There’s that old cliche, where the racist old person starts talking. And they’re usually old. When you get to that old stage you find that the racism permeates both genders. At a younger age racism is more pronounced among men than women. Could be a testosterone thing, I’m not sure.
Anyway the cliché is people will open with “I’m not racist but…” and then proceed to say something racist. And there are degrees of racist suffixes to that sentence, you usually get an indication of how racist it’s going to be based on the size of the pause and the length of time the person spends looking around.
“I’m not racist but”…beat…”that Asian guy was a terrible driver”. Here the racism is incidental, you could remove the epithet and be left with an acceptable sentence because people are terrible drivers. Again, especially males.
Then there’s “I’m not racist”…beat…look over shoulder…get up and close any doors and windows…”The [Maori] land grab has turned into a water grab, which in turn has turned into a wind grab. I wouldn’t be surprised if they claimed the sun next since Maui claimed to have slowed down the sun.” This is the extreme end of racism, the crazy end. But both are equally insidious.
“I’m not racist but…” is as true as “no offence but…” Both are equal parts bullshit, equal parts shut the fuck up. There was a furore in the news recently because the Marlborough Express printed a cartoon that implied that Maori would welcome the new Government food in schools policy because they could spend more money on pokies, booze and alcohol instead of cereal. It started a debate in my twitter feed about whether it was racist. Of course it was. To tar an entire race with a characteristic like that is, by its very definition, racist. I realise now that tar is perhaps not a good verb to use with regards to racism unless you are tarring white folk, then there’s no room for misinterpretation. Much like niggardly. A totally acceptable word unless you use it in conjunction with “Jews” or “Scotsman”.
The next question was should the Marlborough Express have printed it? I don’t think they should have. It was a dick move. But are they allowed to? Free speech and all that. If so, free speech also gives me the right to say the cartoonist is bigoted redneck piece of pond scum who should stop being so closed minded. Also to the editor of the paper who would’ve seen that cartoon and thought “this’ll get them talking about us”, fuck you too. You are an astronomical piece of shit.
That’s my right to free speech exercised too. The problem is mine doesn’t conform to an ignorant stereotype that encourages (some) people’s prejudices and compounds racism. My free speech is just one guy having a rant because someone was a tool. While the newspaper in question has a duty to not be a dick. And it breached that duty.
So I guess in conclusion the cartoonist is free to draw whatever racist rubbish he wants, but the editor should have said “no Reginald,that’s not ok”and wheeled him back to his home.
The paradox I speak of in the title is that all through this piece I’ve been tarring old men with a racist brush (safe use of tar). As a young man, I think that’s ok. I’m not prejudiced but.