A couple of months ago I watched a BBC documentary about Slough in England called ‘Life in immigration town’. The white British population there is now down to 34% and some of the remaining whites, seeing there hometown is now unrecognisable from the place where they grew up and feeling this is no longer their home, are moving away to places that still resemble the Britain of old.
To give the BBC credit, at least they made this documentary about immigration, and I thought the program was quite fair-minded enough, interviewing all sorts and not just lovely foreigners and bulldog-like Brits.
The position of the reporter himself, Richard Bilton, seemed to be that since unemployment in Slough was only 1%, thus proving that immigrants were not taking jobs from the locals, and since many local businesses preferred to employ foreigners to Brits because the former were often better workers, then what is there really to get upset about, unless you are a far-right racist bigot? Since Richard Bilton clearly thought that there was nothing wrong with the British percentage of the population falling to 34%, I started wondering if there was a percentage that he considered was indeed too low: 24% perhaps? 14%? 4%? His position seemed to be that immigrants could replace the entire British population of Slough, even of Great Britain come to that, and as long as the economy was thriving it wouldn’t matter at all.
At one point he accused the Slough police of racism when one officer he was interviewing agreed with the what many Slough people had said, namely that the only group that caused significant social problems was the Gypsies. This completely accurate observation was apparently racist because the officer was tarring a whole group with the same brush. Presumably Richard Bilton knew, or had heard talk of, a Gypsy somewhere in England who wasn’t a thieving, anti-social rat.
This is an argument often used by people keen to show how open-minded they are. They refuse to see patterns of group behaviour. They are happy enough to let pass the claim that blacks are better than whites at sport, or that men are more aggressive and get paid more than women, without adding ‘in general’ or ‘on average’. However, if you say that Gypsies are more antisocial than other groups, that the knock-out game is a black pastime, that Muslims integrate less well and pose more of a danger to western populations than other groups, you will be called a racist and bigot for tarring entire ethnic groups, races or religions with the same brush.
And even if you do remember to qualify your claim with ‘in general’ or ‘on average’ they have an answer for that too. They tend, unlike you, to see people as individuals and not just representatives of a group. Why, they exclaim, they barely notice if the person they are talking to is black or white, man or woman, able-bodied or wheelchair-bound. They are blind to such arbitrary and divisive categories. They refuse to indulge in pigeonholing because an individual belongs to many diverse groups at the same time. He might be a father, a grocer, a Muslim, an Asian, a pensioner and Labour voter. And besides, categorising people was what the Nazis did and look where that ended.
Really? All Nazis? Isn’t that pigeonholing Nazis? Whatever. These people have trained themselves not to recognise certain patterns in human behaviour because they believe that would be racist or sexist. In reality all they have done is to train themselves to pretend they don’t notice patterns. Yet we can’t help notice them, it’s just what humans do. And if we treated everyone and everything we encountered as a one-off then nothing in the world would make sense to us.
The purpose of their argument is of course to find equivalence everywhere. So if they can find a single white person who has ever taken part in the knock-out game, or spot a lone east Asian in the crowd at the London Riots, or point to a suicide bomber who isn’t Muslim then, they claim, there are no patterns to detect, only prejudice and bigotry.