People who get caught up in racist worldviews…

People who stumble into racist ways of thinking…

Should we explain the issues patiently, try to educate them, make arguments, try and win them over?

Or should we simply say “Fuck you!”?

21 Responses to “People who get caught up in racist worldviews…”

  1. Sabato Says:

    I am not encouraged by the lyrics to this song. They are too general.

    In today’s antisemitic climate the hearer can easily see Jews as “racists” if he or she are so inclined.

  2. zkharya Says:

    I have to say, I am not sure I like it. By all means abhor racist, sexist views etc. But the song is full of a kind of hatred itself:

    “You say, We need to go to war. Well, I say, You’re already in one/’cos it’s people like you who need to get slew…”

    I’m afraid I think it contributes to a kind of yob culture. It is not about love, it is about hate.

    But, maybe I’m being fuddy-duddy, and it will grew on me.

  3. David Hirsh Says:

    That’s the point.
    The Engage method of dealing with racism is to explain, to understand, to educate, to persuade.
    But the more usual method is to denounce.

    Which is of course what we get accused of.

    But what others do.

  4. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    David, Explanations, Education, Persuasion are excellent. But there is a limit to it. I would not want to enter into discussion with a Nazi or an Islamist, because that is a waste of time.

  5. Mira Vogel Says:

    Can you think of a time “Fuck you” stopped individual racism?

  6. David Hirsh Says:

    Cable Street?

  7. Mira Vogel Says:

    That wasn’t individual – that was a giant fascist rally.

  8. Efraim Says:

    David, how does this song answer the biases of a Caryl Churchill or even of a Jacqueline Rose?

    Is there not also an assumption in the song that all racists are males?

  9. Mira Vogel Says:

    Karl, tell that to Ed Husain.

  10. David Hirsh Says:

    From Manhattan (If HJ can do it then so can I):

    Isaac Davis (Woody Allen): Has anybody read that Nazis are gonna march in New Jersey? Y’know, I read this in the newspaper. We should go down there, get some guys together, y’know, get some bricks and baseball bats and really explain things to them.

    Party Guest: There is this devastating satirical piece on that on the Op Ed page of the Times, it is devastating.

    Isaac Davis: Well, a satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point.

  11. Efraim Says:

    But David are the Nazis the problem today?

    I ask you again, how does this song answer the biases of a Caryl Churchill, or even of a Jacqueline Rose?

    The name of your campaign is the “antiracist campaign against antisemitism.”

    It’s not just racism that we are concerned about, at least not that alone, and I miss the complexity of that intention in the song.

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I’m with David on this one: when all else fails, “fuck you” might just do the trick.

    In the 1930s, it wasn’t just the Public Order Act (1936), banning political uniforms, among other things, which stopped Mosley & his British Union Movement cold, it was that and a coalition of left-wing and grass-roots working class groups that did the trick. Frankly, they outnumbered the fascists and met violence with greater violence, although violence from the left was a _response_, not a starting point, for the left. For the fascists, violence was all.

    Again, in the early 1960s, when Mosley was trying his last throw, a fascist rally in Trafalgar Square was met by 10,000 anti-fascists who swept the police cordon aside and then swept the fascists aside (it was this that led the authorities to erect the metal barriers in front of the plinth of Nelson’s Column).

    Like it or not, violence is sometimes the only answer. Though I’d prefer organisation, sheer numbers and education making violence unnecessary.

  13. Empress Trudy Says:

    Reason #147 why I love Lily Allen. You can’t reason with hate filled morons. All you can do is spit on them as they’re lying in the gutter after you smashed all their teeth out.

  14. zkharya Says:

    Allen’s song is not from the perspective of an object of racism, or discrimination, least of all one faced with overwhelming hostility. It seems to me from the view of someone availing themselves of the opportunity to indulge in some gratuitous aggression in the name of righteous indignation. As a secondary school teacher, one saw enough of that from unhappy teenagers.

    Fighting is all very well if one stands a chance of winning, and necessary for strict defence of life and property. But, in the long run, if explanation fails, all the effing and blinding in the world will avail one of nothing. And I never thought effing and blinding was much good for anything in the first place. It never saw off a bully. It never made a friend.

  15. Albatros Says:

    it’s not really a song about racism, it’s all about GWB – this guy must have inspired thousands of artists all around the world! in just 8 years!

    although the lyrics are rather politically correct (the only exemple of practical hate is the verse about homophobia) and conformist (hating GWB is more than socially acceptable nowadays), it’s a nice song with good tempo + a lovely tune – already one of my “shower songs”!

    we also have to admit that sometimes -many times- we’d just like to end a debate or conversation with “fuck you very much”, then return to our books/lovers/cats/[your choice]

    to bad I cannot sing!

  16. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Zkharya, although David will speak for himself should he feel the need, I suspect that, like me, he doesn’t mean the words referred to literally. I was, like David is, a University lecturer, in my case for 38 years before retirement. Of course, neither of us would use obscenities in our teaching nor in any sort of polite company. My reading is that there may be times and places when sweet reason, logic and emprical evidence just aren’t enough. Then, regrettably, reactive violence may be necessary. David suggested, in response to just the question when from Mira, “Cable Street”.

    Rather than write a ridiculously long comment, I suggest to anyone for whom those words aren’t immediately crystal clear, that you google Cable Street, 1936. Further refinement: Oswald Mosely, British Union of Fascists should do the trick. The organised left, Jews, intellectuals and Trade Unionists of the time knew exactly why they were there.

    Pity too many of their 21st century descendants don’t have _their_ political awareness. (I exempt most trade union leaders: see the “Hope not Hate” posting 2 or 3 pages down.)

  17. zkharya Says:


    I agree, and said, that violence might at times be necessary. But I am not sure that is the same thing as effing and blinding. In fact, I associate the latter with frustrated impotence.

    But I didn’t intend to denigrate or insult you or David: I was just expressing my personal opinion, not criticizing his or yours.

  18. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Okay, Zkharya, we’re talking past each other here, but I certainly don’t feel denigrated or insulted: takes more than that (and never from you) to insult me. I save feeling insulted for certain others (who are ocassional interlopers here)!

    However, you appeared (wrongly?) to be regretting David’s willingness to use obscenities because he linked to the Lily Allen song.

    Again, I can’t speak for David, but I didn’t take him to mean that we should copy or ape Lily Allen and tell those who don’t appear to be able to follow logic, rationality and chains of evidence to disappear from our sight in such a graphic manner. What I did take him to be alluding to (and perhaps he was being too subtle for the rest of us mere mortals) was the argument that there might come a point when we realised that _our_ use of logical argument, etc, was going straight over their heads, and we might be just as effective with this bunch of lackwits (those who, as Bill says, are ” are too clever to study, too stupid to learn”) by ending our posts in the same way that Saul (who clearly does know “better”) very ocassionally finishes his comments to the obtuse.

    And we agree that, regrettably, there may be ocassions when violence is a necessary last resort: Cable Street comes to mind immediately.

  19. Shmuel Says:

    Saying “fuck you” is not violence, but rather a good way to invite it from a racist. Believe me, they prefer calm, reasoned disputation.

  20. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Let me give you an example, what happens when there is no discussion and no stop this nonsense. In Carinthia (south Austria) once the socialist party was strong. Then came Jörg Haider and his party first FPÖ then BZÖ became the strongest one. Haider killed himself when drunk by driving recklessly. Last Sunday at local election the BZÖ received more votes that Haider ever received. The socialists lost 10%
    Why did it happen? In the first line, because the socialist have no political agenda and because the idiots (in the political sense) said, out of reverence for Haider their election campaign was passive.
    It was in the first place a terrible political mistake, when the socialist chancellor of Austria (at the time Gusenbauer) gave a speech full of respect for the deceased.
    So yes one should try to convince those whom you can reach and on the other hand show the racist, that there can be no agreement with them. It is also a mistake to try to take out the wind from racist sails by imitating them. This way only more wind is coming into their sails.

  21. Anthony Posner Says:

    Re “racism”…
    As far as i can understand, in the South African context “antisemitism” is PC if it leads to Israel’s destruction.

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