Racism is an abhorrent concept that taints our species. I’ve read many an article recently, spawned by a debate born on the football pitch and then played out in the tabloid media, suggesting that we in this country are ahead of the game when it comes to dealing with the scourge of racism. It’s all misguided if you consider that presently if you’re in the UK and you’re black you’re 30 times more likely to be stopped by the police – a record which is the worst in the world, worse than South Africa’s. This figure has tripled in the last five years. Clearly the concept is nowhere near elimination in our society and yet the media continually pat our backs and tell us that we’re doing a whole lot better than the rest of the world in trying to combat it. Any backpatting is certainly premature, especially with slavery so prominent in Humanity’s rear view mirror.
I think the tabloid media fight a misguided fight when tackling the argument by continually considering the use of racist language. They perpetuate the belief that if you call someone a black prick (someone who is black) then this makes you a racist. My contention is that it doesn’t, in itself, make that person racist or constitute racism. In my youth I’m sure I was called a ginger prick on more than one occasion, largely because I was just that. I had ginger hair and I often acted like a prick. The insult often came on the football pitch but never did I consider the insult racist, and never were the comments described as racist. Similarly if a rather rotund kid on the opposition was the man dishing out the insult I’m sure I responded by calling him a fat prick. It highlights that most people are instinctively aware that when a slender white man with dark hair on a football pitch calls a rival a black, ginger or fat prick it’s not with a considered deep-held belief that being white with dark hair is superior to being black, ginger, or fat, it’s merely an instinctive way of referring to a rival in a derogatory manner.
A racist is defined as ‘a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others’ and using that definition genuinely racist people in this country may well be few and far between. Those that are genuinely racist would seem to either be complete cowards scared of people they’ve never even met (Nick Griffin), or they’re completely ignorant and suspicious of people they haven’t been exposed to (Your Nan). The hope as we move forward as a species is that evolution will provide people with a bigger set of balls and a bigger heart, and thus will take everyone they meet at face value, regardless of the colour of that face. The integration of more and more cultures will naturally help this process along, in which case the misguided influence of the media as above may well serve to hinder rather than help the process along.
All in all racism is a tricky subject, and one that poses more questions than answers. Why is picking on someone’s skin colour to refer to them by so much worse than referring to someone by their hair colour or weight? Are we saying skin is more precious than hair? If so then why is calling someone a black prick considered worse than calling them a bald prick? Maybe the best way to deal with it is to just look on the bright side, let our species evolve and hope that as it does racism will naturally be eliminated. Surely we’ll evolve to a place where people are aware that projecting hate towards someone, something, a whole race of people, means that you’ve consciously decided to spend a large proportion of your life feeling outraged and angry. As Frank Noon notes when dealing with Hubert, a man deemed a ‘racist hippie’, ‘you’ve made being a racist your passion, but surely a passion should be something that you enjoy doing, something that makes you feel good, not something that makes you feel embittered and resentful?’. Until that time if we find ourselves the target of racist language then lets just laugh about such things rather than getting offended, that’s also a conscious decision we can make. And if you want to racially abuse me then please call me a strawberry blonde prick as my hair colour has lightened considerably since my youth.
With such ignorance seemingly driving the ‘fight’ against racism it’s no surprise that in the year 2082 the issue of racism is still prevalent. The use of stereotyping, racisms sister concept, is something that drives the governments project on Planet Muta. People with personalities deemed a threat are shipped to Muta as part of an experimental project designed to ease the burden on an overpopulated Earth.
‘2082’ is out on March 11th, with free first chapter now online.