Monday, 2 June 2014

"If you have a racist friend, Now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end"

Like many folk I have a fairly diverse and disparate selection of people who are my friends on Facebook. Some are family, some are lifelong close friends, some are fellow bloggers from back in the day. There are also those that aren't really a part of my everyday life anymore but once were; people I went to school with, old work colleagues, etc. I think it's fair to say, without causing any offence, that while there is nobody in that group of people I dislike there are obviously some whose friendship I value more than others.
Recently, a smattering of my Facebook friends have taken to posting or sharing opinions that I find, at best, distasteful and, at worst, simply racist.
So what does one do about that? The lyric I've used as a post title suggests the answer is simple, but is it?

I don't necessarily want to disown anybody, after all in some capacity they are my friends. Also I'm a big wuss who hates the idea of being disliked so I probably wouldn't have the bottle. Perhaps I should engineer a situation where they want to unfriend me, like when you're too scared to dump a lover so you behave badly toward them in the hope they'll leave you (which, in my experience, never works anyway). Maybe they'll read this, see me for the namby pamby wet liberal that I am, be terribly offended by my human being- defending stance and discard me from their news feed forever more. Who knows?

I can't help but feel that lately it has almost become cool to be racist. Not towards black people obviously, that's just wrong. However, anyone from the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent or the eastern lands of our own continent are all clearly fair game. Basically anyone who has the cheek to come and live here in the UK.

Why do people come here? I believe the VAST majority come to our little island to make a better life for themselves and their families, to get away from poverty and a lack of opportunity and, in some cases, because their very lives are at risk if they remain where they are. I know that there are many, many people who do not share my view. And not all of them read the Daily Mail.

So, what are the reasons and justifications for this rising tide of hatred towards one's fellow man? Judging by the things I've seen cropping up on my news feed, they boil down to a few main points...

  • They're all terrorists!
Hmmm, this rather akin to saying that all swimming creatures are sharks or all Americans are gun-toting psychopaths or all 70's TV personalities are sex pests. Actually, scratch that last one. Point is
that while there may be a tiny proportion of crazy jihadists who want to do us harm, the overwhelming majority just want to live their lives in their own way, by their own beliefs and with their own cultural identities. Just like I do and, I would imagine, just like you do.

  • They cover their faces!

Ban the burkha, they holler. Why? It makes them feel uncomfortable, they say. Well, truth be known, the sight of a burkha-clad lady makes me feel a little uncomfortable too, but then so does a burly
skinhead with face tattoos. As far as I know there are no groups proclaiming a need to ban the bruiser. I know which one I'd rather be stuck in a lift with.

  • They come over here taking our jobs / benefits!
Oh they do like their cake and eating it, these people. In my experience, and I've been unfortunate enough to have been out of work a bit over the last couple of years, I've never met an immigrant
while at the job centre, nor on the pointless courses they make you go on. Like everything else, it's all about the minorities. Unfortunately, it's only the minorities that the right wing media like to tell us about, a story about a decent hardworking family that have settled and thrived in our country since arriving here from Warsaw or Riga simply isn't news. As for taking our jobs, well that's just plain silly. This country, like many other western nations, just could not operate without the immigrant workers. How many people do you actually know who need a job but can't get one because a foreigner has taken it, honestly, how many? And I bet the Britain First brigade wouldn't turn a Bulgarian surgeon away from their loved ones in a life or death operation scenario, would they now?

  • How come we spend billions on overseas aid while some people in this country still struggle to get by without the basics, like super fast broadband or a HD TV? 

There are, arguably, 196 countries in the world. Our little island, reportedly, has the 6th strongest
economy of all those nations. It doesn't take a mathematician to realise that there are therefore 190 countries on this planet that are worse off than us. These countries contain actual, living, breathing people. Human beings just like you and me. The amount of money we spend on overseas aid is 0.7% of the government's annual spending. Now I'm not so naive as to suggest they aren't some problem scenarios; the idea of India having a space program while we help to feed their countless genuinely destitute citizens is something I find very troubling. On the whole though, we give overseas aid to those people who genuinely need it, for food, shelter and clean water. For disease prevention. In a nutshell; to stop them from dying. I feel very strongly about this, if you think overseas aid should be stopped you are basically saying "I want those people and their children to die". Anyway, they'd only grow up to be job-stealing, benefit scrounging, Burkha wearing, Jihadist terrorists wouldn't they? So your doing us all a favour, right Racists?

I started composing this post before the recent elections where Adolf Farage and his UKIP party made frightening progress. It would seem that maybe I'm now in the minority, just a stupid bloody hippy who doesn't mind sharing his country with other human beings from elsewhere on this planet.

I'd like to give the final word to a friend of mine who had this to say after those election results...
"Good fucking Christ, Britain. Living in this country is like being trapped to a chair surrounded by braying morons that are setting fire to the curtains because they are cold."


  1. Excellent post. We often get similar arguments here about, primarily, Latino immigrants and jobs. Those jobs barely make ends meet for them, and the little extra they have is often sent back to families.

    I did have to laugh at the image of myself as a gun-toting psychopath and you as a hippie! Hysterical.

    Keep being a good man, Flash.

  2. Maybe its just cos its Woolwich but I regularly meet people who can barely speak English while signing on. I've seen an African lady with two children (who annoyed me cos they had sticky hands and the cow stole my appointment slot) tell the lady that she couldn't go out and work as she had the children to look after. The claim advisor then sat with her for 40 minutes and went through all the things she could claim for and then told me I should sell my pets to save money!
    Sadly its not been an uncommon experience to meet people there who are struggling to speak English and yet get lots of help with their claims.
    Now I'm gonna go and get my copy of the Daily Mail and you know.... grumble more racist things.
    I don't think I'd be that bothered by it all, if I got the same help they did or at least someone kind enough to sit down and tell me all I was entitled too, instead I've been told to take up drugs, to get pregnant and all sorts of "helpful" advice! I've only just learnt I'm entitled to Housing Benefit despite having asked them several times so am feeling a bit pissed off about it all at the moment!

  3. A lot's been made of how much Brazil spent on the world cup: $11bn... about the same as they spend on welfare every year apparently. How can that be justified? Just think of the fuss made when the UK spent about £8bn on the 2012 Olympics (Brazil has, by the way, just overtaken us to move into 6th place in the world's largest economies league table). Check this out though.... the UK spends £159bn pa on benefits and £74bn on state pensions. That rather dwarfs Brazil's $11bn, eh?
    (I'm long-windedly agreeing with you, by the way. I can't be arsed to dig out the numbers, but there's some daft statistic that we're a net exporter of people as just as many brits live in places like the US and Spain as people come over here. In addition, the benefits they claim - if they claim them - are miniscule in comparison to things like Vodafone's tax bill, and I don't see the government chasing very hard to do anything about that.
    And don't get me started on halal butchery.... just another racist stick to beat foreign people with. How do you think we kill animals in our slaughterhouses? Yeah, that's right, we stun them, slit their throats and hang them up to bleed out. Sound very different to you?
    One of our shared facebook friends put up a Britain First post on her feed the other day. She did it because she has a sweet heart and it was a message about cruelty to dogs. They're devious bastards, these social media aware racists.