Saturday, October 27, 2007

Acceptable Racism?

Controversial thought:

Forms of racism that are seen as perfectly acceptable in England today are anti-Americanism, anti-Scouse-ism and Muslim anti-Semitism.


Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced about anti-Scouse-ism (but maybe that's because I've never lived in Manchester), but I think that the left wing can get fairly antisemetic of its own accord whenver Israel is mentioned, never mind the muslims. As for anti-Americanism, I wholeheartedly agree and it's disgusting.

John said...

There's certainly lots of anti-Israeli stuff from the left wing. I'm honestly not sure how much is just irrational anti-Israeli, and how much is antiSemitic.

If Harry Enfield did his Scouser sketches for Jamaicans, what would happen?

PamBG said...

Depends what you mean by 'Anti-Americanism'. As an American, there is lot about my culture that I deplore as a Christian.

Insofar as the American culture is an important 'carrier' of 'values' like consumerism, valuing the rich over the poor and the powerful over the weak, I deplore it. Of course, Jesus ate with the Pharisees too and he wasn't looking to damn the Pharisees the way they had damned the ordinary people.

I've lived in the UK for 18 years and I've only once experienced what I'd call overt anti-Americanism (Someone at a retreat of all things walked away from me whilst we were introducing ourselves to each other. The person did at least apologise later).

If I think that Israel should not be walling up Palestinians in ghettos is that really 'racist'? I have British and American Jewish friends who agree with me on that one. It's possible to disagree with the policy of a government and not be a racist. (And why don't American Christians give a damn for Palestinian Christians?)

John said...

It's very true what you say about Israel. It is quite possible to be against the policy of the government of a state, but not against that race. And ditto with America.

For my part, I feel the Palestinians are being badly betrayed by their own leaders, who make Israel's policy essentially unavoidable. But I've put more of my thoughts on that here.

The Christian Palestinians (especially the obviously non-nominal ones) I met were very nice and very hospitable. It's a shame their country is so badly run.

Anti-Americanism, it depends where in this country you go...

PamBG said...

Where in the UK do you think that there is the most anti-Americanism?

John said...

I think it correlates roughly with Guardian readership, especially among people who if they read a "highbrow" paper would read the Guardian.

Thus probably more in middle class left or liberal-leaning areas.

Oxford (where I now live) would be heavily anti-American, if it wasn't for all the Americans here.

PamBG said...

Hmm. *I* read The Guardian. Although I also read The Independent.

To me, being 'racist' against me as an American means not being willing to deal with me as an individual because of my country of origin. Which was precisely the situation at that retreat (which I know because of the apology).

I went to Cambridge and - forgive me if this sounds arrogant - what you're dealing with there is young people who are among the most intelligent of their peer group, some from privileged backgrounds. Of course they are going to be anti anything that doesn't correspond with their own views. I don't let that worry me terribly much. One just hopes that they grow up to have a bit broader of a perspective.

Off to church now.

John said...

It's more the group who *don't* read the Guardian, kind of like the Northern Irish "Protestant Atheists".

Look at the opposition to GW Bush, for example.

Some of it is because of his policies (fair enough).

Some of it is because of his perceived intelligence or lack of public speaking ability (valid points, but not actually his fault).

Some of it is simply because of where he's from (all stuff when he was elected, for example...)

We're generally happy to get on with Americans, as long as they fit in with "our way" of doing things.

PamBG said...

It sounds to me like you're saying that people have uneducated objections to American policy and to GWB that are informed by knee-jerk dislike rather than by information. I think that a lot of people form their opinions in a lot of issues in this manner.

I'm really not sure it's 'racism' though. 'Racism' is a lot deeper than that. I remember one African Christian theologian describing it as something that insults his very being and is out to subsume him. I've never experienced anything like that in the UK.

I don't feel I'm made to doubt my personhood everyday because I'm an American living in the UK. I don't feel that the culture or the people regard me as subhuman.

Uninformed ignorance, maybe. Racism, I don't think so.

By the way, I hold very negative views of US foreign policy, but I hope that I do so for informed reasons!