This blog cannot start in any way other than looking at linguistics and how commonly-used words have been redefined to fit the beliefs and objectives of those pushing for a so-called “antiracist” movement, as well as the development of new phrases used to silence, scare and belittle those who criticise or resist said movement. The word antiracist appeals to the vast majority of teachers in the UK, especially those who have avoided Twitter and haven’t witnessed the onslaught of thought-policing, faux-outrage and “wokeness” I now associate with the platform. Ask any number of teachers living in the UK if they are antiracist and you will be met with a vast majority of yesses. People may acknowledge that they have unconscious biases regarding race without feeling that they themselves are racist. If racism is the view that one race is superior to others or the belief that prejudice or discrimination against people based on their race is acceptable (as in the actual dictionary definition of racism and the one accepted in the UK), and the anti- prefix means against, then it is reasonable for the vast majority of teachers to view themselves as antiracist.
I believe that Britain does have a problem with racism, both in terms of the internalised views held by people, racist abuse and prejudice on an individual and incidental level, as well as institutionalised racism, especially in the media and legal system. I speak for many when I say that teachers have a part to play in challenging and preventing racism. Linguistics are important in identifying the beliefs and norms of the “antiracist” movement. There is a difference between being an antiracist, using the standard English definition of words (which I view as the correct one), and being an “antiracist” when you use the redefined and bastardised, woke, intersectionalist, SocJus terminology. From this point on, I will be talking about “antiracism” in inverted commas as a term used by those who are utterly committed to “antiracism” and sketchy intersectional theories, like critical race theory, rather than as a term for those who are actively fighting racism in terms of the commonly-accepted definition. As you will read below, I feel that some who called themselves “antiracist” are in fact racist themselves. I use inverted commas in this piece a lot to suggest sarcasm or misuse of language.
For anyone reading this blog who is preparing to “educate” me, I’d like to point out that I have read a few of the books that you will no doubt recommend to me, namely Akala’s Natives, DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. Natives is a very good book and will be an enlightening read to many, well-written with accurate references to history intertwined with Akala’s personal experiences. While I do not agree with every point made, the thing that makes this book leaps ahead of the other two is that points are actually made with clear descriptions and evaluations of each point before moving on with a narrative and argument that carries itself well throughout the book. White Fragility, on the other hand, is a waffly mess of a book, full of assertions, mistruths stated as facts, redefinition of key language, linguistic scare-bombing and denunciation of those who do not follow DiAngelo’s ideology. It is this book that has achieved biblical importance among the radical left and the “antiracists.”
White Fragility and other radical-left literature has attempted to redefine the word ‘racism’ so that it can only refer to systemic racism where only BAME people can be the victim because of power structures. BAME people literally cannot be racist according to this redefinition; they can be prejudiced but not racist; only white people can be racist. “Antiracists” have adopted a set of tenets, largely from White Fragility, including:
- Racism exists today in both traditional and modern forms.
- Racism is an institutionalised, multi-layered system that distributes power and resources to uphold the status quo for the benefit of white people.
- Society has conditioned everyone to be racist.
- All white people benefit from racism.
- You cannot not be racist. You must either be “antiracist” (according to their own definition of the word) or racist. There is no middle ground. If you would class yourself as “not racist” then you are probably, in fact, racist.
- There is no end goal to the movement. Racism must be continually searched for, identified, analysed and challenged. No “antiracist” ever completes “the work.”
- “Antiracists” should not ask themselves if racism has taken place. Instead, they must assume that it has and ask how racism manifested in said situation.
- Whites are comfortable with racism and therefore systems and procedures which maintain the comfort of whites should be treated with suspicion.
- Resistance to the “education” offered by “antiracists” is to be expected and should be explicitly and strategically addressed.
Now, I agree with some but not all of these. To be an “antiracist” you must agree with every single one of these. “Antiracists” need to show the level of unquestioning adherence to these tenets that you would associate with religious ‘guides to living’ like the Ten Commandments and Mitzvot. To question the ideology and claims asserted in accepted texts like White Fragility is to show oneself as “fragile.” “White Fragility” as a term, according to DiAngelo, refers to “…a state in which even a minimum amount of racist stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviours such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.” I don’t class myself as an academic, far from it in fact. I find it hard to write in any style other than how I talk, which is probably why I dislike the academised, convoluted, labyrinthine styles of radical-left literature like White Fragility. Yet, I need to point out that while the book is on the reading lists of many US and UK universities, and accepted by many university professors and “antiracists” as gospel, it is not. You might want to follow this link to see a more academic critique of how the book is used as a tool to convert people to the “antiracist” movement and some methodological problems with DiAngelo’s research. What I want to talk about is extreme SocJus activists and especially “antiracists” have weaponised language as a means to silence, scare and belittle (rather than persuade or argue with) their dissenters.
One of the key points I want people to take from this blog is that I do not think “antiracists” are a force for good. Instead, I feel the movement is toxic and totalitarian. Until around 2017, I associated phrases like “you’re either with us or against us” with gang culture. Now, along with fear and silencing, it’s a fundamental part of the “antiracist” and SocJus activist creed.
Fear is a powerful method of control. History is full of examples of how those in positions of power used fear to suppress dissent and to keep those under their control from rebelling and rising against their oppressors. It is interesting that a movement so utterly obsessed with societal power, oppression and victimhood is so quick to use the power of fear to get people to act how they want. Linguistic scare-bombing can be described as a way of using insulting and emotionally-charged language against somebody who is arguing with you in an effort to get them to shut up. Linguistic scare-bombing can cause the victim to retract their viewpoint, agree with the scare-bomber or refuse to say what they actually think for fear of negative consequences, as opposed to having been persuaded to do so based on reason and facts. Such negative consequences include public shaming, the tarnishing of their reputation or attempts to negatively affect their standing with colleagues and even threats to their jobs. See the case of Bret Weinstein for an example of a man who ended up jobless for daring to question radical-left, SocJus doctrine. Linguistic scare-bombing and online shaming can be used and seen as the Twitter equivalent of public executions in dictatorships – have a look at what happens when you don’t toe the line. The classic examples of linguistic scare-bombing include frivolous “-ist” and “-phobe” insults. I won’t go into those. I want to talk about the following “antiracist” phrases and their links to linguistic scare-bombing: “white fragility”, “white guilt”, “white supremacy”, “whiteness” and the word “solidarity” with a particular focus on the use of “white solidarity.”
I strongly believe that when debating anything it is important for a person to put forward their view and why they think it using their experiences, facts and reason while simultaneously opening themselves to the possibility of being persuaded otherwise by somebody else with an alternative view using their own experiences, facts and reason. The trouble with “antiracism” is that its tenets are followed so unquestionably that it does not cater for disagreement. You cannot “win” an argument about race with an “antiracist.” The closest you will get is a dismissive comment like, “educate yourself,” “it’s not my job to educate” or, if you’re lucky, a genuine recommendation of a blog, journal or book which may challenge your view, although these recommendations are far more likely to be offered with disdain and sneering than a genuine attempt to help people “educate themselves”. Instead, you have two options. Option one is to agree with everything that an “antiracist” says and then you might be given the honour of becoming an “ally” as long as you are willing to commit every waking second to “the work” and obediently following the “antiracist” tenets while also embracing intersectionality. The only other option is that you are a racist showing your “fragility.”
As well as fragility, “White guilt” is used to shut down debates and mock white people. White guilt is the concept of individual and collective guilt held by white people for the transgressions of white people in the past, such as colonialism and slavery.
“White supremacy” according to dictionaries is the belief that white people are superior to other races. “White supremacy” according to “antiracists” is much harder to define and more closely linked to structural and societal power where supremecy is how white people find themselves in positions of power at the expense of non-whites and maintaining the status-quo to keep white people in this position of power. The antiracist definition of white supremacy doesn’t contain the theme of hatred of other races or superiority over other races that the dictionary definition has, and this is why “antiracists” have chosen to create and accept an alternative definition of the term. The redefinition has given them power to wield over others. No one wants to be accused of being a white supremacist (how fragile!) and going by the dictionary definition of the word, very few people are. The “antiracist” knows this and they know that directly accusing someone of being a white supremacist (if they have the bottle to do so) or accusing them of “contributing towards a white supremacist agenda” or similar (if they’re less brave) is a great way of silencing or scaring those who dare criticise their doctrine without actually having to argue anything or do anything. The double-attack of the linguistic scare-bomb followed by the block button has become a rather effective tactic used by “antiracists.”
“Whiteness”, is a reference to the structural and societal norms and systems which produce white privilege and is used by academics to identify behaviours and norms associated with white people. In reality, it is a free pass to make sweeping negative generalisations and racist slurs against white people. Search Twitter with phrases containing the word ‘whiteness’ like “whiteness has no bounds” for examples. Seeing how “antiracists,” as one of many examples of the totalitarianist stance of the movement, have redefined the term racism so that white people cannot be victims of racism, as well as how it is supposedly impossible for BAME people to be racist, “whiteness” gives racists (using the correct, widely-understood and widely-used definition of the word) impunity to prejudice, discriminate and say what they want about white people. Seeing how the word whiteness is used on Twitter reminds me of the sweeping generalisations and the nasty, racist, ignorant statements I used to hear people make about “pa**s” when I was a child.
To understand the use of “solidarity”, you need to understand intersectionality and how several intersectional or social justice movements (around race, gender, sexuality and trans rights mainly) work. A lot of discourse with the radical left and SocJus activists revolves around deliberately making things far more complex than they are, or, where convenient, far more simple. These activists like to group the population. I like this scene in American Sniper where the father groups the population into three groups (sheep, wolves and sheepdogs) and lectures his sons about the types of people in each group and how he wants his boys to grow up to be sheepdogs. The radical-left, SocJus movement has subconsciously created three groups to categorise the population. Those who have completely bought into intersectionality and grievance studies literature are enlightened saviours. Everyone else is either a victim to be saved or someone with the wrong views who needs to be challenged or “educated.” These people are usually very well-educated and financially secure which allows them to overlook the importance of affluence on power and oppression and instead allocate different levels of victimhood dependent on a person’s biological and protected characteristics. SocJus requires activists to band together in a way that views the world through terms of power and oppression and through an intersectional lens. So if, for example, somebody loses their job for saying something supposedly transphobic (see the Maya Forstater case here), all activists in the intersectional movement must criticise or even bully this person as well as those who show support, via hashtags like #IStandWithMaya, for example. Remember passivity and inaction are not allowed. You will frequently see the term “solidarity”. Solidarity, as a term, means I stand with you. You might expect to see it on Twitter on a case-by-case basis, where based on facts, a victim may be identified and the message of solidarity may be sent by someone as an offer of support and to comfort said victim. In reality, SocJus activists use it whenever someone stands up to an oppressor (always white and usually male) or is perceived to have been oppressed by somebody (always white and usually male). What is said or done matters far less than the race, gender, sex or sexuality of the person saying it or doing it. See the reaction to Benedict Cumberbatch’s use of the word “coloured” as opposed to the reaction to Sarah Jeong’s claim that white people are dumbasses and how she enjoys being cruel to old white men. The reaction to what was said was based on the race and gender of who said each thing. Benedict Cumberbatch and Sarah Jeong were judged harshly or leniently based on their races and gender. And depending on if you are the sort of person who follows the linguistic contortionism of radical left and “antiracist” doctrine (and it is a doctrine as there is no room for disagreement) you may describe the act of treating somebody differently based on their race as prejudice, yet to me it’s 100% racism. If Benedict Cumberbatch was black or Asian, those who criticised him would have let the misuse of an outdated word slide. If Sarah Jeong was a white woman and spoke about how black people are dumbasses or how much she enjoys being cruel to old Asian men, her career would have almost certainly been over. To the radical-left, solidarity is a way of allying the demographics and social connections joined by intersectionality.
“White solidarity” is a refusal by white people to hold other people to account for their supposed racism. In reality, it means “People are criticising an “antiracist” for something they’ve done (often an unjustified shaming of a dissenter, a Twitter witchhunt or the use of linguistic scare-bombing) and I don’t know what to do so I’ll just indirectly call them all racist.”
The “antiracist” movement is one that claims to be doing good but is sowing division and hate. The totalitarian approach has no place in modern society. I will never agree with the “antiracist” redefinition of the word racism and that is one of the reasons I am no longer talking to “antiracists” about race. Another reason is that while I agree Britain has a problem with racism, I do not share the dystopian view of the country as often put forward by “antiracists”. I concede that my “whiteness” has helped me form that view but then many black and Asian people hold the same view and are often dismissed as not really being “black” or “Asian.” See the denunciation of Kanye West for supporting small ‘c’ conservativism and Donald Trump. I prefer a solutions-focused approach to problems. The work of Andrew Moffat and his ‘No Outsiders’ program and the CLPE and their ‘Reflecting Realities’ work have already had a positive impact and are helping to address the problem of a lack of representation in schools and have done so in a way that spreads tolerance and love. There are other problems in education, such as the higher rate of exclusions for black children or assessment bias which negatively impacts (among other groups) black boys. I don’t think the solutions to these require a revolution, or to “smash the kyriachy.” Taking every issue back to systemic racism will have little impact. Isolating issues and then looking for solutions via discussion, debate, research and reflection is the way to go. Also, I am not going to debate something with somebody who is more obsessed with winning the argument than they are with discussion. You are not allowed to disagree with “antiracists” and if you do you are racist yourself, or “fragile”, or unable to control your “white guilt”, or a “white supremacist”, or enabling a “white supremacist agenda”, and anyone who supports you is also racist because they are embracing “white solidarity”. Finally, “antiracists” are often incredibly hypocritical and often racist themselves. See this example of Jamilla Jamil and hypocrisy here where in one tweet she talks about the dangers of cancel culture and then in another tweet two months later she chooses to be an active participant in cancel culture because the target (JK Rowling) fitted the bill – a white, influential, woman who shared an opinion on a trans-rights legal case which wasn’t in line with the accepted opinions permitted by radical trans activists. As an example of both hypocrisy and what I perceive to be evidence of racist beliefs and attitudes, a prominent UK “antiracist” teacher has shown that he is very quick to denounce others and often uses the “white X” terms as slurs, alongside blocking, to silence those who dare question his doctrine. Among many others, this teacher was critical of those sharing #IStandWithMaya hashtag, he denounced three white men for hosting a podcast and smeared them with white supremecy jibes, he refuses to engage with and recognise a certain white author’s work around education and brands the author as racist and promoting eugenics (he isn’t and he doesn’t). This tweeter engages in the denunciations, the linguistic scare-bombing, the shaming, the quote-tweeting, the pile-on inductions and shows all of the cross-group solidarity you would expect of a follower of the SocJus movement. Yet, for some reason, the same tweeter promoted an “old-school” rapper called Ja Rule (is Ja Rule old-school?) who was widely criticised for his homophobic and transphobic abuse of 50 Cent, exactly the sort of action that would usually prompt a passionate and fiery denunciation and criticism from this teacher. After all, if three people hosting a podcast can be given a label as severe, emotive and reputation-damaging as white supremacy, what label should be given to a hugely-influential musician attacking a fellow musician with homophobic abuse? There are many examples of this type of hypocrisy, which is almost identical to that shown by the differing reactions to the transgressions of Benedict Cumberbatch and Sarah Jeong, which is somehow acceptable among the radical left.
Racism among “antiracists” is something that I hope gets called out more. Please don’t be silenced by their linguistic contortionism and threats. I have seen first-hand the damage that can be done to a person’s professional standing if a) they don’t see eye-to-eye with their line managers and b) some vengeful person decides to report fairly innocuous Twitter comments to their employer. Therefore, I am not going to name-and-shame tweeters who I feel are guilty of racism. This blog isn’t about vengeance or retribution. But there are five “antiracists” who I have absolutely no interest in engaging with, as they have shown time and time again that (using the correct, widely-understood and widely-used definition of the word) they are racist themselves. Their views and influence are, in my opinion, toxic.
The “Why I’m Not Talking to Antiracists” title of this blog and theme of the previous paragraph is not to be taken literally. I won’t talk to “antiracists” who engage in the thought-policing, debate-ending and scaremongering tactics outlined previously. If you want to talk to me about what I think, and if you think I’m wrong and want to convince me otherwise, then please do so. If this blog “blows up” I won’t reply to individual messages and criticisms. Instead, I’ll leave it a few days and release an updated version where those messages are addressed. I realise that this blog is the very definition of “White Fragility” and I don’t care. If you are going to claim that this blog is evidence that I hate minority groups or you choose to call me racist or alt-right I will block you and reemphasise that I do not perceive myself to be any of these things. Yet I am aware that your experiences, your view of the world and redefinition of language may mean that you view me as racist or part of the so-called alt-right. Go ahead. You are entitled to think whatever you want. I just have no interest in engaging with you.
I will write a later blog about how I think a change to the KS3 curriculum can address: problems of racism, a lack of knowledge about the British Empire as well as discussing colonisation and how I think this should be approached in schools. I will continue resisting “wokeness,” including retweeting woke parody accounts as some of the things Twitter users share are the very definition of ridiculous. It’s telling that so many people’s first introduction to the excellent Titania McGrath account is falling hook, line and sinker for one of the tweets. The faux-outrage, illogical reasoning and language of the radical-left and SocJus activists on Twitter means I often genuinely can’t tell anymore which of their tweets are real and which are someone like Andrew Doyle taking the piss. I believe in individualism, the importance of reason and the freedom of thought and will continue to advocate those values. I will continue living my life the way that I want. I will continue to stand up for those who I think are being treated unfairly. I will continue criticising blanket victimhood and the suppressing of discussions of issues around affluence and childhood experiences by those want to push intersectionalist issues at the expense of others. I would like to recommend The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray which has helped me formulate my views as well as the language needed to resist wokeness. I will continue thinking about what I can do in my day-to-day interactions to improve happiness and contentment among others while reducing harm. I hope that I have encouraged people to say what they think without fear of bullying or silencing from those who for some reason see themselves as the goodies while simultaneously being vile.
Update: This blog was critiqued (badly) by Hashim who is part of a group called The AntiRacist Educator. You can see his post by clicking here.
My response to Hashim can be found here.