Category Archives: about me

Apparently I am a racist

Over the last week I have seen a few posts on social media, some using identical words, that accuse me of being a racist. Not by any direct action I might have taken, but because I am white and was born back in the nineteen fifties. I have heard this argument more than once over the last six or seven years and I am told that it is taught in school here in the UK. 

My initial response that if someone wants to brand me as a racist, then fine, they are entitled to an opinion and I don’t really care what people think of me, especially those that don’t know me from Adam.  I will not criticise them as individuals, but their opinion is fair game.

The people using this argument do not know me, nor what I think, feel or do, yet they will accuse me of something whilst patronising me by saying that it is not my fault; that I am a victim of circumstance. I have no sorrow in saying that I think that this argument is a load of bollocks, because I am what I am through the choices that I have made, through the way that I have interpreted what I have learned and experienced over the, almost, sixty eight years that I have existed. I am capable of critical thought and am not some brainwashed product unable to understand the world around me. If I am a racist then it is not by accident of birth.

I am appalled at the thought that an officer of the law could kneel on a man’s neck until he was beyond help. I am appalled that this could happen anywhere, let alone in the country that has become my part time home for the last twenty eight years. But there is much else afoot in this world that appals me too and at the heart of most of it is ignorance and intolerance. The argument that I am a racist because of my birth does itself demonstrate both of these traits.

Am I a racist? If you want to believe that I am then go ahead. But if you accuse me of that then where is your evidence? What have I done that gives you the right to make that accusation? The principles of natural justice require you to present your case against me, but if all  you have is a sweeping generalisation that I am a racist because I was born white then I suggest that you need to take a long look at your own attitude and beliefs. 

The people who believe that my contemporaries and I are inherently racist are probably not bad people. I don’t know them all so will not judge. I think that they mean well and want to live in the same sort of tolerant society that I do, but if we are to get there we need to understand each other and work together. 

A fundamental part of the accusation of my racism is that I would have been brought up in an atmosphere of white supremacy. This ignores the fact that my parent’s generation fought a war against, in part, the white supremacy of the Nazis and the yellow supremacy of the Japanese. Far from any belief in white supremacy I was taught that all people were equal and when there was the occasional comment from someone to the contrary it jarred. White supremacy is an obvious illustration of racism, but racism is more than white supremacy. Consider the acts of genocide around the world; yellow skinned people killing other yellow skinned, white on white, black on black, brown on brown. These are all illustrations of racial hatred, even when some are wrapped up in religious banners.

To say that I am a racist because of the environment that I was born into is an interesting argument from an academic point and I understand it, but it ignores much that would contradict it. The world was changing rapidly when I was born and things that reflected attitudes of white supremacy like imperialism were already being rejected. After a second major conflict in a quarter of a century there was a strong movement to a more equal and tolerant society, not just in racial terms, but in all terms. Consider where we are now to the time that I was born into nearly seventy years ago. One thing that you will find is that ignorance and intolerance have not gone away and social media has exposed just how rife they are. Not necessarily just in racism, but generally and sadly that is a facet of human nature. We are complex people and do not all think the same.

My code is simple; I will treat you with kindness and respect regardless of your skin colour, race, religion, sex, sexual leanings, wealth or anything else that might, or might not, differentiate you from me. If that is reciprocated then we will get along fine. If it isn’t then I will do my best to have as little further contact with you as possible. If that makes me a racist in your eyes then so be it. In my eyes it makes you a bit of a bigot.

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Filed under about me, america, serious stuff

Nearly 70 and no tattoo

This train of thought was kicked off by a friend sharing something on Facebook. Normally I avoid re-sharing such things, but “50+ and no tattoo” struck a chord. At 67 going oil 68 and still unadorned I shared the post.

I did once fancy a tattoo. This was in the early 1970s and with the end of my teenage years knocking on the door I seriously considered some ink. At that time the males in my orbit came into roughly three generations; the lot who had managed to get a bit of time in the forces in the First World War, those, like my Dad, who had done their bit in the second bash and the ones who had done National Service. All had tattoos of some sort and as we rolled up our short sleeves in warmer weather my forearms looked conspicuously bare by comparison (as did the arms of others my age).

There were two problems. Firstly there were not that many tattoo parlours around in those days and the ones that did exist tended to be in less salubrious parts of town. The other was, for me, an aesthetic one in that I did not want a new tattoo, I wanted one that looked nicely weathered in.

The young lady that I was with around that time quite liked the idea of me getting a tattoo, especially if it included some commitment to her. I mentioned this to the other members of my platoon at the next Civil Emergency Core practice and they were horrified. A cleaned up version of their advice was “No way old chap”.

I took that advice and forgot about the whole tattoo thing until the more recent craze for getting inked. Whilst I can accept that there is some artistry around and some tattoos look very good a lot do not; they look bloody awful to my eyes. Fortunately for both of us the Berkshire Belle feels the same way.

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Filed under about me, random rants

Changes afoot in the ether

I have a silly number of blogs and websites that exploded fifteen years or so ago when I went freelance. Over time a few have fallen by the wayside and this year I began a serious purge. Why? I am getting older and my life has changed a lot from those early days of being out from under the corporate umbrella. The world around me has changed too and current events will bring another step change; if nothing else they are giving me time to think. Continue reading

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The sound of silence

 

The song from which I borrow the title is a personal favourite, but true silence is hard to find and so, for me, quiet does very nicely. Continue reading

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More on the joys of writing

It is about five years since I started to blog and to write for magazines and three years since I published my first book. Since then I have written two more books and around eight short e-guides. Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day #fathersday

It being Father’s Day I have, perhaps unsurprisingly, been thinking about my own father, but he is something of a distant memory. Continue reading

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a change of name for the blog

The original blog title of John’s Jottings was a bit ordinary, but I had not been able to think of anything better for some time. However, Continue reading

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so I haven’t been to the cinema in thirty years

A little exchange on Facebook the other day got me thinking about films. I had commented on reading of the demise of Philip Seymour Hoffman Continue reading

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all change in the middle of the mush

Well December is going see some changes, for on the 1st I can get rid of my Mo and then a week and a bit later will see the demise of Nora the Nasal Nodule as I have just had  my revised appointment for her to be expunged from the end of my nose. I’ll be taking a picture of the Mo to post on the Movember pages before it comes off so there will be a shot of the two facial appendages that I’ll add here. Continue reading

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Nora the Nasal Nodule; an update

Nora the BCC on my nose was due to have been surgically removed on the Thursday following my rather sudden admission to hospital with liver failure, and the operation was postponed on the basis that I might not have been able to have it. Continue reading

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Filed under about me, serious stuff