Racism vs “racism”: why Diane Abbott was right

I can imagine a world in which Diane Abbott’s tweet that “White people love playing ‘divide and rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism” would be racist. In this parallel universe Britain is dominated, politically and economically, by an unshakeable clique of black, working-class women and two black men have just been convicted, several years too late thanks to an institutionally racist black police force, of the murder of white teenager Stephen Lawrence. But in this world? Not really.

I don’t want to get into the ridiculous mob mechanics of Twitter outrage, which can be as bad on the left (witness pandagate) as it is on the right, except to note that the “gotcha” strategy is a surefire way to ensure that no politician ever expresses themselves on social media except in the bloodlessly inoffensive style of Ed Milibot’s feed. It seems we desperately want politicians to drop the platitudes and speak openly, except when they do, in which case they need to apologise and resign.

What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood. Any whiff of black-on-white racism, like misandry and heterophobia, is an excuse for these delicate souls to downplay the dominant prejudice and argue that there is a level playing field of bigotry or, on the crazier fringes, that there is a “war” on white people/men/straight people/motorists, etc. Coming so soon after the Lawrence verdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.

Predictably Abbott has felt compelled to delete the tweet, though not the rest of the conversation which produced it. But apart from the careless oversimplification — she should have said “white people in power” or “certain white people” — she was right. In her initial qualified apology she clarified that she was referring to 19th century colonialism when, to take just one example, the Belgians colonising modern-day Rwanda strategically favoured the Tutsis over the Hutus and sowed the seeds of attempted genocide a century later. But you don’t need to go back that far. The US government’s efforts to disrupt the civil rights and Black Power movements are a textbook example of divide-and-rule. It is what dominant powers do. To read her tweet as an indictment of every single white person in the world requires either paranoia or malice. Most of all it means denying that power matters.

One common response was “Imagine if a white person had said something like this.” Well we’re back in the parallel universe. “If this was a white MP saying black people like dividing white people they’d be out in five minutes,” claimed the opportunistically quick-on-his-feet Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi. It would also make no sense whatsoever, because such a thing doesn’t happen in the real world. The meaning of a comment depends on the power dynamic that underpins it. If a black comedian makes a joke about white people, or a gay comedian about straight people, the audience knows that (a) they don’t mean everybody and (b) they are coming from an underdog position. They are punching up instead of down.

When I was a teenager getting into hip hop in the late 80s and early 90s, I came up against the Nation of Islam’s fruity theory (nothing to with mainstream Islamic teaching by the way) that white people are all “devils” created millennia ago by the renegade black eugenicist Yakub. It is, strictly speaking, racist in that it insisted on one race’s superiority over another. It’s also nuts, and if Diane Abbott came up with anything like that then she’d be looking for a new job. But it had zero bearing on the way America actually worked. It was a fantasy of empowerment embraced by some inner-city black people who had very little power in their everyday lives. It wasn’t cheering stuff for a lefty liberal like me but it bore no comparison to actual, systemic white-on-black racism. There was no equivalency.

That’s an extreme example. Abbott’s comment is both reasonable and historically accurate. One group that her oversimplification did ignore, unfortunately, is the large number of white working-class people who are at the bottom of the social heap and don’t have the power to divide and rule anything. But they’re not the people falling over themselves to express their outrage. Well-positioned commentators like Guido Fawkes and Toby Young are, and they are deliberately misinterpreting her comment in order to score political points, with the (hopefully inadvertent) by-product of fostering racial tension among those who will only encounter it second- or third-hand. Because when a white person gets a chance to brand a black person racist, especially in the wake of the Lawrence verdict, they give themselves permission to pretend that privilege and power and the kind of deep-seated racism that ruins people’s lives are things that don’t exist anymore.

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486 Comments

  1. The ruling class play divide and rule be it with Muslims used as bogeymen, Polish workers used as scapegoats for a failed economy, Irish workers, asylum seekers and refugees and … you get the idea. I would not attack Diane Abbott for what she said but it is an example of a member of the ruling class losing sight of how the rest of us are existing and forgetting what little power we all have over our own lives let alone anyone else’s.

    • So if she was refering to the ruling class, why include the word ‘white’ ???

      • Why not? Why should she shy away from who it is? I don’t anyone hesitating from labelling ethnic minorities ever.

      • Because the ruling class is white – doh!

    • she should apologize for NOTHING .. it’s true .. it’s a tactic used by governments especially, all over the world to keep the people under control. nothing new about it, anyone out there who won’t admit to this has either been asleep or has another motive. yes it is a white man tactic.

      • Its also true that you are more likely to be mugged by a black man as opposed to a white man, but quite rightly today delicate people can’t handle this.

        Is it fir to say ALL black men or some black men or leave the colour out altogether?

        Can’t have it both ways!

        And by the way I am of mixed race

      • You just said ‘used by governments all over the world’ correct, then ‘it is a white man tactic’ contradicts that completely. Black, Brown, Yellow, White, it doesn’t matter what the colour of the people, the governments are all corrupt, power corrupts… bla bla. Governments divide and conquer any poor of any colour to keep the power. Try living in China, this shtiohle divides rich and poor better than any white peeps ever did. Here its the colour of money not skin that separates, greed is good, keeping the poor ignorant worker/peasant happy is increasingly difficult as the fwit rich arrogantly flaunt their riches in front of their billion+ poorer comrades !!! We have only ourselves to blame, they copy everything the west has done, even the racism. They are so racist here, being white is really very very all right in China, and the poor Africans are looked upon as savages by these savages who can’t understand people in glass houses shouldn’t…. ! Nice Sat mornin rant, thanks !

    • “The ruling class play divide and rule be it with Muslims used as bogeymen, Polish workers used as scapegoats for a failed economy, Irish workers, asylum seekers and refugees and … you get the idea. I would not attack Diane Abbott for what she said but it is an example of a member of the ruling class losing sight of how the rest of us are existing and forgetting what little power we all have over our own lives let alone anyone else’s.”

      Spot on. As a consequence she is probably helping to sustain an environment in which divide and rule can flourish. When you live in a white working class area with that lack of power being accused by A prominent black member of parliament with a damn site more power and influence than you of dividing and ruling it makes giving into the myriad of racist influences on your life that little bit easier.

    • we are not talking about working class woman you could hear morming rasist comments in a morning bus ,but about woman with a power,in goverment and so any behavior like that shouldnt be accepted.just to use words ‘white people’ just wrong.remember other cases,when white politican or somebody in higher position use a word ‘black’?
      and there is also another reports she behaving racialy against white people for longer time.time for her to resigh and bye bye

    • Her comment is racist. Not the first time she has been caught out. Anyone remember her response to the accusation of hypocrisy when she sent her son to private school? She said black mothers cared for their children more than white mothers. Why is Diane abbot racist? She constantly adds the tag WHITE to her attacks. If a white MP had done this there would be national outrage and she would be sacked. Personally i dont see colour just people. Should not Ms abbot do the same?!

      • Quite right. It is also intolerable to have an MP whose judgement is impaired by events 200 years ago. The woman needs to go now. Really, really awful woman.

      • She never even said that, the actual quote is “West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children”, sure it’s racist to claim ‘West Indian’ and ‘Black’ are synonyms, also she never said white parents care any less for their children, it’s not really fair to compare one sentence to hundreds of years of slavery and discrimination.
        People constantly moan about lazy Polish workers etc and no one batters an eyelid, one person says something positive about West Indian mothers and it’s considered ‘racism’

      • I agree with Jason brown. Please get your facts right,she never said anything about white mothers. Check YouTube if you do not believe us. They made an inference that she meant white mothers will not do anything for her child. When all she said Is west Indian mothers will go to the wall for their children. West Indian does not constitute all black mothers.

      • this woman clearly is a racist.. with a chip on her shoulder over colonialism, last time i checked any mother of any colour or creed would ” go to the wall for their children” because thats what parents do. Do people really think the inhabitants of this great country cant see the cynical attemps of a racist to further tar others with the label of her crimes with the intention of securing more power for herself and that of her equally racist friends by using the only thing she knows how to wield ? the indoctrinated ideals given to her as a child of racists.

  2. I’m an unemployed white man and have no power to divide and rule over anyone, yet Ms. Abbott, being an MP, has a degree of power over me. If her decisions are influenced by the fact that she believes she is powerless, yet millions of white people have absolute power over black people ….then she’s not an appropriate person to have the job of an MP.

    Maybe she should even be prosecuted for incitement.

    • You have failed to realize, in your Whiteness, that this is not about you. It’s obvious to most people with a brain that the majority (White people) have systematically and intentionally put down the minority (PoC). Your employment history is irrelevant.

      • Clearly racism plus power is likely to be a worse thing than racism without power, but that still doesn’t make the latter acceptable.

        Surely the point here is more that Dianne Abbot does actually have power, so arguments that lack of power make racism acceptable are clearly not relevant in this case anyway.

      • Of course it’s about me. She wrote ‘white people’ not ‘some white people’ or ‘powerful white people’ – therefore she is meaning ALL WHITE PEOPLE. My employment status is relevant because it means I have no power…I do not participate in a process that makes decisions which apply to other people…I am powerless…unlike Ms. Abbott.

        One hundred and fifty years ago my ancestors were digging for coal in a hole in the ground. Because they were free, they were expendable, and as soon as they could no longer work they were abandoned to the workhouse – in many ways a fate far worse than slavery.

        Ms. Abbott’s ancestors; yes they were slaves, but they were working in far better conditions than mine were…and because they were the property of the slavemaster, he would at least look after them; because if he needed to replace them it would cost him money. My ancestors cost the mine owners absolutely nothing and so were discarded..

        Because I’m white, and indigenous, there is no organisation, or specific legislation or funding that I can use to help me.

      • The majority, have not systematically put people down, that’s not how the world works, 90% of the british population is not a part of a grand scheme to put down ethnic minorities. DOn’t get me wrong, racism is intolerable, from whoever or wherever it comes from. All this comment by diane abbot has done is divide people even more down race lines. Generalizing a people with an entire remark is foolish, this is the issue with ‘society’, it creates a world where the individual is forgotten in disgusting semantics of race and faceless communities.

      • reply to yukihyo above, (in your whiteness) racist! what if i said to someone (in your blackness!) would not and never will! idiotic comment. If u follow history all races r guilty, more so against their own race and kind. Look at Zimbabwe and many African countries that the governing regime lets starve! Moreover if u look back through history it was black people from certain African countries that were selling their own people as slaves to the West and the East. Is it not time to dispense with labelling attributes to people regarding colour and just see them as people? some r good some r bad.

      • Take a look at Zimbabwe, Iraq and Libya to name but a few- colour has nothing to do with “divide and rule” you bigoted moron. And on the subject of bigots and morons, it’s about time the hypocrtical Abbott did the right thing and resign.

    • No.

      Even if you’re poor – as in dirt, dirt poor/maybe even homeless – you still have white privilege. Not having one privilege (class privilege) doesn’t mean you can’t have another one or a couple (male, white).

      But just you keep looking for things to feel oppressed about. God knows nothing will stop you.

      • These replies are needlessly callous- why the need to revenge yourselves on people with differing opinions- Lee is not Toby Young.

        In individual terms ‘privilege’ can mean nothing, power activates it.

      • So, therefore, black males ought to shut up about the discrimination that they are subject to because they still reap the benefits of gender privilage? Presumably, only the mentally and physically disabled, working class, black, muslim, lesbian woman lacks any sort of group privilage and thus is free to complain?

      • D, what a disgusting and inhumane comment. God help you.

      • Your priviledges can suck my white, middle-class cock. Piss off. Just because you can have a priviledge by being born into something, doesn’t mean you automatically do.

      • I’m obviously aware that there is still white privilege that I benefit from, however, that does not change the fact that yesterday Diane made me feel like a prick just coz of the colour of my skin. I was made to feel like a prick, just because I am white. That’s not really acceptable behaviour for an aspiring post-racial society.

      • Ever been homeless, I have, believe me there are NO privileges when you are hungry, cold and with no shelter and everyone looks at you like you are scum.

    • if there will be other reports of her behaviour,she should be prosecuted ,of course.
      it is illegal and not acceptable.simple as that.

  3. There is undoubtedly a lot of racism in society and much of it white against black and also institutional. However it is wrong to brand all white people as divisive racists and it plays into the hands of extreme elements.

    Stephen Lawrence’s killing was an appalling crime but to suggest that the criticism of Diane Abbott means her foolish statement is being held up as equivalent is ridiculous.

    I don’t personally think she is a racist but her comment was. We all have prejudices about things and the best thing to do when they come out unintentionally is to recognise them and deal with them. At least to ourselves if not publicly.

    Dianne should accept that her statement was wrong and move on. I can’t see how it has been misinterpreted. She was talking about the 21st not thye 19th century and she was drawing a conclusion that white people today are still like some of them were in the 19th century.

    • I agree with much of what u r saying. However please read my above statement. Diane Abbot consistently labels certain bad behaviour as WHITE. Therein is the crux. reverse it and add black to her comments. There would be national outrage and rightly so. Diane Abbot is a thick hypocrite, (look at her history re her sons schooling). That is my main problem with her.

    • I was about to lose the will to live until I read your comment… very well put.

      I agree her comment was racist and needs to be dealt with. My concern is the consequences… we live in a society of some extremism and such comments can add ‘fuel to the fire’.

      I’m disappointed that Dianne, an individual in a position of power and influence, has in my opinion abused it. I have no interest in whether the comments are racist towards black or white people. Any racist comment at all shouldn’t be considered acceptable.

  4. Congratulations to the writer of this piece. It is thoughtful, intelligent and realistic.

  5. Agree with much of what you’ve said, especially at the end here, but I just expect a bit better from her really and I’m a lifelong anti-fascist.

    • Define “better.”

  6. Bang on. Couldn’t have outlined things any better.

  7. Very good response – best I’ve read so far.
    and…
    Pity that Ed Milliband didn’t read this before ringing her during her live Sky interview – making her look weaker and him one spin doctor short of a set, plonker

  8. Very well said. This entire episode has been illuminating.

  9. Only whites can be racist then?

    If it was really meant to be in the context of 19th Century imperialism why not say “Whites loved” or “some whites loved”? She had 34 other characters to use!

    Let’s put it this way, if a white MP said “blacks love breaking the law” you would call him a racist.

    This just gets added to Abbotts list of racist remarks.

    “Blonde blue-eyed Finish girls should not be nurses as they have never met black people”

    “If you are a black Tory you do not get being black”

    “Protect black people from job cuts”

    “West Indian mothers go to the wall for their children”

    • Finnish thing: that is not what she said.

      West Indian mothers thing: I am not West Indian, but if I had said ” Italian mothers go to the wall for their children” would that be racist, or just being proud of being Italian?

      Job cuts: don’t know the quote, but I should think a black woman pointing out the specific problem that black people face is not exactly unreasonable.

      Tory thing: again, having an opinion on being black is, i think reasonable.

      • Yes, but as an MP, her responsibility is not only to black people… Would she be equally as concerned with the extremely high unemployment rates of the -mainly white- north east??

        It is quite apparent Diane doesn’t see black and white people as equals…
        Perhaps she needs to read Owen Jones’ book “CHAVS” to understand that the working class also have a plight. An Irish white starved by the potato blight has little in common with an English aristocratic one… The descendants of both continue to live either side of that gulf.

        A new Britain doesn’t need the like of her.

      • Nicely put. Anon comment is clearly clutching at straws. I doubt he/she truly understands what racism is.

      • You are right about the West Indian Mother quote. She said:

        “A West Indian Mother will got to the wall for her kids”

        The interviewer then said:

        “So a white mother for example wouldn’t?”

        Abbott:

        “I’ve said all I am going to say on this matter”.

    • Anon doesnt want their identity revealed. Is it because they dont want anyone to link the ignorance of their comment to their self?

      Are you a person of black origins who has been to Finland? I guess not because when I went with college, I was shocked by the rascism I encountered from many Finns.

      Also as black person who grew up in a mainly black area, I have never met a black person who votes Tory who isn’t an African or was adopted by non blacks.

      Lastly, saying black people should protected from cuts or WI mothers go to the wall for their kids is not rascist. However saying white people should NOT be protected from cut or that white mothers DONT go to the wall thelr kids is rascist

    • Yes, only white people can be racist. Racism is power + prejudice. All -isms are power + privilege. White people are the group with power in this whole debacle, even if the reaction is 99% white people pretending they’re victims.

      Why is it so hard for white people to understand the massive difference? There’s a power dynamic, fgs.

      • Power dynamic?
        I bet Lithuanian or Polish worker who comes here for badly paid job, lives outside the benefit system and doesn’t speak the language here is somewhat down the pecking order from say, Caribbean folk born and raised here. The dynamic is much more complicated than just skin colour issue.

      • I suggest you go read the English Dictionary.

        “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”

        Racism is not about power, it is about holding prejudice against a group of people. Any people. It has nothing to do with who holds the power.

        Tell me, Obama is the most powerful man in the world, are attacks on him, like the famous, “he isn’t American, he was born in Kenya”, racist or not?

      • See this is EXACTLY where the problem lies, black people are just as racist white people. But because traditionally the prejudice is that white people were racist for many centuries during the slavery period that we are of course still racists today. That is not the case. I have many black friends- am I racist to them? no. But do other black youths use racism against me in my college or pull out the race card? Of course they do, because they know that there is an instant protection for them in modern society- and these days its a petty excuse and there is a high level of hypocrisy involved in that. Just because you’re black doesn’t mean you can’t be racist. How naive of you.

      • In reply to Lucilla: If a white foreigner comes to this country, it is true that they have to start at the bottom but I have seen it first hand that they do not stay down there for long. All of the eastern europeans who have started work her have been promoted within a year or so whereas very few blacks get promoted (they have to allow the token black otherwise it would be blatantly obvious).. Most of the lower jobs where I work are either performed by black people who were brought up in this country or white foreigners who have come into the country recently. That is racism in action in 2012.

    • “Only whites can be racist then?”

      Yes, if you take racism to be the particular combination of both privilege and bigotry which gave rise to systematic oppression. The distinction between bigotry and racism is one I find useful.

      • That’s not how it is defined in the English Dictionary, and if you are not going to use definitions of the dictionary all words are worthless.

        OED definition: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”

    • Nonsense! See them coming out of the woodwork with ridiculous ignorant analogies. Black people love breaking the law is not fact. Divide and rule in context? Fact.truth remains white people would’nt recognise racism in Britain if it bit them in the bum. this is Britain not Zimbabwe or South Africa(although whites control economic power in SA). Get a life, get real and if you’ve got any conscience, realise context and work for a just fair society with less discrimination/racism. Removing Dianne defeats the whole furrore

      • Did every white man divide and rule africa though? No, it was a privileged elite who did. This was at a time when most of the poor white children in Britain were working in factories that are akin to modern sweatshops. Even if you accept that the comment was within the context she said it was, which the other person has disputed, not all “whites love to play ‘divide and rule'”, just like not all “blacks love crime”. Some ‘blacks’ might love crime, those conducting criminal activities, but some ‘whites’ also love crime. Just like not all ‘whites’ love playing ‘divide and rule’, but some blacks also love playing ‘divide and rule’, Lee Jasper and Robert Mugabe are fine examples of that.

  10. Excellent post. One point – you wrote ‘Tutus’ rather than ‘Tutsis’ in the bit about Rwanda.

  11. Nonsensical garbage. Racism is OK if it provokes the admittedly pathetic outrage from the privilaged apparently.

    It’s an obviously racist comment. It might have been a more nuanced and less malicious tweet than she intended, and yes, the idiots have blown it up. But she should have retracted it, apologized for offence caused and moved on.

    • She has retratcted it an apologised. What are you walking about?!?

      • As far as I can see, she hasn’t retracted, and has apologised “for the offence caused”, not for the remark itself. That’s a bit like saying “What I said was fine, but I’m sorry it caused you offence”. Could you please link to where she’s retracted the statement?

        (For the record, while I think the remark can be interpreted as racist, I don’t think that was Dianne’s intention and I certainly don’t think she *is* racist generally. It was, however, the kind of remark that shouldn’t be made.)

    • First of all, who are you and why should she apologize to you? You don’t see any White people apologizing for the shit they do to EVERYONE ELSE. You don’t see anyone apologizing for telling Black people they couldn’t go to school because they were wide nosed, nappy headed n*ggers do you? We got over it, so you get over her.

      • Fucking THANK YOU.
        White folks get their undies in a twist when someone says shit about them, yet they deem we non-whites to be “too PC”, “whining too much”, or “playing the race card” when we talk about our issues. Make up your goddamn minds. This whole debacle is making me sick to my stomach.

      • ^ That’s quite incredible. And more than a little ridiculous.

        I have never apologised to black people because I personally have never – to my knowledge – done anything wrong to them as a whole, or any particular black person.
        I’m not a racist, and I don’t condone racist behaviour. But I do wonder how long I will have to be spoken to like that because of the actions and behaviour of a whole bunch of people I’ve never met…

      • “You “got over it”! Ha! How very funny of you.

        No, you don’t see white people saying sorry for shit in the past which went on before they born and rightly so. She should apologize because this is the here and now and she has offended many people in the here and now, what is it about all that you don’t quite seem able to grasp?

        But bravo on the almost 200 years later “we got over it” comment. That’s the biggest laugh I’ve had so far all week you muppet.

      • It doesn’t sound like you got over it.

      • What has Dianne Abbot done wrong? apart from stating what we all already know is true. Stop trying to cover up. She has apologised only to keep the peace and probably her job but the truth still stands. All over the world ppl know how white ppl go on. Yeah I said it! The world is in deep trouble cos of white ppl. Maybe NOT ALL but certainly MAJORITY of white ppl share an idea that is sickening and is crippling the world.
        When slavery ended the slave owners were rather compensated for the loss of stock… Black ppl who are descendants of slaves have been playing catch-up since and who wants to apologise for that CRUEL, RACIST, UNFAIR, not to mention EVIL legacy? Bun dem!!! Lloyds TSB, Barclays, Tate & Lyle and many many more companies still running today survived using proceeds from slavery and Black ppl still suffer, even without an apology.
        Your thinking is sickening if you even try to defend this…EVIL PEOPLE!!!

      • Actually, shouldn’t she apologise to black and white people??? Hasn’t her comment (ironically) caused further divide??

      • Yukihyo7, who do you mean when you say “we”got over it”.
        Yeah you clearly did, you dont have a chip on your shoulder at all mate.

  12. Quite agree about the underdogs punching up, and the parallel universes. What I object to is that using ‘white’ in that general way deprives it of all meaning, as you point out with your white working- class example. It seems to me she is guilty of intellectual laziness rather than the bigotry of which she is being accused.

    • How can you agree with the underdogs “punching up”?? I was almost enjoying this article until that point.

      The writer is seemingly accepting and referencing that straight people are ‘above’ gay people and white people are ‘above’ black people. That is the only way I can see this comment justified and I think it lessens his argument enormously.

      I feel that this view is where racism/sexism comes from, if you choose to make a point of people being different from one another, there is no way we will be able to see/treat each other as equals.

      • “The writer is seemingly accepting and referencing that straight people are ‘above’ gay people and white people are ‘above’ black people. That is the only way I can see this comment justified and I think it lessens his argument enormously.”

        That is how people are socialized. In this society, that’s the hierarchy. Noticing it doesn’t make the OP ignorant, nor does it take away from the argument. At least not to anyone who is capable of taking an argument at face value instead of looking for reasons to dismiss it without thinking.

  13. I’m sorry are you saying it’s ok to be racist to caucasians because they’re ‘privileged people’? which in itself is clearly utterly incorrect and again a huge generalisation

    It’s sickening that you believe racism can only occur against a minority group, I have observed it in so many guises personally.

    I find it even more sickening that you think using the historical actions of others to ratify racism today is acceptable.

    • You’ve observed 500 years of slavery, exploitation and oppression of white people at the hands of black people. Pray tell where exactly?!?

      • I’ve certainly seen 500 years of exploitation and oppression of working class people by upper class people. A lot of those working class people happened to be white. In what way are those oppressed white people guilty of “divide and rule”?

      • What about the Barbary pirates and Arab slave trade during the caliphate?

        The position you take that suggests that only black people have ever suffered at the hands of slave masters is ridiculous and historically ignorant. Not only that, it’s masochistic too. Why? Because by effectively saying that only white people can be racist, that derogatory remarks against the entire white race are fair game, you play directly into the hands of groups such as the EDL and BNP

      • For many white ethnic groups and nationals, such as mine, only thing we had to do with slavery was that we were raided as slaves during the great 17th and 18th Century wars. There was a whole slave market system, much older than trans-atlantic in the East, from Russia to Middle East and Caucasia.

        Racism is simply this: belief that some ethnic groups were beneath others because of biological differences and treating them accordingly. You can be racist to any ethnic group and representative of any ethnic group can be racist. That power theory is just a theory, like racism is just bad science.

      • http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/whtslav.htm

        Ask and you shall receive.

    • The fact that it has caused such a stir actually proves her right! I’m no fan of Diane Abbott but to persecute her for telling the TRUTH???
      Here’s another fact for you to digest. The definition of racism is a race that seeks to subjugate, dominate another and hold total power over another. In the entire history of the planet, no African or descendant of Africa has EVER attempted this. Yes, we can be prejudiced but racist is not in our dna. period.
      The only thing Diane Abbot did wrong was to apologise. She should have stuck to her guns & challenged her opponents to PROVE her wrong.

      • The irony in this post is outstanding. Claiming you aren’t racist because your DNA is genetically superior. Genius. I admire your wit…it was a joke right?

      • Divide and rule is a White thing. Dividing Africa up in a way that will ensure that there is constant conflict so they can reap the benefits. The evil men sat in Germany and planned this. Divide and Rule has been used over the years and is still being used now. Dianne Abbot said nothing wrong AT ALL. just stating the obvious. Who’s scared of the truth? Your big words and concepts don’t help the situation, it actually compounds it. Let’s just break it down into GOOD and EVIL…LOL…If you’re ready to enjoy a lifestyle at the expense of others, then u should also accept responsibility. The world will be a better place if the majority white ruling class change their ideas, way of life, policies and EVIL ways…but will it happen? no because life’s too good. I can’t believe they sent missionaries to Africa when the most atheists exist right over there in Europe.

        Who saw the footage of Stephen Lawrence’s murderers talking about what they would do to black people? How does that make you feel? What did Black people ever do to them? it’s not over power or respect (not that it’d be justified) but it’s of an in-built hatred they have for black people. simply EVIL!!! My experience in this world has taught me to be cautious of…. !! My ancestors would have died in vain if I ever do !! God help us !!

      • I think you need to check your history books, the fact that you believe no African country has done this is absurd. You only need to look at the origins of most civil wars and you will find racism against opposing tribes. Divide and rule is a tool used by the ruling party, it is not a tactic used just by whites. I think that is where Diane made a huge mistake. Whilst also doing exactly what she told the journalist not to do.

    • lol poor oppressed white people smh

      • @H T. Read my statement again carefully. I specifically said one RACE seeking to subjugate & dominate another. By definition a civil war is between people of the same country, therefore by extension, RACE. An ethnic/religious/political group is not the same as RACE.

      • After all the furore over Diane Abbott speaking the TRUTH, how many complaints do you think or column inches do you think this interview with Noel Gallagher will generate?? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00n1j1z

  14. Absolute shit.

  15. Excellent piece, well done.

  16. Great blog Dorian.

    Being sympathetic to DA (and you) I’d say that what she meant was ‘the white ruling class’ rather than ‘white people.’ Understood that way, her comment was perfectly sound.

    To be less charitable for a moment, I do wonder if her choice of words might reveal a quite deep-seated prejudice or opinion which holds that “white people” and “the white ruling class” are basically synonymous. I’m sure she knows rationally it’s not true, but she does have a bad habit of spouting kneejerk generalisations when her guard is down.

    Yes, storm in a twitter-cup. Yes, hideously exploited by those seeking a diversion. But yes, what she said was pretty daft and careless.

    • Greatly balanced reply to a sublimely thoughtful commentary on this “storm in a twitter-cup”.

    • Are we not now in a position to just drop the “white” altogether and just say “ruling class”? Let’s not forget the most powerful man in the world is black.

      • He’s half black, thanks.

  17. What utter tosh. So there aren’t now, nor have ever been, any non-white rulers playing “divide and rule”? Even her pretence of a reference to 19th century colonialism doesn’t support her comment.

    She should simply admit she got it wrong.

  18. Twitter get’s itself into an almighty tizzy (if orwell recast 1984 to 2012 the 2 minutes of hate would be conducted on twitter) and what gets missed was not the alleged racism of her sweeping comments about white people, but her casual way with the journalist who was arguing that there wasn’t enough diversity amongst the representatives of the black community and in her words which black community is being referred to. That should be the real debate.

    • Its incredible this very point has been over looked.

  19. Think the tribal people in Rwanda are called Tutsis, not Tutus.

    In truth politicians, monarchs and dictators of all skin colours `divide and rule,’ and have done so successfully since Roman times, probably ever since human beings developed settled civilisations of any type.

    Cherry-picking the colonial empire building by European states of the 15th to 20th centuries as being intrinsically `worse’ than other forms of murder, enslavement and prejudice shows a poor grasp of history. But as you say, Abbott is at least refreshing in her frank opinions.

    In this regard she is to be admired, not reviled. Politics is largely dull now because politicians are stupefyingly bland and parrot cliches.
    AW

    • I think you’re spot on here. Although I’d disagree that she should be admired. She’s clearly a numpty. I’d happily admire a politician that gave thoughtful, insightful, intelligent comments that caused outrage, but this is just her airing an ignorant, ill-informed prejudices and that is not admirable in any way.

  20. Couldn’t agree more, and very well put.

    (I believe you have a typo in the word ‘Tutsi’).

  21. Thanks, very well-expressed.

  22. I disagree. Racism isn’t about “insisting on one race’s superiority over another” but rather a prejudice based on race – or in this case colour of skin. By stating that all white people love to ‘divide and rule’ Diane Abbott is displaying exactly the kind of race based stereotyping that we collectively should be looking to eradicate.

    • yes, but until we have a level playing field where white people and black people ARE equal that is never going to happen. I find it offensive that you can equate 500 years of slavery and oppression to one post on Twitter!!!

      • The fact that you can accuse someone of “equat[ing] 500 years of slavery and oppression to one post on Twitter” when that’s quite clearly not what they’re saying indicates to me that you’re really not interested in a rational discussion about this, Paul. Which is fair enough, it’s your blog.

      • I don’t think that I even came close to equating 500 years of slavery to one post on twitter.

        I agree entirely that the level playing field is exactly what we should be working towards. I accept that this is often not the case on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientaions but do not believe that comments like Diane Abbott’s help us move to that goal.

  23. Diane is RIGHT. What she said might not be politically correct,but since colonial times,white people have dominated black people by divide and rule policies.

    • a) No I don’t
      b) Since before colonial times non-whites have also done it.

      • If you can find one example of me, personally, doing this, then I am happy to accept you generalising this behaviour to all “white people”.

      • you enjoy the benefits of such actions and actually do nothing to stop it, you enjoy living your lifestyle don’t you? but you don’t understand that someone somewhere else in the world suffers for it… which is why you are in the mix.

  24. I’m confused by the idea that her contention is reasonable based on 200 year old history… By that reasoning Germans are all nazis?

    But then maybe this wouldn’t have been jumped on in the rather hysterical way this blog would like to portray if the left didn’t have a history of this sort of thing, most recently demonstrated by the absurd response to Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘gaffe’.

    Interestingly, the difference here is that Diane was rightly ridiculed, with mostly good-natured humour, and with a modicum of faux outrage which was gone by lunchtime. No spittal-flecked outrage, co-ordinated complaints to the BBC etc..

    Of course the usual po-faced suspects from the left tweeted and re-tweeted in her defence spouting self-serving drivel as contained in the last two pars of this blog.

    But by the definition of the age, what she said was racist. And Diane has been down this road before. Like Clarkson, it’s what she does. And like Clarkson, she apologised quickly and moved on. I hope she keeps all her jobs in the public sector. Those school fees won’t pay themselves after all.

    But unlike with Clarkson, there weren’t absurd extremists trying to stoke the fire for political ends or Ed Miliband getting the tone completely wrong. Or Unison consulting its bloody lawyers.

    • Not sure how you can compare a consistent timeline of slavery and oppression spanning a time line of 500 years with a decade of National Socialist rule in Germany.

      You fail to see the bigger picture of the basic fact that we still live in a grossly unequal society controlled by white people. You don’t put a bantum weight boxer in a ring with a heavy weight for a reason.

      • The fact is, White people aren’t accountable for what our Ancestors did. It came to an end over 200 years ago and I think 99.9% of White people completely disagree with enslaving ANYONE, not just Black People.
        I think the 500 years of Slavery and Oppression is an over-used argument blaming the current population of White people for past transgressions and instead of being used against us to make us feel bad for something we had no part in, should be remembered for what it was, a terrible crime against whoever the victims were -Black, White, Asian or other.
        What she said was a massive generalisation and that’s that, move on.
        I firmly believe that Racism is Racism whether its White on Black or Black on White. It does not matter who the Majority is, racist hate is very real, and it goes both ways and I’m not sure how there can be an argument based on who the more “powerful” race is?
        Oh, and I’m not completely sure I agree that Black people and White people are on opposite ends of the scale in terms of Hierarchy. As has already been pointed out a Black Man is in charge of the (arguably) most powerful country in the world.

        And this is just my opinion so don’t go getting yourself worked up about it, we’re all entitled to one.

      • true true

  25. Right on,Diane.Right on.

  26. So black people can’t be racist because they are a minority (in this country) and have suffered racist attacks in the past? What a crock of sh*t, any one can be racist and to imply only white people can is racist in itself.

    And your theory about the media reporting it in an attempt to balance up the race stories for a week in bonkers. You may as well claim news reports from hot countries when it’s snowing here are being done to weigh up the weather coverage balance.

    • Do you even know the difference between racism and prejudice? I don’t think you do.

      • “racism (uncountable)

        The belief that each race has distinct and intrinsic attributes.
        The belief that one race is superior to all others.
        Prejudice or discrimination based upon race.”

        Read a fucking dictionary for once.

  27. Hi Dorian,

    Thanks very much for your piece, I enjoyed reading it. However, I think the root of the problem (and why I disagree with you) comes from your definition of racism. You state that racism is the belief in “one race’s superiority over another”. However, I think that racism is, instead, the labelling and defining of people based on race. The use of any language that groups all white or black people into one group is defining the group based on their race. So for Diane Abbott to say “White People love…” is automatically stating that all white people behave in the same way. Racism is the act of defining someone by race rather than individual identity. This is a far more prevalent form of racism than the belief in the superiority of one race over another.

    It is this issue that those who object to Diane Abbott’s comments are appalled by. I would venture to say that I would be as appalled if Diane Abbott were white or black and made the same comment. Personally, as the citizen of a democratic state, I believe I have the right not to be labelled as white, black, man, woman, gay or straight, but rather as an individual. Those who define me based on any demographic slice are bigotted, regardless of the context or nature of their definition.

    I agree with some of your piece, particularly the nature of the mob mentality on Twitter. However, I do not feel that the murder or Stephen Lawrence should in any way guide my reaction to Diane Abbott’s comments. I do not feel any affiliation to the murderers of Stephen Lawrence, and I would hope that you do not either. So to link the two together to show that ‘white people’ should count their blessings that they are in the majority is pretty insulting to both the family of Stephen Lawrence, and ‘white people’, whom you tacitly portray as the perpetrators of the murder (as well as the bungling police force etc.).

    I hope that my reply hasn’t been to long or rambling, and I once again thank you for your writing on the subject. I just wanted to state why I personally believe that Diane Abbott’s comments were racist, and to hopefully contribute more generally to the discussion.

    I look forward to hearing your reply, or of anyone else who cares to jump in.

    Andy

    P.S. Just to clarify, I don’t think that Diane Abbott should resign, nor be forced to apologise, as I think it is important that everyone have the right to say what they think. I just think that people have the right to rebut her comments, and people to rebut those (as this article does), and people to rebut that (as I hope I have done) and so on.

    • She shouldn’t have needed to be forced to apologise, if it was a genuine mistake she would have wanted to.

    • well said!!!!!

  28. It’s quite reasonable to argue that racism is actually part of a tribal fear of difference. Mixing it up with “power” (a difficult term to define as you will find…. eventually) seems like an excuse to say racism only works one way. This argument only holds if everyone uses your definition of the word ‘racism’, which they patently don’t.

    Even if they did, there’s the question of whether such a remark is acceptable without the power relationship. Don’t call it ‘racism’ in that case, call it something else – and I note the definition of racism gets changed a lot to suit certain people – but is it acceptable behaviour? You don’t address this.

    I’m also surprised you blame Guido etc for any tension caused by this episode. If no one said anything and she and others carry on making remarks of this kind (she has form, as do others) Of COURSE there will be tensions. This way at least it’s out in the open. You can’t blame them and not blame her with the same logic…

    Do you believe only white people are capable of “divide and rule”?

    Do you think that because of the relative success of the west in history, white people without power (most of us) should have to listen to this seemingly hypocritical insult?

  29. that is the stupidest article i have ever read

    • Oh? I think it likely you read far stupider ones all the time and think they’re ‘telling it like it is’.

    • So probably your first article then.

  30. A disgusting piece of writing. I happen to think Abbot’s comments are stupid, bordering on racist, ill-conceived but I’m willing to put it down as a gaffe and move on as long as there’s no repeat. I don’t think Abbot is racist in any way (having seen her on This Week), but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been racist on this one occassion.

    Nor do I agree with Guido Fawkes, or the politics of right-wing blogs for the most part.

    But your paranoid motive hunting (how dare a white person be offended by racism, that’s our domain!!) is actually sick and far more offensice than anyhting Abbot has said or is likely to say:

    “Coming so soon after the Lawrence verdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.”

    I hope you don’t really believe this. If you think tha’s my motive – or my friends or family’s motive – for not being comfortable with Abbot’s silly tweet then you need to look hard at yourself and what exactly, and who exactly, you stand for. Everyone I know is pleased about the Lawrence verdict. To suggest we have any need to “even out” anything is absurd and show racial paranoia at its very worst. To suggest anyone thinks a Tweet “evens out” a racially aggrivated murder, though, is sick and shows you up to be a real cunt. Well done.

    I’m saddened @Glinner felt the need to tweet this article.

    • “I hope you don’t really believe this. If you think tha’s my motive – or my friends or family’s motive – for not being comfortable with Abbot’s silly tweet …”

      I believe what he said. I don’t think it’s anyone’s motive for ‘not being comfortable’, but I think it’s certainly some people’s motive for baying for blood whenever there’s the faintest whiff of prejudice coming the other way.

      I think it’s safe to assume that he’s not referring to people who merely think Abbott’s comments were badly worded, unfair or inappropriate. So there’s really no need for such intense outrage.

      • well actually we’ve just – in the last few days – been treated to many sermons on the evils of racism. Police officers’ unwitting assumptions are, we are told, racism. I’ve heard many people say we ALL make racist assumptions.

        And then a black woman says what she said and all of a sudden it’s different…

        There is no question but that you are saying there is one rule for blacks and another for whites. Ordinary people will see the hypocrisy of this, and you’ll get higher BNP EDL membership. (then you’ll blame the Daily Mail as usual)

        You should all think about this before so casually dreaming up these deeply logically flawed arguments for racism being different depending who it’s aimed at.

    • That’s the white sensitivity to which the blogger alludes. Check it out in the mirror. You, being in the dominant caste in this country, have the luxury of speaking out against your racist counterparts from a position of structural advantage. Let this temper your inordinate outrage. I fear thou doth protest too much.

    • You might want to check out Tim Wise. Very Racism 101 stuff and he’s a nice white man so I’m sure it will make you feel more “comfortable”.

  31. I think that Dianne Abott needs to either resign or undergo diversity training for her remarks. Who remembers this case here: http://www.libdemvoice.org/councillor-warren-swaine-reinstated-after-twitter-race-row-24867.html – is it a case of double standards again? This is what is making race the big issue in the first place. Making excuses for Dianne is like far right wankers making excuses for white people when the same happens on their end so get it right!

    • It is not the same.

      There are very clear power dynamics involved. Racism is power + prejudice, neither of which Diane has r.e. white people.

      • She’s an MP, so has more power than most white people. Or does that not count either?

        Something tells me nothing counts. Just your knee-jerk attitude that black people being racist is different. You’ll come up with the justifications as you need them

  32. Thanks for all the comments, positive and otherwise. I’m afraid I don’t have time to respond to each one but thanks to those who pointed out my embarrassing Tutu/Tutsi typo. Now fixed.

  33. I can assure you, I’m not deliberately misinterpreting her [Abbott]. As a white bloke I found her Tweet offensive. To suggest that the white race both historically and currently uses divide and rule to subjugate ethnic minorities is both inaccurate and offensive.

    Your starting point – that this outrage is being driven by upper middle class privileged white people – shows just how out of touch the left is with current politics. From the crass “Tory pigs” campaigning in the last election to the u-turns on immigration that the Labour party has had to undergo to reassure a nervous British public, of all colours, the left has got the race issue consistently wrong and Abbott is the latest in a long line left-wing commentators that continue to mire the party in the politics of yesterday.

    The day when the Left wakes up to realise that not all Tories conform to a neat stereotype of Mail-reading bigots is the day when the Left starts to make a serious impact on British politics again. And may that day come quickly, as the worst thing this country can have at this current time is a weak opposition. I’m a passionate Tory and I think Cameron and Osbourne have got the economics and social policy wrong.

    But heaven forbid the Left makes a serious, concerted effort to try and square the circle of personal wealth creation and social justice. Instead they keep banging on the same old issues – race being one of them – making sweeping generalizations that gain plaudits from the same old tired left wing commentators and are ignored by everyone else.

    Is Abbott a racist? Of course not. Should she be sacked? I don’t give a fig either way. But should she be defended – or in your case applauded – for making highly offensive, historically inaccurate statements that yet again only put race relations backwards when you’d hope with the Lawrence verdict we were moving forwards? I don’t think so.

    • “As a white bloke I found her Tweet offensive.”

      Yes, but that’s not really the test, is it? I’m ‘offended’ by virtually every post I ever bother replying to. Offence is not the problem when it comes to ill-judged comments; it’s actual harm done in terms of fuelling negative stereotyping and antisocial behaviour, or adding legitimacy to hate politics.

      I find it eye-rollingly ridiculous that you complain about how ‘out of touch’ ‘the Left’ is when you yourself still apparently see everything in terms of the Left and the Right. ‘The Left’ will never, in your eyes, wake up to anything because you’re using the term to refer to a massive and unwieldy range of views and movements with competing priorities, and in any given situation, it looks like you alight upon the most extreme views expressed by the most entrenched Socialist Worker reader and decide that this represents the position of the whole lot. Never mind that vast swathes of liberals, feminists, Guardian readers (etc, etc) didn’t rise to Clarkson, don’t put Abbott on a pedestal and expend their energies on those very areas which you see as being important.

      This article, to my mind, gets it right, in pointing out that what Abbott actually said was, when all is said and done, not that harmful (however many people might be, or affect to be, offended) and what she *meant* was roughly in the right area. It doesn’t drive race relations anywhere because it’s obvious to anyone what broad point she was making and that it’s no great revelation.

    • “As a white bloke I found her Tweet offensive.”

      And that’s where I stopped reading.

      • Yes it is the test Jon. Most of the comment today from left wingers has been set around how dare white middle class people be outraged at this. We should be paying for the sins of our fathers.

        With that daft logic, nobody of any colour would be given license to be offended by anything seeing as how every race and creed has committed acts of discrimination and segregation against another race at some point.

        I was offended, as a white bloke, because her Tweet clearly stated that she believed the white race still plays the divide and rule game. You can try and make excuses for her as much as you want. Intellectualise the comment to the hilt. Put it into broader historical context as much as you want, it doesn’t disguise the fact it was an offensive comment. I’m not a racist and to be classed as one in such a sweeping generalisation was crass and unfair. And yes, I will play the “if a white person had said it” card because it’s true. All the people on here saying that it’s fair comment because black people have never subjugated white people miss the point completely. They’re just trying to justify it to their inner liberal self which doesn’t let them criticize anything that may be deemed a right-wing position.

        Jon, I take your point about left/right classification but sadly that’s what it becomes. For the record I’m fed up partizan politics that serve this country so poorly, but when I read clap trap like the excuses for Diane Abbott today, you can’t help but feel that the left will never countenance any view other than their own and that sadly drives us down the left/right route. I thought Sunny Hundal let himself down today when he asked if right wingers would be equally upset if one of our lot had done this.

        Regarding jumping on extreme views of the left and right as examples, I use those as this sort of stupid statement by Abbott plays into those idiots on both sides. There has been a lot of sense talked by moderates today but it just gets lost in the Partizan mud slinging.

        I thought this initial blog post was as offensive as the Abbott statement. It sought to justify me being labelled as divisive due to the colour of my skin and historical events I had nothing to do with. On those facts alone I reserve the right to be offended.

      • Shame, there weren’t any bigger words than offensive, I’m sure you could have understood most of it D. How’s the Peter & Jane book working out for you?

      • And that just shows, you are racist against white people.

  34. Thanks for articulating exactly what I’ve been thinking about this without being able to put those thoughts into words. I’m also guessing various hacks are sending ‘Thank You’ DMs to Ms. Abbott for saving what would have otherwise been a tediously slow news day.

  35. I don’t think she should resign or be sacked, but it was a sloppy careless thing to say. She complains that she was taken out of context, but the excuse that it is hard to get your meaning over in 140 characters is tosh. You are allowed more than one Tweet a day!She should have put cont.. at the end and done another immediately after, clarifying her point.

  36. Abbott’s ideas only prove how completely socialised she is into the elite world of Westminster, where “people” are a homogeneous mass, anonymous, and over there on the other side of the television cameras.

    The politicians who get to tell the police what to do buggered about with the Civil Rights movement in exactly the way you describe. Did “white people” do that? Yes. But the colour of my face doesn’t make me a bent copper waiting to happen, any more than an Afro Caribbean face would make me into something else to be afraid of.

  37. what about everyone else that is taken out of context then? they still have to pay the price! What makes Dianne different? ……….

  38. Racism is always wrong. No exceptions. Why put yourself through ugly logical contortions in order to defend racial generalisations?

    • Spot on !!!

      • Exactly. Worse, redefining racism so as to excuse one person only fuels the arguments of right-wingers who believe it’s “one rule for them, one for everyone else”. The likes of the BNP and the EDL go out recruiting and say “Look, black-on-white racism doesn’t count apparently!” As such, this entire post is actually rather unhelpful in the context of the fight against bigotry and discrimination.

        A credible opponent of racism opposes it wherever it’s found and whoever the source.

  39. I’m very sorry but I disagree. Generalisation about any group of people by their skin colour IS racist, no matter which universe you live or who is in power. There is no leeway on that, at all.

  40. I think you’ve missed a rather large point here – discrimination, whether “positive” or “negative” (punching-up or down) is still discrimination. You only have to watch Nelson Mandela (or even the film Invictus about his release) to see an example of what should be done. It’s the same as the sexism debate – it shouldn’t be a struggle for black (or female) “power” it should be a struggle for a level playing field, where skin colour isn’t noticed. Dianne Abbott made a distinction based on skin colour and that is the definition of racism, regardless of its intonation.

    We should see people as as a person, not a skin colour. The moment the people who supposedlylead us fail to see that they’re sending out the wrong message. And to claim it was a reference to the C19 – none of us were alive then so it should have no bearing on anything. Yes we learn lessons, but there is nothing to be gained by making remarks prejudiced by an oppression centuries old.

    I have no time for anyone who makes assumptions or assertions based on this and Ms Abbott should be totally ashamed of ourselves. She is setting back any equality movement and undermining her own credibility in campaigning for such things

    • HEAR, HEAR !
      Like the Census questions, categorizing & SEGREGATING, into: ‘Black’ (BROWN), ‘White’ (PINK), ‘Muslim’ & ‘Christian’, etc. Talking of ‘Divide & Rule’ !

    • Shame the majority of the people here are racist against white people and won’t take note of what you have said.

  41. Great post – and spot on. The rush to claim victimhood as a result ot Abbot’s tweet is pretty revealing. There seems to be a shared misunderstanding of racism that entirely ignores the power dynamic that is an important part of most academic definitions of historical racism.

    • What twaddle. She’s a front bench MP, she has power.

      • “She’s a front bench MP, she has power.”

        What twaddle. Apples are mostly round.

        (See how my second sentence is confusingly irrelevant? That’s what you just did.)

      • Shut up.

        Barack Obama’s president of a superpower, but he still doesn’t have white privilege.

        It’s not a difficult concept.

  42. A very thoughtful, eloquent and sensible response to this storm in a teacup. I agree entirely.

  43. I don’t much care, it’s between her and her constituents, I’m not going to feign outrage.

    But it’s only racist if it’s from a position of power? No, rubbish, you’re not having that. If a white man hits a black man, or a black does the same to a white man, just because of their colour, it’s racist, full stop. It doesn’t matter that whites in general have more power. Same with these silly generalisations that Diane Abbott has a habit of coming out with. Besides, Diane Abbott’s a lot richer and more powerful than I will ever be.

    Oh, and no-one’s claiming that what she said ‘even’s out’ the murder of Stephen Lawrence, that’s a pretty low trick.

  44. ‘It seems we desperately want politicians to drop the platitudes and speak openly, except when they do, in which case they need to apologise and resign.’ — this is especially true!

    • Rubbish. Just because someone is speaking openly doesn’t make what they’re saying acceptable. Surely the point of wanting them to speak openly is so that we have more confidence in them, and don’t, for one example, vote for a racist when we wouldn’t want to but know that they were.

      • “Surely the point of wanting them to speak openly is so that we have more confidence in them, and don’t, for one example, vote for a racist when we wouldn’t want to but know that they were.”

        Yes. So firing them or working yourself into a froth whenever they say something stupid rather defeats the point, because it ensures that the only ones around come voting time have kept a firm lid on all their prejudices.

  45. This is the most nonsense left wing apologetic clap trap ive ever read in my life. You simply dismiss Abbotts words as a “carelessly worded tweet”, and thus sweep the core of the subject matter under your super liberal carpet. I find her words more then careless, in fact I read them as a very snide and underhand comment directed at the white race as a whole.

    You make the argument that we the white reader should be enlightened enough to disassociate myself and Belgians colonising modern-day Rwanda as the “whites” she was referring to in the tweet (oh silly me), yet she could have easily have made this distinction in a follow up tweet. She choose not to.

    As an elected MP that is simply unacceptable to make a statement like this and it clearly shows that Diane abbott is clearly harbouring some deep seated and ill feelings towards her “colonial masters”, as she so clearly sees every white person as, something I am actually offended at being called as a white person.

    Your argument of “imagine if a white person had said this” frankly falls flat on its face as you just skipped over this all so important facet again and used quite a selective argument in your defence saying black people dividing whites doesn’t happen in the real world, so that doesn’t make sense. Okay, agreed, that doesn’t happen, but what if a white MP had said something else quite derogatory towards “blacks” such as black people love mugging? What then, would they still just be “carelessly chosen words” by a silly MP on twitter, or would you still be so quick to defend them and write another clap trap blog such as this one?

    On a final note, what were you views if any on the Tory MP who was sacked (rightly so) for wearing the Nazi fancy dress costume recently? Was that also a twitter mob getting its way?

    • “You make the argument that we the white reader should be enlightened enough to disassociate myself and Belgians colonising modern-day Rwanda as the “whites” she was referring to in the tweet (oh silly me), yet she could have easily have made this distinction in a follow up tweet. She choose not to.”

      That seems quite a blinkered example for the author to use, given that the largest example of oppression based on race in the modern world is Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Conveniently overlooked I’d assume as it didn’t support his argument.

    • “… in fact I read them as a very snide and underhand comment directed at the white race as a whole.”

      Only someone desperately searching for a reason to feel victimised could possibly read it like that. Which is why you find it so unforgivable when so many of your fellow white chaps decline the invitation to cry foul and instead pay attention to context, intent, actual harm done – relevant stuff like that.

      • Context: Diane was discussing with another tweeter their displeasure at how the media often portray the “black community” as one whole mass in such a general sweeping statement, but immediately sets out her counter argument with the opening line “white people” , whoops not a good start im sure you’ll agree..

        Intent. Diane states “White people love playing ‘divide and rule’, then carries on digging by saying ‘We should not play their game’ immediately differentiating herself because of skin colour and immediately setting an ‘us and them’ agenda between white and black people.

        Actual harm done. Well we don’t know do we, but in my opinion a sitting MP has set race relations back 30 years through her ill mannered and ill conceived racist comments, and I suspect will probably cost labour thousands of votes if they don’t get rid of her sharpish. God forbid those lost voters do something really stupid and vote BNP or worse. I shudder to think.

        Relevant enough for you Jon?

        And anyway Im not desperately searching for a reason to be victimised, im just perplexed as to why a sitting MP can harbor such openly ill feelings towards members of her constituency and the rest of the country purely because of the colour of their skin. These comments, along with the white mothers being worse then black mother comments, and the white police officers should be made redundant before black officers comments before that (and God knows what other comments which im sure will come out over the next couple of days), bear all of the hallmarks of a RACIST, something we cannot tolerate in today’s society .

      • “… but immediately sets out her counter argument with the opening line “white people” …”

        Having just set out the context, here you decide to completely ignore it, or that it’s not important. Good start for you.

        Her intent is clearly to point out that one should avoid playing along with divide and rule strategies of those in power (predominantly white people). This is obvious. Your attempt to read anything else into it avoids all common sense and empathy in favour of casting her as some villain with a black power agenda.

        “Actual harm done. Well we don’t know do we …”

        So until you can demonstrate it or make a coherent argument otherwise, let’s assume there is none or very little actual harm done.

        “im just perplexed as to why a sitting MP can harbor such openly ill feelings towards members of her constituency and the rest of the country purely because of the colour of their skin ….”

        I think it’s clear what the basis of her ill feelings are, and who they’re directed at, and it’s not what you say here. So yes, you are questing for victimhood. You want to believe someone is ‘getting at you’ for something that isn’t your fault, when all they’re doing is attacking the social mechanisms and institutions which allow people of one colour to prosper over people of another.

      • *facepalm*
        Do you even know what context means, seriously look it up. Dianes main argument is to say her comments were taken out of context, yet how could they have been when she was discussing how she hated the use of the words “black community” to label a group, yet opens her next tweet with “white people”. Theirs no taking out of context there, she is speaking about a race of people based solely on the colour of their skin, something erm a racist is often found doing.

        It dosent matter what her intent was, and more to the point how do you or I or anyone reading know what her intent was?

        Also I am not reading anything into it, nor am I trying to cast her as some sort of “villan with black power agenda”, which were your words incidentally not mine, and gives in a great insight into how you must be seeing the honorable MP.

        All im saying is in the cold light of day her tweet was a highly derogatory and racist statement. End off. im just take it for what it is.

        I hate to use the football analogy but Liverpools Luis Suaraz said his comments weren’t intended as they were, but yet the FA found him guilty of making a racist statement. Why? Because a racist statement is a racist statement, no matter who made it and what their intent was.

        Anyway no doubt you’ll come back with another load of drivel to defend this racist person, and frankly I wont be reading it as I don’t have time for anyone who defends racists, but all I will say is we will see if Diane is still in a job this time next week, and what other lovely pearlers of Dianes will no doubt be coming out in the press over the next 48 hours.

  46. “two black men have just been convicted, several years too late thanks to an institutionally racist black police force, of the murder of white teenager Stephen Lawrence. But in this world? Not really.”

    Oh yeah? Have a look at the stats:

    “Most of the offenders (57%) in the racially motivated crimes identified in the British Crime Survey are not white. White victims said 82% of offenders were not white.[4]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_United_Kingdom

    • I’m curious now. Are you saying that 18% of white people, who were victims of a racially motivated crime, were victims of other white people?

      • If an Australian racially abuses an Irishman, it is “white” on “white” but still racist.

        Clearly that is too hard for you to comprehend.

  47. The subject of this tweet wasn’t “some white people” or “white people in the past” or “white colonialists”. It was “white people”.

    “But in this world? Not really.”

    Why “not really” racist? Instead of “not at all” racist? Or “only a bit” racist?

    “They are punching up instead of down”

    It’s still punching though, isn’t it?

    Try this thought experiment.

    If a woman says “men are scum”, that isn’t sexist (or isn’t *really* sexist) because of the underlying power dynamic. We live in a male-dominated world. If a black person says “white people are scum”, that can’t be racist. (But would become racist if the power roles were reversed.)

    1. It is clearly an offensive generalisation. It isn’t ever OK to generalise in this way.

    2. Power makes a difference. But it doesn’t make *all* the difference.

    It isn’t always clear who is weak and who is strong. Diane Abbott herself is an extremely privileged individual. She has more power, status and wealth than I ever will.

    How does this analysis work with, say, Jews in 1920s Europe? As a group, European Jews were relatively privileged – doctors, bankers, industrialists. Wasn’t there plenty of “punching up” in anti-Semitism?

  48. I come from a ‘working-class family at the bottom of the social heap’ and I am thoroughly annoyed with Abbot’s sweeping generalisation of white people. So thank you for speaking on my behalf but you’re wrong on this occasion. I’m actually a bemused that you refer to us as ‘bottom of the social heap’. That’s certainly not how I view myself or my family.

    Back on the subject in hand, I don’t think Diane Abbot should be sacked or resign necessarily because on balance she has done a lot of good work. However, it is not useful or helpful for her to behave in the same ignorant, generalising way of the people she has so tirelessly campaigned against. You cannot expect people to heed your requests for them to stop making sweeping negative generalisations based on skin colour if you’re going to carry on doing it yourself.

    • Thank-you Lizzy that’s how I feel too!

  49. Nicely put. All Ms.Abbott is guilty of (in my opinion) is jumping on the racism bandwagon post-verdict. But then that’s her job and we should respect her for saying things that stir up debate. She’s quite capable of looking after herself against the ‘wets’ in the shadow cabinet.

    I just love the fact that many of your opponents have hidden their inability to put up a convincing counter-argument by simply using emotive terms.

    The issue of the young black conservative girl (and from that description, what a lot she has going for her in this modern world!) reminds me of the tory-voting Nottinghamshire miners from the 70s. They didn’t ‘get’ what being working-class meant in those days, and this girl plainly thinks she is far enough distanced from the struggles of her forebears for equality to be able to turn her back on them. I sincerely hope that for her at least the war against racism is won, but I fear she just isn’t paying attention.

  50. But apart from the careless oversimplification — she should have said “white people in power” or “certain white people” — she was right.

    The fact that she didn’t use either of those qualifiers is quite significant and shouldn’t be ignored, as you seem to be doing.

    • You really think no non-white people have ever played the “divide and rule game”?

  51. I’d say the Hutu, made a VERY successful ‘attempt’ on Genocide, in ’90’s Rwanda !

    • Was just about to say the same, and this isn’t just a matter of semantics. Had the unfolding ‘civil conflict’ in Rwanda been labelled genocide, a sufficient force would have been deployed, likely saving hundreds of thousands of lives. According to estimates by UNAMIR’s Romeo Dallaire, 5,000 soldiers could have done the job. Would be interested to read why you feel the conflict was attempted genocide (bearing in mind that it is the intention to wipe out a whole ‘people’ that defines an act as genocide, not its ‘success’ in the matter).

  52. I’m not familiar with the Abbottgate example but there seems to be a broader point being made in this post that seems consistent with the idea that racism and sexism are the sum of prejudice +power (i.e. while white people and men may face prejudice they can’t be said to be victims of racism or sexism because they have the most power in society.

    On an instinctual level this just doesn’t sit right with me. As you point out, it is crucial to identify the power dynamic that underpins a comment like “imagine if a white person had said something like this” to be able to understand why such a comment is false equivalence. At the same time though I don’t think the act of a black comedian ‘punching up’ by making a joke about white people necessarily precludes that joke from being racist. One might be aware of the power dynamics involved but still feel the joke is racist based on the belief that it supports an idea that there are inherent differences between races. Depending on the joke, of course, I think that could be a perfectly reasonable conclusion to reach and certainly a far reach from desperately longing to be a victim.

    Whether or not it is a racism that we as a society can accept or justify *because* of the power dynamic involved is an interesting question but I would feel like I was being inconsistent if I were to just deny outright that it was racism at all. Such a position would make me feel like I wasn’t really against racism on a moral level only a conditional one.

    As I said, I don’t know about this particular example but from reading the post it seems like this much broader point is being made.

  53. I’m sorry but I don’t want to live in your world where people see and use colour to make a sweeping generalisation and punch up, down or sideways. The fact is she said ‘white people’ and threw us all in the same boat. I’m not offended by it but it is racist and wrong.

    It is simply lazy racism and as bad as some uneducated idiot saying ‘well all black people sell drugs don’t they’ when hearing about a drug crime. All sensible people know is absolute rubbish and that criminals commit crimes not anyone of any particular colour. As an educated politician she should know better.

    In order to get to a society that accepts all people of all race we need to eradicate this lazy deep seated racism on ALL sides!

  54. You’re just as bad as Diane Abbot. Racism is always near-impossible to hide and hers is shining through. The media and society (quite rightly) tells us that whites should challenge racism and racist comments. The problem is, when said racism comes from a black person, seems like the rules change. A racist comment is a racist comment regardless of the skin colour of who spoke it.

  55. Utter nonsense, if you are black, you are allowed to make sweeping generalisations about all white people?

    If she was whit and had said, black people like to play gangster, would she of had the same support from you?

  56. I’m completely with you on the matter of absurd Twitter mobs and that this really speaks more to the various political sides trying to catch each other out, I certainly don’t think this deserves any clothes-rending or hand-wringing, because of course there isn’t equivalency with the more serious problems of racism in this country, and heck, she probably didn’t mean to put it in the way she did; but Diane simply didn’t say ‘dominant powers or cultures love to play divide and conquer, so let’s not be like them’, or ‘historically, white imperialist powers loved to play divide and conquer, so let’s not do that’. It was a bizarre sort of semi-sequitur that came from a discussion about communities; Bim Adewunmi said she didn’t like constant references to the ‘black community’, as if black British people were being pigeon-holed as a homogeneous entity, and Diane came back with…well, the argument that a lack of solidarity in the black community is due to black people buying into a white ‘divide and rule’ agenda? That’s not a historical reference, or explicitly a condemnation of the ruling classes; her statement, intentional or not, was that racial unity is, today, important in Britain because another race of people ‘love’ to try and create disunity for their own malevolent purposes.

    And I’m not sure your comedian comparison is apt, really, firstly because the process of generalisation for humorous effect (and the audience’s implicit assumption that they’re generalising, they ‘don’t mean everyone’ and they’re not to be taken seriously) isn’t unique to ‘underdog’ comedians at all, (every male comedian, ever, who’s done a skit about their wife, for example) and secondly because, well…Diane Abbott wasn’t ostensibly trying to be comic. Anyway, thought-provoking article, thank you.

  57. Paul – you said it.

  58. You’re still making a case that it’s ok for Diane to still be ‘upward’ racist because her skin colour happens to that of people who were oppressed in the 19th century (the context she claimed she was invoking by the way)? Quite a stunning set of apologetics you have engaged with here.

    I do not agree with the right wing hatchet jobbers that Diane is a racist but it’s also not helpful to say that she did not make a racist comment. Should the context have been previously established then perhaps she might have had a defence but earlier in the day she did not apologise for it; now she has. This says to me that the defence was formulated after the fact on some level (but NOT entirely).

    She could have relied on context if the conversation included a discussion on colonialism and political puppetry. But she didn’t make it clear enough.

    The tweet, as I read it, was that the current system was as bad as the old one and that all white people were in on it on some level. Silly.

    So we are left with her making a stupid racist comment. People do, from time to time, write absolute nonsense. Her apology should be accepted and we all move on from it is the best way to handle it.

  59. Excellent piece.

  60. What a brilliant well-written piece, Dorian! It’s hard to understand why people are saying ‘abbott should have qualified with…” Do they not know about the 140-character twitter limit?

    • Do you not know that you can make an subsequent tweet with more information? ( as indeed a great many do ).

      the fact that her “context” of 19th century colonialism is actually out of context with the tweet she was replying to probably tells us all we need to know about the validity of her attempted explanation.

    • She had 34 characters left. “Some” would have taken 4, “privileged” a further 10. I’m not sure what’s hard to understand about basic arithmetic.

  61. So the left are now clearly defending keeping a racist in the shadow cabinet.

    Dianne Abbot has plenty of history of making similar race based comments, suggesting that white mothers do not care about their children as much as black mothers, for instance.

    If this had been a comment made by a white conservative MP, then the labour party and the BBC would be apoplectic with rage demanding sackings! In fact the person would have been fired by now, as Cameron has proved in the past with much swifter sackings for less.

    The BBC sacked Carol Thatcher for less, yet at this time, they still employ Dianne.

    Why is there such a massive double standard on the left, where they endorse and defend racists so long as their racist’s own skin is of a dark hue? Why do the politically correct racists never recognise their own hideous racist bigotry and deem it acceptable?

    We should stamp out ALL racism from ALL races and communities, because if we do not… I fear such a massive racist public backlash leaving a lot of non white victims.

    There is a lot of fully justified anger at some sections of society being allowed to be racist and having the BBC and the UAF and the left wing parties defending and covering up for it. the white community have to constantly jump through hoops to comply with diversity training and and whilst they overwhelmingly willingly comply with and agree with working hard to eradicate racism, they are RIGHT to be very angry and filled with justifiable rage when people from darker skinned communities commit similar acts of racism for which they themselves would be sacked and ostracised for.

    It is time that ALL racism, no matter from where it stems, is tackled. Leaving Dianne Abbott in her shadow cabinet post and in her role at the BBC, all sends the WRONG signal in the fight against racism.

    Either we are ALL fighting racism, or we are selectively ignoring, condoning and appeasing racists.

    Anyone defending Abbott is defending racism and is on the wrong side of this fight against racism.

    The left are very much on the WRONG side of this fight now.

    • OK, first of all, what you refer to as ‘the left’ includes many different groups who are often at odds with each other, ideologically and in terms of priorities. It’s not a political party – it’s just that part of the country that is politically motivated in a manner other than simply looking out for itself. Expecting the same consistency as you get from staunch right-wingers with their parroted viewpoints is ridiculous.

      Secondly, this:
      “Why is there such a massive double standard on the left, where they endorse and defend racists so long as their racist’s own skin is of a dark hue?”

      Speaking for no one else, I try to look at what someone meant and the assumptions behind what they said, not just for the words ‘white people’ or ‘black people’ in the middle of a sentence. Abbott just doesn’t fit the bill as a racist, and I genuinely think people like you are being disingenuous in trying to cast her as one. It’s not your considered opinion; it’s something you just desperately want to believe.

      I also consider what harm racism actually does, and only an idiot can miss the fact that a racist comment against white people is pissing in the sea, whilst a racist comment against black people is part of an ingrained and ongoing social prejudice that infiltrates every nook and cranny of our society.

      So while all racism is bad, I’m going to concentrate my attacks on where it’s doing the most harm, thank you very much. I’m sorry if that seems like ‘the Left’ is moving the goalposts, but what you call ‘the Left’ is a huge collective of free-thinking individuals, and I’ll make up my own mind about where the goalposts are.

    • Dorian Lynskey, the author of this piece is Jewish, he sees Black chauvinism as a good way to undermine, attack or even kill European Christians, who he regards as his tribe’s most capable rivals. Without the Jewish aspect, Lynskey’s post would make no sense. All of the founders of the Frankfurt School, who defined PC and Cultural Marxism, were like Lynskey; Jewish.

      • “He sees Black chauvinism as a good way to undermine, attack or even kill European Christians, who he regards as his tribe’s most capable rivals.”

        OK, you are a certified nutjob. Been on board any UFOs lately?

  62. Right – so underdogs can be racist and that’s fine. Erm – no. Racism of any kind is ignorant, devisive and cruel. To suggest it is sometimes justified is irresponsible and dumb.

    • So there’s absolutely nothing in this at all, for you?

      Apart from that, as usual many people don’t read the article and don’t follow the developments.

  63. KUDOS to the author..brilliant piece..of course you will get the brainwashed black/brown people arguing that this ‘sort of thing’ is absolutely inexcusable (embarassing them and tainting them with the bad ni**a brush!) and indignant whites who feel victimised and opressed by the truth..however many of the posters need to accept that power dynamics have a huge impact on the context within which ‘race relations’ are played hence why we had the situation (institutional racism) which generated Ms Abotts riposte in the first place

    • Surely the only difference between a racist with power and a racist without power is the amount of wrong that they can potentially do. Any inability to act on racist beliefs doesn’t magically make those beliefs non-racist.

      Ms Abbott is in a position of power, and (regardless) her comment was racist.

      At school I was discriminated against as a white basketball player by a black team, despite being clearly better than most of them ( I ran rings around several national team players ). It was no different to my white uni team discriminating against a black player who was clearly much better than anyone else at the trials. ( I refused to play for them, and was much pleased when they lost every single game that season ).

      • “Any inability to act on racist beliefs doesn’t magically make those beliefs non-racist.”

        That’s true, and in your example of the basketball team, I think it was well within reason to refuse to play for them. But one cannot escape the fact that there is no equivalence. No black person, in however powerful a position, can make a racist comment about white people that carries the same force as the other way round because we’re all living in a world where white-on-black racism has been institutionalised for centuries. History acts as a massive hammer behind the chisel of every ill-chosen word against racial minorities. Racism against white people is just the chisel.

      • So your need to post dozens of comments on this post is down to the fact that people assume black boys are better at basketball than white boys. Next you will be telling us that as a white guy you are unfairly oppressed by the racist assumption that black men have bigger penises. Yes, these stereotypes are racist. They also hurt black boys more than they hurt white ones, because they are the ones getting told that running, rapping and having sex is all they are good at. Or for. Get over it bro, seriously.

  64. “But apart from the careless oversimplification — she should have said “white people in power” or “certain white people” — she was right.”

    Sorry, but that’s not careless oversimplification, it’s racism. It’s perfectly possible to not be a racist (and I don’t believe she is) but still make a racist comment. It’s not complicated…

  65. Good article.

    The history of anti-black racism, which includes the worst possible forms of racism (slavery, persecution etc), mean that there is no level playing field in terms of what can be considered offensive on each side. The rules are different.

    It will only be once black people are completely equal to white people in all levels of society that it will be right to say such comments as hers are equally offensive.

    • Rubbish, you can’t have it both ways. Either it’s okay to make a generalisation based on ethnicity or it isn’t, and it certainly isn’t okay. To say it’s okay for certain ethnicities is, in fact, racist

      • So there’s nothing else to it, at all? That’s it, no caveats at all?

        By the way she apologised and stated that’s not what she intended. (ie. it was careless). No reason to disbelieve her.

      • @meretare As I understand it she was forced to apologise. Her explaination of the context being 19th Century Colonialism doesn’t hold much water when 19th Century Colonialism is out of context to the tweet that she was responding to.

        Seems like two reasons to disbelieve her?

        Now had she shown that she wanted to apologise…

      • “Either it’s okay to make a generalisation based on ethnicity or it isn’t …”

        Nonsense. If I said ‘most black people have black hair’, that’s clearly a generalisation with some merit. Of course there are gradations. There’s also the question of intent, and of the personal prejudices driving the comment.

      • Barnie I don’t think that’s enough. You’re saying any apology she tries to make isn’t credible because she was forced, but there’s no evidence she wouldn’t have apologised anyway. it is is as if you want her to have said and meant something outrageous and you won’t accept anything that might dilute that. The comment about colonialism is perfectly credible and why disbeleive her exactly? have you read all the surrounding tweets?

      • @Jon Stone I think you know you’re being a little disingenuous here :) The comment clearly doesn’t concern generalisations about hair colour but rather behavioural differences determined by ethnicity.

    • So you’re saying that because person A in a position of privileged power discriminated against person B, therefore person C who identifies with person A, but is also in a position of privileged power is allowed to discriminate against person D ( who person C identifies with person B ).

      Rubbish. more simply.

      Just because person A has discriminated against person B, does not mean it’s OK for person B to discriminate against anyone.

    • And which “white” people are these “black” people to be equal to?

      The depressed jobless drug addict “white” living on a council estate or the parasitic “white” king-in-waiting at buckingham palace?.

      Hey, “whites” .. they’re all the same right?

      If you can’t see the blatant racism in your comment you really are an idiot.

      • “If you can’t see the blatant racism in your comment you really are an idiot.”

        The only idiot here is the guy who can’t differentiate racism from a comprehensible shorthand for complex but understandable sentiments.

  66. I think I have finally got it !!!
    Racism has to be a white perpetrator and a non white victim … easy.
    Swap the words black and white in the sentence, then imagine the statement came from David Cameron. Now what do you think???

    • Haven’t really read the article here. There’s a bit more to it than that, historically speaking.

      • History is irrelevant here, we need equality not revenge. You cannot excuse racist behaviour by quoting history. That would mean I could say nasty racist things about any race that once did me or mine wrong (e.g. Germans for 1939-45). You people who say there is more to it are making excuses for inequality. It should work the same for everyone.

      • But why should history have any baring on the debate? If we swung from one “side” having power to the rest we’d just go round in circles of hate. I don’t care about the history because it doesn’t affect this world we live in, or this generation of people. Historical guilt is laziness in my opinion – focus on the shortcomings of the past to avoid displaying the great things we have now. I’m white and I’ve never had a slave therefore I’ve nothing to feel guilty about and refuse to be discriminated of because of centuries before.

        An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. Equality means equal, not one rule for one and another for another. Simples.

      • “History is irrelevant here …”

        “But why should history have any baring on the debate?”

        Wow. Is this really the level of insight we’re dealing with?

      • Quite. Rob, no one is asking you to feel guilty.

  67. This is disingenuous in its assumption that people complaining about the racist remark are claiming a level-playing field. That’s blatent nonsense.

    The trouble I’m finding is that a woman, claiming to be a figurehead of sorts of the ‘black community’, would make such a ridiculous error. I do think it was poorly worded, and that poor wording resulted in a racist remark. I don’t see much evidence besides that she is racist in any way.

    Again: the trouble is that someone who should be among the finest communicators and speakers in the country, could make such a trivial error that would obviously result in such a tumult.

    I want politicians to speak their mind, but not say something stupid. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive, as that article seems to suggest.

    • “This is disingenuous in its assumption that people complaining about the racist remark are claiming a level-playing field. That’s blatent nonsense.”

      Sorry, have you read some of the comments above yours?

      “I don’t care about the history because it doesn’t affect this world we live in, or this generation of people.”

      “It should work the same for everyone.”

      ““Either it’s okay to make a generalisation based on ethnicity or it isn’t …”

      The point is proven, so it can’t be disingenuous.

      “I want politicians to speak their mind, but not say something stupid.”

      Me too, but the problem seems to be that we all say stupid things in the middle of heated conversations. To be watching your every word takes tremendous effort and energy. This isn’t some standard I’ve thought up for Diane Abbott either – I’ve often thought about it when politicians get ‘caught out’ on Twitter. The only time it should result in a sacking is when it blatantly reveals genuine prejudices and inappropriate hidden agendas.

  68. If she found it hard to fit the context of her tweet into her tweet , she shouldn’t be using twitter to say what she said ! I would have thought that would been blindingly obvious. The tweet was a generalisation about a group of people based on their ethnicity – last time I checked, that was the characterisation of racism.

    Dorian Lynskey can do all the apologism he wants but it just shows how leftism is not in fact colourblind, and treats racist language differently according to the ethnicity of whoever uses it.

  69. does it need to have equivalency to be dumb? Bit of a straw man that, of course no one is saying white people are systemically oppressed as white people, nor that all expressions of racial prejudice are exactly equal.

    But as we DO live in a society of structural inequalities, we attempt to mitigate it (in a small way) by exposing/denouncing expressions of prejudice. We put prohibitions in place like, it’s wrong to generalise about ethnicities and races. These can’t, for obvious reasons, function properly if they are made conditional (“unless it’s a black person generalising about white people”). Comments like Abbott’s are an open goal for the people who want “permission to pretend that privilege and power and the kind of deep-seated racism that ruins people’s lives are things that don’t exist anymore”, especially if they aren’t subject to the same criticism that white prejudice would get.

    (that said, I actually think it’s fairly obvious that Abbott didn’t mean “all white people”, which would be nonsensical.)

  70. She said she couldn’t explain in 140 characters but she could have continued the tweet .

  71. The best response I have seen or heard to this nonsense!!

  72. “If a black comedian makes a joke about white people, or a gay comedian about straight people, the audience knows that (a) they don’t mean everybody and (b) they are coming from an underdog position. They are punching up instead of down.”

    This attitude is part of the problem, If racism is tolerated in one direction because they are ‘punching up’ as you say, then that in itself is sustaining the idea that whites are above blacks. There should be an even playing field in every respect immediately, whether it’s economic opportunity or comedic license.

    I know economic opportunity isn’t even, but that should be addressed in its own right. It’s not helpful to have some patronising unspoken rule about allowing borderline-racist comments to compensate for that, especially coming from front bench politicians. We want them to be frank, but about policies, not silly off the cuff comments that will only embarrass them and everyone else.

  73. Maybe it would be an idea for politicians to attend Social Media training courses and learn how to use them properly, instead of making sweeping generalisations with careless, ‘throw-away’ comments…

    unless of course, she wanted the publicity – would that be cynical to think like that?

  74. We all know the history and I think can agree that Black people have had it a lot harder than white over its course. The fact is though that Diane Abbott is your average Joe in the street having a debate about colonialism in the pub, she’s an MP who really should not be making stupid loaded comments that clearly will be construed as anti-white on a forum like Twitter.

  75. So its OK for Diane Abbott to be racist, because its not white ‘Racism’?
    Utter tripe.
    When you start to tar a whole race with the same brush it’s racist regardless…..
    Im a working class white female currently looking for work because I was made redundant. How am I dividing? Who am I ruling?

    Why are we using colonial history to justify racism against white people? It happened over 100 years ago. Its 2011 now…I think people should begin to get over it.
    Do the British use the invasion of the Normans and 1066 to be racist about the French? Would that be justified then?

    Good grief…If Labour keep her as a representative they are beyond hope.

    • It’s rather less than a hundred years since Stephen Lawrence was murdered by racist thugs and the investigation bungled by racist police. So no, you don’t get to decide when black people ‘move on’ from what’s been done to them. Sorry about that.

      • What about the racist murder of Danny O’Shea by black thugs a couple of weeks ago? It seems if your skin isn’t dark enough then the media and the Jewish ran NGOs like the Runnymede Trust won’t make too much of a fuss over your murder.

      • oh for goodness sakes….SHE said it was in the context of talking about colonialism.
        Anyway, a handful of white people I know were mugged by black teenagers in stratford….but we are not allowed to make sweeping great generalisations about black people are we?
        so a couple of thug chavs having been locked up mean that all white people are allowed to be generalised in a racist comment. Its OK because shes black?
        Its this kind of attitude that breeds hatred and resentment (unfortunately)

    • Here’s a fact for you all to digest. The definition of racism is a race that seeks to subjucate and dominate another. In the entire history of the planet, no African or descendant of Africa has EVER attempted this. Yes, we can be prejudiced but racist is not in our dna. period.

      • Mugabe.

  76. *isn’t your average Joe…

  77. I agree with pretty much all of this Dorian. Shame that Diane Abbott (a very experienced politician after all) didnt consider the outcome of writing something that, at best, seemed like a generalisation based on race. That said, its obvious that she isnt racist but an attack on the establishment which is institutionally racist could be made in a far less clumsy and clear way in my opinion, and without throwing a bone to the right wing trolls. Very good piece though that gets straight to the heart of the real issues…nice one

    • “Its obvious that she isnt racist” . . ?? Why .. Because she is black ??

  78. I think you are in danger of oversimplifying the power dynamic too. Diane Abbott is a media-savvy MP, who is regularly on TV and able to air her views. Most British citizens of any ethnicity don’t have this opportunity. If we look at Diane’s words, rather than what she meant to tweet, she implies that all white people in this country are racist, and are keen to pursue a racist agenda.

    This is not the case.

  79. Abbott is a black-chauvinist, end of. As for the amateur critical race theory nonsense, is Nigeria a “black supremacy” is China a “yellow supremacy”? All of the people who run those countries look suspicious un-diverse.

  80. Dorian Lynskey, the author of this piece, is a communist Jew who seems to promote and apologie for Black chauvinism, specifically because he sees it as a good way to undermine European Christian countries for the benefit of his tribe. The most horrific divide and conquer strategy in history was that of his co-tribesmen in the Soviet Union & Eastern Europe and their racist murder of millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, as well as other rivals to his tribe.

    • Ah yes, the old Jewish-Bolshevik Conspiracy theory. That certainly ended well, didn’t it, Sturmführer. Gizza kiss!

  81. I think you are in danger of oversimplifying the power dynamic too. Diane Abbott is a media-savvy MP, who is regularly on TV and able to air her views. Most British citizens of any ethnicity don’t have this opportunity. If we look at Diane’s words, rather than what she meant to tweet, she implies that all white people in this country are racist, and are keen to pursue a racist agenda. This is not the case.

    I agree Diane’s comments were not racist, but they were a crass generalisation, and did personally offend me.

  82. “What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood.”

    Wow, you just summed up Diane Abbott perfectly.

    To bring the murder of Stephen Lawrence into this is crass to say the least. The conviction of his killers has been met with a sense of relief from all communities and walks of life.

    I never forced anyone into slavery, so please stop using that as an excuse to air your prejudiced views.

    • “The conviction of his killers has been met with a sense of relief from all communities and walks of life.”

      As always happens when a narrative is presented in this particular way. It says nothing about your own views and prejudices that you went along with the general feeling. You never forced anyone into slavery, but what are you doing about the racial divides that still penetrate British culture? Or do you just write it off and decide it’s irrelevant and no one should talk about it anymore?

      • What im not doing is holding a position of power and making idiotic and damaging sweeping generalisations.

        What am I doing about the racial divides? I try and get on with everybody regardless of race or religion. I would say thats sufficient wouldnt you?

        What are you doing to help the racial divides that still penetrate British culture?

      • Racial divides exist in all of the British culture, it is a very complex issue, which can be caused by many things, racial divides can be forced or sort by either side, and therefore for someone in an advantageous position to blame certain groups based solely on their colour for some construed failing is “racist” and cannot be hidden by a forced apology, or trying to cite history as the underlying reason.

      • “I try and get on with everybody regardless of race or religion. I would say thats sufficient wouldnt you?”

        No, it’s not. You’re in a position of race privilege. You should think carefully about how the things you do and say can affect those less privileged around you. Carrying on like the best thing is everyone just putting up with the current situation is ample justification for generalisations directed at you and people like you.

  83. The statement is historically inaccurate. Divide and rule is older than colonialism – especially western coloinialism – and all peoples have exercised it. It is an efficient tool in the exercise of power.

    • But the statement (which has been retracted in the form it was given) didn’t make any claim about the pedigree of divide and rule. It didn’t imply that divide-and-rule as a technique began with colonialism – it didn’t of course.

      • actually it kinda did………. “White people love playing ‘divide & rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism.”

      • In what way does that imply that divide and rule is a technique which began with colonialism? Of course, it doesn’t, not in the slightest.

      • The hashtag is rhetorical.

      • No, the hashtag is directly relevant to her statement. Which is a foolish and poorly thought through statement to be made by a politician of any race. The whole point of a hashtag is to draw attention to the comment itself and therefore the fact she mentioned colonialism clearly indicates she is linking ‘divide and rule’ – the subject of the comment – with colonialism – the subject of the tag.

  84. This is a well reasoned piece which has clarified my own thoughts. I agree entirely, if anything Diane Abbott has gone up in my estimation because she has the balls to speak the truth.

  85. You write such an amazing piece and this guy thinks its reasonable to compare Tottenham to Apartheid and suggest that if we all assimilated to British culture we’d be fine.

    http://pandyablog.dailymail.co.uk/2012/01/diane-abbott-how-can-the-master-of-racial-divide-and-rule-criticise-anyone-else-of-it.html

  86. “Abbott’s comment is both reasonable and historically accurate”

    I wouldn’t say Abbott’s comment is reasonable. Referring to any race as wanting to divide and rule shouldn’t be acceptable and obviously creates tension and offence. That goes for whatever race. Prejudice is deeply ingrained in every culture, we should be making every effort in our language and action to get rid of that. I think it also has a lot to do with our use of language. As I understand Diane Abbott MP was expressing her concern at the term ‘the black community’, did she find that offensive? Should we change that term? I don’t know. I think the ‘us’ and ‘them’ language needs to disappear as it instantly creates this false divide. Yes it has existed historically and it still does but I think the world is a global village and we are all members of it. It’s all love!

  87. This whole argument that black people can’t be racist is ridiculous. She has made a sweeping derogatory generalisation about white people. It’s racist. End of.

  88. Diane Abbot should not resign or be sacked. Her comment was inept and showed poor judgement as to its impact. She needs to battle through and reconnect a bit with rank and file……which means dumping the portillo double act.

  89. The argument presented in the article above is so tortuous that few, including myself, can understand it. Keeping things simple, Abbot’s statement is either correct or it is a generalisation which most would consider racist. As it clearly is not correct, it is racist. The majority of “white people” of whom I am one, do not “divide and rule”. I wouldn’t even know which of my black friends and acquaintances I wish to “divide” and can’t think of a good reason to do so.

    I have always admired Abbot and am disappointed in her lapse of judgement and hope it signifies nothing more.

  90. Well done to the writer of this piece for a very considered and intelligent response to #AbbottGate. I’m in full agreement with all the themes in this blog entry. If anything, Dianne is ‘guilty’ of a lapse in intellectual laziness rather than the ‘racism’ that she is being accused of.

  91. An interesting statistic for you 57% of racially motivated crime is committed against white people (ONS).

    Given this statistic, it is only fair to say that there is a level playing field when it comes to racism. No matter what you think, Black people can be racist too, even if they are coming from an underdog position

    • I’ve heard this too, but we are not allowed to be victims because we are white.
      Honestly its not good talking to people who have a massive 200 year old chip on their shoulder, theres no shifting it.
      The irony of course is that the youths who rioted last August and justified their actions because they said they were marginalised are totally in control of the situation. How about you go to school, get a job and be part of mainstream society then? Oh no I forgot, schools, employers, society are all institutionalised racist eh.

  92. the leading article here is without doubt the most RACIST comment i,ve read so far on this subject , to suggest that white people are up in arms because they feel as outraged by DA,s words as black people do about SL,s horrendous demise is racism bordering on incitement.
    Get that chip off your shoulder and join the rest of us , black , white, it doesn,t matter, in trying to live together in a peaceful equal society.

  93. I think that the comparisons between slavery and racism are wrong. Slavery existed long before the use of Africans as slaves by Europeans, indeed it still exists today. The Egyptians were not opposed to using Hebrew slaves as is well documented, and modern day slavery has many cruel forms. Racism is in my understanding, saying or implying that one set of people is better or more entitled to a particular role/position/etc based on their ethnicity, or in its reverse form that someone is worse based on their ethnicity, or should be restricted due to their ethnicity. I’m not disputing that racism of the early part didn’t leave scars, or that it doesn’t still happen, but the difference between a racial opinion and racism needs to be established. In my opinion calliing someone a thick – insert skin colour here- idiot, is no different to calling someone a thick, fat idiot, it is a descriptive insult. However, saying that someone is a thick idiot because of their skin colour is racism. Drawing back on the slavery years constantly as an excuse for racism or a reason for entitlement by those of African decent is not ok. Slavery ended over 100 years ago, no-one alive today was a part of that slavery either as slave or master. If you harp back on history how far back are you allowed go? 50 years, 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years? Today many races are restricted through perceived inequalities and allow them to have a influence on what they do. If you believe you aren’t equal then you never will be, if you think you aren’t being given as many opportunities as someone else then you will not excell. You have to make your life fair, not turn around and say I’m being held back because of…………….? Money is the main leveller these days, not class or colour. Racism of black people against white does exist, and anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves, the intense hatred I have seen to support this is astounding for all the wrong reasons. The sooner everyone realises that no-one has a right to judge anyone on anything other than their actions, not those of their families or generations before, the sooner all this kind of nonsense will end. You wouldn’t turn around and say that because someone’s father was a murderer then child will be. It’s about time this was applied across the board.

  94. Clearly Abbot views that people’s behaviour is determined by skin pigment is wildly offensive. She implies, laughably, there is a white race and it acts as a body. It’s both stupid and racist. The ruling class may be pale skinned but most of us are not in it.

    • Exactly.

  95. This post misses the point. It is not important whether “white people” are entitled to be offended by Abbott’s stupid and obviously false generalisation. What is important is that a member of parliament, representing a major party, actually forms her opinions of people based on their racial profile. This particular comment is just one of a series of comments she has made that evidence this fact (the comment she once made about Scandinavians is particularly shocking in its slander of a huge group of people). There is no place for someone with this mindset in parliament. No decisions concerning how this country is run should be influenced by such irrational and bigoted opinions. Regardless of who has a right to be offended by her comments, she is unfit for her job and should be sacked. That she happens to represent two underrepresented demographics in parliament has no bearing on the fact that she does not deserve to keep her job.

    The exact wording she uses, and the bullshit excuse of “context” is also irrelevant. For what it’s worth, the reference to colonialism only worsens her comment. Accusing white people of being colonisers is analogous to accusing Germans of being Nazis.

    • Very well said, Matt.

  96. A disproportionate number of the people in power and influence are “white” men. Does that mean if you are a “white” man you in in a position of power and influence. Of course not. Only a moron would make such an illogical leap.

    The majority of those at the bottom of society are white men. The biggest number of murder victims are white men. The largest number of suicides are white men. Prisons are full of white men. Drug and alcohol addicts are almost always white men. White men are overwhelmingly victims of violence.

    But hey, they’re all the ones in positions of power and influence right? Only simplistic morons would make sweeping statements about “white” men. It must be great being a “white” man huh? Well, it isn’t.

    You can be abused, discriminated against, slurred and abused and there are no groups to defend you who aren’t labelled racist or bigots. It’s about time idiots like Abbot and her defenders started treating people like individuals instead of making sweeping idiotic generalisations.

    Abbott is a racist and a bigot and those defending her are those damaging race relations and encouraging morons like the BNP/EDL by dinishing biogtry against “whites” and excusing it whilst rightly condeming “non-white” racist victims. Condem both. I do. Bunch of hypocrites.

    She didn’t “mis-speak” She typed and had ample opportunity to recant but didn’t. Because she thinks all “whites” are the same. The bigot.

    • George, You have wriiten everything that I would have liked to have said only better, I could not agree more with your sentiment

  97. Wow I wish I had written this article.I agree with it entirely! Also equally Racism means Power plus Prejudice. We know where power lies and we know that prejudice cometh from supremacist ideals and we all know which race has the inherent tendency to dole out supremacist ideals. We know which race had actualised supremacist ideas in modern history. We know that humans have the tendency to accuse others of things that are inherent in themselves as they see the world through their own eyes. Britons loath Americanisms but the one Americanism that is so loved is “playing the race card” We also know that “Playing the Race Card” is a rhetorical device used in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism. Assimilation is part of supremacist ideals. Willie Lynch divide and rule exists to ths day. White South Africans did not assimilate in Africa we know what they did there. When the British go to Africa they don’t abandon their language and speak the local lingo. Its everywhere. Just look for it and you would find it.

    • “We know which race had actualised supremacist ideas in modern history.”

      The Black race in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. Of course you support this post; you’re a black chauvinist living as a guest in a country whose people you despise and whose society you’d like to take over. If European culture is so “racist” then why not live in Africa; there is no excuse in 2012 for somebody not to move to a place they’d feel more happy.

      • this is the most honest and refreshing comment i have read all day

      • Your assumptions of me are actually wrong and blinded by the reality of what you are however you define yourself. I am a part of the debate. I am not the debate. I do not want to take over nor have the ability to do so. A level playing field is not a bad idea!! You do not know the circumstance upon which I am here. But lets look historically at who has ever gone anywhere and taken over. Lets ask who first made contact with who and under what circumstances and whether it was under equal partnership. Most of the privilege and lofty position you hold today was as a result of stolen and looted property and people from Africa. Don’t come at me sideways with that belligerent froth oozing outta your mouth. I would rather debate the object rather than the subject. My profile is not anonymous!

    • And I presume then that you would change everything and provide a more equal system, should you ever come to power?. I think I know what type of system you would encourage and god help us if you did.

      I cannot believe the venom that you have wriitten your comments, I feel “pity” for you as a human being, pity for someone who is a bitter and twisted individual, will no grasp of what “intergration” really means.

      And before you label me “Racist”, I would advise you that I am someone who is from an ethnic Background, and loves the fact that I have become a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem like yourself.

      • Seriously bitter and twisted does not describe me. When the truth hurts, it stings like a bitter and twisted entity and you felt it like that. I have no desire to change anything or take over power. My difference is that I do not see things from a euro-centrist point of view. I have studied the democracy perfected in the UK and I am quite happy with the way it has developed and the momentum it is taking. My desire if anything would be to perfect it on a social basis and take the world forward. Going forward means looking back historically so’s not to make the mistakes of the past and to learn from it. I am not blinded by your reality, I can see it. If you were part of the solution like you claim, the debate should rage on about what was said rather than the personalities. Is there some truth in what was said, if yes then what, if not then what? Not me…You can read all my tweets and psychoanalyse me as much as you can but thats not the sum total of me!! What type of system did you envisage! Naziism? Apartheid? No I am a democrat. I just dont see the world from a Euro-Centric view! Sorry to disappoint you in your wild assumptions…throw more mud some might stick! I have a mind of my own and your belligerent claptrap affects me NOT!

      • What type of system do you presume he would encourage other than a just and fair society based on the presumed just fair and more tolerant society as said to be in place in this country? Mugabe is putting into place what Mandela should have put into place when he became president if he wasnt so up the arse of the white man. Reverse the 10% of the population that happened to be white owning 90% of the land. Is this what you think he want to do in the UK. You are judging by the standards that epitomise your status quo? You acn label yourself racist if you want cos I damn well know you’re not from any ethnic minority background otherwise you are the victim of the very divide and rule.

  98. Personally, as a white person, I wasn’t offended by Diane Abbott’s words although they clearly are racist – if racism doesn’t mean negatively stereotyping an entire race than what does it mean? However she has a right to her views, they may be ignorant but they don’t constitute violence or hatred, and they should inspire criticisim and debate not a forced apology or sacking. We are altogether too obsessed as a nation with people causing offence.

    What does offend me is all the left wing apologies for her which either imply or say outright that a black person shouldn’t be accused by whites of being racist. That strikes me as far more objectionable than anything she said. The race issue should be about achieving equality not encouraging division, and certainly not about assigning victimhood to one particular race or implying people of another race are guilty of oppression and racism by the fact of their skin colour (and have no right to complain if they feel they have been prejudiced against).

    This issue has been turned into a political weapon by people who are not seriously interested in achieving equality or harmony and prefer to stir up disharmony when it suits their own aims.

  99. You say:
    “The meaning of a comment depends on the power dynamic that underpins it. If a black comedian makes a joke about white people, or a gay comedian about straight people, the audience knows that (a) they don’t mean everybody and (b) they are coming from an underdog position. They are punching up instead of down.”

    So what you really mean is that someone in a traditionally oppressed social group is allowed to make sweeping generalisations that tar a whole race with the same brush, because that race won’t feel so threatened. But if the comment is made under that assumption, they are effectively saying “You’re more powerful than me, so I can discriminate against you”….so in doing so they are promoting racial inequality, as well as discriminating against another race.

    Furthermore, I think there’s a difference between a comedian and an MP though (usually!). In a comedy club, or a comedy TV show, we all expect light-hearted jabs against different types of people, and everybody knows it’s just for humour. I think most people expect (or at least hope) our MPs to behave in a more inclusive way. They’re not going for laughs, they’re there to represent us all.

    This all reminds me of her comments at a local hospital a few years ago, where she said, “blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls” were unsuitable as nurses because they had “never met a black person before”. Perhaps if they were treating a race-specific skin condition….but other than that it’s just another example of racism.

    Perhaps Diane Abbott should think about representing everyone in her constituency, not just the black proportion (which is around half).

    I’m white, and I don’t “divide and conquer” anybody, and although her sweeping generalisation didn’t particularly offend me, it just makes me sad that the people we are supposed to look up to and respect, and trust to lead our country, show such levels of ignorance, and such lack of care.

    • Well said, I take my hat off and applaud you.

    • Best and without a doubt most reasoned response I’ve read. Not surprised no one has tried to argue with you.

  100. Good God, how naive and almost laughable a published piece, Doran Lynskey. I’ve read this over a couple of times now and am stunned at the simplicity of the ‘argument’ you put forward. What a load of – for all the above reasons submitted by folks who can clearly see the racist intent behind this cavalier comment made by my local MP. I am ashamed of you, Diane Abbott. Bite your tongue from now on and hold in that bitterness. Another gaffe – or should I say, another oozing of your seeming true colours – and labour will lose my vote. I’ll never vote for a party which does not deal with racism – from all colours and ethnicities.

    • I raise a glass and salute your comments

  101. your blog is about as lame as the statement you’re commenting on. this is utter rubbish. DIane abbot was describing the white establishment, not white people in general., and that statement is 100% correct when it comes to that. You people are more obsessed with trivial nonsense than to wonder what would have made an MP say such a thing.

    Most black people will tell you that the white establishment love to play divide and rule. The white media and pollcy makers do this when they describe a crime as BLACK ON BLACK what the hell kind of a description is that? is there white on white crime?? when Tony blair says “the black community” must take responsibility for crime, where is this black community? do we all look and think alike??? what about the “white community”??? everyday as a non white person i see, read, hear about, and listen to examples of “white people” (i.e. the white establishment being: Govt, policy makers, think tanks, and the media) play divide and rule amongst ethnic minorities.

    the white establishment do this in their foreign policy be in it africa, the middle east, asia or south america. so DIane abbot was just caught out for saying the uncomfortable truth, and will perhaps have to give up her pound of flesh for it. i didnt vote for diane abbot and she infact lied to my face when she visited my apartment seeking votes claiming that she would look into my housing disrepair problem i had with the council. so i dont even like the woman. but i understand what she said and why.

    • I cannot believe what i have read here what utter unfounded dross, In my community there are black only groups, clubs, even schools which is something that we have fought many years for and won the right to have. and yet its the whites who are doing the divide and rule!

      By my recollection, there is not allowed by law to have a “white” only group, club or school, so I ask the question, who exactly is doing the devide and rule?

  102. “should have said “white people in power” or “certain white people””

    Should she now just have said “some people in power” or “certain people”?

    Bringing race in to it is not needed and will not add positive weight to any racism debate.

  103. #giles Bradshaw comments spot on

  104. It worries me that the left has turned so far from trying to promote equality per se, and instead seems now to be trying to tackle certain forms of discrimination (religious, sexual, gender, race) and ignoring and downplaying others (economic). There even seems to be outright hostitility towards those at the bottom of the pile if they’re not black, gay, muslim or women. Society would, perhaps, be better off if people of these minority groups were equally distributed amongst the ruling and working classes, but that shouldn’t be the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim should be to tackle the root of all social inequality, not maintain inequality but on less discriminatory terms.

  105. I think that a lot of the time comments that are labelled racist are in fact prejudice.

  106. She used the present tense so presumably she was refering to what white people do today, not years ago in Rwanda. One daft comment does nto make soemone a racist. But it was still a really stupid and rather offensive thing to say.

  107. A good argument from Dorian Lynskey here. Context is crucial. And the point about white working class people is exactly right. But there’s a problem. Abbott is a vociferous supporter of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report (the Macpherson Report) and its definition of institutional racism. The power dynamics that informed past understandings of racism were overturned by Macpherson who rejected any link between institutional racism and the exercise of power. He insisted that the Met was not racist, it was its officers – the ‘canteen culture’ of ‘unwitting thoughts and actions’. This re-working of ‘institutional racism’ was applied to society at large – in other words ordinary workers and, implicitly the white working class Dorian mentions. Its no coincidence that the media and political class have felt increasingly at ease with the ‘acceptable prejudice’ of scorning and stereotyping ‘chavs’.

    Importantly, Macpherson endorsed the definition of a racist incident ‘as any incident perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’. Things like context and intention went out the window and ‘zero tolerance’ became the new buzzword. Dorian’s description of a parallel universe is well made. And of course racism hasn’t vanished. But we’re not living in the same world from which Dorian draws his inverse parallel either. An exciting, fizzing, culturally and increasingly biologically mixed-up diversity is snowballing right now. You can see it in our schools. But you also see how poor kids – whatever their ethnicity, get left behind. ‘Race’ is becoming less and less significant in daily life. And yet despite this Britain’s policymakers seem determined to keep racialising everyday life – the obsession with racial sensitivity and speech being one them. Abbott called for Sebb Blatter to resign because, regardless of the context the hapless Blatter later claimed, he had caused offence and was instilling the wrong vales in children she argued. Zero tolerance! Nadhim Zahawi calls for Abbot to resign for ‘inciting hatred against white people’ – context doesnt matter, zero tolerance!

    This is the suffocating climate Abbott and the Labour Party created (and she was as in favour of hate speech laws as much as anyone). Watching Zahawi and Abbott collide is as laughable as it is depressing – a playground scrap between opposing adherents of hate-speech codes!

  108. Absolutely hilarious. Our “whiteness”? This is the same woman who sends her son to a private school because “black kids don’t do well in Hackney” Who is the MP for Hackney again? The woman is a joke.

  109. Racism in my country is at its peak, especially towards people’s orientations, religion and even region… I mean come on, why to divide amongst ourselves and fight for some crap, putting everyones life at stake..

  110. Person A kidnaps Person B, locks them up, beats them up regularly, withholds food, sexually assaults them and shouts abuse. After several years Person B punches Person A and escapes. When the situation goes to court, Person A’s lawyer tells the judge that Person B is just as violent (because of the punch) and that the only true course of justice is that they both receive the same punishment, in the spirit of anti-violence. Worse still, says the lawyer, the fact that Person B described the things that were done to them only serves to distort the present situation, in court, where they are both standing free and equal. Person B must be held accountable for both their physical violence and their attempt to justify it by listing past grievances.

    That is the logic of most of the arguments on here, even the people who say they are “left wing”, and who do not believe that Abbot is racist, but that her comment was. If we replace “violence” with “racism”, then what the above argument is saying is that the principle of “anti-racism” should be applied equally to both sides of the debate, even if the people in question have vastly disproportionate roles in the situation. Moreover, that the *victim* of racism should not express their *observations/experiences* of racism. This, according to people who adhere to this logic, is because saying anything about the dynamics of racism is tantamount to an act of racism. The fact that one person is expressing their lived reality in an oppressive situation to the end of improving that situation, the fact that one person is *reacting* to the oppressive actions of another is not taken in to account.

    In other words, Person B is condemned because they responded to Person A. To extend the analogy, Persons C, D, E and F – witnesses with similar experiences, relatives, friends and descendants – are also condemned because they testify against, analyse and denounce Person A’s behaviour. Were they direct victims? No. Were their lives impacted by it? Yes. But that doesn’t matter because we’re all supposed to be anti-racist. Never mind that those close to Person A continue to justify and even perpetrate similar behaviour.

    It’s an extremely disturbing argument; It’s what the EDL, BNP, National Front and other extremist parties always come out with; it was the logic behind Jim Crow; it is quite possibly the worst piece of reasoning anyone can use in any debate about race.

  111. Fabulous blog post agree entirely. I wrote something on this some time ago because I got so sick and tired of people flinging terms like racist or sexist around without understanding that it is prejudice plus power not prejudice alone.

  112. Firstly, Diane Abbott is not a black woman, she is an elected member of British Parliament, and part of the Shadow Cabinet. Irrespective of her ‘racial background’, she should know better than to talk about such crude race politics. I don’t see why she needs to say ‘white people’ at all, instead of just ‘the powerful’, if that is what she meant. It furthers the illusion that all white people are rich, upper-middle class individuals who either read the Telegraph every day, and work together to keep the darkies down (Which as an unemployed ‘white’ living in a flat over a shop in a dead-end town centre with my handyman, divorced dad, I am most certainly not). Intentional or not, it is representative of a mindset which has no place in the future of a liberal democracy.

    Secondly, why does the continuation of white racism mean that black racism should be ignored, or sidelined? Such prejudice is not acceptable from any public official. If there are worse injustices, should we ignore the small ones? So long as there is rape and murder, should we ignore pick-pocketing and minor assaults? Because that is what your argument equates to. I don’t ‘feel like a victim’, but nor do I think that Diane Abbott’s tweet was appropriate, and I think that this sudden rush of left-wing bloggers should pull their heads out of their collective arses and realise that.

    • “Diane Abbott is not a black woman”
      …..

      I’m sorry what now? Can you explain to me how exactly being an elected member of parliament erases a major part of your identity?

      Because (silly me!), I had always thought she was a black woman! How could I have missed that…

  113. I do believe Diane Abbott’s remarks have been taken out of context because she was clearly describing the exertion of political power. However, I am confused and slightly perterbed by the point she appeared to be making by relating it to ‘the black community’., which she was discussing with Bim Adewunmi who had bemoaned generalisations used by the media in the case of Stephen Lawrence, Can anyone help me out here?

  114. Well, you can only speak as you find. I’ve never seen nor encountered or heard of white-on-black racism. I don’t mean I’ve never read stories in the news, I mean I’ve never heard of ayone of my acquaintance suffering or witnessing white-on-black racism. I have, however been subjected to black-on-white racism several times. And aggresively so. I was rescued twice by a black friend from black-on-white racism. At no time had I done anything to deserve such treatment save for being white and existing. BUT.. far worse than anything I encountered was the abuse and fear meted out to my Indian and Pakistani friends by their families. One girl was married off and was resigned to the beatings she had from her new husband and his family. One man was kidnapped and imprisoned by his family for wanting to marry a girl of the ‘wrong’ caste. One girl was on the run from her father and brothers for loving a white man. She genuinely feared she woud be killed. We lost touch…

    I’ve often heard coloured men say that white girls are to use but not to marry. But if the nice white girls they are greasing round were to avoid them because of their race or religion you’d call those girls racists.

  115. […] […]

  116. To compare the terrible killing of a man by a mob to comments made by a politician on a social media site is patently absurd. The two things are no where near similar and should not be compared. The simple fact of the matter is an MP should not be making sweeping generalisations about any group in society be it white, black, purple, blue or orange. Defend the person all you want but it doesn’t take away from the fact that she should not have said what she did and to even compare what she did to the recent SL case is another serious misjudgement.

  117. […] here. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Ms Abbott’s comments on twitter were a “stupid and crass […]

  118. It is good to see at last that White racism does exist in Britain and black and Asians are loving the fact that they can slander the White race with out compromise yet the White race can not say anything even remotely racist for fear of being charged by the police.
    For to long in Britain now the White majority in Britain have been put down by the European laws and black and Asians are loving this. Diane Abbott is a disgrace and a racist and should be charged and fired – SIMPLES

  119. It’s also the wording that leaves little doubt as to her political beliefs and in my personal opinion is promoting racism. The comment on the Stephen Lawrence trial indicated the degree of dismay viewed by all nationalities and reflect that tolerance is favoured by one group above another depending on your perspective. Thus this would not be acceptable coming for a white MP and should be given the same response and support from the black community to send a message that racism in any form directed at the white population or any other unwarranted derogatory remarks at other s of any nationally is not accepted or tolerated and demand her resignation.

  120. This speaks a lot more sense than any of the other things I’ve read about this over the last 24 hours. I’ve never been a fan of Abbott – the woman makes my skin crawl, but I’m not a fan of victimisation either and as much as I dislike her, people have taken her comment and just ran with it.

    It seems to have taken away from the fact that her comment was steaming back to a discussion about Stephen Lawrence. What she said was 100% true. You only have to look at the way the police dealt with the family and friends of Stephen Lawrence at the time to see that! Ok so it should have read ‘some white people in positions of power’ but it was a throw away comment made in the heat of the moment on twitter! I think you can forgive her of that and get back to the real issue.

    She pointed out a fact, she said it in slightly the wrong way but she was being honest. She has apologised for any offence, now lets move on.

    • There are plenty of people with ‘white’ skin that get treated like sh1t by the Police.

  121. If it was just 1 incident I would put this down as nothing but a stupid mistake.

    However:

    -In 1996, Diane Abbott commented that at her local hospital “blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls” were unsuitable as nurses because they had “never met a black person before.”

    -She referred to David Cameron and Nick Clegg as “two posh white boys” in May 2010.

    And now “White people love playing ‘divide and rule'”

    No white person, least of all an MP, would get away with saying these things publically.

    • Both of those comments were like her most previous comment taken out of context. Yes they were both said in slightly the wrong way but they were genuine facts. Some of the nurses in her local hospital were girls from Finland who has blonde hair and blue eyes. She said they may be unsuitable because they were working in a run down poverty striken part of east London that has very few white people. She didn’t say it in the right way, but she has a point.

      Nick Clegg & David Cameron are 2 privileged upper class white males. Again she stated a fact. Just because she isn’t saying it in the right way, it doesn’t mean she isn’t stating a fact.

      Are you saying she should keep these things to herself? Other MP’s have much more extreme things to say than she does, but they wouldnt dare say them in public. At least she has some honesty and emotion and some nerve unlike the rest of the Labour party at the minute…

      • “She said they may be unsuitable because they were working in a run down poverty striken part of east London that has very few white people. She didn’t say it in the right way, but she has a point.”

        What point would that be? Why does their skin colour have to do with anything?

      • “She said they may be unsuitable because they were working in a run down poverty striken part of east London that has very few white people. She didn’t say it in the right way, but she has a point.”

        Which is what – it’s ok to judge the ability of people with fair skin just because of their skin colour/ethnic background?

        It is not enough to say “said it the wrong way” to cover up racist remarks i.e. where someone of any colour judges other people on their skin colour

  122. I liked your article, in particular the domination, divide and rule tactics deployed towards white working class (now directed towards people of coour. In the 70’s this strategy was aimed very specifically at the Irish people.

    I would add one more crucial aspect and that is the power of the dominant group to define social and cultural agendas. The attack on Diane Abbott is a lovely example of this and because black people do not possess power in this arena or indeed any, there is no-one representing the Black position to question the ludricous notion that Diane Abbott, a black woman has the economic, cultural and institutional power to be racist!

    • You don’t need any power whatsoever to be racist. You’re confused.

  123. Blatant Racism.

    “Only Whites can be racist” just about sums it up.

    You can’t push for racial equality and favour ethnic minorities. This makes me very angry. I’m not going to look at the replies to this comment, because you’ll all be incorrect anyway.

  124. Wow…so let me get this straight, racism can only be considered racist if it is directed towards a minority?

    As has already been pointed out white working class people have been utterly disenfranchised, they have no more power than anyone else and they are now being denied the right to even consider themselves a race.

    No-one is even allowed to say that there is such a thing as a white English/British race anymore. It is an utter disgrace and it makes me sick to my stomach. Its ok for Black or Asian people to consider themselves a race, and quite right too, but apparently white English people no longer exist. I was informed not long ago that there is no longer any such thing as an indigenous English race….well why not? Where have the people who inhabited this island for so many years, before the advent of mass immigration, disappeared to?

    Those poor (economically speaking) white English people who inhabited cities up and down the country never voted for multiculturalism (they never voted for empire either before anyone throws that at me) and what we are seeing now is an unspoken, systematic destruction of white English identity.

    Recognize what is happening and fight against it before it is too late.

    • I always put ‘English’ on any form that asks for my nationality. We are letting it go by not standing up for it. It is a ‘right’ that other races/nationalities excercise so we should too.

      I was in Scotland last year and noticed that Lidl are “proud to serve Scotland”. So presumably they don’t give a damn about serving England ;)

  125. two black men have just been convicted, several years too late thanks to an institutionally racist black police force, of the murder of white teenager Stephen Lawrence- An institutionally Anti White Racist Harringey council ,resulted in the Anti white racist Killers Of P.C Blakelock by black men 26 years ago, having not been found guity yet.

  126. She is at least a bigot. The ‘prejudice plus power’ formula advanced above was a later revision of the definition of racism – that is, the basic premise of a member of one race believing another race to be inferior. As the idea of racism mutated beyond its original meaning, P+P became a pernicious and active part of anti-racist theology; inescapable on one level, on another, virtually a double-bind for the well meaning, guilt-motivated white liberal. So can Black people be racist by way of the P+P equation? Idi Amin and Mugabe tell me yes. As to the right twitterati making a big deal of it: well, it’s a great way to give Ed Miliband another headache. And why not? It’s fun!

  127. Sorry for being an absentee landlord this afternoon but I didn’t expect anything like this response and there was just no way I could keep on top of all these comments. Thanks for what an intense but thoughtful debate, apart from the guy who thinks I’m part of a Jewish communist conspiracy.

    Just a couple of general points:

    1. If I believed Abbott was being racist — assigning negative characteristics to a whole race instead of making a point about political tactics and history — then I would certainly not defend her. But I just cannot see how you could interpret the tweet in such dramatic terms. If you do, deeply and sincerely, believe she was being racist then of course you’ll think I’m defending racism.

    2. Re: “Can non-white people be racist?” Black-on-white racism certainly exists in certain areas in certain situations, because nobody is immune from prejudice. (I could find no evidence to support the 57% figure cited above – in fact quite the opposite.) I condemn any physical or verbal assault based on race but there is in this country no entrenched rhetoric of black-on-white racism, no history of black people subjugating and exploiting white people en masse, no black equivalent to the BNP or the NF. There is, as I said in the OP, no equivalency. This doesn’t mean that individual cases are irrelevant.

    3. It’s great to believe in equality – most of us do – but you can’t just wish away the longstanding imbalance and expect everybody to play nice. History matters.

    4. If push comes to shove I think class matters more than race but economically and politically the white working-class have far more to fear from rich white people than they do from black working-class people.

    Thanks again for all the responses.

    • “3. It’s great to believe in equality – most of us do – but you can’t just wish away the longstanding imbalance and expect everybody to play nice. History matters.”

      No, but you can practice equality by condemning racism in all its forms. Consistency also matters.

  128. Racism is racism. The skin colour of the perpetrator and victim is a complete non-issue, unless you’re racist yourself, of course…

  129. A wonderful piece showing great insight into the response.
    Most of the comments make for sad reading though, from both sides of the argument may I add.

  130. If someone to the right of Ms Abbott had said the same thing about black people without qualifying the statement with “some” or “certain” Ms Abbott would have jumped down their throats for it. What’s sauce for the goose and all that.

    As for the case where we do substitute the qualifications into Ms Abbott’s statement, I think it’s still racist by the standards she would hold others to. Using race to make a point at all is assumed to make a white person automatically racist no matter what the logic or reasonableness of the statement and so the opposite should be true.

    When will the white elite have done enough in reparation for the sins of generations past? Never for otherwise mediocre policiticians like Ms Abbott would not be able to ush themselves into the house of commons. The race relations industry will see to that.

  131. excellent piece – articulates many of the thoughts i’ve had about it, but didn’t quite know how to express.

  132. surely if a white MP had made a similar statement, people would be after their head on a plate
    also a lot of people when the go on about the old chestnut of slavery seem to forget that the africans were tribal and would take their captives and use them as slaves and sell them to the white people to sell onwards. hmm nobody ever seems to remember that fact,

  133. I read through this post scoffing derisively until I reached the bit about the WWC, at which point I blinked. It’s very rare that a post about inequality by someone who considers themself ‘a lefty liberal’ gives thought to the plight of this particular group, due to the WWC’s tendency to be resolutely small-c conservative!

  134. […] window of opportunity to unsettle their political opponents and lots of copy was written – in defence of and against Diane Abbott, including an account from the person who “started the Diane Abbott […]

  135. Actually, it’s incredibly easy to see why Abbot has been interpreted as ‘assigning negative characteristics to a whole race’. It’s because she did. There’s nothing in her tweet to indicate any distinction betwen white people: it doesn’t read ‘some white people’ or anything to that effect. Semantically, it homogenises white people into a single group. This is a fact.

    It is also clear that she wasn’t making a point about ‘political tactics’. If this was her intention, why did she not distinguish her target? Something along the lines of ‘ ‘white political leaders like to….’ would have sufficed.

    If she was discussing history, why was the tweet in the present tense, and why was it followed with the hash-tag ”tacticasoldascolonialism”? This quite blatantly implies she believes the tactic as enduring to the present day.

    The rest of your argument is merely muddying the water. What you say about power structures and the history of black oppression is all true. And? The fact is there is nothing but your own prejudiced reading to suggest Abbot was discussing this. What we’re dealing with is an isolated remark by an isolated figure: not societal truths as a whole.

    By definition, anyone can be racist. She has been racist. Unsubstantiated, ad hominem attacks on the nature of white offence does not disprove this.

    • Oh come on, none of this makes sense.

      Of course it’s about political tactics and not race in general. How can an average white person without political power “divide and rule” anybody? You can’t win an argument by saying “This is a fact” after it, otherwise we’d all be doing it.

      Nothing is isolated, much though it might be convenient for you to pretend it is. Bringing in the history and power dynamics behind her remarks is not “muddying the water”. The hashtag #tacticasoldascolonialism demonstrates that the history of black oppression is EXACTLY what she’s referring to. It was in the present tense because racism hasn’t magically vanished. We all agree she was careless in saying “white people” without qualifying it but any reading of the tweet in context makes it very clear what she’s taking about.

      And look up what “ad hominem” means.

  136. *do

  137. God, I HATE Black People!

    Oh I’m sorry. That was totally out of context.

    What I meant to say was…

    My god, I hate it when I have visitors to the house and I end up with black muddy footprints all over my carpet. I wish people would wipe their feet first.

    Sorry if it was taken wrongly, I only had 140 characters and couldn’t fit it all in.

  138. Of course that comment can be seen as racist…It’s a sweeping statement about ‘white’ people (that includes anyone with pale skin I guess). The only truth of life is the rich and powerful and the poor and powerless. I had a lot of respect for Dianne Abbot but am shocked to see she could make such a silly statement. How can we ever hope to survive as a species when people continue to create divides based on gentic differences? Ironically much of the activism and campaigns based around race can only seek to reenforce these divides. And saying that racism against white people isn’t real racism is an absurdity.

  139. Of course she shouldn’t resign and the backlash is over the top and opportunist, but it was a silly thing to say.

  140. What everyone appears to be forgetting is that to assume a person or peoples will act or behave in a certain way because of their skin colour is what racism actually is. Irrelevant of the colour of who said it, who it is said about etc.

    If you say ‘X colour’ people behave in ‘X way’ that is pure racism and is WRONG!

    So for someone, a politician, anyone of any colour to say “white people blah blah blah” is racism and is WRONG. Whatever the context.

    Whether white people are offended or not is irrelevant. The rules of racism have to work equally for everyone not just minorities.

  141. More left wing apologists springing to the defence of a racist. This is why the left will continue to be unelectable in the UK. Nobody wants pseudo-theories about how Diane Abbott wasn’t prejudiced. All people want to know, and are perfectly justified in their anger, is why Diane Abbott thinks all white people are colonialists who divide and rule. She meant exactly what she wrote. There was no context, and she still hasn’t clarified what she meant. Oppose all racism, not some. If you don’t condemn what she said, frankly I can only class you as a racist.

  142. You are all taking this very seriously

    “Twitter is particularly a medium for the expression of immediate and emotional reactions, asides, extempore comments, exaggeration and hyperbole. It is not intended to, and could never be the place for a measured response to complex events”

  143. This has gone viral. And from the comments I saw from where I got this link from, in not a good way.

    I honestly don’t know what to say to this, other than the author of this article has some very, very deep-rooted issues. Self-loathing barely scratches the surface.

  144. Here’s a fact for you all to digest. The definition of racism is a race that seeks to subjucate and dominate another. In the entire history of the planet, no African or descendant of Africa has EVER attempted this. Yes, we can be prejudiced but racism is not in our dna. period.

  145. As a white Jew, I consider the Nation of Islam racist, not “racist”.

  146. if she was white and said this about black people……

    • She would be a liar……………..

  147. It’s kinda me like saying:

    “Jews control the central banks and media conglomerates.”

    Even if true, I shouldn’t say it because its racist.

  148. Another man who completely misses the point of what bim was talking about. For years, if not my whole life the ‘black community’ has been treated as one mass. As a British Nigerian kid who got his ass kicked by west Indian kids in school, I knew this wasn’t the case. As my parents pointed out, in Africa different groups viewed themselves as distinct from each other. To put it another way, is a Frenchman the same as an Englishman? Why then, if an Eithiopian Jew is sitting next to a Muslim Hausa from Nigeria are both men viewed as kindred spirits just because they are black?

  149. I agree with the article but really the problem is that she said ‘white people’ when she could have said ‘the ruling classes/elites/etc’. She’s played massively into the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy by helping to further the divide between the white and black poor.

    Indeed her words worse when viewed through the article’s perspective as she’s implied that:
    a) The ruling classes are all white
    b) All white people are members of the ruling class

    It’s would be no different than noting that Muslims and black people are over represented in the criminal justice system and implying that therefore all criminals are black/Muslim and that all Muslims/black people are criminals.

    And no that tactic is not as old as colonialism it’s much, much older.

  150. Stephen lawrence was a black teenager, two white men were convicted.

    Can’t even take your blog seriously

    • Perhaps you should read the opening paragraph again. You’ve missed something quite important that everyone else seems to have spotted.

  151. She didn’t say governments though Mr Grumpy she said white people. As the article says that probably isn’t what she meant. She probably meant elites/the government. Perhaps as a well educated person with the ability to critically analyse with the time to read the exchange and have an understanding of the relevant history that seems obvious. Perhaps a whitedt person without knowledge of the subject and no power will see things slightly differently without the qualities described in the article. I can only see this as being unnecessarily divisive language. Also having read whats left of the conversation i can see no she doesn’t reference the 19th century until the apology. Although the disgusting record of such tactics is not in doubt to get that from the offending tweet is quite a leap. The situation today is quite different to the nineteenth century and on one level think it belittles those who have helped to combat racism and the gains they have made(however modest.) A friend of mine who has in the past been involved in fund raising for anti racist organisation was accused of being racist due to to obviously ironic/sarcastic status’s. Nothing offensive. Someone took the moral highground while using the jolly term N****r bitch ironically (ironically) and throwing a few insults. The alleged racist was then unfriended. If this person had been racist surely it would have been better to confront their prejudices and maybe educate them a little. I’ve done this on racist pages and occasionally someone rethinks their views. Groups like the EDL and BNP thrive on this ignorance. Combatting it has got to be better than taking a couple of cheap shots and running away.

  152. You are forgetting that she is very much in a position of power over the people who she offended, she is punching down rather than punching up.

    You are buying into the idea that every white European is born guilty of something their ancestors may or may not have done. And they can never break away from that guilt no matter what good they do themselves.

    And black people are born innocent and above taking responsibilty for their own actions because of something their ancestors may or may not have been victims of. Do you really think these ideas improve race relations?

    • Well said, it’s here and now we have to deal with. Total equality, history has no bearing on people born hundreds of years after. We should ignore race colour etc, all people are equal. Opinions of people should be based on their behaviour and nothing else. All generalisations based on race colour etc are WRONG !!

    • So very well put :)

  153. This article uses the far-left definition of racism, which is “racism=prejudice+power”. This differs from how most people think about racism.

    Ordinarily, racism is considered making prejudiced generalizations about any racial group, whether positive or negative. It doesn’t matter what race the person making the generalization is, it is still racism. Anyone of any race can therefore be racist. This is an equalitative definition of racism, and doesn’t entail “speical rules for ‘special’ people”.

    However, the far-left definition of “racism” – which is “racism=prejudice+power” – completely changes the dynamic, because it entails the additional generalization that certain racial groups have power, and others don’t. According to this cruder definition of “racism”, White people have power, therefore only they can be racist, whilst minorities have no power, therefore they can only be prejudiced, but not racist.

    The stupid thing about this far-left definition, is that it completely ignores the fact that certain individuals have more power than others regardless of which racial group they belong to. It’s a very collectivized, simplified, and stupified way of thinking about things.

    For example, imagine if a boss at work is black, and his employess are white. He obviously has power over them, since he can hire or fire according to his will. But the stunted far-left definition of racism only goes as far as to say, “he is black, and black people have less power in society than white people, therefore he cannot be racist.” Therefore he can be as biggotted and bullying as he likes, and still play the “victim” card if anyone accuses him of racism. “I’m only a powerless black man. You can’t say that about me”.

    Obviously, the far-left definition of racism is an intellectualy stunted, very polarized and a simplifed way of looking at situations, and one that limits the ranges of thought.

    The 33-revolutions-per-minute article – posted above – is using this far-left definition of “racism” to attempt to absolve Abbot of any wrong doing; It implied that the colour of her skin alone means that she is a powerless victim in this society – an oppressed black person – and therefore unable to be racist.

    However, not only is the far-left definition wrong, it also should not apply to Abbot, because she IS in a position of huge power and influence. Therefore SHE really does have the ability to make racist and prejudiced remarks, even according the far-left definition. Therefore, she should be reprimanded to the same extent as anyone else in her position, regardless of the colour of her skin.

    • Understandably the author has no glib comeback to this one. 100% behind you on this comment

      • No, I just don’t have time to explain to somebody how power and privilege actually work, or why it’s ridiculous to think that such an understanding is restricted to the “far left”, or why saying that such an understanding is actually “cruder” than the blunt, level-playing-field definition offered by the commenter is upside-down, or why the commenter is dressing up a series of simplifications, strawmen (the racist black boss persecuting his white staff) and fallacies as plain old logic and commonsense.

      • 18 months of being bullied and harassed by a co-worker was a reality for me. I am of mixed race but (apparently) ‘look white’ and as a result was reduced to tears almost every day by someone who wanted to punish me for having a job that he felt should have gone to a Black worker. Any chance he got to belittle me, take credit for my work, stir trouble with other co-workers, to issue complaints…he took it He issued a complaint against me for having a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird on my desk when I was working with a school on a project to explore the issues of race raised in that book; my co-worker issued the complaint on the grounds that I possessed racist literature…yet the very reason I had it was to counter racism. in 18 months he issued 44 complaints on similarly tenuous ground…and each time I had to go through the disciplinary procedure. I worked hard to gain my qualifications…worked hard to counter the prejudice and discrimination I had experienced of having a white father and mixed race mother – prejudice and discrimination from both Black and white people…worked hard to counter the prejudice and discrimination I experienced because I have a Black partner. So what right did that co-worker have to bully and harass me to the point where I became ill because I appear to be ‘white’ and thus deserving of punishment for the historic oppression Black people have suffered? Does any historic event justify making any uninvolved individual’s life a complete misery?

      • also agree (see my own earlier comment)

      • No Sionadh, nothing justifies that and I’m horrified to hear about your experience. People can be appalling to each other and this co-worker sounds psychotic. I wouldn’t ever claim that a black person can’t be racist on a one-to-one level – just that on a macro scale there is no black-on-white comparison to the kind of entrenched racism that black Britons have experienced over the past few decades. But the guy’s a vicious bully, no question, and I hope you either overturned his complaints or found a new job somewhere you won’t be harassed.

      • You don’t have time to explain how power and privilege work? I don’t buy it. Presumably only for white people?

        From your comments about “punching up” as underdogs it’s pretty clear you’re fine with racism so long as it’s not coming from a white person, you then retreat behind vague nonsense about power and privilege (which apparently all whites and only whites possess) to defend your racist statements.

        Tell me what is “upside-down” in believing we should have equality and a level playing field?

        If you can indulge in fanciful discussion of “alternate universes” I wont begrudge the above a simple demonstrative analogy for his point. If you’d like to point out his fallacies, I’ll gladly discuss it further with you.

      • “just that on a macro scale there is no black-on-white comparison to the kind of entrenched racism that black Britons have experienced over the past few decades.”

        The above observation in no way absolves or renders null the racist comments or actions of a black briton. That’s the commenter’s point.

      • I would agree…there is no comparison in terms of racism in the UK, tho obviously the Holocaust is an example of extreme macro racism; I would also say that in terms of prejudice and discrimination, women have suffered appallingly millenia (and continue to do so – eg: rape as a weapon of war in the Congo) at the hands of men of all colours, cultures and creeds…but that does not make every man a misogynist or chauvinist, just as not every white person is a racist

  154. Hands down the best article i have read surrounding the topic. Very well written and gives an accurate portrayal of how things actually are

  155. This is the best article I’ve read on the matter and the most comprehensively articulated.

    Most importantly though, it is spot on.

  156. How anybody can say this isnt racist is beyond me. What do political power,slavery or stephen lawrence have to do with it? ITS RACIST.

    Im neither proud or ashamed of slavery, it happened and it was nothing to do with me, or you…Some people make it sound as though nothing a black says can ever be racist because of slavery!.

    Those who say its not racist because its based on reality, truth, ancestors etc.. EH?

    So if I told Diane that if she did get sacked, I bet she’d be useful at a sugar plantation, im sure nobody here defending her would call me racist.

    • Tweet taken out of context, I was referring to white people dividing and ruling. – oh sorry Diane I misunderstood, how paranoid and malicous of me.

  157. One group that her oversimplification did ignore, unfortunately, is pretty much all white people who are at the bottom of the social heap and don’t have the power(or desire) to divide and rule anything. But they’re not the people falling over themselves to express their outrage..of course not, that would be causing racial tension.

    • This is where things begin to intersect. Poor white people still have white privilege, more power, one less problem to worry about, than black people of any economic standing. And many ruling class white people use race to divide and rule everyone else – get poor white people angry and fired up about race and immigration, so they’ll just sit and think all their problems are thanks to Those Other People, and not the ruling class. Time Wise lays this out in the context of Hurricane Katrina victims. It’s an example of how racism, and unchecked white privilege, hurts white people too.

  158. An elected MP has clearly made a racist statement. Firstly I can’t believe she is still an MP, secondly I can’t believe how many people on here are actually defending her !!
    Turn it round and decide. Consider this (fictional) tweet from say Nick Clegg and ask yourself two questions, (1) Would this be deemed a racist comment? and (2) Would this be totally ignored by TV News?
    “Black people love playing ‘the race card’ We should not play their game #anyexcusetobevictim”

  159. Utter, utter rubbish on a number of levels, defence of Miss Abbott’s blatantly racist remarks in such a mealy-mouthed way is in itself I feel to be racist. For you to suggest that white people have no right to be offended by a racist remark is in itself a prejudice based on the colour of skin.

    Racism is an offensive remark, action, gesture, statement, generalisation made by one person against a person or persons of a different creed/race/religion. Miss Abbott did this by generalising that ‘white people love to play divide and rule’. There is no way you can justify what she said. She made critical reference to people using the only distinction of ethnicity.

    Now let’s examine some of your defences… You say racism lies with those in power yet also bring the scumbags who called Stephen Lawrence? What power did they have? They were teenages boys brought up with hatred for blacks, but by your token as they have no power they weren’t racist killers, merely violent killers? Is that right?

    You say racism lies with the majority so if I were to travel to one of the republics of Africa, running by a corrupt black despot, I’d be justified in making such a sweeping generalisation of black people? I think I’d fear for my life if I did.

    By your token, the racist, xenophobic Prince Phillip was not being racist when he referred to spear chucking and slanty eyes on state visits as he was in a minority in a foreign land therefore holding no power under their laws, where is your spirited defence for that bigoted old man?

    No, I’m sorry, I am from Liverpool and as our city has been in the racial limelight most recently I feel qualified to voice an opinion, although I believe all people of all creeds are inherently racist to some extent, your blatant set of double standards stand to inflame racial discrimination more then it does to defend a similarly bigoted old black woman.

    For racism to be truly eradicated it needs to be accepted that racism is a level playing field and that all comments prejudicing any creed or race is equally as abhorrent, offensive and unjust. For you state that racism is simply a tool of the white man is basically paraphrasing Orwell that all men are created equal, ethnic minorities are more equal then others.

    • @Ste. It is clear from your post that you have absolutely NO understanding of what racism is. Racism is the attempt by people of one race to subjugate, dominate and totally control people of another. There has NEVER in the history of this planet been a single case of Black people making any such attempts. Yes, Black people CAN have prejudices but racism isn’t even on our radar!
      Your analogies also do not stand up to scrutiny. Your assertion that the killers of Stephen Lawrence had no ‘power’, totally misses the point. The term ‘power’ in this context is derived from the inherent racism that is part of the system. The fact that the police rather than attempt to find Stephen’s killers, decided to investigate Stephen and his friend Duwayne Brooks, is just one example of that.
      Also, you state that ifyou were to make such a statement in Africa, you would not be a racist because you were in the minority. This again misses the point. How many white people do you know of that live in Africa in the lowest socio economic group and live in a society which is inherently biased against them? Like I said, Racism isn’t even on our radar!
      The same also goes for you comment about prince philip. He obviously has ‘power’ and as a resut, feels he is entitled to treat anyone he feels is below him in any way he sees fit. Another thing you need to remember, is those remarks were made about people from so called ‘commonwalth’ countries where his wife is the head of state!

      • Your argument, and others like it, are attempting to assert that only those with power can be really racist, and for you, that means white people. Black people, on the other hand, are ‘allowed’ to be racist, because they are utterly weak and powerless.

        Is this how you view black people, and white people?

        Your thinking is itself racist. You don’t see individuals, you only see their skin.

    • I absolutely agree with you.

      Racism can only be erradicated when everyone is treated as equals. There should be no ‘special’ rules for ‘special’ people – this in itself sows the seeds of resentment and division.

  160. if you had read the tweet it is hard to infer she was inferring colonialisation, she should have been more careful with her words & as a consequence she is distracting from far bigger issues; she should resign and draw a line under it; how can we demand Aidan Burley resign if Diane will not gracefully show Parliament & the public how to ‘do the right the right thing’ – I do not believe Diane is a racist, but she made a bad mistake

  161. I was raised in a household where no-one was judged by the colour of their skin or the ethnic group they belonged to; I have spent much of my working life involved in projects dedicated to addressing prejudice and discrimination associated with race and ethnicity. I am of genetically of ‘mixed race’ but look white…and in one job I was consistently bullied and harassed by a Black co-worker who felt I should not be in the job because I was (looked) white. Management would not discipline this co-worker because they were scared that the co-worker would bring a race discrimination case against them. I lasted 18 months in post before having a breakdown and being forced to leave the post due to ill-health. People told me I should have quit earlier – but I loved the actual work (and was very good at my job)…and I felt Management and the law should have protected me to enable me to do that job. Black-on-white racism does exist…and the prevalence of white-on-Black prejudice and discrimination does not and should not be a licence to victimise white individuals who have spent years of their lives working to counter ALL racial prejudice and discrimination. I still believe it is wrong to judge any person by the colour of their skin, their ethnic heritage or the religion they follow. And that is despite my personal experience…and despite the fact that I have yet to find another job.

    It is also worthy of comment that the Human Genome Project proved that there are greater genetic differences within each perceived ‘race’
    than there is between each perceived ‘race’ and that people can be genetically almost identical bar the colour of their skin….which blows the traditional perceptions of ;’race’ apart…yet we continue to use ‘race’ in such debates when the reality is that prejudice and discrimination is based on colour – pure and simple.

  162. […] In some parallel world then Abbott’s tweet may have been racist but although her choice of words here were clumsy and she would have been better saying “certain white people”, it is clear that Dianne Abbott is not a racist. In her later apology she clarified her hashtag as meaning 19th Century colonialism and that argument still holds intellectual water today. You don’t need to go as far back as the Belgium ruled Rwanda and the separation of Tutsi and Hutu, in the 1950’s the British rule of Sudan led to that country’s extensive civil wars and ultimately the formation of the world’s most recent country, South Sudan. […]

  163. It’s very simple. She made a racist comment and should be sacked.
    To start bringing up history and the struggle for blacks in the past is not relevant. This is the 21st century, black people rightly have equal rights and therefore equal responsibility.
    The conversation ends there.

    • It must be amazing to feel able, with a straight face, to tell black people that their struggle is over and everybody’s equal. Did you even hear about the Stephen Lawrence case? Do you know anything about modern society let alone history?

      Also amazing to believe you can end a conversation by saying “The conversation ends there”

      • Right? I feel like (white) people are desperately trying to pin the Stephen Lawrence case as a separate problem with the police force or legal system, as if the police/legal system acts in a vacuum, completely separate from the rest of society.

      • What a load of tosh!!
        White people are not doing this because of the Stephen Lawrence case..not in anyway will any one be trying to compare a murder of a person to a stupid comment made by a stupid person on twitter. This is almost as ridiculous as saying that because of several hundred years of slavery, white people today in 2012 should accept racially aggravated comments?

  164. […] Dorian Lynskey deftly deconstructs the opportunistic outrage against Diane Abbott about her tweets this week: “What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood. Any whiff of black-on-white racism, like misandry and heterophobia, is an excuse for these delicate souls to downplay the dominant prejudice and argue that there is a level playing field of bigotry or, on the crazier fringes, that there is a “war” on white people/men/straight people/motorists, etc. Coming so soon after theLawrenceverdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.” […]

  165. My comment from 6.20pm yesterday’s disapeared and all i did was Point out the paralell universe idea actually exist in the Uk. Now removing my comment that was racist.

    • Oh calm down. I haven’t deleted anything. I’ve approved every single comment on this blog, including the one that says I’m part of a Jewish communist conspiracy to undermine Christianity. In case you haven’t noticed a lot of the comments in this thread fiercely disagree with me.

      • stand correted it was 7.16 when I posted

  166. This is a wonderful article, undoubtedly one of the best I’ve read on this ridiculous situation. The comments here, however, make me deeply sad. It’s horrific to see people defending the idea that what she said may be even slightly racist. There’s a reason why the phrase “racist against white people” sounds so silly.

    • sad sad sad sad sad idiot

      whites have been attacked and killed for being white

      Danny O’Shea was killed by black group in east London last month yet the guardian and bbc wont not the color of attackers as they fuel and foster anti white extremism. In addition he hardly got a mention, the killing was like Stephen Lawrence but reversed,

      People need to have a look at the god damn state of play and realize whilst the politically correct rape justice, the fight against racism will wither on all fronts.

      The Stephen Lawrence trial has been cart blanche for anti whites to propagate there spew, I am a person who looks at things with balance http://onmymindbyadam.wordpress.com/14-racism-and-the-gruesome-twosome/

    • Racial issues are very divisive aren’t they? People tend to see things in black and white too readily. Everyone is equal, but some people are more equal than others, eh Penny?

  167. Black people should be treat as slaves…..

    I’m sorry I forgot to mention that in actual fact I was talking about the views of many upper class white people during the slave trade days.

    This in no way reflects my views, however if it did and I made this comment I know I would definitely try to ‘back-track’ and change the ‘context’ of what I meant!?

    This argument is about Diane Abbott not ‘parallel universes’ Diane Abbott has been critised for a comment she made, which brings her judgement in to the public view. She was wrong to say what she said about ‘divide and rule’ along with other comments with racially spurred opinions and if she is going to use the colour of her skin affect her judgement then she should not be in power.

    As for ‘parallel universes’ what you are saying is complete rubbish! You are saying that the only time a comment like divide and rule could be deemed racist is if we lived in a country where being white was being part of an ethnic minority. Which would also state that it is only racist if it is aimed at the ethnic minority. Which it is not!

  168. Firstly, remove the “divide and rule” part and just make it a generalised comment – black people love to It’s still racist and would be condemned as a racist generalisation.

    Secondly, this “punching up as an underdog” analogy is simply a rehashing of the notion that black people can’t be racist, nor can any minority, as racist behaviour is excused or nullified by virtue of their status as “underdog”.

    A racist is a racist, regardless of whether or not they are an “underdog”.

  169. […] And the notion that it was racist because it expressed a negative view of “white people”? What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood. Any whiff of black-on-white racism, like misandry and heterophobia, is an excuse for these delicate souls to downplay the dominant prejudice and argue that there is a level playing field of bigotry or, on the crazier fringes, that there is a “war” on white people/men/straight people/motorists, etc. Coming so soon after the Lawrence verdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.33revolutionsperminute: racism vs “racism” – why Diane Abbott was right […]

  170. “One group that her oversimplification did ignore, unfortunately, is the large number of white working-class people who are at the bottom of the social heap and don’t have the power to divide and rule anything. But they’re not the people falling over themselves to express their outrage.” Erm… what makes you think that? we just don’t have the means to make our voice heard! I’m fuming and want her sacked!

  171. The racism ethnic minorities face in the UK is nothing short of scandalous. We must all do more to broaden our horizons, and aspire to treat one another with respect in a post-racial society.

    Diane’s comments are far from a good contribution to this cause. She has apologised of course, but that doesn’t mean her initial comments were not wrong. She has certainly not contributed to race relations.

    • Probably the best comment on here.

  172. Thank you, well put article,
    Certain groups of white people, disgruntled at how far the pendulum (in their opinion) has swung, will now start playing the race card (that they believe others have played all too freely) at every available opportunity. They will not get the reaction or results they crave, and will say it is one rule for one and one rule for someone else.

    • I’m confused. Diane Abbot played the race card by making an accusation againt “white people”. From which we can apparently deduce that “white people” are playing the race card.

  173. I dont know what dictionary some of you guys are looking at. So a racist is always white and has plans for world domination.

    Please explain my white privelage because im clearly less informed than you guys.

    Ever seen those jobs in the paper saying whites need not apply – positive
    discrimination?. Hmm, would you ever see anything like that anywhere other than britain. If thats not the equality other races are looking for I really dread to think what is…

    • Before the jokers come out and say this would never happen…..just one case to name but a few?!

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1258818/Racism-storm-38-000-Indians-job-ad.html

      • Iv seen plenty of those adverts for public sector jobs.

      • Oh and thanks for the link my racist bigoted friend

    • Yes of course no need..I know what people are like and judging by the sheer biased opinions on here and one sided arguments made by a select few on here.

      It annoys me, someone has made a point already on it but as an indigenous person of our land I am not allowed to say anything about the diabolical state of our immigration record without people being cynical and branding me racist!

      Racist/Racism – is a very harsh word and too readily used as a weapon for someone’s own good.

      • Cant be anything ism/ist without power or privelage, never heard anything as frigging daft in my life.

      • Who are these white people in power?, mps?. Well if bloody Diane Abbott can become one then anyone can!.

  174. Just an observation, did all white men get up in arms, and have their ‘knickers in a twist’ when Michael Moore published the book ‘Stupid White Men’…does this mean that ALL white men are stupid? Please, get a grip people…

    • nah people without chips on their shoulders can have a bit of fun with each other. But black v white is clearly Diane Abbotts life.

  175. People in power have used divide and rule for centuries regardless if colour ! The British empire used it against White people inboth Scotland and Ireland ! Both Macavilli ans Sun Tse Tsu mention these tactics inbooks written long before the empire ! Dianna Abotts original defence was worse than the tweet it’s self as she attempted to drag the actions of a detatached unelected ruling elite from one hundred and more years ago to justify her at the very best lazy generalising about a race of people based on colour ! Rascism is a two way street. I will admit that most of the traffic travels one way but it is still a two way street

    • What about john terry?

      • Not shit stirring, personally I think there both racist. Im not pc brigade at all, I have black and asian friends who I can joke with. But any fair minded person who follows Diane Abbotts career knows that black and white is all she thinks about!

      • wrote about policing hate speech on the pitch in a few blog entries here. http://www.adrianhart.com/

        Suarez, John Terry, Abbott row: its all about racial etiquette and a far cry from the fight against real racism which the left were once all about – a huge wrong turn for anti-racism thanks to the idea that ‘a racist incident is any incident perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’.

  176. Hello Dorian,

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog and I find your argument clear and well intentioned. I do however suggest that you take too much for granted by suggesting that everyone who took offence at the comment did so from a privileged position.

    I am a white person who was on the receiving end of racial abuse in my younger years, and while I will accept that being abused by a member of a racial minority does not cause the same level of fear or distress that it must do to a minority, that is not an excuse.

    I have no interest in scoring political points and so I am satisfied that her apology is both justified and sincere. I also agree that it’s likely that her comment was an oversimplication, but why should I automatically assume that this is the case just because I am part of a majority? Does this mean that anytime that there is a possibility that there is a context when I am insulted, I automatically have to suck up and get over it? In this case, Diane Abbott’s tweet is an relatively innocuous concern, but how serious does an insult have to be before I am then obliged to take it seriously?

    http://4thousandwords.blogspot.com/2012/01/diane-abbott-be-ashamed.html

  177. All racism is lamentable or none is, what do you think?

    for a blog weaved with more threads and balance then this one http://onmymindbyadam.wordpress.com/14-racism-and-the-gruesome-twosome/

    slavery aside colonialism in many ways was awesome.

    The Spaniards started it and the Brits mastered it

    The reason the British Empire is notorious is because they beat the French,Spanish.

    They beat them at home and they beat em away, they killed any bastard that got in there way

    lets not forget slavery was African on African as well, so all you anti-white extremists, check your god damn history

    The British Empire was formed at a time when invasions of nations were ten a penny, it was pardon my language, not my sentiment

    Dog Fuck Dog

    colonialism in many ways is like sport

    only the very best garnish world renowned hate

  178. This ‘parallel universe’ argument is absolute rubbish. Why should we allow ANY racism/discrimination?! By letting this slide, we are saying that the feelings of white people who abhor racism and the actions of colonialists are irrelevant and need never be considered.

    Just because that parallel universe would not punish a white person for making such a comment, does not make that parallel universe right.

    Any MP who says something like this should apologise: she is a role model for her constituency, and all those growing up there. What kind of message are we giving the younger generation there?

    As for the ‘factual’ nature of her statement: SOME whites played divide and rule, just as SOME blacks played divide and rule. To generalise like that IS RACIST!

    How about this for a parallel universe: one where all people are treated equally. Be that treated well when they earn it, or treated harshly when they deserve it.

  179. unbelievable im an african pipe welder and diannes right…whites suck…

  180. So if I said that black people like violence, and presented the fact that 80% of gun crime in London is committed by black people, that would be OK, would it? That would be no different to the rule that Diane Abbott has established:

    x= the race
    y= the indictment – be it an imperialist mindset or a tendency to be violent
    z= the evidence

    ‘x’ group of people = ‘y’, because some people belonging to ‘x’ group of people have displayed this trait, shown in ‘z’.

  181. ‘Walk a mile in my shoes and then you’d know what I’m going through.’

    For those commentators who require a crash course re the history of race relations re Africa and the rest of the world, the book: ‘The State of Africa’, is a good place to start. Followed maybe by ‘Roots’.

    Will there ever be enough reparation for racial oppression against Africans historically? A few writers have suggested sweeping the past under the carpet and letting bygones be. Now, if one were to quantify the value of all resources – fuel, mineral ore, and cash crops – expropriated from Africa from the 1940s up till the present day, one can only wonder what that would amount to.
    Can fair reparation be made at today’s valuations?

    I do not place sole blame at the doorstep of anybody but what I’d suggest is for everyone to face up to reality. If one perceives racially discriminating insults in everyday speech, then we would have to introduce some new overtly neutral words into english language usage.

    I do not perceive any racial aggression or innate hatred in the quoted tweet, but rather, frustration at an intractable state of affairs. (But one might say that’s as a result of my being short-sighted :p ).
    It’s best for everyone if plain speaking was the order of the day. Thus, if a speaker states an opinion as fact in error, it bears on the listeners to correct the mis-statement with constructive truth in rebuttal. If there’s deadlock then it’s reasonable to agree to disagree without verbal bloodletting.

    For example, certain groups of persons feel it is pardonable to write off the periods of rapine exploitation of the African continent as negligible and forgettable, but I beg to differ on several counts:
    1. Africans NEVER sought to traverse the big wide world to subjugate and impose their perspectives on any NON-African peoples – whether benignly or malignantly, in history or present times.
    2. Africans are still being plagued with the ‘consequences’ of the colonial excursions into Africa both economically, socially and politically.
    3. In my opinion, one reason there are Africans outside the mother continent is due mainly to the fact that those ‘excursions’ by the neighboring continents have so distorted the socio-political ecosystem as to make it untenable to subsist conveniently in the African homeland. It does not help that some pariah status aimed at Africans is sometimes thrown freely into the mix.

    So, I find I have digressed majorly. Back to the issue:
    Should a member of the political leadership use labeling words to drive home a point?
    I’d say it all depends on the context. Maybe it’s appropriate to tell it as it is but one should always be mindful of the audience as different persons could end up inferring different meanings from an innocuous statement depending on the state of their imaginations.

    I find racism amusing sometimes, what exactly are we concerned about if my skin is black, my dreads are shoulder-length and my lips are full? Thing is, I function same as everyone else: smile at me and I’ll smile back, cut me and I’ll bleed, talk to me reasonably and then we’ll have a conversation. And since I’m human, I should be permitted to exercise my freedom of migration too. ta da

    Just my rambling thoughts on the matter.
    Buenas noches!

  182. If equality is what we aim for then why can a ‘black’ person generalise about ‘white’ people because of their skin colour whilst a ‘white’ person cannot generalise about ‘black’ people because of their skin colour?

    It’s either the same rule for all or not. That is what is angering people so much – the simple unfairness of it. What Diane Abbott is is a hypocrite and that is what the problem really is.

    And as far as the past is concerned almost everyone can complain about injustices inflicted by other ‘peoples’ if you go back far enough. Shall we all start feeling sorry for ourselves because the Romans conquered us or because the Vikings came and pillaged etc?

    • Yo Honey, generally when persons of African descent generalise about persons of European descent it’s done without malice and rarely ever in a derogatory inhumane manner…… except perhaps, in few isolated, extreme situations.

      On the second issue, Vikings, Romans, Gauls, Huns, Normans were all of European descent….. same as you have hundreds of African tribes. You were fortunate in the sense that they did not seek to stamp out your identity as well as loot you.
      At the end of the day, their looting expeditions were put to good use in developing a greater part of Europe.
      Africa’s case is a different story altogether.

      Mind you, in those times, prior to 1066, the invaders in Europe raided and pillaged usually as a matter of necessity and not primarily owing to excessive greed.

      It might do you a wealth of good to take a very short trip outside your comfort zone – visit Asia, Africa and South America.
      Or if that’s a big ask, read some well-informed books (not tabloid material) on the subject.
      Really walk in people’s shoes and then you may be in a position to remark objectively, otherwise you’d only see issues from your own viewpoint.

      Now, buenas noches… for real this time.

      • Firstly there is no way you have any idea of what my ‘comfort zone’ might be, where I have or have not travelled to and who’s shoes I have walked in. It is also extremely unfair of you to assume that I read tabloid material. And you have no idea how well read I may be. So the personal remarks were uncalled for I feel.

        Secondly, for Europeans to be raped and pillaged by other people of European descent doesn’t make it ok. But that is irrelevant. The point I am making is that every race/religion/skin colour has its horror stories from the past. The people alive today are not responsible for that. We can only be responsible for how we treat people now whilst we are alive.

        I also believe it is not right to define racism by whether it was meant with ‘malice’ or not. I believe racism is judging someone or treating someone in a certain way based on their skin colour. Even if something is said not in a ‘derogatory inhumane manner’ it still counts as racism if it is said about someone/people purely because of their skin colour. And even if someone says something as a joke about someone else (on any subject, not just race) yet that person feels upset then it still hurts. So I don’t believe you can have grades of racism or certain situations when it’s ok. Judge/treat someone based on skin colour alone and that is racism.

        I believe that racism is wrong and the ‘rules’ should apply to everyone. My belief is not based on who suffered more in the past and at whose hands, why they did it etc. Just that no one should judge anyone else on their skin colour/race/nationality/religion etc. at all, ever!

      • Aw Honey, please hold the big guns…. If by my hasty generalisations I have thrown some insults your way, do accept my apologies.

        I would love to drop some more lines in reply but I have a BIG exam on Monday.

        Generally, it wouldn’t do much good if the ‘egg shell rule’ is applied as a conversational consequence in every case.
        After reading most of the reactions here, ‘storm’ and ‘teacup’ come to mind. ;o)

  183. Niggers should get over themselves, constantly bringing up slavery, all us whites should apologise for.
    If you don’t like us whites fuck off back to Africa!!

    • Er… Dan, if Europe had not in the first instance gone a-begging to good ol’ Africa, then there would’ve been no earthly cause for a lovely niggerette like moi to be soiling my dainty feet on your O so t-i-n-y European isles.

      And yes, I do find the word ‘f***’ ULTRA-offensive, but I’ll simply blink it off and attribute it to an innate lack of manners or the absence of a comprehensive dictionary.

      Er… if you’re keen on a word-tussle, I’ll get back to you post-Monday. Too busy to stop and bandy opinions today. ;o)

      A toute a l’heure m’sieur!

  184. All this article is saying is that because a few people in the past (mainly elites) systematically oppressed black people in the past, it means that all white people today are fair game. Basically this author is saying that someone like me, who is viciously opposed to ALL racism, is alright to be targeted for racist abuse because I’m white, and white people were racist in the past so it’s justified that I get some flack. The usual left-wing claptrap, continuing to muddy the waters of what the definition of ‘racism’ actually is.

    Does nobody remember that chap, I think his name was Gandhi? Said something along the lines of “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”?

    • Yeah, racism against black people was SO far in the past right? No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs was a long time ago was it? I’m 21 and had the N-word thrown at me by a white person at the age of 10 (and that wasn’t the first or last time I’ve been racially abused or unfairly stereotyped), so I’m pretty sure racism against black people still exists, actually. Not that I’m saying Diane was correct in her statement but lets not pretend that white people were racist ‘in the past’. Some still are.

  185. I am white and working class and I’m pretty darn sure my white working class ancestors never used divide and rule on anyone. Half were to busy mining and the other half were trying to survive the potato famine. I think what makes the statement racist is that she used a vast generalization about an entire ethnicity, white people. The conversation was not about historical events and she did not use past tense, so to argue that she was referring to 19th Century Colonialism is a poor defense. Racism can and does work both ways.

  186. Diane Abbott gave the BNP and EDL a late Christmas present with her tweet. This article wraps it up and puts a bow on it!

  187. A senior black politician has let slip a view which seems to be held by alot of black people. It feels like many black people will always blame the whites for everything that has ever gone wrong with blacks. I think the real effect of Diane Abbott’s unwitting revelation is that the divide between blacks and whites is a few inches wider. At least we evil pasty white honkies now know where we really stand with alot of black people.

  188. […] some parallel world then Abbott’s tweet may have been racist but although her choice of words here were clumsy and she would have been better saying “certain […]

  189. Not that bothered by what Abbott said,plenty of people her age from all creeds and colours who say those type of things about people they dont or cant relate too.However I was highly offended by the comments regarding Finnish nurses,I only just found out about these comments and can’t believe she got away with that.How can a woman who holds such extreme views represent everyone in her constituency properly.She belongs on the outskirts of mainstream politics next to the BNP and extreme Islamic groups.

  190. Remember a few years back when the then Met Police Commissioner Paul Condon said a lot of muggers were black, and all the vitriol he got for saying it? Here’s the direct quote:

    “It is a fact that very many of the perpetrators of mugging are very young black people”

    He qualified his remarks, he did not imply ‘all'; Diane “thick as two short planks” Abott did not qualify her remarks (she never bloody qualifies her remarks about white people!!), and did imply ‘all’, yet which one is more racist? Condon, apparently. Incidentally, judging by the endless cases of stabbings in London boroughs on the news, not only are most of the victims black but the perpetrators are too. But of course, I’m not allowed to state the bleedin’ obvious am I. I’m a raaaaaaaaacccccccccccccccciiiiisssssssssst. The ‘black community’ (the very term is racist to both sides) has such a problem it needs its own police unit – Operation Trident – to deal with it. But it’s ok, it’s not an inherent problem with the ‘black community’, it’s the fault of the evil white man and all his evil ways.

    Anyway, clearly Ms Abott thinks racism towards white people is an oxymoron. I wonder what she thinks of the Rhea Page case; she probably thinks she deserved to be beaten up. Funnily enough I now read that she’s gone and implied most London cabbies are racist. Ms Abott, when you’re in a hole stop digging, you silly moo. Oops, hope no cows are reading this. Sorry if you took offence.

  191. And another thing…

    I do not blame or hate modern-day Germans for WWII. I do not blame or hate modern-day Japanese for WWII. I’ve moved on. I’ve grown up. Hell, I know there are plenty of surviving POWs from that era who don’t even hold any grudges. Morons like Ms Abott need to shut their filthy cake holes and grow up. They need to stop blaming their own inadequacies on what happened 500 years ago. Blaming ‘white people’ today for what happened centuries ago to her beloved ancestors is far more offensive and intolerant than some Englishman doing Hitler impressions when getting off a plane in Germany. Yet apparently one is more acceptable than the other.

    • Anyone who thinks black Britons are angry only about something that happened “500 years ago” (what might this thing be? Britain didn’t even abolish slavery until 200 years ago) is either a virulent racist or spectacularly stupid. In your case I’m not ruling out both possibilities.

    • Well said tim.s. Racism is white dna. diane abbott speaks the truth and is right. So id be justified in disliking a black for something any other black has done?

      Racism is a problem as long as whites are brought up to walk on eggshells and blacks to think the world is against them, pretty simple.

      As for the talk of does a Comment make someone a racist? Well no not always, but it can be a good insight.

  192. Many white working class men and women have experienced ‘divide and rule’, and it often comes from fascist and racist politicians. To suggest that we “like” those tactics is to ignore 150 years of solidarity, in London and elsewhere. Ordinary white people stopped Mosley’s Blackshirts marching through the East End. Ordinary white people joined the fight to make sure the BNP lost all its seats in Barking and Dagenham. Thanks to @Bill and @Rach, and other commenters who made similar points about working class politics.

  193. This is a terrible article. A racist is a racist no matter what colour their skin is. To say that Diane Abbott should get away with what she said because of what has happened in the past is plain wrong!

  194. @Alex. I stared that racism was not in our DNA, which given the definition of the term given, is a historically proven FACT! At no point did I refer to any race being superior/inferior.
    Please do not apportion blame to ME for what goes on in YOUR head !!!

    • Anyone who thinks blacks are against are prejudiced against whites because of what happened in the past is A virulent racist or spectacularly stupid??

      You get paid for you opinions? As a white who has spent time in the caribbean, and often been treated very badly by people who know nothing about me, this is just ridiculous.

      Oh damn, I mentioned the caribbean, my opinion is worthless as I must be a powerful priveliged white bastard.

    • Phonixmusic, just quit while your behind mate. Dna, deary me, we become who we are because of those around us, not because of narrow minded great great great grandads you clown. If your grandad was a rapist and thief, are you more likely to be than the next guy?

  195. Ok, stop being so bloody sensitive! god, I mean yeah it was a tiny bit stupid that she generalized all white people as being rulers, but at least us white folk don’t have to contend with those “slips of the tongue” generalizations and stereotyping on a daily basis!! just get over it already! stop playing victim!

    If you wanna hate of her, hate on her for being an MP or for exploiting or her expense form a bit, lot, too much. But I really don’t think she is racist, to say coz she is a politician means she is more able to be racist against whites is just ridiculous, have you looked at how monochrome our parliament is?, she is probably pretty restricted in what she can say about racism, so actually she is pretty brave and i commend her, I mean she could have worded it different, but I think I get what she means, and its a fairly positive message.

    Stop hanging yourself on the cross acting like a middle aged black woman put you there, you look like a fool!

  196. ps. despite that comment I don’t think anyone should hate her coz shes an MP but still love other MP’s, coz I think for an MP shes not that bad, and I’d rather have her than Iain Duncan Smith or any other conservative MP any day.

  197. AND.. another thing.. is being called “Powerful” a big insult? I mean it might not be true that all white people are powerful, but saying white people are powerful or have power is not exactly the same as the kind of racist slurs from white to people of color.. I mean you don’t get people saying “oh god, he is sooooo powerful!” as a big insult do ya?

  198. Commentators like Guido Fawkes and Toby Young are not “white community leaders”, and neither is Diane a “black community leader” – she’s a British politician and who have they ever represented?

    • Hate her for being an mp? Yeah mate ok your the reasonable one.

      Im sorry if im hurt when told my dna programmes me to hate blacks and I have burning desire to rule over them.

      • And ye some black people being brought up to think whites are more powerful is a bad thing for me!

        Again saying things like id rather have her than any conservative. Right mate ok, now me?, I take people as individuals, not black or white, red or blue

      • What a great example, after I said I see people as individuals, I thought of the saying “call a spade a spade”, and wondered why it isnt used anymore.

        I googled it as you do, and couldnt see for people who are worrying if it is racist. Some of who have been accused of being racist, not using racially aggravating language(which would be silly enough), but actually racist.

        I mean ffs!

  199. With Cameron’s tourettes comment against Ed Balls, it’s so wonderful to see the massive U-turn the left have done, proving what a lot of us have been saying completely right, They tend to drop the lame excus excuses like “oh it was taken out of context/it reflects his real attitude towards disabled people!” when it’s their turn to be the professional offence-takers.

  200. My comment about the left’s hypocrisy over getting outraged at David Cameron’s tourettes comment while defending Diane Abbott’s comments and telling people to stop being offended about it has been deleted. So much for Lynskey’s “I don’t delete comments” policy. Must be to cover up obvious double standards.

    • To be fair I never saw that post, I dont agree with dorian but I dont think he would have deleted anything unless it was extremely rude.

    • What’s with all the paranoia? To avoid spam I have to approve each new commenter manually. You posted at 8.18pm last night when I had other things to do and didn’t fancy logging on just to approve you. Now I have done. I. Don’t. Delete. Comments.

      As to your actual point, I’m not an ambassador for the left and I haven’t blogged or tweeted a word about the tourettes jibe (no big deal imho), so I haven’t done any U-turns or leaped to take offence. You can’t just say “the left” thinks this or that. Different people on the left, as on the right, think different things. So it was a good attempt at a gotcha but no.

  201. It should be remembered that for 950 years from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to 1918 the majority of true Anglo Saxons were for 300years. serfs and it was only the Black Death consequences of the plague that. released them from serfdom…They had freedom but no power. For the common Englishman it would. not be till 1918. and for women. 1928 before they were given power by the vote.
    So any wrongs pepertrated in the past by the English were. not true Englishmen but a ruling
    elite masquerading as English aristocrats but if there true lineage were examined would probably trace back to the Norman usurpers.Therefore I would question the legality of the aristocracy and possibly that of parliament.And why should true rousset coated Englishmen be held responsible now for black deeds once done in darkest Africa. …when the same post Norman aristocrats were inflicting the same black deeds on Common Englishmen in Darkest England for the past 1000years.

  202. I always understood it was a racist comment if a person felt racially abused by the comment. Not if the person making the comment “meant no offence”. Unless that only applies to minority groups too?

    I felt deeply offend by Abbott’s remarks. She singled out a group, by colour, for attack. She deeply offended certain people within that group (including me) and nothing if done about it.

    Obviously one rule for one……………………..

  203. Very enlightening…I could do with further related news feeds per email/facebook.

  204. Has anybody heard of the four Muslim women who were calling a woman a white slag whilst kicking and punching her as she lay on the pavement…..a completely unprovoked attack. The woman’s boyfriend tried desperately to fend them off but they were determined to cause as much injury as possible. Luckily enought the police turned up otherwise who knows how much worse it would have got.

    Anyway……guess what!! par for the course the judge let the four Muslim women walk away without penalty saying that they were not used to drinking!!!!!!!!!! No punishment for this appalling act and NO MENTION WHATSOEVER OF THE STREAM OF RACIST REMARKS MADE AS THEY KICKED AND PUNCHED HER but hey! come on!! this is no surprise in a country where the majority indiginous population have been bullied into silence by the pink bubble, weak kneed liberals who are destroying our homeland. English people have no voice in their own country, we are being kept out of any serious debate and only those who agree with a particular agenda are allowed to be heard. So much for democracy and freedom of speech.

    DIANE ABBOTT IS A DISGRACE AND A SERIAL RACIST…..are you seriously telling me that the law should not apply to her for some reason and if so please give a full explanation as to why she should be protected, whilst others are regularly prosecuted for the same offence. It is becoming clear in our country that certain of our ‘citizens’ seriously believe that they should be above the law, never stopped and questioned and left to do as they please, ie, gun,robbery,mugging and drugs crimes, racism plus anything else that takes their fancy. Some also work in gangs and use intimidation and violence to get what they want.

    Don’t harp on about slavery, we all know it was a despicable trade but we also know that plenty of black people were involved in the capture and sale of their own people for financial gain.
    If you are concerned about slavery, do something about the appalling slave trade in existence in areas of Africa and other parts of the world right now and the Indian children used in the slave trade in Indian cotton factories. India is a rich country with a space programme but continues to treat the majority of it’s people in a shameful way. Yes it is happening now, so stop hollering about it and take some action. Oh but you probaly think it’s fine if black people are responsible you damned hypocrites, you don’t really care about those who are actually suffering.
    Finally, England is one of the most tolerant countries on the face of the earth which is why people from the Africas, Pakistan, India etc, etc, etc flood here in droves.
    IF YOU HATE IT HERE GO BACK TO YOUR BELOVED CARING LANDS WHEREVER THEY MAY BE WHITE, PINK BLACK BLUE OR ORANGE I DON’T CARE JUST GO (and maybe do something about the current slave trade while you are at it)……..some chance!

    • Letting this comment stand just so people can get an insight into the mind of a real racist who downplays the history of slavery (worse, blames black people for it), equates black people with “gun, robbery, mugging and drugs crimes”, suggests that they’re not really British citizens, believes that the “majority indigenous population” and pretends are victimised by liberals, and tells people who don’t like this brand of poisonous, hate-filled bullshit to go back where they came from. And yet I bet you’d get offended if, despite all that, someone called you a racist. You probably think you’re being reasonable.

      • What do you mean, ‘letting it stand’? I disagree with his hyperbole-stuffed post, but why would you delete it? Are you just trying to paint a picture that everyone agrees with you? You’re just another moronic liberal, who says that you agree with rights such as freedom of speech, rights of the individual etc. until you don’t like what they’re being used for.

        I didn’t want to comment on your frankly ridiculous article, but I’ve been drawn in now. Slavery is done. It finished over a century ago, and I feel in no way responsible for it. If we have this inextricable link with our ancestors, then surely we should respect their wishes to keep Britain immigrant free? As it happens, I agree with neither of these ideas – I don’t believe in keeping Britain immigrant free – but I at least don’t have the double standard of wanting to make up for my ancestors’ actions when it follows the pseudo-liberal agenda, yet conveniently forget their views on multiculturalism when it doesn’t benefit a pro-multiculturalism argument. We are either responsible for our ancestors’ actions, in which case we follow their wishes too and make Britain monoracial, and monocultural; or we aren’t responsible for their actions, and we keep Britain multicultural and multiracial.

        Also, you will never create a racially harmonious society by enforcing a two-tier system: if you’re going to teach people to be tolerant towards other races, you HAVE to have an equal framework in which to do this. Why do you think the BNP’s vote has gone up so much? It’s because this two-tier system has alienated white people, and I understand why. I would never be so stupid as to blame black people for a two-tier system that’s enforced by a mostly white liberal elite, but for the majority of the population, having a two-tier system only enforces divisions. You’re basically advocating apartheid.

      • “You’re basically advocating apartheid.” Seriously? Is that where your cockeyed logic has got you? Like a lot of people on this thread you seem to think that this is about apologising for, or feeling responsible for slavery, which is conveniently long ago. No, it’s about racism as it exists today. There is no two-tier system – white people are still politically and economically dominant and isolated incidents like the assault mentioned above (which I agree is reprehensible) don’t change that. I don’t defend racist assaults by anybody – I do defend one politician’s comment.

        Your second paragraph makes no sense. There is no double standard in making up for your ancestors’ actions while wanting a multiracial society – it’s entirely consistent. And if you think I want to paint a picture of everyone agreeing with me then you clearly haven’t read the hundreds of posts that disagree. I am, however, under no obligation to let blatant racism stand on my blog – it’s a choice because I think it’s a useful insight into the way racists think and how they tell themselves they’re the victims.

      • How can you call him a racist after one post after defending several Abbott “faux pas”. He got a bit carried away but what was the most racist thing he said?, along the lines of “if people feel that they don’t belong, they know where they can go” wow, shocking. You make it sound like I should apologize for being white. I should be a labour voter really but I can’t bring myself to be associated with self righteous prats like you.

    • Interesting to see a late influx of comments all with the same bee in their bonnet about the left. Anyway:

      Jim – I wouldn’t say anyone should apologise for being white but “If you don’t like it here you can go home” is one of the most well-worn racist phrases around. It implies that this is a white country and every non-white person is here as a guest and that their home is somewhere else. The original commenter also labelled black people criminals. What does he have to do to sound racist to you? Run around in a Ku Klux Klan hood?

      • And you still haven’t answered my point relating to the damage a two-tier system does to racial harmony and integration. I know several people in the BNP; the day after Abbottgate, when she hadn’t been sacked, they used it as ammo. I also know another person, who like me, was a Conservative supporter before the incident. Unlike me, however, she has now vowed to vote BNP at the next election. I don’t understand how you can’t understand that creating a system where the severity of people’s comments is judged by the ethnicity they were aimed at is damaging to racial harmony.

      • If you’re not interested in history and context then you’re not going to understand why I don’t consider Abbott’s comment racist. All my reasons are in the original blog so what’s the point in repeating them? She is clearly talking about white people in power, not everybody who happens to have white skin and people who insist on reading it the second way seem to me to be looking for an excuse to feel affronted and victimised by a black person so they can pretend that all forms of racism are equivalent. Your friend who decided to vote for a racist party on the basis of the affair proves my point. I don’t expect you to agree.

  205. I thought the left were supposed to be the champions of equality and anti-racism? This mealy-mouthed excuse making and defending to the hilt of racists like Diane Abbott really distorts what their values are supposed to be. Using red herrings like the Stephen Lawrence case and bringing up colonialism is really just goal post shifting. By the dictionary definition, what Diane said was racist. No ifs, no buts. No whataboutery. It was racist. Only the left seem to lack the guts to condemn her, when they were more than content to go hysterical over Clarkson’s comments on public sector strikes and Cameron’s “calm down dear” joke. The Guardian published what, 12 articles in 48 hours on the latter? People want to see a racist get their comeuppance, not more tension stirred up by articles like this implying “well she’s right, you ARE all colonialist slavery supporters and condone racism towards black people.” You’re trying holding white people today accountable for the actions of people in the past living in a completely different society, and then wonder why everyone gets angry at you.

    • In what way is the Stephen Lawrence case a red herring? It’s entirely relevant to Abbott’s remark and how it was covered. I keep saying it every time someone uses the slavery line but it’s not getting through. This is NOT about slavery 200 years ago. It is NOT about a “completely different society” in the distant past. It IS about the kind of racism which, as the Lawrence case proved, was alive and kicking as recently as 20 years ago. I’m not even talking about tiers of privilege that still exist – I’m talking about an innocent man stabbed to death by a racist mob and then let down by an institutionally racist police force. Your so-called “red herring”.

      • And? There are numerous murders of white people by black people I could point to. Or are racially motivated murders of white people not quite as bad…?

      • Don’t be daft – all racially motivated assaults are wrong but a non-white person is far more likely to be the victim of a racial assault than a white one. Don’t try and make out it’s a level playing field and don’t act like I’m saying that black people can do no wrong.

      • Have you got any kind of source for that? I object to grouping and defining people by their skin colour; but if we’re going to, there’s plenty of stats available online that show that black people are far, far more likely to be criminals than white people. Like I say, I don’t like to define people by their ethnicity, but your argument is advocating it.

      • Whatever the interpretation of Abbott’s comment; whoever it was aimed at, your article still explicitly makes the claim that anti-black racism is worse than anti-white racism. For the last time, please tell me how you hope to create a racially harmonious society with such divisive ideas that define people by their skin colour.

      • For the last time, racism depends on the power behind it. In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe black-on-white racism has that power – here it does not. Abbott was talking about white people with power. I’m not saying that her comment actively helps create a more racially harmonious society but it’s sure as hell not a sacking offence.

      • Dorian, to an extent, I agree with you. Racism is made much worse by the power behind it. But you shouldn’t see that power as being divided along ethnic lines. Abbott, as Shadow Health Minister, holds a very senior, very powerful post. There is your power; there is your racism. You can’t say that just because she’s black, she doesn’t have power when it comes to racism. I seem to remember you talking about ‘punching up’ and ‘punching down’. Well, when I saw her tweet, I felt punched down upon. She is higher up in society than me, hopes for me to vote for her party next election (no chance), so her making a racially stereotypical comment about me is most definitely ‘punching down’. If some random black guy who was vlogging on YouTube had said this, I wouldn’t care. But Abbott holds a very senior position, and she has ‘punched down’ upon every white person in this society who is in a socio-economically inferior situation to her.

  206. I dont agree with you Dorian but I would still respect your opinion if you would be prepared to give an inch. I find it interesting how after telling everyone they are going out of their way to be offended, you say telling somebody where they can go is about colour. In many cases I find it is aimed at eastern europeans(the white variety). I really don’t think black people are judged badly in this country. Do morons say things to push their buttons?, absolutely but thats life unfortunately. I think asians are the ones who really get an unfair time in this country, not blacks. Is white and black violence still a problem in poor city areas? Absolutely but some people like that will use any excuse for a fight, its the same everywhere be it religion, politics, football etc.

    • You have a very narrow, upbeat view of racism. Firstly, telling Eastern Europeans to go home is still anti-immigrant prejudice. Secondly they weren’t who the “go home” commenter was talking about – he specifically mentioned Africa, Pakistan and India. Thirdly, I focussed on black people in the blog because the issue was about Diane Abbott and Stephen Lawrence – I agree that Asians, especially muslims, suffer from racism as well.

      Racism is not a thing of the past by any means. You should have seen some of the replies Stan Collymore was getting on Twitter a few weeks ago – a stream of old-fashioned, howling mad racist abuse. It’s not up to any white person to tell someone experiencing that kind of thing, and not by any means for the first time: “that’s life unfortunately”.

      • Firstly I brought the eastern european thing up because you said people only say go back where you came from to non whites and I was saying thats not true. Secondly regarding stan collymore, thats what I mean about button pushing, these trolls know they can get away with anything, and people like that should not be used as proof of a big problem with racism (given stans past are you really surprised that people want to get under his skin?). Thirdly I apologize if you think I was sticking up for somebody who singled out those groups, I didn’t see a post like that. I just saw a guy who said that there are too many people who complain about this country and say that they belong somewhere else, and he wished they would go then (nothing about colour). Which I think is a point that many people agree with, and which is often batted off by left wingers with an accusation of reading the daily mail and then that the argument won.

  207. And yes I really do think thats life unfortunately, there are nasty people out there who abuse fat people, gay people, ugly people, disabled people and anybody else who isn’t like them who they think they can upset, and there always will be. I just find it arrogant how whenever immigration is brought up, people like you think that they know what a person REALLY MEANS, even when its a perfectly reasonable worry.

  208. Lastly Dorian I dont appreciate being called narrow minded for not agreeing with you 100%. I’m glad im upbeat because it shows that a few prats don’t make me despair at the state of our entire country.

    • Maybe I’m not being clear. I didn’t call you narrow-minded. I said you had a narrow view of racism. To make out that racism is the same as being nasty to fat people just brushes aside the whole history of discrimination and physical violence that lies behind those words. Fat people don’t get knifed for being fat. There’s never been a National Front dedicated to hating ugly people. It’s incredibly insulting to say that all forms of unpleasant language are the same. If you don’t like Stan Collymore or Patrice Evra then call them wankers – don’t call them a “fucking n****er” or a “black monkey c**t” like the people whose tweets Collymore has bookmarked here: https://twitter.com/#!/StanCollymore/favorites. That’s racism, pure and simple.

      And I’m fine with people talking about immigration but I can’t see how anyone can read that particular comment and not find it stuffed with bigotry. It reads like a BNP member in an unguarded moment.

      • Well like I said I didnt see that post about certain groups, it just annoys me how decent, sensible people are petrified of discussing the issue of immigration. You must agree that a lot of racist incidents are just silly words in the heat of the moment, and doesnt equal a racist( thats what you try to argue for Diane). Yes there isnt a British Handsome Party but you make it sound like black people are being murdered everyday for being black, and I would massively disagree that abuse of people such as disabled is limited to verbal. I’m sure your generation was different but I know that the worst things I have experienced have been disability based. Im sure the country is getting better but nothing can be done overnight, certainly things like “positive discrimintion” and “social integration” really don’t have the desired effect.

    • Look, we could be here all year talking about immigration and positive discrimination and disability and so on, and I appreciate your comments, but here’s the bottom line for me:

      Diane Abbott’s tweet was a politically and historically accurate point but clumsily expressed in a way that offended people she did not intend to offend. A tweet calling Collymore or Evra a “n****er” is racist hate speech of the kind that black people have been hearing for decades – just because things have improved somewhat since the heyday of the NF or the killing of Stephen Lawrence, it doesn’t mean that the word magically loses its power. You cannot call the latter example “silly words in the heat of the moment” and you cannot pretend that the two tweets are remotely equivalent. That was the point of my blog – that there’s a chasm between the alleged “racism” of Abbott and real, longstanding, dominant forms of racism. I said it all in the blog and I’ve said it again and again in the comments and I haven’t changed my mind.

      • Agree with most of that apart from when you say “dominant”, who dominates?, the twitter trolls ? . I think this thread has got so big because you really pissed people off by telling them they were going out of their way to be offended. Like I say, I only hope that she said that in the “heat of the moment “ because lets be honest, anybody would be prepared to backtrack rapidly to save their career. Just because something is “historically accurate”, what does that mean? If an MP said muslims want death to the west then backtracked a bit, I know what would happen. Given her previous “slip ups”, can you really swear 100% that Diane doesnt favour any race? If not then to me she is no better than the trolls. An eye for an eye and all that…

      • The fact that you confuse hardcore racist abuse with standard Twitter trolling and don’t understand why white people are dominant makes me think you’re pretty young and don’t know much about the historical context. I suggest you read up on the history of race relations and the black experience before using phrases like “an eye for an eye”.

      • I talked about twitter because you mentioned twitter incidents…i was genuinely asking who dominates, I wasnt being sarcastic, I just want to know if you think our government is corrupt or whatever. Now for a simpleton like me its just common sense that in a majority white country, white people will have most power, surely thats just simple statistics. Now if you have reason to believe that different races dont get opportunities based on the colour of their skin rather than the contents of their heads, then im interested in what you have to say, but im not interested in left wing positive discrimination bullshit. Again you take me back in time, I am young and im living today and we agree that its getting better, but it will never stop if people keep thinking that whites have something to apologize will it??

      • How convenient for you as a white man to ignore history, even very recent history, when it comes to race. If It wasn’t for what you call “left-wing positive discrimination bullshit” to redress inequality, and parallel reforms of the police force, etc, then things wouldn’t have got better for black people over the past 30 years. I assumed you were young and ignorant but willing to learn but the information you need is easy to google and if you can’t be bothered to find out, and constantly frame it as “apologising” for being white instead of working towards social justice and equality of opportunity then I’m not going to waste any more of my time discussing it with you. I’ve got other things to do.

      • Your blog and commentary rebuttal are all so very much appreciated, Dorian.

      • Thanks Pabloremos. That makes a change.

      • (smiles). DL, I can feel your frustration. I’m still surprised this thread is still running though – but that’s a good thing too. Calm down a bit. I think I can reason things a little from both points of view.
        A good number of folk have been de-sensitised from childhood from actually ‘seeing’ the injustice and double standards that exist in today’s society and you are challenging life-long beliefs that are regarded as gospel.

        Racism is not about the impropriety of speech, it is about A reacting to something ‘innately different’ about a person B, which he believes has the potential to constitute a threat. And sometimes the favoured form of defence is ‘attack first, rationalise it later’.

        Sometimes you walk down the street, and some less than sober passer-by yells, ‘go back to Africa’ at you, for absolutely no reason. Or you offer to help someone over-laden with heavy bags and what you get is a shudder plus the ‘evil eye’ for your efforts – as they think you are trying to permanently relieve them of their possessions because you’re darker. (I do believe no single race or ethnic group has a monopoly on criminality – well, it’s not a gene y’know?)
        I’d prefer a constructive inquiry any day, over hasty assumptions, because I am willing to learn and exchange knowledge.

        Racism is much more than discrimination, it actually displays as an instinctive reaction for some.
        There lots and lots of positive stories though, where people have taken their time to understand just what other races are about – and the truth be told, we are all different.
        .

        There are elements of racist behaviour in today’s Britain – it’s subtle, covered up by the mask of politeness and fuelled constantly by ignorant mis-information.

        Like the OP said, the most effective way of informing yourself is using search engines or the good ol’ library.

        We have gone beyond the stage of demanding apologies for the past as we all can only answer for our own actions.
        The question then is, what are you doing for, and in, your own community to ensure it is a just and fair place to live in, for all its human residents?

        I wish us all luck in our road to peacefully co-existing as one society.
        Ta-da

  209. Equality yes, discrimination of any kind is nothing to do with equality. How can anybody disagree?. I just want a white and a black candidate to be judged on their ability end of story. do you think “the black candidate isnt as good but it will look bad if we pick the white” is really the path for our country? Dont worry pal, if you cant agree on that then we really are wasting time. I simply want to know how you see this problem ending, you keep bringing up the past and calling me ignorant, well I know enough and im interested in the future.

    • I fully accept what you say about black treatment, your older and saw much worse than me and no amount of googling could make me see how bad it really was. But to use another saying “two wrongs dont make a right”. You cant treat people terribly and then preferentially and think it equals out, that just pisses off a generation of whites and the circle continues doesnt it?

    • Try not to get worked up, as it’s only a discussion/debate.

      I’ll speak from the black female point of view. If ever, in the future, you need to be clear about an issue to do with black people issues, it’s quite simple.
      Formulate a constructive question, walk up to the nearest black person and ask them.
      We welcome that approach a whole lot better than presumptions – so long as it’s a genuine curiousity being expressed.

      Examples. a colleague once remarked on my brown palmar creases, and I told her why they are that colour. And I used to get comments on the ‘sponginess’ of my afro and so I explained the dynamics of afro-textured hair.

      If we don’t have the answers, we’d usually tell you that too.

  210. The article has got it wrong – however understandable racism may be from those in a vulnerable position, if we really want a just world, it is vital that we align ourselves with opinions and principles we agree with irrespective of colour, race, creed or class. Doing so is the only way to make it impossible for those who thrive on injustice to divide and rule.

  211. what utter rubbish bile! Firstly what power dynamic presumably you mean white people are the majority. of coarse whites are the majority this is europe, just like blacks are the majoirty in nigeria. Well for one i dont happen to live the past and carrying past racial baggage. I judge people today and their comments. To speak as though black people have only been slaves is utter rubbish, many slaves in roman times were as likely to be fair skinned europeans. My ancestor were not rich people power driven they happened to be dirt poor whites. No privelege in my family. Does it ever occur to you people were sold due to ease of being sold, infact you will find rich africans sold their own people, so much for colour! The victims at that period happened to be black, get over it. People always use history. I heard one say only white people have been colonisers really? which history book is that from. Are black people now really downtrodden i dont see it! The most discriminated people are the mentally and physically disabled. Instead of playimg race maybe you should look at other reasons for supposed victimhood. Are black people stopped for applying for jobs? Houses burnt down? Her comments at best untrue, if she cannot make things clears either dont be on twitter or make sure its clear. Maybe people are so quick to condemn her its because they are sick of the only race cases getting attention are black and minorities and a balance needs addressing. There are so many inconsistencies in multiulturalism its untrue, racism cuts all ways but maybe instead of looking at colour and ethnicity things are done for all kinds of other reasons, power does not recognise race only money is important, most of my ancestors were used to get britain rich nothing to do with race although they were less likely to be walked over. ‘White privilege’ what nonsense most of the homeless are white british!

    • I think I’ve covered all of these points in the original blog and the comments. “Are black people now really downtrodden i dont see it!” I think that’s because you choose not to see it. The existence of white poverty and the power of the rich doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t also exist. I worry whenever someone says “People always use history” like it’s a bad thing and say they live in the present, as if that means they can disregard everything that’s happened in the past and it’s impact on the present.

  212. The trouble with this article is that it assumes that black people are the only ones wounded by society, and that it’s only ‘priveledged white people’ that have problem with this. SO WRONG, SO NAIEVE. Don’t get me wrong I can see this point of view, but unfortunately it’s more compliceted than that.


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