05 April, 2011


Conceding the battle before it is engaged

This is precisely the sort of self-defeating nonsense I was ranting about earlier.

There is a proposal to build a rather flash mosque in Camberley, replacing a disused school and, as the Mail excitedly points out, within sniping distance of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The locals are not entirely enamoured of the cunning plan.

Alan Kirkland, from Save Our School, told The Guardian: ‘There is nothing in the Qur'an that says you should have domes and minarets,’ he said.

‘They need a mezzanine floor that is for women only. To most people, that's objectionable.

‘They are trying to target us as racist. I'm slightly offended by that. My ex-brother in law is Muslim, so are my niece and nephew.’

(My emphasis.)

There's nothing wrong with being racist, Mr Kirkland.

Let me clarify that point before someone explodes. Mr Kirkland, and those for whom he purports to speak, are representing the position that their bit of Camberley is a nice, White middle-class area and they would like to keep it that way. They don't want the character of the place altered by the introduction of alien practices practised by alien people.

There's nothing inherently disreputable or shameful about that point of view. It's perfectly normal tribal and social conservatism. There's nothing in principle wrong with wishing to preserve the "character" of your area. Oh, you can certainly make valid counterarguments:

Abdul Wasay Chowdhury, from the [Bengali Welfare] association, said: 'If people were so concerned about heritage, why didn't they buy the building?

'If we hadn't bought it, it would have been empty for the last 15 years. That would have been worse.'

A very fair question, Mr C, a very fair question indeed.

But there is nothing inherently worse in a nimbyist objection, how shall I phrase it, to a mosque with its attendant practices and the comings and goings of bearded Darkies in frocks than to a lap-dancing emporium with its attendant practices and the comings and goings of ladies of dubious continence and their overpaid punters.

Both potentially alter the "character" of the area. Both can be argued pro and contra.

If Mr Kirkland and his fellow objectors have been slurred as "racist", that is shameful. But for Mr Kirkland to feel he has to respond with what is, let's face it, a deluxe version of the "some of my best friends are nignogs" whine is, frankly, disgusting.

I am acquainted with people of colour, Mr Kirkland, decent folk some of whom I am happy to acknowledge as personal friends. But I do not feel the slightest inclination to use those relationships as bargaining counters in trying to appease some shithead who is trying to play the race card against me. If someone calls you a racist, thank them kindly for the complement. If they persist, ask them precisely what they mean by the epithet, and dissect their explanation; you will often find it holds no more substance than, "you have dared to disagree with or thwart the desires of a person of colour". I'm sure Mr Chowdhury doesn't feel the slightest uncertainty about his Bengali identity or his Bengali culture. Nor should you about yours. You do not have to apologize for being White. And you do not have to apologize for defending White culture.

Get yourself a spine, man!

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