The Guardian sees racism everywhere – because it’s prejudiced

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The Guardian sees racism everywhere – because it’s prejudiced

The fashion for interpreting white racism doesn’t prove you’re enlightened, it ironically proves you’re prejudiced, says Bruce Newsome.

Yesterday, The Guardian published its own survey, which, it claimed, “proves” that minority races face more racism than white people.

Specifically, The Guardian reported that more than twice as many minorities than whites had been overlooked for a work promotion, three times as many have been turned out of a restaurant, bar, or club, almost three times as many have been accused of shoplifting, twice as many have encountered rudeness from a stranger, and two-thirds believe Britain is racist.

These data would be shocking evidence of racism, except for alternative explanations. Perhaps minority respondents are more likely to attribute negative experiences as racist, in part because media such as The Guardian encourage them.

The Guardian doesn’t admit any alternative explanations, because The Guardian is biased against any alternatives other than white-on-black racism. The Guardian’s biases are revealed in its claims that these data are evidence of “unconscious bias” against minorities. No, they’re not. Unconscious bias is notoriously difficult to prove. You essentially need to put the subject in a brain scanner to map their brain’s reaction to different racial stimuli. Even these results are controversial, because the brain might react differently to different races for no other reason than that races are – well – different. Admitting that races are different should be an objective fact, not a subjective prejudice.

The Guardian doesn’t admit any of this. The Guardian’s survey respondents are proving their own subjective impressions of the rest of society. No unconscious biases are observed other than those of the respondents. Yet that doesn’t stop The Guardian from asserting as proven a whole grab bag of contested concepts, including “unconscious biases,” “micro-aggressions,” and “stereotyping.”

The same edition of The Guardian (yesterday’s) included a columnist (Matthew d’Ancona), who urged us to be as “honest” as him about the racism that is behind Brexit.

D’Ancona’s pretence of honesty about racism is a fig leaf for his own racism. D’Ancona started his column by talking about his Maltese heritage and his German wife, and his efforts to secure foreign passports for his family, so he could leave this hateful country of his residence and employment.

D’Ancona’s column is nothing but his subjective prejudices, wrapped up in holier-than-thou claims to objective insight.

His claims to objective evidence are subjective interpretations that ignore all the alternatives. He reported that in June 2017 a survey showed that leavers were more motivated by anxiety about immigration than anything else, but this doesn’t prove racism. People have many legitimate reasons to oppose immigration, such as the pressure on social services.

D’Ancona then stated that one of the Leave campaign’s slogans (“Take Back Control”) is racist, Nigel Farage’s preference for reduced immigration over economic gain is racist, and May’s determination to end freedom of movement is racist.

D’Ancona pleads with us to be as “honest” as him, but his “honesty” is a prejudice pretending to be enlightenment.

Unfortunately, The Guardian has form as a hypocritically prejudicial rag. Back in February, I called out The Guardian’s editors for calling Brexiteers stupid, ignorant, and ill-informed, while hypocritically arguing illogically, misinterpreting the data, and misreporting their own prejudices as facts.

Back in July I reported on a farcical debate on Brexit, featuring two Guardian columnists (Afua Hirsch and Lord Adonis), whose responses to any question or counter-point started with their celebration of their immigrant heritage, in contrast to the horrible country in which they live. The topics raised by the other panellists, their chairman, or the audience didn’t matter. Afua Hirsch’s segue was always: “I want to speak about the levels of racism in this country.”

Unfortunately, such subjective prejudices are encouraged by official interest in subjective “hate crimes.” A freedom of information request has revealed that the so-called “hate crimes” filed with national authorities include cases where a bus driver gave an alleged “racist look,” a white man smoked heavily with racist intent, neighbours parked outside the filer’s home just because – he claimed – he was black, and a man told library staff he was campaigning for Brexit.

If you allow for subjectivity to triumph over objectivity, you encourage prejudices. Current British legislation on hate crime forces police and prosecutors to treat any claim as true because it is subjective, i.e., if the “victim” thinks it was racist, police and prosecutors must treat it as racist. No objective challenge is allowed. An accuser can accuse anyone of racism, then it’s recorded as racism.

For similar official embrace of subjectivity, you get innocent men in the dock accused of rape by vindictive ex-girlfriends enabled by vindictive public prosecutors who hide evidence from public defenders, while gangs of ethnic-minority men are allowed to traffic under-age white girls without official interest.

The fashion for diversity has a dark side, such as to interpret any absence of diversity as evidence for racism. Thence everybody over-compensates, lest they be interpreted as racist, such that everybody ends up being prejudicial to unfashionable groups (whites, males, English, heterosexuals, Brexit-voters, anybody considered majoritarian).

Subjectivity is by definition prejudicial. Embracing subjectivity doesn’t prove that you’re enlightened, it just proves you’re prejudiced.

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    Bruce Newsome
    Bruce Newsome, Ph.D. is a lecturer in International Relations at the University of California Berkeley
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