In the week that Paul Dacre tried to claim credit for bringing two racist murderers to justice the Daily Mail website is quickly returning to form with some standard comment moderation in which racially abusive comments are happily let through, even though the comments section clearly states that all comments are being moderated. The story is the police investigation into alledged racism that supposedly took place during the Liverpool – Oldham game last night and which resulted in a young black player breaking down in tears.
Considering what has happened in the last week, and considering the way in which Paul Dacre lorded his newspaper’s moral superiority over us all you would think that the comments would be closely moderated – even more so given the reputation MailOnline has for not letting through many a sensible, non-abusive comment if it doesn’t agree with the editorial line. But, sadly this is not the case:
Way to take the high ground, Daily Mail. Still, what most of these comments are saying – ‘grow up you baby, people have heard worse’ – only echoes what Steve Doughty wrote a couple of months back:
So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, I know you feel insulted. But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game.
The Daily Mail: institutionally racist even after the Stephen Lawrence case.
I watched your video on the Daily Mail website in which you celebrated the conviction of David Norris and Gary Dobson and in which you expected the Daily Mail to be praised for securing the conviction thanks to your vainglorious headline back in 1997 that accused 5 men of murder. I listened at your anger that 5 men (boys at the time) could murder a black boy solely because of the colour of his skin, and that when the 5 men left court they swore, and this uncouth behaviour made you even more angry and determined to pursue them.
I listened as you stated that this was a glorious day for British newspapers and the power of journalism; it seemed as though, as ever, you seriously think that the British press and the Daily Mail in general is a force for social good.
But I can’t help but be disgusted by your video and the blatant, bare-faced and shameless hypocrisy of you lecturing people on racism and racial justice when the newspaper you have edited since 1992 is institutionally racist.
Your Stephen Lawrence headline, your Stephen Lawrence campaign for justice changes nothing.
The Daily Mail is part of a British press that is at worst responsible for creating the racial hatred and fear that exists in so many poorly-educated people in Britain over the last 30 years; or at best can only claim that it hasn’t created any racists, it is just responding to what racist consumers want by printing hateful, dishonest smears against other races. Either way is inexcusable.
Your newspaper is racist and it will still be racist tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. If you had any shame you would remove that video and instead spend your time addressing your role as editor in creating the racial outlook of your newspaper and your newsroom before seeing fit to lecture anyone else on racial hatred.
There are no words powerful enough to describe just what a despicable hypocrite you are.
Toughen up you big girls! Why are you whingeing about a bit of (alleged) racial abuse on the pitch? You do realise black players 20 years ago had it much worse 20 don’t you? As for this whole ‘kick racism out of football’ malarky it’s getting dead boring.
I paraphrase, but here are a few choice quotes from Steve Doughty today:
When we read about British footballers levelling complaints of racism against each other, it’s worth making the comparison with what passes as everyday behaviour in a nearby country we are often invited to admire.
Translated: let’s not take racism in British football seriously, because other countries are much worse.
the horrid and open abuse of the past is gone. When crowds pick on black players these days it is the exception, and the fact is quickly reported and condemned… Every club seems to be promoting a kick racism out of football campaign, beyond the point of boredom.
Translated: OK, so a couple of players claim to be have been racially abused, so what? Not like they get it all the time is it? Worse, even though racism isn’t that bad anymore the bloody clubs keep banging on about stopping racism all the bloody time. (Or, he might mean that football without racism is boring.)
I took my elderly mother to watch a game at Highbury for the last time before they knocked it down… In the second half Arsenal sent on an African forward called Kanu. Kanu could either be brilliant or spend all afternoon falling over the ball. On this occasion he kept falling over the ball. A youngish bloke sitting in front of us lost his temper after one particularly ludicrous pratfall and yelled, at the top of his voice, something about ‘you black b*****d’.
There was a terrible silence.
The bloke leaped up and wheeled round 180 degrees in the same movement, shoved his face straight in front of my mother’s, and said in firm and formal tones: ‘I’m terribly sorry about the racist comment.’
You could not imagine such a thing happening at a football match 30 years ago.
Hurrah, you see? Racists apologise politely to old ladies straight afterwords! Aren’t the blacks living in a dream world! This is wonderful progress:
Football reflects us all as it always did, and these days it’s both racist and not racist at the same time. Things may not be perfect but, at the end of the day, Gary, there are worse things to complain about.
Football, you see, reflects us all according to Steve Doughty which makes us all racist and not racist at the same time – by which he means we all complain about ‘black bastards’ but we do apologise straight afterwords if an old lady happens to be present.
I’m pretty sure Steve Doughty isn’t speaking for me here.
Anyway, he does make his message to black footballers clear right at the end – just in case they didn’t pick up on the vibes throughout the article:
So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, I know you feel insulted. But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game.
Another wonderful contribution to ‘Rightminds’ – Simon Heffer must be so proud.
And every single one of them should be ashamed of themselves:
This is a headline that is printed every other month by the Mail along with the Express, as if each time it is somehow shocking and new that children with different skin colours attend British schools. That national newspapers can regularly print stories that are essentially just pure racist outrage against primary school children is a disgrace.
If the out-and-out racism doesn’t offend you, then you might be interested in some examples of how these stories are rarely backed-up by the statistics they claim to be drawing on:
The Mail’s article kind of ends with something that is an ambivalently extreme example:
On the one hand the short article underneath demonstrates that the school is doing brilliantly and it’s actually on the surface a tale of racial harmony being achieved by young people who aren’t as bitter, blinkered and scared as your average Daily Mail reader. However, clearly this is an extreme example that hasn’t been chosen for this purpose, but rather as a great photo for readers to start frothing at the mouth to as they play their favourite ‘spot the white kid’ game. The headline figure says ‘1 in 5’ are ethnic minorities, the picture shows (as far as my eyesight can tell) that white kids are about 2 in 27 – and who knows, even the white ones could be ethnic minorities (This kind of highlights the stupidity of xenophobia and racism really. What is an ethnic minority? Is it a white Australian child in a class? Or is it the child born in Britain but who does not have pasty white skin?).
Who cares? They’re children, in school – innocent of every crime apart from looking slightly different to one another.
Then you scroll down to a seperate article tagged on to the main article:
I see, more ethnics means less places for white kids and white parents are left scrapping for their chosen schools. It all makes perfect sense now.
Then you scroll to the comments, and – knowing perfectly well what you will find – you click on ‘Best rated’:
I just have to keep reminding myself that Daily Mail readers are just an unpleasant minority – and people who think Peter Hitchens is right about anything even more so.
Until today I had never heard of Olivia Whiteside. I know her name now because I saw it – alongside a picture of her – on an EDL placard, located next to ‘Tommy Robinson’ (real name Stephen Lennon) as he gave a speech during yesterday’s EDL demonstration in Blackburn. The placard demands ‘Justice for Olivia Whitehead’, which must mean that she must be a victim of Islamic extremists – given that is what the ‘non-racist’, ‘non-violent’ EDL are supposedly fighting against.
Except she isn’t a victim of extreme Islam, but the victim of an hit-and-run in which the accused driver happened to be Asian. The Asian man was not charged due to lack of evidence (the police statements after the verdict demonstrate frustration, as did the reaction from the public gallery) and the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death. Whatever the ultimate truth of the matter, what is clear is that this story has nothing to do with the stated aims of the EDL, it is simply inciting racial tension by associating the death of a young girl with a racial / religious conflict that exists only inside the minds of the pitiful number of EDL demonstrators who turned up in Blackburn.
For those of you who want to understand just how deeply ignorant and racist the average EDL member is, follow @everythingedl on Twitter – they follow the EDL around online in order to expose them for what they really are.
The Monkeysphere is the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it’s physically impossible for this to be a number much larger than 150…
we all have limits to our sphere of monkey concern. It’s the way our brains are built. We each have a certain circle of people who we think of as people, usually our own friends and family and neighbors, and then maybe some classmates or coworkers…
Those who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They’re sort of one-dimensional bit characters.
David Wong, What is the Monkeysphere?
Whenever I hear people argue that multiculturalism is dead I always think of Dunbar’s number and the Monkeysphere. Robin Dunbar – an anthropologist – researched monkey brains and found that the number of social group members a primate can track appears to be limited by the volume of the neocortex region of their brain. He then studied a human brain and estimated (based on the volume of the neocortex) that human beings also suffer from a similar limit (albeit slightly larger than a monkey) and theorized that the average human being can maintain a stable social relationship with a maximum of around 150 people.
As the above quotation suggests, anyone outside of this sphere of understanding essentially becomes a caricature, a one dimensional stereotype that is simply not a real human being to us. It is for this reason that we can be extremely upset when a loved one has a bad day at work, but can remain surprisingly unperturbed when a busload of schoolkids plunges over a cliff in Chile. We simply do not have the mental capacity to visualise them as human beings. Some people argue that this limited number serves an evolutionary purpose, for why should we concern ourselves with the lives of those that we cannot possibly influence? 24 hour rolling global news can be a terribly depressing affair, given that all of the events take place outside our monkeysphere and we have virtually no chance of having a positive impact or influence on any of the awful events we witness. We’re selfish creatures able to enjoy buying clothes that we know are made by kids in sweatshops because our brains don’t force us to see them as being like the children that reside in our monkeysphere – they exist only fleetingly in an uncaring periphery.
Given the high rate of depression in developed nations it appears that stepping outside of our limited social sphere is not good for us and that in many ways, ignorance is bliss. This brings me back to this idea – so loved by politicians, the media and nationalist groups – that a national culture really exists and that we must somehow all engage with defending it. David Cameron’s recent declaration that ‘Multiculturalism has failed’ just doesn’t stand up to the merest whiff of scrutiny. Culture isn’t a racial thing, it isn’t something that divides people of different skin colours, it is something that divides all of us. Just as I have absolutely nothing in common with a stereotypical EDL member and would never envisage socialising with one, David Cameron would never dream of socialising – or even having anything in common with – 95% of the UK. Likewise, I can never imagine socialising with the elite into which Cameron and most of the elected cabinet of our government were born: culturally we are divided by an impassable chasm.
For David Cameron to imply that Britain has some kind of culture that immigrants should be assimilated into is quite ridiculous, because the people of Britain are not an homogeneous blob. We all live in our own little Monkeyspheres which are full of people just like us. We don’t really know anyone outside of this sphere and what’s more we don’t have the capacity to really know anyone outside of this sphere (nor necessarily the desire). David Cameron and his elitist monkey-chums don’t know anybody who doesn’t have inherited wealth, he’s not necessarily taking any pleasure in the cuts that his government is pushing through, he just simply doesn’t understand the concerns of those who live outside of his monkeysphere. He doesn’t know anyone who has ever had to rely on the government for support, or anyone to whom money is an issue. He can only appreciate the needs of those inside his tiny sphere, hence why he cannot see any problem with combining savage cuts to the not-human-in-his-eyes masses with tax breaks for his friends in the banks. He’s just looking after his own interests in the same way that the person shopping in a high-street fashion store does when they buy stuff they know has been made using slave-labour.
We’re never all going to get along; it’s physically and mentally impossible. The sooner we realise this, the quicker we can stop thinking about the world in such simple terms. Being British by birth can only mean that I share the same place of birth with other British people. It does not mean I share a common bond or culture. Chances are I will never even get close to interacting with a fraction of 1% of my fellow birth-buddies. I have good relationships with the people I work closely with, I have a professional passing recognition of others outside of that small group. I have a couple of friends from university that I keep in contact with, and a few close friends from various jobs I’ve had down the years. I commute to work in my car, I get home, get inside and spend most evenings with my wife. I speak to my neighbours occasionally, not because I consider myself anti-social, but because they’re just not part of my monkeysphere – just as I am not part of theirs.
I enjoy my life but I live in the knowledge that I will spend the vast majority of my adult life in work, not socialising. Our ability to form and maintain close social bonds is limited by how much time we have to participate in such behaviour (Dunbar even argues that language was developed as an easy way of performing social grooming). And for those of you thinking that social networking sites are going to change all of this, think again:
Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven.
What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. The more “active” or intimate the interaction, the smaller and more stable the group.
Thus an average man—one with 120 friends—generally responds to the postings of only seven of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or “wall”. An average woman is slightly more sociable, responding to ten. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only four people and the average woman with six. Among those Facebook users with 500 friends, these numbers are somewhat higher, but not hugely so. Men leave comments for 17 friends, women for 26. Men communicate with ten, women with 16.
What mainly goes up, therefore, is not the core network but the number of casual contacts that people track more passively. This corroborates Dr Marsden’s ideas about core networks, since even those Facebook users with the most friends communicate only with a relatively small number of them.
The truth is we all exist in tiny bubbles which will always encourage us to act in the best interest of those within our particular bubble. We can certainly acknowledge that we live in a world much bigger than this bubble by creating basic expectations to nullify as much as possible our selfish instincts – this is why we have laws, the Human Rights Act, equality and diversity policies in work and so forth. It is to try to ensure that when we step outside our monkeyspheres we are able to treat those strange beings around us as humans, even if we cannot truly visualise them as such.
What is dangerous with this assumption that somehow other cultural groups cannot also abide by these basic tenets of civilisation and that they must therefore abandon anything that might signify that they are outwardly different to the majority is that it feeds our natural instinct to dehumanise any outgroup. How can we possibly say because a group of around 20 Muslims protested against British soldiers serving in Iraq and 4 individuals bombed London in suicide attacks that somehow multiculturalism has failed? The 2001 census recorded 1,591,000 Muslims living in the UK – making 24 a minute percentage, whilst a survey conducted in 2009 of attitudes of British Muslims suggested that they ‘were found to identify more strongly with the UK than the rest of the population, and have a much higher regard for the country’s institutions’.
Yet because of our monkey brains we have the EDL demanding that all ‘Muzzies’ or ‘Muzz rats’ be thrown out or worse because of the actions of an utterly insignificant few. We never demand the slaughter of all men whenever a male paedophile is convicted. It is no less insane to treat all Muslims in they way that some people are now.
Repeated experiments across cultures show that when human beings are put into groups – even in the most arbitrary way, such as at the toss of a coin – they will always display ingroup bias and a desire to maintain distinctiveness from other groups. Media narratives about Muslims or any other group that exists outside of our Monkeysphere play into this irrational desire to negatively perceive those outside of our immediate groups – whilst maintaining a positive bias to those in our own groups. Arguing that somehow all his could be resolved if massive cultural groups – which are in themselves split into near infinite amounts of vastly different spheres – were somehow assimilated into what is seen as the dominant cultural norm is ludicrous.
All we can do as individuals is realise that we don’t normally process people outside of our tiny social groups as being real human beings. This is why a loving, doting son is able to mug someone else’s mother and we need laws with significant punishments to suppress such actions. We are hard-wired to stereotype outgroups, homogenising millions of people into one simple schema. But we have conscious thought, we can take a step back and challenge our default cognitive processes so that we can force ourselves to realise that Muslims are individual human beings and they cannot possibly be judged by the actions of an insignificant minority who happen to share the same religious belief.
Multiculturalism hasn’t failed, it’s not even a real concept when we consider how our brains function and that we only really share a common goal with the select few inside our Monkeysphere.
The anti-Muslim stories continue: ‘Fury after two Muslim councillors refuse to take part in standing ovation for Marine who won George Cross’. Can I just make it absolutely clear that the decision of these two councillors was taken out of principle – in their words:
Cllr Yaqoob, Respect Party leader and head of Birmingham’s Stop the War Coalition, said: ‘It was more about the politicians feeling good about themselves for sending our young men to fight for reasons that have proved to be false.
‘I have every sympathy for our soldiers on a human level, they are only doing their jobs.
‘But this ovation was just a big public show, it was false patriotism.
‘Wrapping coffins in the flag and awarding medals does not make it right.’
Cllr Ishtiaq added: ‘At the end of the day, if these so-called politicians want to give a standing ovation, why don’t they go and fight themselves?
‘What we did was out of principle.’ [emphasis is mine]
Their decision to not take part in the standing ovation had nothing whatsoever to do with their religion, yet the article repeatedly labels them ‘Muslim councillors’ as if they had taken the action as a result of being Muslim. It is another disgraceful slur on a minority group. British values – real British values, not the intolerant, ignorant hatred of British nationalists – are based on the freedom to make individual choices, to be free to make peaceful political gestures. Ironically the soldiers are supposed to be dying to defend such freedoms, yet here are two councillors being accused of treason for simply taking the decision to not stand during an ovation which they perceived as being a not very tasteful political act. As the soldier himself acknowledges:
everyone is entitled to their opinion whatever it may be
In the same way, everyone should be free to be judged by their actions, not by their religious label. By all means discuss whether the councillors were right or wrong to not stand because that is a perfectly legitimate debate. However, religion has nothing to do with it and this is just another story designed purely to appeal to the BNP / EDL. And just in time for Luton, to.
This time they cover a survey of 423,000 children born in 2010 which claims that ‘Oliver and Olivia become Britain’s most popular names for children in 2010‘. Which is odd, considering that it wasn’t long ago that the Mail was claiming that Mohammed was the most popular boy’s name. Even stranger, Mohammed doesn’t even make it into the top 10 – a top ten which seems to suggest ‘that TV, celebrity and news trends continue to have a major influence on what parents call their children’.
Still, there must be a perfectly rational explanation for why Mohammed does not appear at the top of this list, and thankfully the Daily Mail reassures xenophobic and deeply worried readers that:
The list was compiled by online parenting club Bounty from names given to it by parents who had children this year.
An official Office for National Statistics list of names released earlier this year revealed that Mohammed, encompassing all its different spellings, was the most popular boy’s name. But it does not appear on the Bounty list because of the site’s social demographic.
OK. So, the message is: Muslim children are still taking over the country, but their parents do not use the online parenting club called Bounty. Glad they cleared that up. However, the Daily Mail (shock, horror) is not being entirely honest by saying that Mohammed does not appear on the Bounty list, because it does, way down at number 105, just beneath really bizarre names like Sean, Patrick, Tom and Elliot.
James Slack has a reputation for twisting, distortion and good old-fashioned lying when it comes to his many articles on immigration. He is paid to ensure any news story on immigration slots nicely into the Mail’s narrative, which seems to be that Britain is being swamped by brown-skinned foreigners to such an extent that we are becoming a minority. Last night James Slack posted a ‘Special report’ titled: ‘Will the white British population be in a minority in 2066?’.
The whole article is based on a report by Prof Coleman who Slack makes a special effort to verify as ‘one of Britain’s foremost experts on demographics… hugely respected for his academic rigour and for the avoidance of emotion and prejudice in his work’. However, further on the Mail underlines his credibility somewhat by pointing out that he does research for the MigrationWatch ‘think-tank’, well known for providing completely bogus figures on immigration to be lapped up by an unquestioning media. Prof Coleman’s report suggests that:
The white British-born population — defined by Prof Coleman as white English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish-born citizens — would decline from 80 per cent of the total now to 59 per cent in 2051.
Further into the future, and also taking into account factors such as changing birth and death rates, the ‘white British population’ would become the minority after about 2066.
So, already the report seems to be on dodgy ground – as is Slack – because what it is suggesting is that there is a fundamental difference between being a White Briton and a Briton that has a different skin colour. I can understand to an extent people becoming concerned at British identity being lost, but to be concerned because that British identity actually includes people of a different skin colour is just plain racism.
Prof Coleman seems to produce one of these reports every few years and he has been accused in the past as being ‘rather simplistic’ with the projections that he makes. Not surprisingly James Slack does not attempt to question the report in any way – after all, he happily churnalises MigrationWatch reports on a regular basis. At the end of the ‘Special report’ James Slack says that:
Whatever the view a person holds on immigration, nobody should disagree with his desire to see the subject fully — and maturely — debated.
So, what is Slack’s idea of a ‘mature’ and ‘full’ debate? Well, bringing out the usual tabloid rubbish about immigration. Firstly, he claims that Labour and the Lib Dems are ‘widely considered to promote open-door immigration policies’ and that the Lib Dems in the coalition ‘continue to want open-door policies’. Before we can have a mature and full debate about immigration the right-wing must first accept that there has never been an ‘open-door’ immigration policy. People from outside the EU have always struggled to move to the UK. Tell the Iraqi interpretors that we have an open-door immigration policy, or the Gurkhas. The only open-door policy is immigration within the EU, which is reciprocal and largely involves white people which should surely make the Daily Mail feel slightly less scared.
The next point follows on from this previous point: Slack actually suggests that ‘Tories have long believed that Labour encouraged mass immigration in the belief that as newcomers to a nation tend to be more Left-wing, Labour’s electoral chances would be enhanced’. This argument needs to be consigned to the dustbin before any proper discussion can take place.
The next point is the height of hypocrisy: ‘Meanwhile, in the absence of proper debate or consultation with the British people, odious far-Right groups were able to cynically capitalise on the sense of alienation felt by working-class voters in particular’. ‘Odious far-Right groups’ are the result of the perception of immigration, not the reality. The media work hard to create this false perception and it is about time they put their hands up and accepted this.
Slack also argues that integration has been hampered by ‘the failed doctrine of multiculturalism’. Who says it has failed? Who has decided this? Where has the ‘open debate’ been on this point? What does integration actually mean? You can’t just say something has failed. This is also linked to Slack’s claim that:
there was the belated introduction of the so-called Life In The UK test for foreign nationals seeking a British passport. Yet this eschewed questions on British history in favour of risible sections on how to claim welfare benefits.
Show me this test please James. Show me the sections on claiming benefits, show me the lack of questions on British history. If you cannot do so I will assume that the UK citizenship test is actually more like the one on the official test website. A lot of ‘White British’ people took this test a while back and the vast majority of them failed miserably because the questions are so obscure. Also, we all failed to notice the sections on claiming benefits.
Slack argues that ‘it is encouraging to note that his thought-provoking article should be published by a Left-leaning magazine, suggesting that — finally — we may be moving to a time when adult discussion of immigration policy is considered possible’. I wonder why he doesn’t describe other reports published on immigration by ‘Left-leaning’ magazines as ‘thought-provoking’? Is it simply because this report says exactly what the Mail wants to believe and the others do not? Of course it is, which is why no ‘adult discussion of immigration’ is currently possible.
As if to really ram home this point Slack also brings up Gillian Duffy – the rather simple granny that Gordon Brown called a bigot, who became a champion in the eyes of the media who kept calling her ‘eloquent’, even though she clearly was not. As I pointed out at the time, the right-wing claim that you ‘cannot talk about immigration’ was ludicrous given that the right-wing talk about little else. What I do agree on is that we cannot have a proper discussion on immigration as long as the right-wing papers insist on only discussing it in racist terms using distorted figures or outright lies.
Currently, James Slack is employed by the Daily Mail to tell lies about immigration. How can he seriously suggest we should enter into a ‘mature’, ‘adult’ debate when this is the case?