This is an assertion, not a fact

The book is about the conversations people have, but also the silences…
Absolutely. There’s an assumption that we all enter the conversation about race and racism in Britain as equals; but the point is that racism is structural and its purpose is to consolidate power. There’s a power balance at the heart of every conversation, particularly when people find themselves the only one of their race in a room full of white people. Sometimes it’s safer to stay quiet if you have a social position to protect.

And the interesting part of the conversation to have is whether the assertion is true or not.

And as far as a white bread middle aged man can give an answer. Having lived in a number of societies around the world England (I have very little direct experience of the wider Britain) is perhaps the least racist place I have experienced. And that goes double for London. That people employ, are employed by, shag, date, marry, have children with, people of other racial backgrounds is simply not something that makes any damn difference to anyone these days. Anyone here being the general run of the mill, there are always loonies in any society.

The three other societies I have direct personal experience of, the US (on both coasts), Russia and the Czech Rep (the average attitude towards Gypsies is, by UK standards, unbelievable) are vastly more racist than England. Which isn’t, I’m willing to agree, perfect, but it is better than anywhere else I’ve been.

And in the longer term the “problem” is being solved the way these islands have always solved this particular problem, from the Celts onwards. Shag until there is no meaningful difference after the generations. There was, from memory, one lovely point made in I think The G. Woman talking about her and her friends nattering away about racism in London and all agreeing about how appalling it was. Until she pointed out that among the group she was the only one whose children were not mixed race.

The next but one Marquis of Bath will be quarter Nigerian – how much integration do we need before we agree that it’s happening?

23 thoughts on “This is an assertion, not a fact”

  1. Heh, yes, sometimes forget that I know here too. The Portuguese have never really taken skin colour or race very seriously.

  2. Hostility between the 17 or so different ethnicities is very much alive and well in Madagascar.

    And not long ago, 2 white guys got lynched and burned on a beach in Nosy Be for organ smuggling. When I pointed out to my friend there that organ smuggling requires a tad more technology than is available there (reliable electricity would be a good start!), she was not convinced.

    Not sure gypsies would prefer it over there!

  3. “England … is perhaps the least racist place I have experienced.”
    Then Tim, your experience of England is somewhat limited. Limited to white English, I’d imagine. The non-white English can be very different. I fact race is how many of them define themselves, to the exclusion of any other characteristic.

  4. My Portuguese colleague tells me that they are rather biased against gypsies. Black/brown is fine though: they see plenty of them on Brazilian TV.

  5. Gypsies depends a little here in rural Portugal. We’ve still those truly living out of a cart and doing the rounds of the seasonal work. Keep an eye on valuables outside when they’re in the area perhaps but that transients might be light fingered isn’t to my mind racism. On the black part the Portuguese empire was rather famous for the palette of colours, not that much racist discrimination among the historical Portuguese males. Recent immigrants from Cabo Verde might be differently treated but skin colour itself isn’t hugely important here.

    One thing that has surprised me here is young Gypsy women being truly innumerate–not all but at least a couple of times, not actually knowing how to count money and just handing over to the shop assistant for her to count it. Two generations back not so unusual here, the (non-Gypsy) woman we bought this house from is now in her late 70s or so and she is truly innumerate and illiterate. Didn’t know the post box number for example, couldn’t tell us what it was.

  6. The Inimitable Steve

    particularly when people find themselves the only one of their race in a room full of white people

    White people aren’t holding you hostage in our country, you know.

  7. I often quip that by the time you reach a certain age you will have accumulated a collection of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and family members of just about every hue and stripe. And as I’m not in the business of upsetting or offending my friends, acquaintances, colleagues… I’ve learned to be circumspect. I’d be horrified to be thought racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, etc. However, given my history, it would be untrue to say there’s no implicit bias.

  8. Upon further questioning, the same colleague assures me that gypsies are heavily over-represented amongst the prison population in Portugal. So much so, that the rest of society is scared straight through fear of having to share a cell with Big Miguel.

    But this is verging into fourth-hand evidence.

  9. The Inimitable Steve

    Why are you no longer talking to white people about race?
    I was exhausted – it’s difficult to have a conversation about the nuances of a problem with people who don’t believe there is a problem any more.

    It’s annoying when people don’t participate in your delusions.

    Was writing the book empowering?
    I’ve always written since I was a child, in order to process my thoughts, undoubtedly. I desperately needed to put forward a new perspective on race and racism in this country,

    “Naw, you’re alright. We’re good.” – this country.

    What books did you read in childhood?
    I read a lot of Roald Dahl, and all of the classics, including the Enid Blyton editions with golliwogs. It’s no wonder that aged four, I turned to my mum and asked: “When am I going to turn white?” When she told me I wasn’t, I was disappointed.


    That was the first point in my life I noticed that something was up, in the world around me. Reading novels and watching films, you see that black people have from birth had to empathise with white people, whereas white people have never had to empathise with black people.

    Famously empathetic, the blacks, hence all the nice things they do to each other and to people from other races. It’s why everyone’s so eager to live near them. White people have never read To Kill A Mockingbird or whatever, the bastards.

    I was not raised with a sense of entitlement; instead, it was “You will have to work twice as hard as your white peers.”

    Well, that was a fucking lie.

    Narratives of black Britain and white working class Britain have been marginalised

    Nobody ever watched DESMONDS or ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES.

    Guardian Pick Comment:

    Me: Canadian, Metro-Vancouver, Female: 52 yrs, White, Feminist, raised Catholic, no kids, unmarried, Artist: Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, Illustration, Animation: Film & Television. (For the sake of context.)

    I found myself nodding while reading the Guardian’s earlier piece by Reni Eddo-Lodge: “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.” (That’s how I often feel about the Patriarchy.)

    Both these women are destined to be eaten by cats after they gracelessly expire from a lifetime fantasising about how white men are out to get them.

  10. There surely must be a german word that fits here for the lack of awareness that becomes apparent as soon someones reveals how aware they are and how others aren’t.

  11. ‘Racism is a huge part of our history and continues to shape our lives in so many ways, subtle and unsubtle.’

    Projection. She is the racist here.

  12. “That people employ, are employed by, shag, date, marry, have children with, people of other racial backgrounds is simply not something that makes any damn difference to anyone these days.”

    Employing or employed by, yes.

    But racial miscegenation is generally disapproved of, particularly by the UK’s ethnic minorities – and the non-leftist white middle class. (My daughter’s cohort all have male friends of different races. They’d never discriminate – except when it comes to choosing a mate. Middle class white girls mutter words like ‘if you go black, there’s no going back’…’mudshark’…etc).

    Racial miscegenation can and often does work among the intelligent and sophisticated; and it happens indiscriminately in the underclass (with the taxpayer picking up the huge tab!).

    In small quantities, racial miscegenation broadens the gene pool. On a large scale, it would involve national, cultural and racial extinction. So it’s a question of balance.

    For example…

    Given what we know about average afro IQs, large scale racial inter-breeding is not likely to lead to, er, positive outcomes. Afros quite rapidly sink to the bottom of any society they join. The US has spent $billions trying to raise afro educational achievement, but to no avail. (Lincoln should have re-patriated the freed slaves.)

    There are other highly undesirable racial and cultural traits that are or may be genetically linked. So caution is appropriate.

    For those westerners who hate their culture and heritage, racial inter-breeding is a political statement. Hence, the female ‘no borders’ activists at Calais spreading their legs for migrant toy boys.

    And meanwhile, Russia, China and India frown on racial inter-breeding…but libertarians and leftists alike in the West welcome it! I fear we are doomed.

  13. God has given certain blacks a superpower: the ability to recognize racism in people, even people they don’t even know.

  14. The woman is obsessed with white people. She mentions ‘white’ ten times.

    Projection, obsession . . . she’s a mental case. But the Guardian will publish her instead of telling her to get help.

  15. Inimitable Steve that sounds like a typical profile for Vancouver, a recent report said with current trends white Europeans will be below 40% of the population in 10-20 years, in some parts of the metro area that’s already the case.

  16. I spent most of the Referendum campaign screaming at the TV/radio: “that’s an ASSERTION, not a fact!!!!!”

    But it’s the modern alternative to rhetoric and debate: assert something enough times and it becomes established fact, even if future events then prove it to be a lie.

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