kingfu.co.uk

Bullshit & Ignorance

June 15, 2010

The world is a strange place

This morning on my way to work, I was stopped by a little old lady, dressed in her summer finery, complete with an elegant sun hat with a bow that matched her dress. I was listening to music on my mp3 player at the time and so stopped and removed my earphones and explained that I hadn’t heard what she’d said on account of Lemmy screaming about the Ace of Spades in my ears. She smiled at me and, indicating to the sunglasses I had optimistically collected on my way out of my flat this morning and tucked into the the neck of my shirt she said, “I said those are very nice shades.”

I thanked her and she carried on about her business. I mean, they are quite nice I suppose, brushed metal frames and blue lenses, but it was still somewhat odd to be complimented on them by a passing little old lady! It reminded me of another incident, in the departure lounge at Dulles International Airport in America. Once again, I was listening to music when I was stopped by a passing man, who once earphones were extracted informed me he has just wanted to tell me he really liked my T-shirt, which in fairness was my Thundercats T-shirt that my sister gave me for Christmas a few years back and it is awesome, but I digress..

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never felt the urge to stop total strangers to make commentary on their attire. It doesn’t seem to be a widespread phenomenon either; Of the people I’ve told either or both of these stories too, none seem to have had similar experiences. Maybe I’m very approachable, or have such an incredible sense of style that even total strangers can’t help but comment. Or perhaps there’s absolutely no relevance to it whatsoever and I simply happen to have met two people who like to comment on the clothing choices of perfect strangers.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to it. It gave me a little chuckle both times, I just found it slightly strange!

June 7, 2010

I’m not a racist but…

I don’t use Facebook. In fact I recently deleted my account completely, because while I can understand and see the value of a social networking site, Facebook, for me, gets it all wrong. Their constantly changing (and frankly laughable) privacy policy alone is enough to put me off; You may be interested to take a look at http://youropenbook.org for a glimpse at how accessible the information people post on Facebook is.

Something that openbook showed me was the way in which a site that connects so many people can be a most potent rumour mill. Searching for “I’m not a racist” returned a staggering number of results with a number of variations on the following:

POLICE ARE GOING AROUND PUBS AND CLUBS SAYINGTHAT WE CANT WEAR OUR ENGLAND TOPS 4 THE FOOTIE & GOTTA TAKE THE FLAGS DOWN AS IT IS UPSETTING THE PEOPLE THAT DONT COME FROM HERE !!NOW IM NOT RACIST , BUT THIS IS TAKING THE PISS! THIS ISOUR COUNTRY AND WE NEED 2 MAKE A STAND IF YOU/THEY DONT LIKE IT GO AWAY!WOULD YOU REMOVE UR TURBAN & BURKHA BECAUSE IT UPSETS ME, IF YOU AGREE POST THIS AS YOUR STATUS

Wow. Just wow. Where to start? I’ll skim over the capslock-is-cruise-control-for-cool elements and the mixture of ‘txt talk’ with actual words and just get straight to the heart of this. Saying “I’m not a racist but..” is a pretty good guarantee that the next words out of your mouth (or off the tips of your fingers) are going to be racist. Worse is the depth of ignorance involved in this statement. Let me take a moment here to break this down.

  1. POLICE ARE GOING AROUND PUBS AND CLUBS SAYINGTHAT WE CANT WEAR OUR ENGLAND TOPS 4 THE FOOTIE & GOTTA TAKE THE FLAGS DOWN AS IT IS UPSETTING THE PEOPLE THAT DONT COME FROM HERE

    No. Just no, alright? This entirely ridiculous rumour started because a few police forces, especially the Metropolitan Police in London, sent letters around a lot of licensed premises making a suggestion that during the World Cup they might want to impose dress codes, including banning the wearing of football shirts.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with upsetting “people that don’t come from here” and everything to do with reducing the risk of trouble between sets of football supporters – this article from thepsychologist.org.uk explains how the police in the UK rely on the findings of Crowd Psychology studies, a theory which in very basic terms stipulates that crowds in some way form a group consciousness which when coupled with other factors, including an increased sense of anonymity, can lead to irrational and even violent behaviour. There’s plenty of psychologists who criticise this theory, but the fact that the police use it as a model to help with crowd control makes the assumption that large ‘uniformed’ crowds increase the risk of anti-social behaviour (particularly when the crowd is fuelled by beer) an entirely reasonable one.

  2. NOW IM NOT RACIST , BUT THIS IS TAKING THE PISS! THIS ISOUR COUNTRY AND WE NEED 2 MAKE A STAND IF YOU/THEY DONT LIKE IT GO AWAY!WOULD YOU REMOVE UR TURBAN & BURKHA BECAUSE IT UPSETS ME

    Well okay, by this point it’s pretty obvious that you are, if not a racist, perpetuating a racist statement. This whole “let’s make a stand!” rhetoric is pretty mind boggling, especially since any perceived slight against English people here is entirely fictitious. The whole thing is being used as an excuse to promote hostility towards Asian people. I’m not even going to start trying to explain why it’s so incredibly ignorant to compare a replica football shirt to a turban or Burqa.

  3. IF YOU AGREE POST THIS AS YOUR STATUS

    And this is how it spread. Yeah! I agree, this is outrageous! Let’s stick it to those foreign fuckers! They Come to our country, take our jobs, erode our culture, dress like ninjas! They’ll be banning bacon soon! It’s political correctness gone mad! etc. etc.

Immigration is a complex and sensitive issue, particularly at a time where the country is in a state of economic recession. But let’s try to avoid blaming ethnic minorities, foreign nationals and immigrants for things that have nothing to do with them, particularly things that aren’t even true.

Wasn’t so long ago that an angry little man in Germany was blaming the financial hardships of that nation on the Jews as a way to gain support. That didn’t end well for anyone. Let’s try not to forget the lessons that history has to teach us, hey?