Friday, February 13, 2009

Racism or "mean-spirited nationalism"?

If I said someone was a "Fat Polish idiot", could it be classified as a racist statement, an example of my racism? It all hinges on the reason why I thought it necessary to include the person's race (or nation) in the insult- if I did it to increase the effectiveness (in my own mind) of the insult, then it is clearly racist. So, was Clarkson being a racist as well as a common-garden boor, when he described Brown as an "one-eyed Scottish idiot"? Only he really knows. Margo MacDonald thinks not:
I may be wrong but I think the source of his grievance is not racial hatred, but a real snobbishness at heart, and an annoyance that someone who, by Clarkson's lights, is a hick from the sticks, could be the PM of what he probably always refers to as "England" although cartographers and historians know it as the United Kingdom.

I think the reality of the United Kingdom is acknowledged by a slightly wider circle of people than just "cartographers and historians", but that's by the by. I can definitely see her point here, but her argument from this point forward goes a bit haywire:
But nor do I classify the mirror image of Jeremy Clarkson's boorishness towards Gordon Brown as racism as it was experienced by brown, coffee-coloured and black-skinned people in South Africa, Jews in Hitler's Europe, the Chechens and African Americans. This list, which is by no means comprehensive, is of people who have learned the difference between racism and national resentment through cruelty, torture and the structural discrimination against them in their countries' laws.

If you make a person's race (or nation) a criterion upon which you judge their worth, then you are guilty of racism.
If you throw an "English","Irish", "Scottish", "Welsh" or even a "British" into an insult to make it more hurtful or to increase its (in your own mind) effectiveness- then, by extension, you're guilty of more than just mere "mean-spirted nationalism".

9 comments:

Stonemason. said...

I used your last paragraph in my blog

O'Neill hits the ..... nail on the head when he writes.

linked back to you, first rate post.

Wyrdtimes said...

But then Brown is is effectively the PM of England because 90% of the laws he votes on effect England only.

The English regions project for instance - and comments like nations and regions. Scotland preserved as a nation and England dismantled.

Also there's the Scottish Claim of Right that Brown signed - but he denies the English similar status. We don't even get consulted.

It also highlights the fact that the English get the worst funding and services in the so called "UK" and that Brown who is Scottish is mainly behind that. And Scotland funnily enough gets the best services...

Hence part of the resentment at him being Scottish.

Personally I think Clarkson was very restrained.

tony said...

>>Personally I think Clarkson was very restrained.<<

In the name ae the wee man, I think you are an English eedjit, but you must understand I am being very restrained.

On this and other sites I have witnessed loads of accusations directed at Scots that they are anti-English. Admittedly this is mostly by people who have a surface scrape of knowledge and had bought into the long held propoganda. Now that we have the real bona fide example of someone indulging in casual anti Scots nonsense we have a half wit wittering on that he was very restrained.

Shouldn't we really be condemning Clarkson and his ilk? Oneil?

O'Neill said...

Well, I did say:
"More seriously though, the apology's a joke and once again the BBC's lack of consistency/backbone's been exposed."

Wyrdtimes said...

I can understand that a lot of Scots would take offence that Brown is Scottish in fact I've seen plenty of comments where Scots are desperately trying to disown him. But he's still a Scot. A one eyed. Idiotic one. Who's idiocy and lack of vision are shafting your country and mine.

Yeah Clarkson was restrained - just what do you call someone whos complete lack of competence and complete lack of morality gets us into mess like this?

Oh sorry it's all someone elses fault eh Tony? Poor old Gordon a man more sinned against than sinning?

Defend away Tony - and keep calling me an eejit - I love it.

tony said...

>>Oh sorry it's all someone elses fault eh Tony? Poor old Gordon a man more sinned against than sinning?

Defend away Tony - and keep calling me an eejit - I love it.<<

Methinks that you have the wrong guy and are missing the point entirely. Also no offence for the eedjit bit it was for effect, an effect that you just don't seem to get;

>>It also highlights the fact that the English get the worst funding and services in the so called "UK" and that Brown who is Scottish is mainly behind that. And Scotland funnily enough gets the best services...<<

See only parts of this are true, though even if they were all true it might only call into question Brown's motivation. Not make him a subject of national abuse. Like I have said previously, Scots who pipe up for Scotland are often accused(99.9% erroneously in my view) of anti-Englishness just for stating their case. Yet here we have anti-Scottishness presented to us in the flesh by Clarckson and your goodself, yan eedjit ye;¬)

Just a by the by the north of England is certainly hard done by, the south east gets more funds than Scotland per head. Scotland get's less out of the Westminster pot than she puts in. Oh and perhaps Scotland is better run and with better services, but this is in the main down to good governance of where the money allocated to Holyrood by Westminster is put to use.

Anonymous said...

Why do people refer to geographical regions as "her"??

wildgoose said...

They don't necessarily. Compare "Mother Russia" with the German "Fatherland".

Anonymous said...

Ok, why do some people refer to geographical regions as her, father or mother??