Category Archives: serious stuff

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

Big brand bashing

It seems fashionable to bash the big global brands like Amazon, Costa, McDonalds and so on. Regular screams for the castration of their leaders come riding on the back of accusations of tax avoidance and the like.

Rarely do I see any mention of the fact that these businesses employ thousands who pay taxes and spend their money to prop up our economy. No-one wants to mention the benefits that come to their customers in terms of convenience and access. They all provide a service and contribute to the countries that they operate in to some degree, but it is easier for the media, mainstream and social, to bash them. An irony that, especially when you read people using Facebook to do it when that is another of the brands that generates their ire.

A couple of thoughts on this from the perspective of an independent business man. Firstly I would say that about 90% of the meetings that other independents, and small businesses, have asked me to have been in Starbucks, Costa or Cafe Nero and lunches have generally been in KFC, Pret-a-Manger or one of the other big brand fast food outlets. We use them rather than pay for a meeting room at serviced accommodation or an hotel because we only pay for the food and drink. I have even seen job interviews taking place in these places. We use them because they give s what we need and don’t charge too much.

The other thought, here specifically about Amazon, is that a lot of people selling on Amazon are sole traders or small businesses. I fall into the former category and am very happy for Amazon, and for that matter eBay, to give me a global outlet for my wares and an easy way of extracting payment. They might be the scourge of the traditional High Street, but they prop up a lot of smaller traders and provide an entrepreneurial opportunity that was not there fifteen years or so ago.

Bash them if you want to, but they are succeeding because we use them and we do that because they help us to succeed.

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Filed under business life, serious stuff

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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Filed under about me, General postings, serious stuff

“Bloody foreigners!”

This was after the election before last, the one that saw us saddled with an ineffective coalition, and the remark in the title above was overheard on the ‘bus. It would be easy to disniss it as some casual racism from a couple of middle aged white men, for the pair whose conversation I was listening to fitted the bill in terms of skin colour and appearence, but there was more to it. Continue reading

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Filed under General postings, serious stuff

Free Willy – a touchy subject?

The operation to transplant a penis has been in the news again recently, and I admit that the thought troubles be a little. Not that I am going to be in the market for any fresh trouser equipment you understand, but more as a general, if I can use the term, point. Continue reading

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are you prepared to sign the UK’s death warrant?

Do you remember watching the Berlin Wall as it was pushed over? Possibly you are too young, but got those of us who knew the Cold War period it was a symbol of hope that so many once proud nations could have the chance to escape from the tyranny of the old Soviet Bloc. But as we rejoiced at the scenes little did we know then that another dark force was gathering pace to subjugate all it could gobble up. Continue reading

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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

Erecting a leader

It’s always nice when friends get something that they want, even if it is something that you wouldn’t want yourself, and that is how I feel about the Labour Party leadership erection (the malapropism is deliberate, for my feeling is that there has been a preponderance of posturing pricks, a sort of mini version of the general erection back in May when there were hundreds of them). Continue reading

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Smoking and giving it up #stoptober

With the Stoptober campaign approaching I thought that I would tell my own story of having stopped smoking in the month of October, albeit in my case it was thirty nine years ago. Continue reading

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a lack of humanity?

From all of those clamouring for more to be done for refugees and for governments to demonstrate humanity there is a marked lack of charity towards anyone who dares to show anything less than full agreement with their views. Continue reading

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Filed under random rants, serious stuff