I’m not a liberal, but…

Why is it that racists, immediately before making a euphemistic racist statment, feel obliged to say: “I’m not racist, but…”?

Or rather, why don’t people who aren’t racist say “I am racist, but…” before advocating multiculturalism?

viz, “I am racist, but immigrant labour is vital to Britain’s economy and any correlation between race and crime could more accurately be interpreted as a link between poverty and crime.”

Anyhow, I met a white-haired white man on my walk to work this week. “I like to call this Dalmatian alley,” he said, pointing at the chewing gum spots on the pavement. A man with civic pride, I thought, and commiserated about the inadequacy of chewing gum removal machines.

“Of course, they don’t have chewing gum where they come from,” he added, “so they just spit it out on the street.” Oh cack, I thought, a racist bigot who blames all modern malaises on the Bangladeshi community. I wondered if I should take him to task. Not only was he factually wrong (there is plenty of chewing gum available in Bangladesh) but tediously prejudiced (as if white kids take care to wrap up their gum in the wrapper and take it to a bin). It might have been futile, but I should have argued the point all the same.

Next time, I will. Unless it looks like he has a knife.

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3 Responses to “I’m not a liberal, but…”

  1. Tom L Says:

    There’s probably a corresponding Guardian article written by some hack out to try and see if the public will politely acquiesce to racist views in the name of just getting on with their day: “So, out I went into the morning throng and found a sidestreet, covered in chewing gum, in which to buttonhole people with my challenging ‘dalmatian alley’ routine. And along he came, presumably on his way to work …”.

  2. pouletnoir Says:

    It seems likely. But I did walk off without comment when he said it, so this week’s Society Guardian will be as dull as always.

  3. Tom L Says:

    “And so he walked off, which was a good thing, because I had a knife …”

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