be PM. Michael Howard led the Tories in a general election and he too was an immigrant’s son.
    As was Winston Churchill too – though probably someone will think an American mother doesn’t count as an immigrant.

    Tim adds: “son of an immigrant to aspire to be PM. Michael Howard led the Tories in a general election and he too was an immigrant’s son. ”

    Come come, I don’t think we can start calling the Welsh immigrants now.

    Yes, yes, I do know……

  16. But he also insinuated that being here already was somehow suspect

    I don’t get that oak tree line either, but it would be simply insane for a man wanting the votes of millions of people whose parents were already here, to insinuate that’s “somehow suspect”. Which makes me doubt that was his intended meaning.

  17. when it’s cited as a reason he has no business invoking the paean of “one nation”. Except we have established it’s not racists, it’s “nationalist”

    You may have ‘established’ it (under pressure), the original accuser hasn’t. And you were quick enough into the fray to defend that original accusation – which you haven’t apologised for, either.

    To recap: If it’s racist/nationalistic for Gudgeon to draw critical attention to one’s ancestor’s for being recent arrivals, it is therefore racist for Milliband to draw critical attention to one’s ancestor’s not being of recent arrival.

    Or you could take the sensible course and put your knee-jerk identity politics toolkit-of-grievance in the bin and try dealing with a world populated by people, not avatars of racial, cultural or class identity.

  18. The ire is drawn by the “off the boat” bit. It’s often used as a put down as either racist or “you’re not from round ‘ere” leanings.

    In this case, seeing as Ed is not black, it’s hard to call the commentator racist. But I will agree there is a definite undercurrent as highlighted by LE.

    So there. he didn’t have to say “off the boat”, he could have just said second gen.

  19. Well according to the great minds over at Liberal Conspiracy, who recently had a hugely important discussion on whether a poster that called the enemies of Israel savages was racist, racism is defined by whether the person being abused for their race holds power or not. This being the clever way that the left have skirted round the awkward fact that non white people can be racially prejudiced, it being an incontrovertible fact that all white people are innately privileged, apparently. As Milliband is both white and powerful it must therefore follow that it is impossible to be racist about him.
    To be serious I think Milliband has made a mistake here, it may only be a matter of time before various loons start muttering about Zionist influence, we already know what Livingstone thinks about that and there’s enough covert jew baiters about these days to make it an issue. Most people will ignore it but there must be a risk of it becoming a nasty sub plot to the electoral battle in the next few years.

  20. SR

    what is this “draw critical attention to one’s ancestor” business?

    Gudgeon scoffed at Milliband invoking one nation blah blah because he is only one generation off the boat. Why should anybody object to somebody only one generation off the boat waxing lyrical on the theme of a united nation? What’s argument would explain that?

    Racism is one possible explanation, but “nationalists-who-aren’t-racists” might also object to the son of an immigrant presuming to be part of our one big happy nation. I’m mean the very idea. It’s the bloody immigrants that are destroying it!

    [maybe if I dealt with a world populated by people, not avatars of racial, cultural or class identity, I’d understand why second generation immigrants shouldn’t invoke the one nation peaen!]

    do you think Milliband really “drew critical attention” to people who’s parents are not immigrants? What’s the argument there then? Can you explain to me the nature of Milliband’s critique?

  21. So Tim, Interested, Stuck Record, can anybody explain to me why second generation immigrants have no business invoking the one nation paean?

  22. This being the clever way that the left have skirted round the awkward fact that non white people can be racially prejudiced

    from now on, when we really mean “some idiots of the left” can we say that, rather than just “the left” which contains a very large number of people who are quite aware that non white people can be racially prejudiced.

  23. LE

    I’d be happy to say that but it would be irrelevant. The idea that there is something inherently privileged in being white is a very strong theme in mainstream leftist thought, just as the notion that men are inherently privileged over women is with feminists. The fact that many on the left and a lot of feminists wouldn’t share that view makes no difference if it is becoming an accepted meme.

  24. Thornavis

    well this is off topic, but as a lefty of sorts, I’d not talk of “inherent privilege” as some eternal thing, but privilege within society as it happens to be right now, for all sorts of reasons, and a privilege that varies with context and might even be counterweighted by positive discrimination in some contexts, and I’d be happy to say that the extent of that privilege is fading – so for example not so long ago it might have been much harder to rise beyond menial employment if you were black, in this country, now let’s say (thankfully) race per se is less of a barrier to career advancement, although I’d hesitate to claim it’s importance has fallen to zero. Do you know what it’s like to be from a racial minority in this country? I don’t. And I’d certainly not claim white privilege has yet fallen to zero in this country.

  25. So Tim, Interested, Stuck Record, can anybody explain to me why second generation immigrants have no business invoking the one nation paean?

    I’ll have a bash, even though you’ll inevitably reach for racist or nationalist or some other PC crap.

    Let’s see. They just might object to receiving a lecture on the concept of One Nation from the son of a Marxist immigrant, given shelter by a Liberal democracy which he spent the rest of his life working to effectively subvert. Said Marxist immigrant taught his sons to not value the existing traditions of said country (and even the notion of ‘country’ itself, preferring to think of themselves as citizens of the world or Europe), and join, then lead, a political party whose supporters have spent the last decades mocking, ridiculing and abusing anyone attempting to stand up for the idea of England or Great Britain. A party that has done all it can to ‘rub conservatives noses in immigration’ (to quote Labour’s Andrew Neather). A party who (until recently) have tried to equate the union jack with the BNP, and whose apparatchiks around the country have stopped it flying in public places or prevented policemen from pinning it to their uniforms.

    Now, Millipede minor is all for the flag. Now he’s all for ‘the country’. Now he’s all for One nation.

    And now we’re supposed to listen.

    Maybe that’s why it’s hard to listen to him when he’s ‘one generation off the boat.’

    Bring on the predjudiced slurs.

  26. LE
    Obviously there is still privilege and discrimination but that’s rather different from the idea that all white people, because they are the majority and live in a nation whose history is marred by racism, are therefore in a position of privilege, even if they aren’t aware of it. This is really little more than our old friend false consciousness in an identity politics guise.
    It’s not really OT as it touches directly on what I think Milliband is trying to do, he and others in the Labour party are aware that identity politics and side issues like the environment have alienated a large part of the core vote so they are trying to get some of it back with this one nation Blue labour stuff, it’s very risky.

  27. SR

    I don’t think objecting to nationalism or racism is PC crap. I don’t think much of people who do. So I guess I am conforming to your expectations.

    I see there are lots of things you dislike about Labour and Marxists. I don’t see anything to explain why second generation immigrants have no business invoking the one nation paean. But this particular second generation immigrant with those parents and leading that party.

  28. “Noting that someone is one generation off the boat is not racism.”

    Only in the same sense that ‘anti-Semites’ must “also hate Arabs because they’re also semitic”. It’s pointless pedantry going against the accepted meaning of a phrase – and which is commonly used by those with ulterior motives to belittle the moral crime by stretching its definition to include less objectionable things.

    ‘One generation off the boat’ is without question racism in the commonly used meaning of the term when used as a slur by neo-Nazis and the like.

  29. Think it’s about time to play the trump ace in this game of victim poker. I think Millitwat’s oak tree reference was racist and that’s all that matters, according to the law. Where can I claim my compensation?

  30. I didn’t think Milliband’s one nation stuff was an attempt at flag waving nationalism, I thought it was more like the we are the 99 per cent we are all in it together, the Tories are just for the few, we want to bring everybody together in a big happy country stuff.

  31. LE
    “I didn’t think Milliband’s one nation stuff was an attempt at flag waving nationalism, I thought it was more like the we are the 99 per cent we are all in it together, the Tories are just for the few, we want to bring everybody together in a big happy country stuff.”

    Well isn’t that pretty much how flag waving nationalists think ? The identity of the 1% and the party of the few may vary but it all comes down to some essentialist and vaguely mystical stuff about community and nation.

  32. well flag waving nationalists are often hostile to foreigners and immigrants – the kind of people who object to the sons of immigrants presuming to be part of our nation – but that aspect is absent from Milliband’s inclusive big happy family stuff

  33. LE

    It may be absent from Milliband’s inclusive big happy family tosh but not necessarily from the thoughts of some of those he is trying to appeal to. Would a speech like that get a thumbs up from the left if it was delivered by someone on the right ? I suspect not.

  34. The 99%? Oh, for God’s sake! I give up.

    I don’t see anything to explain why second generation immigrants have no business invoking the one nation paean.

    I know you don’t. You can lead a horse…

  35. BIS @ 33 , for the benefit of exiles not up with current political logos, the oak tree is/was a conservative logo. I don’t think anyone is saying you can’t mock political parties.

    SR @30 so if your father was a marxist immigrant, you’re not allowed to use traditional Tory slogans? Is it the marxist bit or the immigrant bit? Should such people be allowed to join the Tory party – oh, sorry, too late.

    And from memory it was not the Labour Party who took Britain into the EU, or voted for the Maastricht treaty.

  36. the oak tree is/was a conservative logo

    ah! well it’s not just exiles, I think many of us missed the reference. (my immigrant Grandparents may be responsible)

  37. Luke. As far as I’m aware it doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s racist. It doesn’t matter if Millitwat intended it to be racist. It only matters the victim considers it racist. From the shade of this palm tree I am determined to be a victim.
    Where do I get my compensation?
    (I’m running up a hell of a bar bill salving my hurt feelings)

  38. Personally I did find the oak tree bit insulting, in a ‘As the son of an immigrant I’m better than all these yokels who’ve been here for hundreds of years’ sort of way. I had no views on Ed Milliband as a person before, although I would obviously disagree with his politics. I now think he’s a borderline racist cunt with a big chip on his shoulder.

  39. “for the benefit of exiles not up with current political logos, the oak tree is/was a conservative”

    me, me, me I got it. At the time, so there. And I’ve sat under a few too. Hooray.

  40. I agree the oak tree thing was twattish. I don’t think it’s what he meant, but it came out the way Jim says.

    To paraphrase Obama’s snark at Romney, if you want to be prime minister, you should be able make an appeal to the “one nation” without gratuitously annoying the 75% (or whatever it is) who were born here of British parents.

  41. The oak tree has been a representation of England for a long time before it was ever a Conservative symbol. Hearts of oak etc. Hence why it is borderline racist to denigrate people sat around under it for 500 years.

  42. Tim: What do you mean by “natalism”?

    Surprised though I am by Interested’s ability to look up words in a dictionary, the definition he quotes, which is not in fact a definition of the adjective “racist”, won’t do. Is anyone going to argue that the insult “Jew bastard” does not constitute racist abuse when hurled, regardless of the abuser’s beliefs about racial superiority?

    The writer certainly meant to imply that Miliband’s views are in some way devalued by his parents being immigrants. The only question is whether the phrase should be described as “obnoxiously nationalistic” rather than “racist”. And that’s a question of context. It seems to me that the writer would not have used that phrase if Miliband were, for example, the child of Saxon immigrants, and that the ordinary reader would understand that. Of course it’s possible that I’m mistaken, but I won’t find out by reading this thread. Either way, I’m disappointed that Tim should have quoted the phrase approvingly.

    Incidentally, if I were going to characterize one of the participants in this thread as “juvenile”, it would be the one chanting obscenities.

  43. What do you mean by “natalism”.

    Oh, oh! Can I have a try? Xenophobia or inappropriate discrimination driven by mere country of birth. Like hating the kids of BAOR soldiers because they were born, Brits, in Germany. As opposed to hating them because they were actually German.

  44. BTW – and I may be confusing him with some other blog I read this morning (in which case I apologise) – but I believe the writer used to have an “EDL – Misunderstood” widget in the right sidebar. Missing now.

    May provide some context. Personally, I have much more disregard for the Millivarious because of the unrepentant Stalinism (see Hobsbawm obits un-sycophantic) than because of the foreign origin. At least the kids won the “ultimate prize in life”.

  45. This looks to me more like a dig at a Johnny-come-lately than anything racist. Britain has gotten along pretty well for a thousand years without any of the sound bites lesser nations like Australia require to give themselves identity and purpose. Then within a generation of showing up, some chap decides he is going to start reinventing the nation. I can see why in the context somebody who is over sensitive or plain thick would consider this racist, but equally I can see that it is probably
    no different than criticising a newcomer to a company or club who is trying to change the status quo, even if the legitimacy of that person’s desires is no less than those of the “older” members.

  46. BIS @ 42. Not sure that Spanish people can sue for offence allegedly caused in UK. Not really my area, but it would be odd if they could.

    Tim [email protected] 50, I think referring to someone born in this country to immigrant parents as “Johnny xome lately” is at best crass, probably racist. He’s lived here all his life, which is more than can be said of plenty of contributors to this blog.

  47. I think there’s a point to be made here about what views one should be sensitive to seeming to be close to – and of course, that varies depending on who is the subject of criticism.

    One should be more aware of the possibility of sounding racist/anti-Semitic when talking about Milliband, for example, because there are undoubtedly those out there who dislike him for such reasons; similarly, when criticising Cameron for something, one should aim to avoid sounding like one might be criticising his wealth and upbringing (unless one is) so as not to be lumped-in with those Guardian-types for whom his having gone to Eton is enough to criticise him whatever he does.

  48. As almost always, agree with Luis.

    The zecond generation stuff is punishing the children for the sins of the fathers, if nothing else.

    Arnald is mildly wrong rather than massively insane and annoying. Progress.

    Interested is a dick. Dictionary definitions are for people who don’t get feelings and meanings. To say someone can’t belong or can’t participate in the “nation” because his parents came off the boat is to exclude because of heritage, and blurs off into racism because, well, how many generations are required? If he was 1/16 th off the boat would that be okay? Half? Do my potato-famine irish immigrant ancestors entitle me to speak with and about your nation or not? You share a mindset with nazis.

  49. Luke,

    I don’t disagree that it’s crass, but crassness is just another way of putting a point across. “fuck me, he’s only been ‘ere five minutes and he’s already telling me ‘ow to do my job” is also crass, but it’s nothing more than that.

    Besides, without crassness blogs would be a lot duller and fewer in number.

  50. Pingback: Racism - SBML's Blog

  51. Philip Scott Thomas

    Any politician who advocates the idea of ‘one nation’, regardless of party or the number of indigenous ancestors, is fundamentally a bastard, a tyrant in waiting, and is not to be trusted.

    “Lord Vetinari raised his eyebrows. ‘Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.’ He smiled. ‘It’s the only way to make progress. That and, of course, moving with the times.'”

  52. Ambrose Murphy

    ‘Arnald is merely slightly wrong than massively insane and annoying’

    The old adage: ‘Even a blind squirrel stumbles across the odd acorn’ seems apt for the man

  53. “I’ve been working in Saxony recently. Peeps there are Saxons” – is it not that Saxons, as in anglo-saxons are from Neider (nether) Saxon, and the folk of saxony not much to do with the anglo-saxons.
    Does anyone know what makes a saxon? i’ve been real curious for a while.

  54. OK, so we’re having difficulty over whether the subject of discussion (and to aesser extent the author of this blog) is racist, nationalist, natalist or just crass.

    Can we agree on bigoted?

  55. going on … is that (neider) saxons and their land are so named from ancient mutual defence alliances rather than kinship per se, but that Saxony is so named due to more recent politics?

    Wiki tantalises with “The area of the modern state of Saxony should not be confused with Old Saxony, the area inhabited by Saxons”.

    Can somebody add more info?

  56. “Do you know what it’s like to be from a racial minority in this country?” .. there’s some Kuwaitis run a corner shop in Acton, lived in Newcastle for a while, loves football, would have loved to have gone to a match, but didn’t dare, scared of the Geordie fans … no, I think we’ve no idea what its like for many, especially those without a UK passport.

  57. Little more than one generation off the boat

    seems to be bothering a lot of people on this thread because it is viewed as racist or classifying an individual Non-British (I think that’s the term).

    No one seems to have stopped for a moment to consider that this may actually be true.
    All of my experiences to date inform me that you can’t really be the son of an immigrant and be as British as everyone else.
    I know some people may find this controversial but I really genuinely believe this statement to be true.

  58. johny bonk

    Now that’s an interesting subject, when it isn’t being fought over by the mad dogs of zenophobia, nationalism and multiculti, where do the British and in particular the English come from. I may be wrong but I believe there is very little genetic difference between any of the various nationalities in Britain and it raises the question of were there any such people as the Celts ? And did the Anglo Saxons really invade in large numbers and push out the natives ? In so far as there is a ‘Saxon’ element to our make up it seems that they didn’t come from Germany but from Frisia and Denmark.

  59. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “you can’t claim to be “one of us” because your parents were foreigners. A sentiment that isn’t the same thing as racism, merely correlated with it.”

    But it is not a black and white thing, if you will forgive the expression. It is not that he is not one of us, but that he is not quite as much of one of us as some others of us. The comment was presumably prompted not because he tried to claim to be one of us, but because he has a weaker claim to be one of us – both because his family is recently off the boat and also because he has spent so much of his life trying to destroy that version of Britain.

    Luis Enrique – “Gudgeon scoffed at Milliband invoking one nation blah blah because he is only one generation off the boat. Why should anybody object to somebody only one generation off the boat waxing lyrical on the theme of a united nation? What’s argument would explain that?”

    Yes, but he specifically objected to Milliband. Not a generic second generation immigrant. Not all second generation immigrants. This particular one. Whose life work has been pretty much a rejection of that united nation. And whose oak tree comment, by the way, was a clear incitement to class warfare and so not quite as one nation as all that.

    There is nothing I can see wrong with pointing out the contrast between Milliband as he is and Milliband as he was trying to present himself.

    “It’s the bloody immigrants that are destroying it!”

    That should probably be put in the past tense.

    26 Luis Enrique – “can anybody explain to me why second generation immigrants have no business invoking the one nation paean?”

    I am sure they can. But should this one? I think not given his politics, his Father’s politics and his life’s work. Given he tried to, high lighting the weakness of his case – which does include the fact that he has fairly recent times to places overseas – is not racism. In my opinion of course.

  60. So Much For Subtlety

    Luke – “so if your father was a marxist immigrant, you’re not allowed to use traditional Tory slogans? Is it the marxist bit or the immigrant bit? Should such people be allowed to join the Tory party – oh, sorry, too late.”

    Of course they are. But we are allowed to mock them for their shameless hypocrisy when they do. Which is all anyone did.

    “And from memory it was not the Labour Party who took Britain into the EU, or voted for the Maastricht treaty.”

    The fact that both parties are run by spineless treasonous weasels who aspire to be cheese eating surrender monkeys is not really relevant is it?

  61. So Much For Subtlety

    Ambrose Murphy – “The zecond generation stuff is punishing the children for the sins of the fathers, if nothing else.”

    Well it is drawing attention to factors beyond their control, but it is not punishing anyone for the sins of their Fathers. If we did that in the UK, Milliband would be in serious trouble. Although, arguably, we did do that to Oswald Mosley’s son.

    “To say someone can’t belong or can’t participate in the “nation” because his parents came off the boat is to exclude because of heritage, and blurs off into racism because, well, how many generations are required? If he was 1/16 th off the boat would that be okay?”

    But who is saying they can’t? It is not a zero or one binary issue. I don’t see the original poster was doing that. He was saying that this sort of language sits poorly with this particular person. And to be honest, a second generation British person is not British in the same way that someone sitting under an oak tree for 500 years is British. Sorry but that is the way it is. We can, and probably should, all pretend otherwise, but it will remain. That is not to say they are German or whatever. They are British in a slightly lesser way than someone else might be.

    “Do my potato-famine irish immigrant ancestors entitle me to speak with and about your nation or not?”

    Well that depends, how many potato-famine Irish immigrant ancestors do you have? Although at the time, actually, Ireland was part on the same one nation.

    “You share a mindset with nazis.”

    That is hardly helping useful debate. He doesn’t want to gas Milliband. No one has said that because he is Jewish he can’t be British. No one has even said he is not British. He shares a mindset with a lot of people. The Nazis believed in evolution and gravity. So do most people. Would it help to accuse everyone who believes in evolution of being a Nazi?

  62. So Much For Subtlety

    Just in passing, how does this novel approach to racism sit with the British Royal Family? I take it that we all agree that Dutch William was Dutch. That is not racism, right?

    But how about the little speech in a Blackadder episode by Sir Talbot Buxomly? Where, in describing the Prince Regent, he said “I care not a jot that you are the son of a certified sauerkraut-sucking loon!” Racist hate speech?

    The Royals were forced to change their surname and so were the other Battenbergs. Because during WW1 they were not felt to be as British as the rest of us. Idiocy of course, but was that racism?

    William the Conqueror was, perhaps, not British. Being, you know, fresh off the boat and all. How about William II? Also born in France so I suppose not. Henry “What’s a Safety Catch For” I? He was born in Britain. But when was the first Norman ruler to speak English?

  63. It might not be racist, but it’s certainly a dog whistle phrase. It sounds like something an Andrew Bolt type might say.

  64. How you all live in fear these days. Can’t say this or that.
    And do you really think that vast numbers of the world are not proud to be Chinese, Indian etc

  65. “And do you really think that vast numbers of the world are not proud to be Chinese, Indian etc”

    One would rather expect so, given that vast numbers of (people in) the world are not Chinese, Indian, or Etc. (Incidentally, I’ve never met anyone from Etcland – or is it Etcia?)

  66. Not sure that Spanish people can sue for offence allegedly caused in UK

    Err, yes? Of course they can. They can sue in England for offence allegedly caused in Spain, ffs. One of the key motivations behind the whole libel law reform movement.

  67. @ambrose murphy ‘Interested is a dick. Dictionary definitions are for people who don’t get feelings and meanings’

    No, dictionary definitions are definitions. Standards. Facts.

    I get ‘feelings and meanings’, I just understand, unlike you, that they are irreducibly subjective, and I can see where that leads.

  68. jonny bonk post no. 62:
    ““Do you know what it’s like to be from a racial minority in this country?” .. there’s some Kuwaitis run a corner shop in Acton, lived in Newcastle for a while, loves football, would have loved to have gone to a match, but didn’t dare, scared of the Geordie fans … no, I think we’ve no idea what its like for many, especially those without a UK passport.”

    Oh for goodness sake. Either you are a liar or they are or they are the sort of people who dare not cross the road for fear of being knocked over.

    Personally I find going to A Sports Direct Arena in Newcastle very unpleasant. But that is because I am a Sunderland supporter. However, I am prepared to make the heroic assumption that going to ASDA is no worse for someone of noticeably non-European ancestral origin than going to Sunderland’s SoL Despite the fact that we have very few people of that description who live in Sunderland (pretty shit bit of economic migration – god only knows what my relatively recently off the boat ancestors were thinking) a very decent proportion come to the SoL. Somehow we manage to hold ourselves back from hanging them from the nearest tree. Hell we even sit with them, talk with them and drink with them. This is going to come as a shock to you but we think the fact that they are Sunderland supporters is a lot more important (actually the only important thing) than where their parents or grandparents or whatever came from. Of course if they were Newcastle supporters then hanging would be too good for them.

    I suspect you’ll find a lot more unpleasant racism at any of the three main political party conferences than I encounter at the SoL – all be it from the sort of people who can wrap it up in clever words to give them “plausible deniability”. But it is much easier to label us all up here as racist thugs. You know there should be some word for attributing an unpleasant characteristic to a member of a group of people simply because they are a member of that group and deny them their individuality. And perhaps we could then subject it to popular disapproval.

  69. @17 Richard
    Right.I am often mistaken for being Irish, which led me to sympathise with the Irish for instant prejudice based on appearance/However an Irishman accused me of being” off a boat” because I was wearing sunglasses and must therefore be from a Baltic State.Whether racist nationalist,natalist or whatever,it was meant to be insulting and is wrong for that reason.Likewise the ready resort on this site, to insults like “cunt”.(If somebody is making a ridiculous argument, the reason is found in the argument not the person who made it,whom you don’t know).

  70. @DBC Reed

    ‘Likewise the ready resort on this site, to insults like “cunt”.(If somebody is making a ridiculous argument, the reason is found in the argument not the person who made it,whom you don’t know).’

    Yep, fair enough. I was out of order. Paul B, you’re an idiot but doubtless a well-meaning one and I won’t resort to such unpleasant terms again. I was irritated but that is no excuse.

  71. well the man himself has revealed on the other thread that the comment was motivated by a sort of rural you’re not really one of us unless your family has lived in these parts for as long as anyone can remember, which if you are being generous is just about consistent with being not-at-all-racist and a sort of harmless country bumpkin parochialism but, if you ask me, when applied in this context, in this fashion, is less benign. Perhaps the phrase just hit the keyboard without too much thought, and doesn’t merit having so much read into it.

    I learn from this thread that people really do think that second generation immigrant aren’t one of us like the children of natives.

    My mother’s parents were Belgian (like Milliband’s dad) and I don’t think it occurred to her for a minute that we wasn’t 100% English, certainly as far as I know, nobody ever made her feel she was “not quite one of us” – but perhaps if she’d stood up and made a speech about her vision of “one nation”, she’d have discovered some people think that way.

    [there are others who want to argue that it’s just a son of Marxists, Labour politician – this particular second generation immigrant – who has not business invoking the one nation thing. Well fine, but why bring the second generation immigrant thing into it at all, if that’s what your true objection is]

  72. p.s. my family moved to a rural English village and there was a definite sense of us being outsiders that still lingers a little 25 years later, and I know a fair few people who are of parochial in this fashion which is consistent with being not-at-all-racist. But as it turns out, plenty of them happen to be (mildly) racist/xenophobes who like to talk about how they don’t like going to the local town any more because it feels like Calcutta. They hate the EU too.

  73. Since Interest is still looking for a dictionary defintion of “racist”, I refer him to the entry in the full OED (Part B is the adjective). The quotations are informative: the two more modern ones are consistent with contemporary usage.

  74. @PaulB ‘Since Interest is still looking for a dictionary defintion of “racist”‘

    I don’t know what a ‘defintion’ is, but I’m not looking for a definition of racist, if that’s what you mean.

    Here’s the definition of racism that I posted yesterday, twice:

    ‘the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races’

    Here’s the link:

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/racism

  75. I think

    Adj. 1. racist – based on racial intolerance

    together with

    being biased or having a belief or attitude formed beforehand

    is more apt in this case.

  76. I’ll say that again, in more detail.

    There are two problems with the definition you’ve thrice quoted. First, it’s for the wrong word, and second, it’s a dated definition of a word whose meaning has evolved.

    1) The word I used is “racist”, as an adjective. There’s are also nouns “racism” and “racist”. The meanings are similar but not identical.

    Compare for example “elitism”, “elitist” (noun) and “elitist” (adjective).

    “elitism” means something like “the belief that a society or system should be led by an elite”

    An “elitist” is someone who favours elitism

    But an “elitist institution” need not be one based on elitism, it’s just one that advances the interests of a select group.

    2) Definitions in long-standing dictionaries tend to fall behind changes in usage. The OED definition I linked to has the same problem, but it’s alleviated by the use of illustrative quotations, some of them from the last forty years.

  77. “But when was the first Norman ruler to speak English?” None of them did. But then there were only four of them, a fact that seems to find it very hard to penetrate the English skull.

  78. This is blog filled with dreadful pedants, though. PaulB is merely explaining that describing someone as “just off the boat” is a bigoted use of language. A racist turn of phrase in most common uses.

  79. Ah, so racism is not what the current online oxforddictionaries link says it is, because you don’t agree with it (are you a Professor of English, as well as a banker?) and racism is not what racists do. That’s all clear, then.

  80. I thought I explained that rather carefully, so much so that Charlie, who had been unperturbed by the previous 84 comments, felt moved to express his ennui. But evidently I wasn’t careful enough. Why don’t you find yourself a Professor of English and get him to teach you the difference between an adjective and a noun?

  81. @John 76 – i hadn’t really thought of it as a racism issue, more that football can rough and parochial and our Saudi friend found the prospect a bit intimidating and we can scarcely imagine that it seems like that to him.

    If I went to St James Park I would mind my manners, so to speak but never been there, went once to Roker Park, yonks ago.

  82. @johnny bonk 91

    If you didn’t think it was a race issue then why did you post it as an example of how it was hard for those of European ancestry to understand what it was like to be in a racial minority?

    Your friend sounds like a man who would be scared of his own shadow. How on earth does he run a corner shop? – a situation where he is much more likely to come across racism and physical intimidation than a football ground.

    Also how did your friend morph from being a Kuwaiti in post 62 to a Saudi in post 91?

    I should also note that St James Park is the football ground of Exeter City so not sure of its relevance.

    Using football supporters as an example of yahoos is cheap and easy. It is also totally inaccurate. Yes, we are parochial in that we want “our” team to win at all costs. But the openness of football supporters to people of any type becoming “one of us” is something from which other sections of sociey could learn a lesson.

  83. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “My mother’s parents were Belgian (like Milliband’s dad)”

    Well may I compound my offense but pointing out that “Belgian” is not a particularly good description of Milliband’s Father. His Grandfather and Grandmother were Jews from Poland who immigrated to Belgium. Milliband’s Father was born in Belgium and lived there for the first sixteen years of his life.

    Racial sensitivities are an odd thing. I suppose that because Jews often feel anti-Semitism they want to be included. So we ought to say that one is Belgian and the other English. But on the other hand, at some point, many communities start insisting on making the distinction. After all Adolph Milliband would have had an easier life if he wasn’t a Jew. Ignoring it makes his struggle look easier than it was. So perhaps we ought to say he was Belgian of Polish Jewish extraction?

    As for the point about the son of a Marxist making these claims, it is precisely because it is specious political rhetoric which the Millibands (pere and fils – is that racist? I suppose it is) do not believe that makes his claim objectionable. It is not one or the other but both of them together.

    81 Luis Enrique – “But as it turns out, plenty of them happen to be (mildly) racist/xenophobes who like to talk about how they don’t like going to the local town any more because it feels like Calcutta. They hate the EU too.”

    You don’t think that people may have a perfectly legitimate reason not to like the local town because it feels like Calcutta? One that is not racist or even xenophobic?

  84. “You don’t think that people may have a perfectly legitimate reason not to like the local town because it feels like Calcutta? One that is not racist or even xenophobic?”

    Have they been to Calcutta, though? If they have then they wouldn’t say it. So yeah, it’s racist however you dress it.

    It’s in the articulation, really.

    “My town smells because Indians smell” is racist

    “I don’t like the smell of spices” isn’t.

    Now, do you think that the person (who probably eats curry and enjoys its smell) doesn’t like the town because of the smell, or because of the association of “other people”?

  85. @John 92 – someone had raised the issue of how we have little idea of what it can be like for foreigners. I would not have thought someone would be scared to go to St James’ Park, but that’s what he told me. He’s Kuwaiti, dunno why I said Saudi. Perhaps he’s a bit timid, perhaps we’ve no idea how football fans seem to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *