Happy New Year everyone.
Yesterday, possibly out of boredom created by the long holiday season, I kicked a hornet’s nest on Twitter. Not like the time I tweeted at an official Assad apologist whom I knew had to have their account booby trapped by Putin bots (I got over a thousand responses; most of them along the lines of “you dick die Syrian people great you dildo”). No, this time I saw that a far right account had tweeted about how Britain was being taken over by foreigners, citing the supposed percentages that white British people make up in our largest cities. I tweeted at this account: “In this narrative, non-white British people are stripped of their Britishness. They are considered ‘foreign’.”
I expected a lot of equivocating as a response. You know, the sort of “it’s not racist to care about these things” kind of a vibe. Apparently it was very 2017 for me to have expected this. Nope, most of the responses were just straight up, unapologetically racist. Okay, I got a few, “just because a guy asks for all non-whites to be forcibly removed from Britain in the dead of night by a gestapo he gets called a racist, it’s political correctness gone mad” throw at me – but they were the minority.
More common were things like:
“To be British is directly tied to ethnicity.”
“You have no idea what you are going to cause when the British people move against the not-British population. We won’t leave any of them in our nation.”
Something has moved in this debate; a year ago, I don’t think I would have got quite so brazen a response. I know, I know – it’s Twitter, there are a lot of crazy people on there, etc, etc. Still, I think it’s worth noting that racists are feeling more and more comfortable about not conforming to a social pressure to dial down their feelings.
The only other thing of sociological interest to note is that I was taken with the mix of ethno-nationalism and far left language in some of the tweets. “You could try making a moral argument against a people retaining their own land and make one in favour of forcibly converting a homogeneous population into an identity-less blob of Global consumers.” I love the Corbynista twist at the end there. Before you all storm in: I know hardly any Corbynistas are racist (except when it comes to the Jewish thing, but let’s sidestep that for now). It is part of their DNA that racial harmony is important. I’m bringing this up because I think they should be aware of how the far right is using the effective bits (i.e. the populist bits) of far left ideology more and more. I can’t predict where that is going but I know it isn’t anywhere nice.
This could be part of the fabled “Brexit effect”; but that just feels really intellectually lazy to me. I think this runs a lot deeper. These are only my first thoughts on the subject for 2018 – more to follow as the year goes on.