Thursday, 5 January 2012

Diane Abbott and White Guilt

So, the Twittersphere predictably exploded today with the revelation of a nice little tweet by Diane Abbott MP. I can't provide the link as she has now deleted it, but a lovely little screenshot is below.

Tweets can be deleted, screenshots are forever.

Nice sentiment, isn't it?

Abbott issued a defensive statement earlier as well:

Which I propose to be total bollocks. Why didn't she say '19thC slavers' instead of 'white people', and why use the present tense? Plus, she had 34 characters on her tweet left over. Diane Abbott is a liar, and got caught being a racist scumbag.

But that's not really what got my goat. What's really annoyed me is the number of people that have leapt to her defence, while the same people would have shrilly howled for the immediate resignation of anyone who dared to make such a comment about another ethnic group.

Can you imagine the furore if a Cabinet minister had commented that 'black people love robbing folks'? Or if 'Jews stole people's money'? They would be castigated for it, and rightly so.

Now, I'm not for censorship - as far as I'm concerned, Abbott can say whatever the hell she likes, but she's got to be prepared to substantiate it, and to have people attack that opinion vociferously. Which I have done, and used that argument to contend an opinion, i.e. that Abbott is a racist scumbag who should resign. And for that, she gets this blog's highest dishonour.

Welcome to the Gallery. You cunt.

But another defence that was used is basically that, because Abbott is a member of an ethnic group which has been historically oppressed, it's basically acceptable for her to criticise members of an ethnic group which historically did the oppressing.

So, because Abbott is black, is perfectly OK for her to make stereotypical generalisations about white people. And because white people from Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and Britain engaged in the African slave trade hundreds of years ago, all white people must therefore be held in permanent guilt for this, and accept lesser protections against discrimination.

Bollocks, I say.

I am white. I am not ashamed of it, because it is nothing to be ashamed of. I am British, and I am proud of Britain's primary association with the slave trade: we abolished it. So when people try to tell me that I should bear some long-dead bunch of bastards' guilt for doing despicable things to other humans simply because I look a bit similar, I say: fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

It's worth bearing in mind that the civil rights movement, which is largely responsible for the equality of position that black people hold in modern society (and a bloody good thing too) advocated just that - equality. Equality of opportunity, and equality before the law. Not domination by any ethnic minority based on white guilt. That's just replacing one form of inequality with another.

And then came the crowning achievement - a bunch of white people defending Diane Abbott by parodying white people under the hashtag #whitepeopleblues, generally pathetic stereotypes portraying all white people as middle class, rich, driving Land Rovers and sending their kids to private school.

It just goes to show how far removed from reality some people are. Sometimes, I despair.