23 April 2009

Whitey: The Forgotten Genocide

Ah, Nick Griffin. Nick has taken umbrage with the phrases “Black Briton” and “British Asian”, preferring the term ‘racial foreigners’, as they are of course ethnically incapable of making a proper cup of tea, playing cricket on the village green or apologising when you step on their foot. He’s not just taken umbrage though. No, that’s not enough. Nick “Holohoax” Griffin has called these terms a “bloodless genocide”. Let’s just think about that for a second. Killing six million Jews, the event for which the term was coined: Not a real genocide. Letting nig-nogs and rag-heads be the same nationality as proper people: genocide. Which reminds me rather of this bizarre tirade against miscegenation. And this reminded me of a PC-gone-mad story in the Mail and Telegraph, about local councils removing obscure Latin words and phrases from their official documentation.

Before we look at the connection, let’s look at the individual claims. First, Whittaker: He has this interesting idea that “everybody says” the solution to the RACE problem is flooding white (and ONLY white) countries with swarthy third-world immigrants, who will intermarry, do something vague and then that’s that sorted. Now I’ve never seen anyone claim anything along those lines. I’ve occasionally heard naïve utopian musings on how in the future everyone will be so mixed-race that nobody will have anything to fight about and live in peace and harmony, but that’s it. I’ve never come across it as an actual policy. Also I’m pretty sure Bob Whittaker is a Nazi and wouldn’t be particularly upset if someone did killsixmillionjews. He’s also bum-chums with Nick Griffin. But “The White Riddle” is shooting Fisk in a barrel, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Now, the Mail/Telegraph: The Telegraph just seems to be angry because the Telegraph likes Latin and ranting about PC. But the Mail pulls an uncharacteristic trick and manages to blame it on immigrants. In the headline, no less. This is odd, as removing Latin words is far more likely to help less well-read Britons than immigrants. If anything, this could actually hinder learners of English, as Latin words are so often used in the same or similar ways in several languages. It may even help and encourage them to use expand their vocabulary instead of relying on “instant English”. The absolute worst this does (if you consider helping new arrivals integrate to the system a bad thing) is leave immigrants in much the same position as they were, and help Britons with a smaller academic vocabulary and/or literacy problems. The academics quoted, or at least as they are quoted by the Mail/Telegraph, also seem to have the wrong end of the stick, claiming it is an attempt to “purify” and not simplify the language, or acting as if it applies to the entire English language instead of just official council documentation, saying:
This sort of thing sends out the message that language is about nothing more than the communication of very basic information in the manner of a railway timetable.

Which, in this context, it pretty much is. The excellent Five Chinese Crackers has more on this, one of the councils in question points out that it’s bollocks, and The Spoof, which is kind of like the Daily Mash but with credulous tabloid xenophobia instead of funny jokes, has done an article about it too.

But what I found particularly chilling about both rant and deceitful non-story was the idea of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing”. Notice that the worst anybody has to suffer in even these nightmare scenarios is having to look at or share their nationality with a black person, or, worse still, slightly reword their documents. So we have to ask, what, in the eyes of Nick Griffin, Bob Whittaker and Professor Mary Beard, is so bad about ethnic cleansing? For normal people it’s the mass killings, the disappropriation, the forced population transfers, the rapes and generally all the violent stuff that is inevitably necessary if you want to wipe out an entire race. However in these cases their complaint seems to be the subsequent absence, reduction or minor alteration of a people or culture. Obviously a bit sad in its way, but if the only methods of achieving it are passports, consensual sex and Ctrl+H, that’s not really much to worry about. How can anyone look at history and decide that the most significant and worrying thing about genocide is the loss of a culture?

What worries me about all this is not the fact that it alters the meaning of the terms, that it cynically abuses their emotional punch for rants that are either trivial, racist or both, or even the hypocrisy of using the idea of ethnic purification to whip up hatred of immigrants. It’s the fact that, when it comes to systematic extermination based on arbitrary criteria, they’ve clearly got their priorities horrifically skewed, and nobody seems to notice. With terms like ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ being bandied about so generously in certain circles, especially in relation to the “white indigenous population”, it’s something definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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