Category Archives: america

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

An unpalatable thought

The rise of the Trumpster on the politcal scene in the US has brought the inevitable blast of leftist outrage regarding much of what the man appears to stand for; racist, bigot, bully they scream, but maybe there is something that they are missing. Continue reading

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Filed under america, General postings, serious stuff

fun with word games – would you vote for these men?

As a child I loved those word puzzles that would be in the annual that I got for Christmas and have loved playing with words and language since. Whilst in the USA back in 2008 I played around with a campaign bumper sticker and came up with: Continue reading

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Filed under america, fun stuff

Alec Baldwin and the elegance of air travel

I wrote here the other week about falling standards in passenger appearance at airports. Since then we have seen Alec Baldwin respond to being taken off an American Airlines flight for failing to comply with the directions of the cabin crew. Continue reading

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Filed under america, random rants, serious stuff

a little light relief from The Muppets

The Muppet show was always a highlight of the weekend TV for me when the children were small. This clip is from an episode that featured Mark Hammill fresh from his Luke Skywalker role, but strikes a chord for me as a lover of DooWap singing.

So for a bit of innocent pleasure on the anniversary of a dark day for the world, enjoy a Muppet take on Ramalamadingdong.

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Filed under america, fun stuff, Music

Excellent news of our Florida villa – another award

Hot on the heels of winning an award for the second year running in the Florida local business reviews we’ve just been awarded Rated Excellent status for our Florida villa by internet travel web site FlipKey. This is based on the level of feedback from our guests. Happy customers can’t be wrong!

Click here to view the web site and you’ll find we already have the coveted “Rated Excellent” badge displayed. Better still come and stay in the villa.

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Filed under america, florida

Boeing’s 747 is still the queen of the skies for me

It is very nice to be back on a Boeing 747, still very much the Queen of the Skies. It seems incredible that it is just over 40 years since I first saw one; I was at Crystal Palace watching the motor racing and, used as we were to the endless procession of Boeing 707s and Douglas DC8s, with the occasional VC10 or something else turning in for the run into Heathrow when I looked up to see my first 747 (I’ve never liked the term Jumbo) as one of Pan-Am’s finest swung in. It looked huge compared to all of the others, even if it was barely visible on the photo that I took.

At that time I had yet to fly and, if you ignore a 30 or so feet zoom over an hedge and into a cabbage field when I was knocked off my motor bike, it would be 16 years before a BA 757 whisked me to Aberdeen one evening with one of her sisters bringing me back from Edinburgh a few days later. Whilst a long haul trip and the chance to fly on a 747 was conspicuous by its absence the following years saw me become a Shuttle Warrior as I nipped back and forth to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast so often that I got onto first name terms with some of the cabin crew.

That friendship and my love of the 747 were to be savagely disrupted in the space of less than three weeks starting late 1988 when firstly we saw that memorable image of the nose section of Pan-Am’s Clipper Maid of the Seas in a border’s field. The night she went down I had seen a Pan-Am 747 pass me when it took off from Heathrow as I loaded my bag into my car in the long stay car park. Whether it was flight 103 or one of her sisters I don’t know, but the majesty of the one I saw roar past me bore sharp contrast to the one that lay broken a few hundred miles north.

Around that time I had flown home from Edinburgh on G-OBME, one of British Midland’s new 737-400’s. Amongst the crew Ali and Barbara and their colleagues looked after us well on the short hop down to London and, once again, I made my way out to the long stay car park and headed down the M4 for home. Then came the news of an aircraft having come down on the M1 motorway trying to get into East Midlands airport after engine problems. That aircraft was G-OBME, and Ali and Barbara were amongst the crew. It was a black month.

My first flight on a 747 came in 1994, Gatwick to Newark with Continental and then came something of a flurry, mostly with Virgin Atlantic to California and Florida and the initial impression of them as the Queen of the Skies has been affirmed by experience. Over the years I flown down the back (in the last row you can actually see the fuselage warp during turbulence), right at the very front where you are further forward than the pilots and on the upstairs deck. They are a great aircraft, and about the fastest thing that you can fly on these days after the demise of Concorde, the erstwhile Goddess of the Skies.

So here I am again on one of Seattle’s finest, this one being one of Sir Richard’s fleet of 400 series models for another Atlantic crossing and, as someone of my generation who marvelled at Thunderbirds, there is a pleasure at riding once more aboard an aeroplane named Lady Penelope, the third or fourth time she has swept me over the pond.

You can keep your A380s, so ugly and bloated; the 747 has a much more graceful line and will always be one I carry torch for.

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Filed under america, cars planes and trains

Actor Leslie Nielsen has died aged 84

Sad news this morning. I was always a fan from the Forbidden Planet days, but feel that his Airplane role defined a whole new genre.

I got a lot of pleasure from his films and TV work and am sad to hear he has departed this life.

RIP

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Filed under america, General postings, obituaries

Florida’s next govenor

Jeb Bush came from a political family (you may have heard of his Dad and his brother, both of whom served, albeit with widely different standards). He seemed like a good administrator and I got the impression that my adopted second home state prospered with him in the chair.

Charlie Crist came over as a good man and a rare politicion in that he always seemed more intrested in getting the job done than in self promotion.

Sure maybe both had some grey areas in their administrations, but what prospects does FL have to come? The candidates appear to offer a choice between a crook and an incompetant. As for the furore over the recent televised debate where one party clearly did break the rules of the debate and then was silly, or poorly advised,  enough to lie about what she had done (did she not know, or was she not told, that the episode was filmed and was being broadcast ad nauseum?).

Pretty stupid, but her opponent’s outrage was pathetic. Come on people, what about the real issues?

If this is the best that came be offered, Florida could be in for a rough time whichever way the vote goes.

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Filed under america, random rants