"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Morality of Human Difference

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Human Difference

"As the BBC correspondent in South Africa covering the bloody meltdown of apartheid, I was quite a student of racism. I used to report on the race classification boards that would decide in which of a dozen or more groups you belonged, how far you were up or down the hierarchy of color which decided almost every aspect of your life. They used light meters to measure skin shade, I remember, and pushed pencils through your hair to see how curly it was. The developing science of genetics was already showing that Afrikaners who thought themselves the purest white were on average 6.9% black and the whole apparatus of institutionalized racism would come crashing down to a global chorus of condemnation.

Now President Macron of France wants to go further. He wants to abolish the notion of race itself. He plans to remove the commitment to racial equality in the French constitution because he says, all humans are basically the same, which makes the very idea of racial difference prejudice, nonsense...

If you abolish race, you rule out positive as well as negative discrimination. And what about all the other group identites? The feminists, the gays, the trans, who campaign so loudly for recognition and parity and safe spaces where others are kept out? Where does that leave those LBGT only student halls in Sheffield, that black feminist festival in Paris where white men will be banned? Does diversity divide us or promote and protect the marginalized?...

‘Recently Reni Eddo-Lodge, who's won the Jhalak prize for writers of color, wrote amongst many other things, obviously, that this is a country where racism is at an all time high. That struck me as arrant nonsense’…

‘For me, it's difficult to answer that question. And the reason is racism now is far more covert. It's less overt... Last Friday I did a talk on the Windrush and the contributions of the people from the Empire and Windrush. I played them an extract from till their first do part [sp?]. Most of the people under 30 were shocked’...

‘I think that makes my point that the racism of 30 years ago was much greater than it is to-’

‘It was greater in the wider public arena, in the fact that that could be screened on the BBC... just because we don't get those overt displays of rife racism doesn't mean that anything has got better’...

‘Women are inherently unsafe… in the UK... it’s definitely on a different scale. But you know, I think the #metoo movement for example, has shown that whether we don't feel that our lives are at risk potentially on a day to day basis, we do feel threatened, we do feel marginalized, we do feel voiceless in a lot of different arenas.’

‘This country has a woman Prime Minister, a woman Director of Public Prosecutions, a woman Metropolitan Police Commissioner, a woman head of the Supreme Court, women-only shortlists in political parties... what more do you need for women to become, to feel safe?...

Going back to the safe space, specifically, it's safe - making women safe against men. Aren’t women who want such safe spaces, therefore not guilty of doing precisely what's been done to women in the past, and in many cultures now, which is basically demonizing by gender, demonizing by identity? Saying that basically men as a sex are inherently dangerous and that is a kind of prejudice is it not?’...

‘What’s it being safe from?... aren’t you being rather disingenuous? Safe space for women means keeping men out, doesn't it? Don't be disingenuous. Don't say some people might interpret it to have, to say, Oh, we can let men in, that's not what it’s about, is it?’

‘Well I’m a pseophologist, so I do see the nuance in things and I do also-’

‘Is that another word for being disingenuous?’

‘Perhaps’...

‘Words are whatever we mean them to mean’...

‘It was interesting that you said we do feel marginalized, we do things we do feel, you know, safer if we're on our own. It's on, when you talk about post #metoo. Who’s the we?... I don't think that all women are a lump, an indistinguishable one. Is there not a danger that identity politics just essentialises people as though we all share our identities and that means we’ve got the same views?’"


If covert racism is as bad as overt racism, why bother fighting overt racism since we know covert racism will never go away? It just makes the task of eliminating 'racism' even harder while not improving the situation at all
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