Britain and Documentaries on Racism!

Posted on October 23, 2015

I don’t know if it is just me who seems to find them all the time, but British TV these days appears to be addicted to some sort of racist porn, with a plethora of documentaries featuring far-right organisations such as the EDL and Britain First.

The standard process of these documentaries features an investigator going to an EDL or Britain First march in a provincial town like Leamington Spa, pointing at some Neanderthals with Union Jack flags and saying, “These people claim not to be a racist organisation…but as our investigation proves…we think they might be?

“Paul is 32 (points to a rat faced bloke in braces with a swastika on his head) he says he is not racist, despite being charged with inciting racial hatred, burning down a Mosque and stabbing a Muslim. After seeing new evidence, we don’t think Paul is telling the whole truth and his views are not just political…they may also be racist!”

Is that right Poirot?

Yes, I’m afraid to say I think these programmes are generally a load of old nonsense that only serve to publicise a bunch of disaffected attention seekers who are best ignored or treated as plain silly, as has been the case with some of the fantastic banners being held up by people looking on at Britain First marches with a mixture of amusement and bemusement.


Anti-Britain First members demonstrating British humour

However, there was one documentary on the other night which, after the obligatory start, showing about 250 sad cases walking through Luton, actually got quite interesting. This was because it dug a bit deeper and showed through neurological testing, how many of us have deep seated racist tendencies that have been ingrained in us by our surroundings and negative media.

This is where it gets touchy, because without knowing it, the majority of British white people have preconceived attitudes to skin colour, particularly black and Asian. They have something negative telling their brain what ethnic people could be and this is based around the information they have taken in from the news and the media from birth, through childhood and in to adulthood.

As time evolves, most people have a system in place in their brain that shuts down any prejudice that is eating away in the background and thankfully, common sense prevails. Otherwise, 20th Century history would have taken a hideous twist and I wouldn’t have been here to write this post and most of you wouldn’t be here to read it. Unless you are called Klaus or Bertha and you measure up at six foot two with piercing blue eyes, it would have been the chamber for you I’m afraid.

My childhood memories of black people suggest they are driven by that square thing with three channels that sat in the corner of our living room and my siblings. There was no talk of racism from my parents but there were occasional standard racist jokes that came back to me via my elder brothers, some that seemed funny at the time, along with the Irish jokes that were generally based on either a perceived lack of intellect or what were known as ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.

Paddy: “What do you think of the Renault 5?

Murphy: “I think they are innocent.”

I really liked that joke as a kid; it was my favourite and nowhere as vindictive as the black or Asian jokes that were around at the time, courtesy of the likes of Bernard Manning and Stockbridge’s very own racist, Jim Davidson. Stockbridge is a lovely town but it is also a great place to be a closet racist, as are many Hampshire villages that simmer with UKIP tendencies.

When I say that racist jokes were standard at the time, as an example, I can clearly remember my history teacher telling the whole class a joke involving black English footballer, Viv Anderson and Karl Heinz Rummenigge, the West Germany centre forward. You can work it out for yourselves but it was soon doing the rounds and no-one batted an eyelid.

So anyway, my memories of black people as a child were that they were good at boxing, they were starting to get very good at football (despite getting pelted with bananas) and they loved nothing more than setting a car alight in Toxteth or running around Tottenham with a policeman’s head on a stake. Britain was very right-wing then and negative press towards black people was something my children would find difficult to comprehend now.

So, on the rare occasions I saw young black men in Hampshire, my early perception was that they could well mean trouble, as they were bound to be good at boxing and they liked a good riot. As was with the case with many people my age, music helped me evolve, with punk band, The Clash, experimenting with black music and the subsequent arrival of mixed race bands such as The Beat, The Selector and of course, The Specials.


Cultural Mix: 80’s Ska Band The Specials

The Clash song, White Riot, featuring an opening lyric of “black people gotta lot a problems, but they don’t mind throwing a brick, white people go to school, where they teach you how to be thick” was, I reckon, the first time I started thinking that black people weren’t quite as one dimensional as what had been ingrained in my sub conscience by negative media.

It’s strange looking back, because during the late 70’s, punk rock was demonised by the establishment yet now, looking back, it seems like they (the establishment) were genuinely scared of being found out, particularly by a dishevelled bunch of anarchic youths. However those youths were doing more for UK race relations than any politician.

Most people born from the 1990’s onwards have not been subjected to the same amount negative press about black and Asian groups and in reality, most active EDL racists that are seen as dangerous, aren’t really; they are just a bunch of malnourished poison dwarfs looking for some kind of attachment to feed their disaffection and loss of identity.

For the rest of us, the prejudices still loiter in a tiny part of our sub conscience as they were placed there from a young age. However as time has passed and we have listened to mixed race music, watched and played in mixed race sports and worked in mixed race organisations, the prejudices that came with being a child in the 1970’s, have diluted into nothing.

Many of us had to go through a cringe-worthy kind of David Brent period where we were over-friendly to black and Asian people, but that is just a process we have had to go through to get where we want to be and despite these sensationalist documentaries about a few hundred far-right sad cases, I believe that British people on the whole, don’t care what colour or religion someone is.

British people just get on with it and continue to evolve as racism continues to dissolve, although it is also best to stay alert, as I am in no position to judge what might happen if a racist but charismatic intellect rose to power, although as was the case with Oswald Moseley and Enoch Powell, they also tend to get laughed out of town when push comes to shove.

I can still remember friends at school saying “My old man says Enoch Powell had the right idea” a popular statement in the 1980’s that you don’t really hear any more…unless you are in Stockbridge having a pint with Jim Davidson.

I will leave you with Why? by The Specials, as, in my opinion, this song typifies how music broke down racial and socio-economic barriers in 80’s Britain.

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