Monday, February 19, 2018

Ignorant Bigots

What is wrong with people?  Why is it that some people feel the necessity to take every possible opportunity to spout hate and bile, regardless of how inappropriate that might be?  To give an example, te other day I was watching a video on You Tube - it was pretty innocuous, the original opening titles for seventies sitcom Man About the House, in fact, which includes a lot of footage of seventies London.  I then made the mistake of glancing at the comments beneath the video.  Whilst the majority were relevant to the subject matter, discussing the show and its stars, one stood out glaringly: 'London in the days before it was full of foreigners and a multicultural shit hole'.  I mean, really?  Who would think that an appropriate thing to post anywhere, let alone under a video about an innocuous seventies sitcom?  I remember a time not so very long ago when being a racist was something to be ashamed of, something that bigots knew to keep to themselves.  But now it seems to be a badge of honour.

But, like all bigots, this idiot is ignorant, on several counts.  The most obvious being that the Man About the House titles do depict a multi-cultural London, most notably in the form a prominently feature bus conductor, who is clearly British Asian.  Which, obviously, brings us to the principle area of this guy's ignorance: the London of the seventies was clearly multi cultural, with people from a wide variety of ethnic origins living there, many brought there by the former British Empire.  Moreover, it had been a multicultural city since anyone can remember - as capital cities, particularly those which are also major ports and commerce hubs, usually are.  You'd think that by now this sort of thing would have stopped appalling me.  But, thankfully, it doesn't. I say 'thankfully' because this level of casual race hate should always shock us.  The day it doesn't is the day the racist bastards have won, by normalising this shit. 

Of course, there are those who say that this sort of thing is simply a result of the anonymity the web allows people - they are able to express opinions which they would never normally be able to publicly express, for fear of opprobrium.  Except that it isn't just online we come across these things: it seems like a growing trend, endorsed by some sections of the media, to see racism and hatred as somehow acceptable forms of public expression.  It would help, of course, if comments sections and forums online were more closely moderated and such comments removed, (and no, suppressing racism isn't the same thing as repressing free speech).  Just recently, my local paper ran an article about how the local Mosque was holding an open day - the sort of comments that appeared under the online version of the story were depressingly predictable with the usual references to terrorism, ISIS and grooming, not to mention ignorant.  Yet it took the newspaper an age to take down the most offensive and those left are still pretty offensive.  They really needto police these things better - or just disable the comments: I can't remember the last time I saw one, on any story, that wasn't idiotic, ill informed, prejudiced and full of hate. 

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