It has rather come to something when you’re not even allowed to tell the truth without being shouted at. But then that’s what happens with groupthink and fashionable opinion – any attempt to depart from it must be howled down. So it is with the contention that Britain is actually not a particularly racist nation. This is something that is actually true and I speak as one with considerable lived experience – not just Easyjet tourism – of other places. Behaviour that would have you locked up in Britain is commonplace in some other countries. So this is indeed true:
A Question Time audience member sparked a furious backlash on the BBC’s hit panel show after insisting the UK isn’t very racist.
The man prompted an angry response from poet George Mpanga and a fellow audience member when he insisted “the UK is one of the least racist societies across Europe”.
“Have you actually looked at the numbers?” the man asked during the show in London.
Those who would disagree should try being Arab in France, black in Russia, Cabo Verdean in Portugal and so on. As someone who has been out there to many of these places, sometimes for years at a time, it really us true that Britain is unusually unconcerned about such things.
But he was berated by panellist George Mpanga, a performance poet, and another audience member who jibed: ‘It is funny that you’re a white man saying that.’
Which is the problem of course.
No one at all is going to claim that no racism exists in Britain but then that wasn’t the original claim either. Nor would anyone claim that Britain was perfect in any manner at all, also not that original claim. Rather, the claim was that Britain is less racist than many other places. Something which is indeed true. But then we can’t have people going around making true statements contrary to popular beliefs, can we? How could the facade of our unremitting racism be maintained if everyone understood that we do pretty well, near all others are worse.
Including, often enough, places where it’s the pinkish ones in the minority.