An Unfortunate Truth

Today I’ve decided to share with you one of the things I hate about J-O. Yes, you heard me, something I hate about her. It’s a strong feeling, to be sure, but once I’ve explained it you’ll understand why. You’ll also then understand why it’s something that doesn’t make me hate her, but rather makes me want to change it, and I believe I can change it.

She is racist. When I was chatting to her over Skype I got a few hints of it, but not anything to make me overly concerned. Yes, she asked if there “many black people” in Southampton, but I shrugged off the question and thought little of it afterwards. Yet both times we have met in real life, she has made racist remarks about how there are “too many black people” living in London, and at one point soon after I mentioned the tan I got while on holiday, she kissed my skin and said it was “nice and white”.

I did not say anything about it at the time, and for that I am ashamed, for to not condemn something bad is to condone it. Or, as Churchill said, “all that requires for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. However, in the future, when the subject comes up, I will make a stand.

To me, and to many others, racism is wrong. It has no scientific basis, despite what some might claim; it has no sociological basis either. It is unfounded fear of the unknown, no more. I also view it as part of the British national psyche. Yes, Britain has had it’s racist elements, it’s racist periods. Yes, many of the officers and officials of the British Empire were motivated by racial thinking. But equally, Britain has made many notable achievements in this field: it was the first to outlaw slavery in 1807 and in the British Empire (except India) in 1833, it did not have any immigration control until 1905. Although visiting US soldiers during WWII were allowed to import segregation in their bases, it was not the case elsewhere. Indeed, outside US bases, when US soldiers attempted to assert segregation, British people fought in support of the black soldiers. Furthermore, all Commonwealth citizens have, since 1945, had the right to live in the UK, and most British people are very tolerant of minorities (see the recent, and very relevant, backlash against Bulgarian fans’ racist chanting in the recent England vs Bulgaria football, or soccar, match).

Many may argue that I should not even be with her for this reason, but I don’t agree. I disagree not because she is the only girl I think will ever like me. I disagree because it is a racism that is not angry, not deeply embedded. It is something that has been impressed upon her by her society, both officially by the state and socially by relatives, friends and notable community figures. As in many countries, it is something borne from many centuries of being part of an empire, in this case the Ottoman. From this view, it is understandable how J-O thinks this way. But it can be changed, because it is something that is derived from society, it is benign, and benign views derived from society can be changed when people are still this young, when confronted with the reality, the truth, the facts.

I believe I can instigate that change. I believe that I must, and must succeed.

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  1. 05/09/2011 at 4:19 am

    The quote that you attributed to Churchill was actually made by Lord Acton and he wrote it in the 18th Century.

    • 05/09/2011 at 10:21 am

      Yeah I remember that now actually. In my defence, people often make the same mistake.

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