07 January 2012

Diane Abbot

@bimadew White people love playing "divide & rule" We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism

Offensive? Of course not. How can that possibly be offensive? Just because it implies that it is possible to generalise about what "white people" like? You mean like this? What rubbish.

Well, is it wrong, then? I think so, but so what? She's a Labour MP — saying things that are wrong is her job. Further, it's worth arguing about.

Speaking on behalf of white people, we do not love playing "divide & rule". It's strictly a last resort — keeping track of different groups of black people gives us a headache. Which ones are the Tutsis again? We much prefer to have "community leaders" deal with all that stuff for us¹.

I would not have been able to say that had Diane Abbot not raised the issue. She was right to raise the issue, despite being wrong: like I said, that's her job. She should not have been shut up or made to apologise.

The reflex to hang her out to dry is understandable: we are frustrated at not being allowed to say things about race, and when one of "them" does it, we take revenge. But I think that is a bad mistake — ironically, this is one time where we have to risk that headache and play "divide & rule". Abbott is not one of "them" that want us to shut up about race. Rod Liddle says that she has used the same tactics in the past, but when he talked about black crime, she at least disagreed with him on the merits. Probably wrongly, mind, but, Labour MP, etc. Yes, she used the R-word as well, but if everyone complaining had also engaged the argument like her, they wouldn't have been able to shout it down. It is the likes of Alex Massie and Bonnie Greer weighing in that make it near impossible to have such a discussion.

Non-white politicians are generally willing to talk about race. (Sometimes at enormous length). Being offended is Stuff White People Like. And that's not something I'm going to apologise for saying.


¹ If it turns out that the "community leaders" are all from one group, and are using the power we give them to exterminate another, we would rather not know about it, thank you very much.

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