Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: The forces of hate are still with us

The powerful appear now to be entirely focused on the white working and workless classes. As if there is room for only one injustice in the collective conscience

Share
Related Topics

So two Jewish brothers were front-runners in the Labour leadership contest and one got chosen. He could one day be PM. Talented and ambitious British Jews have risen to the top in every institution, and deservedly. There it is, clear as filtered water, confirmation that there is no anti-Semitism on these isles any more. It's gone, receded into the attics of yesteryear. Only Zionists now cynically use the accusation to stop criticism of Israel. The last thing they want is the truth, what some of my good Jewish friends tell me, that there has never been a better time to be a Jew in Britain. Sure some Muslims hate Jews. Ignore them. They are just blockheads, nonentities filled with rage and envy, whom nobody should take seriously.

And gays? Look how they wield extraordinary political power, take charge of arts and cultural bodies, are ambassadors, charity heads and on and on. What homophobia? That Peter Tatchell, a professional detector of discrimination against gays where none now exists, one more profiteer in the thriving homophobia industry. He even has a blue plaque. It's straight people who have no champions, who are trod upon daily and live in fear of being un-PC. And as for wimmin, nothing is ever enough, won't be till they have extracted all the sperm they need into test tubes and rendered blokes extinct. They take the best jobs, go off to have babies, dig their stilettos into masculinity and still demand endless legal protection. Some honest feminists can see that things have gone too far. Who stands up for men? Nobody. Ask that question and the witches/bitches/ harridans will come after you. And there is nowhere to hide.

Oh, oh, oh, do I hear howls of protestation? I hope so. Society is more equal and fair than ever before. But only fools and blackguards would claim Jewish people, gays and women have no cause to complain and if they do must be disbelieved, dismissed, assailed, tossed out of polite society to join others who are accursed and unwelcome. Yet that is now what happens if you are unquiet on racism, the abhorrent demeaning of people on grounds of colour, culture, ethnicity and religion. To bring up racial prejudice is now more scandalous than vomiting in a fine room.

In the latest issue of Prospect magazine, Munira Mirza, one of Boris Johnson's favoured libertarians at the Greater London Authority, announces the death of racism. It is no more – she has met black and Asian people who tell her so. No credible statistical evidence is provided, in part because this serious research is not now a priority. And besides, she is herself Asian and of Muslim background (though not a believer) and she should know. A pretty little thing but with a sharp beak (sexist, I know, but then sexism is no longer an issue, or is it? ), she presses all the right buttons for white people. There is always a useful supply of insiders happy to decry the struggles of the persecuted and ostracised. Her boss, Johnson, is not racist but has always been hostile to recommendations in the Stephen Lawrence report findings. Johnson put down the annual anti-racist festival, blaming lack of sponsorship, and he and Mirza seem now to be on a mission to exterminate talk about racism. Funds for Black History Month – which wouldn't be needed if UK history was not whitewashed – have been slashed, they say for cost reasons

Across the board, the powerful appear now to be entirely focused on the white working and workless classes. As if there is room for only one injustice in the collective conscience of the nation. As if there is no shared pain between those at the bottom failed by neoliberalism. Divide and rule. It always works. So let me attend to this "real" injustice. I do feel for the wretched poor who have no way out. However, assertions that racism is no longer an issue need to be backed by figures. Do we have empirical tests to show that, say, when Leroy Marley (Afro-Caribbean), Mohammed Jamal (Muslim) and Len Goody (white working class) go for the same unskilled job, the first two are interviewed and the last one rejected outright? Or that when they try to rent properties the same discrimination occurs?

We do have a research report from the Department of Work and Pensions (2009), which found that of three fictional applicants for real jobs – Muslim, African, white British – the last got ahead purely on name. We also know that, according to the Institute of Race Relations, dozens of people have been killed in racially motivated attacks since Stephen Lawrence's murder. That anti-terrorist laws and police powers are often used unfairly against people of colour. That, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research, half of young black people (16- to 24-year-olds) are unemployed. David James Smith, white and a biographer of Nelson Mandela, recently described in a poignant article full of important facts and figures the genteel racism his black wife and mixed-race children face in Lewes, in lovely Sussex.

Racist discourse is now common and unchallengeable. A caller to LBC recently told me she couldn't stand those "coloured" children she sees through school railings and felt massively injured because such views "are now not allowed". They were broadcast, but the paranoia was unshakeable. I was telling Andy Burnham this story at the Labour Party conference. A veteran liberal-left journalist opined that she was right to express what she felt. By implication I was wrong to object.

Countless readers will agree with him. Tough, I do object. Black and Asian Britons can be self- destructive, violent and prejudiced towards white people, exploiters, too, like those Muslim pimps grooming young white girls. Many are seduced by gang culture and terrorism, are hopeless lovers and parents, oppressive and nasty and unable to take responsibility. So I will readily agree racism is not the only force that keeps us down and out. But that evil is still out there taking away our rights and humanity. Like Jewish people, gays and women, we know when things change for the better, they can also stay the same or get worse.

Ms Mirza et al must give us convincing proof that racism is no more and white people are the new victims. I will then stop my own campaigns. Promise. Until that time, activists will neither stop nor sell out, even though the rewards for that would be plentiful.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions