Why I’m no Longer Waiting for Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race

One of my books has finally arrived. I was waiting for three and had just decided that they would arrive all at once like buses (I even had a blog post title lined up for such an eventuality) but Reni Eddo Lodge’s book is now here, so I’m just waiting on a book about the Greek New Testament and one on How to Argue with an Atheist, both of which make me sound like a determined evangelist, which I definitely am not.

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I will post a review when I’ve read it but so far it looks interesting, and less of a rant than I expected. One thing I’ve noticed already is that as a white woman you experience both sides. You have the white privilege that she talks about but you also recognise much of the abuse, albeit as misogyny rather than racism (for example as a black person if you get angry you’re conforming to a stereotype; if you get upset as a woman you’re affirming a different stereotype.) I don’t want to get all competitive about prejudice because they’re all arguably equally awful – and it must be recognised that black women get the worst deal of all (apart from disabled black women) but it is interesting to be able to see it from both sides.

So the question on my mind this morning is this: WHATISTHEMATTERWITHPEOPLE? What is the matter with people? I mean seriously, why? Why can’t some people continue to exist without rushing down to the coast, crowding onto a beach, thereby putting themselves and others in danger, not to mention clogging the roads and leaving tons – literally tons – of litter? Why must they do this? It makes me ashamed to be English. What is the matter with people? There’s nothing I love more than a beach; I’d be thrilled to go down and spend a day on the coast but I recognise that it’s not a good idea and IT’S NOT SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE???????????????? As if the authorities didn’t have enough to deal with, they now have to evacuate illegal campers, treat the injured and clear away the litter. It’s shameful.

image removed on request

I hope I’m not a killjoy. I like beaches and concerts and festivals as much as anyone, but in recent years I can’t help feeling that something is going awry. True, in the Middle ages they had a festival practically every week but there was an underlying religious significance to them even if they did also involve copious amounts of merrymaking. Whereas nowadays I can’t help feeling that there’s something compulsive in all this exuberance. Take concerts for example. When I go to a concert I don’t want to sit there like a mannequin, I want to enjoy it. I might want to get up and dance if there’s room; and I definitely want to clap and cheer and shout – but after the songs, not during them. I want to hear the musicians, not the audience, but nowadays it seems a concert is just an opportunity for people to shout and scream and wave flags so that you struggle to hear the music.

But I daresay I’m just an old fogey. After all, Beatlemania wasn’t so different – not that I was ever into that. But I’ve got a feeling that there’s something out of control here; that this rushing to beaches and raves is part of a much deeper tendency, one which bodes no good. As for me, I’m staying locked down and watching TV like the grumpy pensioner I will no doubt shortly become…

Kirk out

3 thoughts on “Why I’m no Longer Waiting for Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race

  1. The book is a good read and I can’t fault it. ‘How To Argue With A Racist’ is less so because it doesn’t do what it says on the tin, although it’s interesting. Consequently I’m a little concerned that ‘How To Argue With An Atheist’ would be similar, although arguing with an atheist is probably quite different from arguing with a racist.

    But what I actually wanted to say was, the situation in Bournemouth reminds me of this dehumanising idea some people have of real-life NPCs – Non-Player Characters. In video and roleplaying games, there are characters the player can become and play as, and other characters who are kind of just “filler”, e.g. monsters who attack you. Some people have extended this idea into real life, sometimes literally, and use it as a kind of limited solipsism, where they don’t take some people’s viewpoints or even reality seriously. I kind of do this myself sometimes when I feel someone is attacking me for something I am or believe, where I don’t feel “got at” because I don’t take my opponents seriously. Looking at a mass of people in Bournemouth like that, I’m tempted to see them as NPCs, but in doing so I’m not recognising that they are made in God’s image. The task I have, I think, is to find common ground with them and establish a feeling of empathy, because having done so, apart from it being a basic duty, it might suggest a solution. What have I done that’s similar? What would have induced me to behave otherwise?

  2. Yes, true and very worthy but you are depriving me of the very great pleasure of being self-righteous. I should at least get to inhabit the moral high ground for one day

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