By Ben Pensant
All white people are racist. That’s a fact. There’s been surveys and everything. It’s settled, like climate change, post-Brexit hate crime and Jeremy Corbyn’s knack for turning water into wine. (Unless he’s hanging with his boys Raed and Ibrahim, in which case he just turns it into Um Bongo.)
And yes, I include myself. As a child I laughed at Jim Davidson’s slow-witted West Indian ‘Chalky’. In my teenage years I used racist terms when rapping along to Chuck T and N-Words With Attitude. And don’t get me started on the stuff I’ve pulled as an adult, like eating Indian takeaways and having a Hawaiian Hula doll on my mantlepiece.
Luckily, confession is good for the regressive soul. And for a white liberal, admitting your racism is the coolest badge of honour around. Unfortunately, only the very best – Corbynites, Guardian journalists, Gender Studies graduates – are willing to wear it. Because only the very best have the intelligence to willingly debase ourselves for the benefit of Liberal Arts professors and pro-segregation street movements.
See, the inherent racism of whitey runs a lot deeper than grass skirts and cockney comedians. It’s structural, it’s systemic, it’s any other adjective you need to convince yourself that the white tramp who shuffles around Haymarket bus station arguing with wasps is remotely privileged.
Because if he stopped eating that pigeon’s foot for five minutes and studied social science he’d realise nothing is more liberating than being told how racist you are. I remind myself how racist I am every morning and I’m one of the clever ones who isn’t. As is repeatedly pointed out by people with considerably more privilege than me, just because there are a few good apples doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong with the whole barrel.
All of which should be blatantly obvious. Yet last week a jaw-dropping chain of events culminated in the bizarre sight of white people arguing that they AREN’T all racist. And if that wasn’t heinous enough, some were even accusing people from ethnic minorities of being the racist ones. Madness.
The fault lay with L’Oreal, the billion-dollar cosmetics company who decided that oppressing women by forcing them to buy moisturiser wasn’t patriarchal enough so went one better by firing model Munroe Bergdorf for writing something mean on Facebook. You thought the only people sacked for speaking were Islamophobic Blairites, Daily Mail columnists, and whoever’s head Owen Jones is calling for this week? Think again.
And the ‘offensive’ comments which lost Munroe her job? She said all white people are racist. Hold the front page. Next they’ll be sacking people for saying all Tories are evil. Because in 2017 a black model discussing ‘…the racial violence of white people. Yes, ALL white people’ must remain silent unless they fancy being held to the same standard as Katie Hopkins and punished for speaking the truth.
And I don’t mean the type of truth espoused by Sarah Champion; ugly, inconvenient, dangerous truth that will only provoke marginalised Muslims into raping even more children. No, I’m talking about good truth, the kind bought into by the tiny but vital section of the human race who get their entire world-view from CNN and The Huffington Post.
Other points in Munroe’s post that so upset white supremacists included the observation that white people’s ‘entire existence is drenched in racism, from micro-aggressions to terrorism’; the belief that ‘racism isn’t learnt, it’s inherited and passed down through privilege’; the ominous ultimatum: ‘Once white people admit their race is the most violent, oppressive force on earth, then we can talk’.
Understandably she neglected to reveal the methodology she used to reach such empirical conclusions about 1.3 billion people she’s never met. Instead she repeated the standard racism-mantra you’d expect from a self-proclaimed ‘activist’ and socialite who went to an all-boys school, had a ‘solidly middle-class upbringing’ and a ‘super successful’ mother who was head of PR for a financial company. And here’s me thinking Richard Pryor had a tough childhood.
But Munroe is just the latest in a long line of progressives who refuse to let their affluent backgrounds stop them telling poor people how much they benefit from racism. Indeed, it’s deliciously ironic that those who constantly talk about white privilege tend to have much more privilege than any white person I know.
Predictably, L’Oreal dispensed with Munroe’s services on the grounds that her words were ‘racist’, blissfully unaware that blacks are incapable of racism because of power and prejudice or something. This will be of comfort to the disabled white teenager from Chicago who was gagged, beaten and scalped by four black youths in January. But anyone who seriously thinks forcing a young man to drink from a toilet bowl while shouting ‘fuck white people’ is even remotely racist needs help. Newsflash: being kidnapped and tortured by someone doesn’t mean they have more power than you. You could ask Ross Parker and Kriss Donald if they hadn’t been kicked, stabbed and burnt to death by Asian men for being white. As Munroe put it: ‘All white people benefit from racism’. ALL.
As ever the best commentary was found on Twitter, probably because that’s where the ‘best’ people hang. The model was showered with praise by all manner of middle-class liberals who wouldn’t know real racism if it waved its Klan hood in their face and squirted balsamic glaze on their sandals.
But it wasn’t just about white progressives – People Of Colour also stuck two fingers up at the forces that silence them to show solidarity with Munroe. As ever, she was attacked by random Uncle Toms, much to the annoyance of her cheerleaders. Because nothing upsets progressives more than black people thinking for themselves and not doing as they’re bloody well told. But one African-American DID know the score – actress Kelechi Okafor – who delighted leftists with a series of tweets blacksplaining how there was nothing wrong with what Munroe said and anyone who thinks there is must be racist. Kapeesh?
‘If you’re enraged when you hear “all white people are racist” then you’re probably racist’ she wrote, brilliantly jettisoning Martin Luther King’s maxim about judging people by character rather than skin colour. What that makes black people who are also enraged when they hear “all white people are racist” isn’t clear but as I’ve already said, they don’t count.
Kelechi then lauded Munroe for ‘speaking honestly about the white supremacism that underpins our society’, condemned L’Oreal for ‘affirming the existence and power of white supremacy’, and challenged right-wingers to ‘tell me where Munroe lied?’. Needless to say, no answer was forthcoming as Munroe had covered her back by not so much lying about millions of people she’s never met as making huge generalisations about them based entirely on their pigmentation.
She ended her multi-post conversation with herself by asserting that society would be ‘trash’ until the day that ‘black people can speak openly about the racism they’re subjected to without being fired from jobs or killed’. Wisely, she neglected to provide any evidence that black people are routinely sacked or murdered for discussing racism. And she also ignored all the black people who discuss racism every day without losing their jobs or dying. Because nothing derails a spinning narrative like facts and evidence, though it’s no surprise that since penning those tweets Kelechi has been somewhat quiet on social media. Worryingly, the last time I looked she hadn’t tweeted for three hours. Hmm. Fingers crossed she’s currently in a dole queue rather than a morgue.
But one happy consequence of this grim affair was the way like-minded souls chimed in via Twitter, putting their careers and lives on the line to support a spoilt reality star and professional victim who believes in fighting racism with racism.
Many expressed solidarity with Munroe by re-tweeting an excerpt from an infamous Muhammad Ali interview with Michael Aspel in which the boxer compared white people to rattlesnakes and dismissed the ‘good’ rattlesnakes as a tiny minority. As one brave ally described it: ‘A timeless response to “not all white people are racist”. When the system is rotten, seeking solace in a few good apples is no solution’. Hear hear. Because as demonstrated by Munroe and Kelechi, the best way to learn about racism is by listening to a racist.
And not just any old racist but a beloved racist who won hearts and minds 40 years ago by joining the Nation Of Islam and promoting segregation, long before Black Lives Matter adapted his teachings and ditched the poetry for rousing anthems about murdering policeman. Even Channel 5 superstar Yasmin Alibhai-Brown re-tweeted the video and ‘timeless response’ comment, despite the fact that if someone referred to decent Muslims as ‘a few good apples’ she’d accuse them of racism before you could say ‘Osama Bin Laden deserves an Islamic burial’
Because like Ali, Yasmin exemplifies how racists are the best people to lecture the rest of us on racism. Because any idiot knows there is good and bad racism and Yasmin has a proud history of the former, almost as proud as prominent good racists David Lammy and Diane Abbott. From pondering on national television how great it would be if ‘white middle-class men just went away’ to boasting how she dislikes white people and wants them ‘to be a lost species in 100 years’, Yasmin has spent years fighting bad racism with good.
Indeed, her seminal 2009 column ‘Spare me the tears for the white working-class’ expanded her hatred to include people poorer than her, just in case any of her white middle-class media colleagues thought she meant them. Using her extensive knowledge of millions of people she neither knows nor understands, she castigated white working-class people as ‘stupid’, ‘vicious’ and ‘always wretched and complaining’, no faint praise from a stupid women who spends every wretched Wright Stuff appearance viciously complaining. Which explains why she loves to educate and patronise her Twitter followers by re-tweeting a racist anti-racist who disapproved of inter-racial relationships and believed white people were a race of devils invented by a mad scientist called Yakub.
Sadly, Yasmin aside, us modern leftists simply aren’t very good blowing our own trumpets. Our natural modesty and aversion to the limelight means we’re loathe to celebrate the frankly awesome things the left have given the world, such as the NHS, political correctness and gulags.
Compare this to the right, who never shut up about how great Brexit, capitalism and white supremacy are. Well, no more. Because the time has come to start shouting our successes from the rooftops. And there’s never been a better time than now, with the rise of Nazis, white nationalists and people who are neither but keep saying stuff we disagree with. Because despite the insidious cancer of the far-right growing more malignant every day, the truth is if it wasn’t for left there’d be…even more fascists.
Allow me to explain. In years gone by politically active people with a penchant for intolerance gravitated to the far-right: a natural fit, with its dark history of fascism and genocide. In other words a magnet for genetically perfect alpha males whose hatred of blacks, Jews and liberals is matched only by their love for home-cooking, animal porn and dancing around their basement in their mam’s knickers.
Nowadays, however, an exciting new development is happening as naturally unpleasant folk are flocking…to the left. And I don’t just mean the far-left: from staunch Remainers to Kool-Aid Corbynites and sabre-rattling MPs to celebrity crybabies, mainstream progressive circles are awash with hip young bigots who thirty years ago would have been shaving their heads and beating up Pakistani shop-keepers. And if there’s the occasional overlap – see how Naz Sha combines principled liberalism with far-right conspiracy nonsense – then even better. We need strength in numbers to eradicate white privilege and its evil twin, Western fascism. As the saying goes: ‘FOUR LEGS GOOD. TWO LEGS AND A GANG OF CUNTS IN SKI-MASKS BETTER’
So take a leaf out of Munroe Bergedorfs book, put that intolerance to good use and sign up to the #resistance today.
Because you’re worth it. Unless you’re white, in which case you’re not. You’re a racist.