Robin DiAngelo – ‘White Fragility’

robin diangelo
Robin DiAngelo

This week’s self-woke-ification got off to a magnificent start with me reading an article on race by a white person.

Robin DiAngelo’s ‘White Fragility’ tries to explain why it’s so difficult to talk to white people about racism.

She argues that socialisation renders us racially illiterate. We’re taught to see racism as a binary phenomenon – that you’re either racist, or you’re not racist.

We think that if you’re consciously, morally against racism, it’s impossible for you to be racist.

In other words, our understanding of race and racism is laughably shallow and individualistic. Continue reading “Robin DiAngelo – ‘White Fragility’”

Brexit: Clive Lewis vs Ellie O’Jones

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Agitpod is a fortnightly podcast by Owen Jones and Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Agitpod is always annoying, but the Clive Lewis one put me off my cheese and salad baguette.

I listen to it despite the nauseating chummy banter because it’s a useful insight into the wobbly end of the Corbyn coalition — the panicky, one-foot-in-the-mainstream types who verged on calling for him to go last summer.

Jones and O’Hagan are probably decent people, but I don’t trust them. For years, I’ve watched them and journos like them mock the suggestion that working at the liberal end of the corporate press compromises them politically — only for them to prove themselves embarrassingly susceptible to media groupthink about Corbyn just at the point when the project needed loyal intellectual outriders the most.

But for once, the most frustrating thing about an Agitpod episode wasn’t them. Continue reading “Brexit: Clive Lewis vs Ellie O’Jones”

Explaining Venezuela – Alejandro Velasco on The Dig

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Venezuela’s gone south, and finding nuanced explanations why is hard.

The media’s obviously unsubtly propagandising in favour of elite Western interests – painting Maduro as a savage dictator, and cheerleading a coup-prone, US-funded opposition movement led by embittered members of the pre-Chavez Establishment.

Many leftists, on the other hand, are rushing to blame the deepening crisis on bad old-fashioned American imperialism – echoing arguments made by the Maduro government itself. Continue reading “Explaining Venezuela – Alejandro Velasco on The Dig”

I am a racist

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One of the worst bits about getting older if you’re me is the unfurling horror of how secretly racist/sexist/homophobic I am.

I’ve spent the whole of my adult life strenuously trying not be any of those things – and, all in all, I don’t think I’ve done too badly.

But the more time passes, the more I grasp that growing up in a society that treats being a white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied male as the default setting inevitably fills you with unconscious prejudices. Continue reading “I am a racist”

They don’t understand — liberals, the media, and the Corbyn surge

Corbyn hasn’t won, but Labour got its biggest vote share since 2001 (41%), and the biggest swing from one party to another since 1945.

Thanks to an abysmal nineteenth-century voting system, those gains haven’t translated into a majority Labour government, let alone a landslide (in 2005, Blair got a majority of 66 on the back of just 35% of the vote, because of the way those votes were distributed around the country) — but a Tory Prime Minister who said, ‘if I lose just six seats, I will lose this election’ lost twelve.

Now the commentariat is trying to compute what’s happened. Pundits have spent eighteen months insisting Corbyn would be an electoral catastrophe. In fact, he’s become the most successful Labour leader since Blair — despite going against almost everything Blair stood for. Continue reading “They don’t understand — liberals, the media, and the Corbyn surge”

Forget Corbyn – vote for the policies

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Whether you like the man fronting them or not, Labour’s manifesto pledges would transform lives

If you’ve voted Labour in the past but don’t like Corbyn, vote for the policies.

The manifesto he launched last month contained proposals that would measurably improve the living standards of almost everyone in Britain.

It sets out to create what generations of Labour members joined the party to try and help achieve – a fairer, more equal society.

No more fawning over ‘wealth creators’ and dead-eyed social vandalism under the guise of ‘balancing the books – here’s a 1945-style vision of a country that works for the majority of the people who live in it, not just big business and the rich. Continue reading “Forget Corbyn – vote for the policies”

We only care when Westerners die

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The more I write these things, the more I realise that I’ve only got about four basic articles in me. I just put out variations on the same core arguments again and again – consumer capitalism is destroying the environment, left-wingers have abandoned the global poor, the political establishment is impervious to radical change, and so on. This one is always the most controversial.

The Manchester Arena attack was sickening. Violence against civilians is always wrong. Hurt the innocent, and you’ve immediately lost the argument. Whatever your cause, you’ve irrevocably damaged it.

Killing children is on another level. It’s hard, if not impossible, to try and put the gravity of it into words, so I won’t try.

After Manchester, 22 people are dead, many of them teenagers. The youngest was eight. Hundreds of people will be dealing with the psychological scars for the rest of their lives – the friends and family of the dead, the injured, bystanders, first responders, and many others.

But around in the world, millions of people are in the same position, if not a much worse one. Continue reading “We only care when Westerners die”