On race and racism in everyday life – or how the race ideologues are winning

Public, political and institutional discourse can often appear strangely detached from ordinary, everyday life.

On identity politics, now a specialist area for me, there was a time when my own everyday life seemed blessedly free of race antagonism. Race/skin colour and ethnicity appeared as a borderline irrelevance that we seemed at least close to transcending.

I know that hasn’t been so for many non-white people. However I have heard from some who have said the same. Of course, sometimes I have witnessed or been part of incidents in which these things came to the fore – either conventional racism or racism used as an accusation to attack someone else. On other occasions I have smelt it in the air, palpable and unmistakable, while remaining under the surface, just.

However in the last four days race has appeared front and centre in my ordinary life, just being around in London, three times.

The first occasion was in a bus station when a scrawny-looking white man appeared stumbling along the payment and stuck his face right into that of a young East Asian woman who was waiting for a bus next to me. He then turned on me and stared. I looked back at him in the eyes. He stuck his head towards me but, like the woman, I didn’t flinch. He cried, ‘You English?’ in a tone that assumed I wasn’t; that no one was around here. I didn’t say a word and eventually he went off: a pathetic, desperate man. On reflection, my initial contempt towards him turned into a measure of sympathy for this obvious loser.

The next evening at a pub I got talking to an oldish black man: a patently nice, decent bloke who told me he didn’t like the way some people questioned diversity and equality – mentioning in evidence the actor Laurence Fox, who caused a stir with his appearance on Question Time not long ago.

I asked him what he meant and he said that Fox gave the impression that he didn’t like people like him. He said he experienced racism “every day of the week”. I confess I got a whiff of ideology at this point and asked him to give an example from that day. He failed to do that, or to give any examples at all, saying that I couldn’t possibly understand it. He added that he went to Dublin recently and felt like he was treated much better over there; seemingly just the way he felt walking around.

The third incident was today when walking into a train station. A mixed race man with two small children was coming the other way and was shouting, seemingly at someone behind, “I AM A PERFECTLY GOOD, COMPETENT PARENT. YOU KNOW IT’S 2020 NOW! THE DAYS OF COONERY ARE OVER!!!” [For those who don’t know, ‘coonery’ refers to the racist term ‘coon’].

He didn’t look in the best of shape and neither did the children, with dirty clothes and faces. I had obviously come across them in the aftermath of an incident or some words exchanged and this was his response. I could see no sign of anyone else involved and certainly no hostility from anyone else towards him.

My immediate personal, existential response – you might say prejudice – was sympathy towards whoever had caused this man to react in the way he did. Anyone who shows any public concern on occasion experiences backlashes like this – sometimes with recourse to identity and sometimes not. But on reflection, I realised I had a similar feeling towards him as I did towards the racist at the bus station. They were both defensive, angry men: lashing out at others who were either minding their own business or, I presume (perhaps wrongly), showing a bit of concern for the world around them and for other people. The latter man was lashing out, just as the racist was, turning his own poor state of being on to others; making them share his poor life-situation.

However there is one difference I would like to highlight.

The conventional racist guy was plumbing the depths of pathetic desperation: he was the ultimate loser in life’s lottery. This man was preening and triumphant. The racist had few words; he was a mumbling wreck. This man had language and theory at hand. His words were those of the system and of progressive public discourse. Since it was 2020 now, so he had it, people with non-white skin colour should not experience negativity – and anyone inflicting negativity of any kind of them could be called a racist.

He had been paying attention and processing the messages of public discourse, deploying them in his own life. This was the same as what the man in the pub was doing. He was repeating the lines of race ideologue-activists like Afua Hirsch more or less word-for-word. He was having a go at Laurence Fox for apparently being racist, when Fox said we should oppose actual racism whenever we find it. The race activists' narrative has become so familiar it is now embedded within people. It is second-nature.

The trouble with race activism, as the Question Time discourse involving Fox amply demonstrated, is that racism is now routinely deployed where it isn’t present. In those circumstances it is a weapon: an example of how identity politics so easily degenerates into pure power politics.

The theory that helps facilitate this is that racism is structural rather than behavioural. Under this framework, the whole of society is racist. White-skinned people are racist just for being white. Non-whites can be racist without knowing it: through false-consciousness. Racism is universal. Any negativity a non-white person experiences in life can be confidently attributed to it.

And only the ideologue knows this properly. To be right and to be seen as right, you need to adopt the ideology. It is ultimately a politics of authority, of will-to-power: authority, status and at least a measure of social power comes from adopting the race-ideologue's narrative.

Some of the most popular, lauded black-skinned musicians in this country like Stormzy and Dave –performers who our major media companies push as representing black people – have adopted this narrative almost wholesale. As they put it, ‘Britain is a racist country’: a sweeping absolutist statement straight out of the ideologue’s mouth. They are now ideologues themselves: quasi-intellectuals telling us how things are and what we should do.

I can’t see any good in this.

It will surely push us further apart, make us less willing to talk across racial boundaries and engage and listen to each other.

If we assume the Other is evil and racist or if we are afraid they are going to accuse us of being so - and potentially put our livelihood at risk – why engage at all? The natural, easy response is retreat into existential and physical ghettoes: to put ourselves behind walls where They can’t get at us. This is the existential logic of multiculturalism and indeed of diversity ideology as well as conventional racism: all pit us against each other based on approved, ideological prejudice about how bad the Other is.

I would like to express some hope for the future. I think there are some grounds, but mostly in quiet corners and spaces where people are thinking for themselves rather than preaching and issuing or taking instructions. However, when the BBC is commissioning Hirsch to present a couple of programmes instructing us about Whiteness, it appears to show how most movement is in the other direction; that race ideology is established right at the centre of our society and is pushing outwards from it.

The more we all talk about race, the more we think racially, and the more we divide each other based on race, the more the race activists win.

And along these lines they do indeed appear to be winning.


  1. "I know that hasn’t been so for many non-white people."

    And has it hasn't been so for many white people living in or near majority non-white areas for decades either. It was their neighbourhoods which were turned upside by unbidden non-European immigration. The problems with black crime and Muslim attempts at domination have been going on since the 1970s at least. The organised rape of white girls began in that decade at the latest. And contrary to the lachrymose tale of the 'Windrush generation' helping to re-build bombed out Britain, in the 1950s, the British cabinet commissioned a secret report into why so many Caribbean men were living on public assistance and why so many were ''living off the immortal earnings of white women''. That was what led to the Notting Hill riots which were skilfully turned into the crime-fest which is the Notting Hill carnival.

    Any working class person who lived in such locales knows this. It's why hundreds of thousands of people wrote to Enoch Powell after his famous and prophetic speech. But the white middle class lives in its own dream world so concerned are they to have the correct views. Even to the point whereby historians, sociologists and politicians will write out of history what white working class people knew and know to be the truth.

    The facts are these: Europeans are abnormally low in both positive and negative ethnocentrism while blacks are high in negative ethnocentrism and Asians are high in both positive and negative ethnocentrism. As such, it's no surprise that despite the mountains which have been moved to accommodate the non-European population, many of them still aren't satisfied. The black man in your story, for example.

    ''the racist at the bus station''

    Why exactly is he a 'racist'? He expressed no hatred. He's a native man living in a country which has been utterly transformed by a policy he never acquiesced to. I've travelled extensively around the world and immigration, particularly mass immigration, is unpopular everywhere. I've often been asked if I'm from the particular country I am in. I've been abused and threatened. So what? It's the way of the world. We aren't evolved to live like this.

    The data on diversity is very clear: it wrecks social cohesion, obliterates trust and ramps up mental illness. The 'loser racist' is reacting to that, nothing else.

    Stopping talking about race won't change this. The facts on the ground will remain as they are - though they will continue to be covered up by middle class journalists - the thousands of racist attacks on white men for example in towns like Oldham, Blackburn, Birmingham etc, for example. They will ALWAYS have an excuse to hush it up. So, it doesn't matter what the race activists say because the truth is that the whole thing is an epic lie and a monstrous mistake rolled into one. Our country since 1948 has been transformed into somewhere wholly different and it has been a catastrophe.

    1. re. ''the racist at the bus station'', you are defending him based on his skin colour and victimhood that follows from that: so giving him a pass because of his race. This is a mirror image of what these apparently anti-racist ideologues do. You appear to be just like them: engaging in ideologies based primarily around race.

      There can be no coming together between you. You show no interest in doing so. They likewise.

      This seems to demonstrate the point of my article.

    2. I asked why was he racist? Racism is about hatred. He expressed no hatred, simply anger and alienation.

      I defended him because he's native to this land and all this was brought to him without his consent. I defended him because I've seen the same alienation occur in other countries. I once lived in Suzhou, China. In the space of a year, an entirely homogeneous (Han Chinese) neighbourhood became approximately 25% international owing to an influx of foreign students to the local university. Many of the locals were upset by it - particularly the elderly. They found it strange and shocking and they wondered how many more would come. Many of the old Chinese men were extremely vocal about it and very often rude. The majority of us students understood why this had happened and got on with it.

      So, no ideology. Just human nature as it is.

      It isn't therefore the mirror image of what race activists do. They parrot lies and a particular point of view about white people, I tell a tiny bit of the truth about what all this has done to people who were never ever asked about any of this. And I point out the accepted facts about diversity and social trust, cohesion, mental health etc. Plus my own experiences of living abroad.

      You can't come together with people who clearly loathe white people, who refuse to face facts about black crime and Muslim aggression and who frankly lie systematically.

      You certainly can't do it when there is a whole mass of white middle class people who are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place who continually quash awkward truths. And who mis-represent statements of fact and common sense as being 'ideology'.

      Which was the point of my original comment.

    3. "I defended him because he's native to this land..."

      He was clearly acting in a racist manner, as I described. And so are you.

  2. An interesting article Ben. If I were to make a comment it would be this. The first individual you met was just angry and possibly on something, too much to drink maybe. The second has just soaked up the opinions of others and hasn't listened carefully although maybe he would if you entered into a meaningful conversation with him. The third to my mind is dangerous and out to gain advantage for whatever reason. Could you discuss or debate with someone like him. I doubt it.


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