(A definition from Wikipedia:
Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another.
It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different ethnicity.
Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities.)
Why have I written this?
I recently came across a thread which had the following “Joke”. (Thread:“Shop” in Fun for All)
“Why can’t Indians play football… cause every time they take a corner they make a shop”
My immediate response to that was, “That is extremely racist”.
Another member, not the author, countered with “I am not of British descent and my Father owned a shop. It’s a joke”
To which I replied, “I am of British descent, my grandparents owned a shop – coincidentally a corner shop (in Leicester). It is racist.
Or are you suggesting that if you smile when uttering something racist then it’s OK?”
The response to that was “DerekR I don’t need someone else to make judgements on a joke about a family that is closer to my own than yours. Unless you are telling me your skin colour is the same as mine!”
Well that surprised me, only a person of colour was allowed to make comments about how inappropriate racist remarks were. My final response was “I have no idea what colour your skin is, nor does it matter. The words printed above make a racist statement.”
After which the thread was closed – however, not removed – merely closed.
So, what was I being told?
It appeared that I was being told that if something was classed by someone as a joke, then there was nothing racist about it.
It further appeared that unless you were likely to be a victim of racism, you are not in a position to make a complaint or report the issue.
Let’s look at the second part first. There isn’t a crime on the Statue Books that cannot be reported by anyone. You don’t have to be a banker to be able to report that a bank robbery is in progress. You don’t have to be a rape victim to be able to report that a rape is taking place if you see it.
Similarly, you don’t have to be the recipient of racism to be able to recognise and report such an offence.
Let’s look at the first part – it was a joke!
Thomas E. Ford, Western Carolina University explains that making the statement
"It doesn’t count as hostility or prejudice because I didn’t mean it — it’s just a joke" is not a get out of jail card for those who practice ‘Disparagement Humour’.
Further reading about Disparagement humour can be found here:
This is a part of the article the link above takes you to:
Psychology research suggests that disparagement humour is far more than “just a joke.” Regardless of its intent, when prejudiced people interpret disparagement humour as “just a joke” intended to make fun of its target and not prejudice itself, it can have serious social consequences as a releaser of prejudice.
Disparagement humour – any attempt to amuse through the denigration of a social group or its representatives. You know it as sexist or racist jokes – basically anything that makes a punchline out of a marginalized group.
Disparagement humour is paradoxical: It simultaneously communicates two conflicting messages. One is an explicit hostile or prejudiced message. But delivered alongside is a second implicit message that “it doesn’t count as hostility or prejudice because I didn’t mean it — it’s just a joke.”
By disguising expressions of prejudice in a cloak of fun and frivolity, disparagement humour, like the jokes above, appears harmless and trivial. However, a large and growing body of psychology research suggests just the opposite – that disparagement humour can foster discrimination against targeted groups.
What about the people who are the subject of a “Joke”?
Here is a very interesting article from someone on the receiving end of a "joke".
If you are aware of any racist behaviour, or are a victim of racism, you should report it to the police.
What is racial harassment?
Racial harassment includes jokes, name-calling, threats and physical violence and it should not be tolerated. It may be directed towards your ethnic or cultural background, your beliefs, food you eat or don't eat, your clothing, your hair, or your family.
Racial harassment can take place anywhere.
The following information is from Childline, where children who suffer from racism and bullying can go to get help. Why am I including information aimed at children? Simply because these children are being taught what to expect in life, we as adults should know, understand and feed those expectations and we should comply with those expectations.
WHAT ARE RACISM AND RACIAL BULLYING?
Racism is where someone thinks you’re inferior because of your colour, ethnicity, nationality or race. This can result in them treating you differently or unfairly, this is called racial discrimination.
Racial bullying is a type of racism where someone’s bullying focuses on your race, ethnicity or culture. Racism and racial bullying are wrong and you can get help to make it stop.
Racism and racist bullying can include:
- being called racist names or being sent insulting messages or threats
- having your belongings damaged or having to see racist graffiti
- personal attacks, including violence or assault
- being left out, treated differently or excluded
- people making assumptions about you because of your colour, race or culture
- being made to feel like you have to change how you look
- racist jokes, including jokes about your colour, nationality race or culture.
Racism can affect anyone. It can make you feel like you’re not important or don’t fit in. You might feel upset, depressed or angry. You can be affected by it even when it’s not aimed at you, like if you hear someone discriminating against someone’s culture.
No matter how racism makes you feel, we’re here to support you.
4 things to remember
- It's illegal to treat someone differently or unfairly because of their race.
- Racism and racial bullying is wrong, even if the person doesn't realise they're doing it.
- If someone commits a crime against you because of your race, religion or culture that is a hate crime.
- You're not alone, and there are ways to get support.
Further information can be found here:
Just to clarify:
Are all “Jokes” which mention foreign nationals racist?
No, there is an amusing one in the same group about the Indian lady who was lost. The mention of her being Indian was paramount to the punchline and was used to contextualise things. It was not aimed at denegration in any way and did not portray her in a stereotypical way. It was a pun and could equally have been changed to “An Englishman pretended he was the head of Amazon, but he was Joe King”. Or anything equally innocuous.
In the last week or so much has been said about following the reporting system and allowing Scooploop and moderators to deal with matters.
This matter was:
- complained about to the person involved, by me stating that it was extremely racist
- reported to Scooploop
- confirmed by Scooploop that they considered it to be racist
- reported by Scooploop to the new Group Moderator
- totally ignored, because as of the time this post was posted, the "joke" being discussed is still available for all to see, which means that moderation has not worked and mockeration has replaced it.
Furthermore, to those who feel that I picked on this “Joke” in particular and the author concerned due to reasons other than it being racist, I suggest that you read all of the above again to actually understand that the challenge was totally justified. The “Joke” was not humorous, it was a statement attempting to stereotype a race as being incapable of anything other than running corner shops - and that is not a joking matter.
Just before I finish this article, here is a thought from a Muslim, regarding Corner Shop “jokes”. I print it verbatim:
“Please note: the following article includes a word which some may find insulting and hateful. The word has been censored using asterisks.
‘Why did Roman’s build straight roads? So P***s wouldn’t build corner shops.’
So the time-honoured joke goes. Like all racist jokes, it is matched in its bigotry only by its total lack of imagination and humour. And like all tropes that involved South Asian corner shop owners, it evoked a visceral response from me. My cheeks would flush, my spine would bolt upright, a defence reflex that was programmed into me and which, frustratingly, betrayed the shame and embarrassment I was so desperate to mask. The adolescent pressure to appear perennially unmoved and impassive in my youth was made impossible for me by the many racial stereotypes I was forced to navigate as someone of Pakistani heritage growing up in 90s Britain. Chief amongst them was the comical, linguistically deficient “bud-bud-ding-ding-one-ninety-nine” corner shop owner. A stereotype which contains the inherent contradiction of nationalist, racist thinking – framing an industrious and resilient desire to be and contribute with the lazy, parasitic portrayals of immigrants in modern folklore.”
The full article can be found here:
Finally, I urge anyone subjected to, or noticing racism, to report it, regardless of who you are, where it is seen or where or by whom it originated. Sport is trying to defeat racism, we all should.
And I urge Scooploop to deal with racism properly, especially as items can easily be read on the internet via Google and we don’t all want to be considered similar to the few.