Your woke correspondent has emerged this week from hibernation into the light of a brave new Wokeworld where white people are clambering over each other to ‘educate themselves’ about ‘structural racism’, ‘white fragility’ and their own ‘implicit racial bias’, if Amazon’s Most Sold books chart is anything to go by. Dare I say it, racism has become the new black.
In this column we’ve previously exposed the racist evils of shoes, tea, the names of towns, brains, and even Mary Poppins, under whose saccharine façade, I’m sorry to say, lurks a vile bigot. A spoonful of sugar, my eye! Similarly, we’ve unmasked Western science, mathematics and academic writing as the jack-booted oppressors of the POC masses they unquestionably are. But boy, were we under-reporting.
Like a lot of other people we missed the inherent racism of architecture, freeways and the British countryside, for which I unreservedly apologise (I would have said mea culpa but according to Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Donna, Latin is coded language for red-pill activists to praise whiteness, so I won’t).
In an attempt to redress our tardiness in getting to the racism party, this week we’ve asked the question “What’s racist this week?’, and while the short answer from BLM activists everywhere is obviously “Everything!” below are some of our favourites from the last week.
Trigger warning: white fragility on display.
He’s just a very naughty boy
That old iconoclast, Sir Michael Palin, has finally joined the ‘anarcho-syndicalist commune’ he once ridiculed, finding solidarity with 21st century ‘Help! Help! I’m being repressed’ activists who say that the ‘violence inherent in the system’ is apparently demonstrated in the design of a medal awarded to recipients of the 200 year–old Order of St Michael and St George.
The medal features an image of St Michael the Archangel vanquishing the devil, similar to depictions of St Michael that have abounded within Christianity since its earliest times. Palin was made a Knight Commander of the Order in 2019 and recently supported a petition by activists that includes the following:
This is a highly offensive image, it is also reminiscent of the recent murder of George Floyd by the white policeman in the same manner presented here in this medal.
We the undersigned are calling for this medal to [sic] completely redesigned in a more appropriate way and for an official apology to be given for the offence it has given!
Palin called the image ‘inappropriate and offensive’, but seems to have stopped short of returning the honour or indeed apologising for the offence he has probably given to, well, just about anyone who favours offence over humour. Which all goes some way to proving fellow Python alumnus Terry Gilliam’s assertion a few years ago that the remaining Pythons have “become the Establishment we took the piss out of”. The establishment just looks a little woker these days.
They seek it here, they seek it there
In a piece of goodthink that would make Big Brother smile, CNN last week published a cautionary piece entitled Everyday words and phrases that have racist connotations. Writers Scottie Andrew and Harmeet Kaur provide a helpful list of words you ‘might consider dropping from your vocabulary’.
Among the heinous howlers you should expunge immediately are:
The Masters tournament: so racist that the writers have to admit that “The name appears to have been a reference to golfers with great skills, but its connotations have brought the name under scrutiny”. So it wasn’t named after slave-owning masters but because some people think of that when they hear the name their misplaced offence should be assuaged?” Gotcha!
Master bedroom: The writers state that ‘the phrase “master bedroom” first appeared in the 1926 Sears catalog’ which is well after the demise of slavery in the USA but follow up with “While it’s unclear whether the term is rooted in American slavery on plantations, it evokes that history”. They’ve thoughtfully provided a link to the original article they’re referencing where you can surprisingly read that the term specifically ISN’T derived from plantation farming and slavery. Cherry-picking information? Perhaps the authors should be blacklisted. Oops, my bad. See below.
Blacklist: The writers seem to have only heard of this word in the context of computer technology, ignoring its origin in mid-seventeenth-century England and widespread use in a range of other contexts. Referring to both blacklist and whitelist (which was only created in the nineteenth century merely as an opposite to blacklist) the writers state “Though the origins of those terms don’t appear to be directly connected to race, some argue that they reinforce notions that black=bad and white=good”.
Same again, thanks bartender.
When you assume you make an ass out of you and me
The website of the National Museum of African American History & Culture has a page where white people can be instructed about their privilege, their microaggressions, systems of oppression etc., which is, of course, exactly why white readers would flock there in the first place. Just the usual, you might say, although I noted that the page looked very, um, white. Someone obviously screwed up there.
The real kicker, though, is a handy little chart, entitled Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture and Whiteness in The United States. Here’s a link for your reading pleasure.
The chart’s sub-heading states:
White dominant culture, or whiteness, refers to the ways white people and their traditions, attitudes and ways have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practices in the United States. And since white people still hold most of the institutional power in America, we have all internalized some aspects of white culture – including people of color.
Further text under the chart reads:
For Concerned Citizens: Whiteness operates in covert and overt ways that affect all of us. It can appear as practices within an institution or accepted social norms. Since whiteness works almost invisibly, we may not always be aware of how it manifests in our daily lives. Thinking critically about your social conditioning and the values you have adopted as fact, ask yourself:
- What are some aspects of whiteness you’ve internalized?
- How can these be hurtful to you and others?
- What are some ways you plan on combating them?
Now I’m sure you’re wondering what aspects of ‘covert whiteness’ people of colour should be arming themselves against. According to the chart they include such blinding horrors as hard work, self-reliance, respect for authority, the nuclear family, politeness, justice focussed on protecting property and entitlements, and my personal favourite – objective, rational linear thinking.
The PDF version, which you can download here, states:
While different individuals might not practice or accept all of these traits, they are common characteristics of most U.S. White people most of the time.
They are yet to define aspects and assumptions of black culture and blackness.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.