9 March 2021


Sometimes, it seems so hard to make a simple point without opening oneself to crticisms which one does not deserve. However much I might protest now, there are going to be those who will accuse me of arguing that Racism ... and Racist Abuse ... do not really matter. I hold neither of these views. Indeed, I believe that each of those things does matter a great deal, and merits being suppressed with rigour and vigour.  

If it can be.

But I can't help approaching these matters, given my own life-experience, from a particular viewpoint as a worker in the field of Education.

Among those receiving Education, as in many groups and classes (but this is the one I know about), Bullying is a significant factor in Group Cohesion. And a powerful element in the Bullying Culture is that, when the Bullies discover they have scored a hit, they go for it; they exploit the discovery they have made. Having discovered a 'way in' they make more and more use of it. (I blame Darwin.)

This means that, if they secure a powerful response to ... exempli gratia ... making 'monkey noises' when a black footie player is doing rather well ... or throwing bananas onto the ground ... then they will devote maximum energy to utilising the methodology they have discovered. They may not be ... they are not ... very bright, but they are bright enough to see that an opening is an opening.

If they had not made such discoveries, they might not have wasted their Unemployment Benefit on buying bananas.

And this means that pious injunctions from Authority Figures may do very little to modify their behaviour. Such injunctions ought to work ... but I am never terribly surprised when they don't. Males ... and not least young males ... ought to benefit from Nanny's wisdom and Nanny's ethics ... but they seem curiously unable to internalise this important truth.

Sophisticated people may develop their own ways of dealing with such problems. I have been told that there is a footie club in North London, in an area with a large Jewish population, where the supporters (both Jewish and Gentile) react to a sporting success of their local team by chanting encouraging slogans which include the word Yids. Neat, if true. How even more jolly it would be if the slogans were themselves in the Yiddish language. We need more linguistic diversity.

I have no magical answer to the problems of bullying. I presume that they lie deep in human group dynamics, in the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, and in the hormonal problems of young male humans, poor sad poppets. (Girls have their different mechanisms, which can perhaps be even more cruel.)

I suppose all I am doing is to explain why, when the Righteous ascend their pulpits to admonish the racists, I agree with every single sentiment they utter ... and I feel exactly the same indignation and disgust.

But I do find that I sometimes need to stifle a yawn, and to remember the seductive temptations of Virtue Signalling, and to wonder what actual good the Righteous think they're doing. 

Are they not simply giving the Bullies some extremely useful customer feed-back about which vile and nasty tactics work best by hurting most?


Paul in Melbourne, Australia said...

Elegantly expressed, Father, with your usual insight. It is a sad reflection on our society that you must open with a prologue that you do not support racism.

Anonymous said...

It is many years since I posted this on my (now defunct) blog. I see no reason to alter the conclusions I formed then:

Colin Spinks said...

I'm not sure I entirely agree. You are right that racism is a great evil. Should it not therefore follow that it needs to be denounced by preachers of the Church? Preferably in Dogmatic terms as a heresy. The problem to may mind is that the heresy of racism is not currently being denounced as it should be, by reference to Scripture (eg. Genesis 1, Pauline Epistles "neither Jew nor Greek" etc) and Tradition, but by the *new* teaching and dogma of "White Privilege" and "Critical Race Theory" which are themselves heresies.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. An old but funny observation about the difference between the sexes.

Boys pick on each other until there is a fight and then they the make-up and become friends.

Girls pick on each other until one develops an eating disorder.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Racism is an offence against morality, not revealed truth. It is hard to see, therefore, how it could be a heresy.


GOR said...

In all areas of bullying – name-calling, racial aspersions, mocking, etc, - the best response often is to ignore the perpetrators. Without fuel the fire dies away. In boarding school many years ago, it became obvious that those who ignored the taunts were usually left alone. Trying to get ‘a rise’ out of someone who refuses to be baited becomes a profit-less exercise.

Today “racist…!” has become the retort of choice for those who don’t have a cogent argument to advance and are uninterested in engaging in coherent dialogue.

“Sticks and stones…”

PM said...

Pius XI had a good record in racial questions. Indeed, the last cardinal before Becciu to enter an audience with the pope wearing a red hat and emerge without one was Cardinal Billot, a Frenchman who was obstructing Pius's plans to condemn Maurras and Action Francaise.

Colin Spinks said...

To answer Mr von Brandenburg: I would argue that although individual acts of racism (eg name calling, discrimination etc) are offences against morality, the philosophical basis of such acts relies on the heresy of "Racialism". The Church Dogmatically teaches that, as a result of the sin of Adam, Man inherits original sin which leads to death and suffering, an inclination to sin and an absence of sanctifying grace. Any doctrine which predicates a predisposition to sin on racial characteristics rather than our common humanity as "Sons of Adam" (eg 'Jews are genetically predisposed to reject Christ", or "Black people are more predisposed to violence and criminality") contradicts that Dogma and is therefore heresy.

dunstan said...

Is Meghan the victim of racism? Perhaps she could take encouragement from the Merry Monarch who was suspected of having 'blackamoor' blood which is why there are pubs to this day called The Black Boy. What about Weatherspoons naming some of its watering holes The Black Girl in her honour? But I fear the lady lacks a sense of history as well as a sense of humour.
BTW banana throwing and monkey noises went out in the last century but not because of the lectures of the Righteous but because black players form such a high proportion of every team.
Girard is of course the theorist of the community creating power of the 'victimage mechanism'. That is the reason why there is a theological issue here as Colin Spinks argues. We worship the God who made himself our Victim which means that a society in which Christ is king cannot make victims of any group. Perhaps that is why Pius XI had 'a good record on racial questions' as PM points out. Fr Simon Heans

Lady Jane Perdue said...

The Music Man:
Pick-a-little, talk-a-little,cheep-cheep-cheep, talk a lot, pick-a-little bit.

Terry said...

You are quite right, Colin Spinks, that racism is an evil that should be denounced rather than ignored.

I wonder if there were senior, conservative-minded people in Germany in the 1930s who acknowledged that the way in which the Jews were being treated was evil; but they decided to keep quiet on the spurious grounds that "pious injunctions from authority figures… [may give] the bullies some extremely useful customer feed-back about which vile and nasty tactics work best by hurting most".

Surely silence in the face of evil is neither justifiable nor wise. In the words of Martin Niemöller:

"Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist... Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude. Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte."

Terry Loane

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

You're speakimg of determinism, which denues free will.

But determinism is not racism.