Wednesday, 14 July 2010

'I'm not racist, but...'

From the letters page of Monday's Daily Mail, in response to the 'swimming pool cover-up' story:

What is this country coming to when the windows of a public swimming pool in Walsall are blacked out to protect the modesty of Muslim women?

We seem to be letting Muslims take over this country. We appear to be afraid to upset them.

If they don't like the way we lead our lives, let them go and live in a country that panders to their religion.

We are a Christian country, our laws and way of life are built on our religion.

I'm not racist, but I'm getting fed up with opening the newspaper every day to read that we're bowing and scraping to the Muslim community.

Would they get so much freedom of speech in Afghanistan? I doubt it.

Edd Butler, Shoeburyness, Essex


  1. He should stop opening the paper each day.

  2. Are you getting fed up with opening the newspaper every day to read that we're bowing and scraping to the Muslim community?

    Stop buying the Mail then you racist twat.

  3. Argh, so many confused, angry people. Disheartening.

  4. "I'm not racist, but I'm getting fed up with opening the newspaper every day to read that we're bowing and scraping to the Muslim community."

    May I respectfully suggest that Edd Butler stops reading the Daily Mail? These stories only happen in the heads of Mail (and Express) journalists, so avoiding them is actually quite easy.

  5. I don't quite get this argument that these racist twits come up with, all the variations on "Would they get so much freedom of speech in Afghanistan?"

    It's illogical - do they think that because people have come from a country where certain things aren't allowed, they shouldn't be allowed those here? Or, in other words, because people are oppressed in another country, when they come here, we should oppress them too?

    Clearly, that's stupid. But people trot this nonsense out all the time, with claims that amount to "We have to abide by oppressive laws and dress in a certain way in their country, so when they come here, we should make up some special laws to control the way they dress, because we don't have any right now."

    I daresay Edd Butler thinks he's highlighting how wonderful our freedom of speech is here. But really, what he actually seems to be doing, along with all the others who trot out this rubbish, is arguing for people's rights to be reduced to the level of the most oppressive, or for a two tier society where those who have come here to escape oppression have to live under essentially different rules.

    Perhaps "They couldn't do it in Afghanistan, so we shouldn't let them do it here" passes as sophisticated analysis in the Daily Mail, but it's still bollocks.

  6. Just makes you lost for words.

  7. Perhaps if he is so fed up with "opening the newspaper every day to read that we're bowing and scraping to the Muslim community" he should stop reading tabloids which are just making it all up.

  8. I'm not racist but I'm fed up with opening my Daily Mail every day and reading stuff written by morons.

  9. > We are a Christian country, our laws and way of life are built on our religion.

    ah, yes. the christian values of loving thy neighbour, recognising jesus as the son of god, and making sure that you get to see the thighs of women of all ethnicities through windows.

  10. It's not such a cut and dried question though. The fact is that non-British people are being given too many privileges in this country. And British people are being told they are racist for not wanting their country to change. Wanting to protect one's own culture isn't racist. It's exactly what the muslims are doing, after all. Most disagreements with the comings and goings of various immigrants have nothing to do with race at all. They are to do with culture.

  11. To be fair, I'm fed up of reading that "we" are bowing and scraping to the Muslim community too. Especially since it's bollocks.

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  14. We are really not a 'Christian' country. We might have been once, around the time when Henry VII decided to 'amend' Catholicism to suit his needs, but now I'd say multi-faith or largely secular. I don't usually go for name-calling but simply: idiot. If he reads the Mail, it's a given really.

  15. We are a mainly secular country. I would like to see ALL religions get less of a say in how we live our lives. Muslims should shut the f*ck up. And so should Christians. And all the rest. Most people in this country do NOT go to church or mosque or any other place of bullsh*t. I'm not racist. I just had religionists interfering in my life.

  16. To Anonymous - how is a debate about protecting people's modesty at a swimming pool anything to do with "culture"? Last time I looked our galleries, concert halls, libraries, cinemas, radio and tv stations weren't inundated with Muslim culture... but as for American culture, that utterly dominates in our TV screens, cinemas and music. Our galleries and opera houses are filled with Italian culture. I don't see any complaints about that.

  17. The Now Show sums it up nicely

    Listen from 21:56 mins

  18. Someone bravely anonymous claims "The fact is that non-British people are being given too many privileges in this country"

    Honestly? Which special privileges are people receiving that British people don't? Can you name a single one? A single law that gives any privilege to non-British people?

  19. The problem isn´t "They couldn't do it in Afghanistan, so we shouldn't let them do it here" rather than "Why do we have to abide by THEIR laws HERE" It seems that countries built on Cristian values, have to adapt to foreign laws instead of the immigrants adapting to ours.

    A clear and concrete example was the building of Oslo Plaza Hotel in Oslo, Norway: The Muslim community demanded the plans of Norway's newest landmark to be altered because of a mosque is planned built in front of the building. Muslim laws prohibit any other building to "look down" at a mosque. The Plaza was built, facing away from the grounds where the mosque was planned (looking down at the railroad instead of the fjord and surrounding mountains) and the mosque was never built...

    This has nothing to do with racism: "A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." (Merriam-Webster)

    This is about the indigenous peoples inherited RIGHTS to live in accordance to their laws and traditions.

    If anyone is to be accused of racism, it is those immigrants that try to impose THEIR religion and THEIR laws onto the people of the countries they fled to.

    Stop playing the racism card every time someone disagrees with foreigners. It should be possible to have a discussion without constantly calling those you don´t agree with a racist just because you ran out of arguments!

    1. 'Muslim laws prohibit any other building to "look down" at a mosque.'
      Lovely bit of bolox
      I sense a great career in journalism for you too.
      'If anyone is to be accused of racism, it is those immigrants that try to impose THEIR religion and THEIR laws onto the people of the countries they fled to. '
      Typical 'commies under the bed' scare tactics.
      Unadulterated emotional exaggeration

  20. But we don't have islamic laws here; we're not being forced to abide by them, so your argument really doesn't work. It is a straw man, and an hysterical one at that.

    Yes, sometimes, we take consideration of the views of people in certain matters. We listen to what all sorts of groups say; a club near me in Mile End got closed down and failed its license renewal because of the views of residents.

    I daresay that if it had been immigrants objecting, people like you would have made a fuss about how those nasty Muslims were stopping us having a nightclub and destroying our way of life. But it was just the random east end mix of people fed up with noise, fighting, drunk punters pissing in their gardens, and all the usual stuff associated with a badly run club.

    People object to planning and licensing applications all the time, because they're residents and they're entitled to. The religion of people or their ethnicity seldom has anything to do with it; if they make a reasonable objection, and it can be accommodated without causing massive problems, what is the issue?

    The real issue appears to be that some people believe that listening to other people is just wrong, and trying to live side by side is a dreadful thing that can't be countenanced. People like you, who seem to believe that allowing anyone to do something you don't like, even if it harms no one, is an affront to you and your life in some way.

    It's the same rubbish argument, more or less, as the people who say gay marriage shouldn't be allowed because, somehow, their straight marriage will be worth less if they know that somewhere two gay people have a bit of paper with the word 'marriage' on it.

    So, an hotel in Oslo faces a different way from the one originally planned by the architects. Big deal. Things like that happen in planning all the time - sometimes it's because rich people don't want oiks overlooking them, but that's ok, as long as they're not rich muslims, I guess.

    We're not adapting to foreign laws; sometimes we're polite enough to listen to the views of those who weren't born here, and do things differently as a result.

    Politeness and consideration used to be consider as thoroughly British values; I see they no longer are.

    Oh, and by the way, very odd hotel, if it only has windows on one side, eh?

  21. ferryman:

    Could you find us proof that this Muslim law prohibiting buildings from looking down on mosques actually exists?

    A quick bit of research suggests that the planned mosque and the hotel were part of the same development, and as the mosque had be built to face Mecca, the hotel was built in the same direction for aesthetic reasons. It wasn't turned in a different direction so as not to offend Muslims.

  22. Ferryman, of course it's racist. Fortunately, in 2010, racists are easily recognised by most people as the idiots they are whenever they open their mouths and letters like this one do more damage to the reputation of idiot racists than to any race relations.

  23. Ferryman, your missing the point. These stories that the "debate" are based on are not real or are grossly mis-reported. They are conjoured up either through stupidity or malice to cause friction and incite anger/hatred. People should be questioning the truth of what they are being told instead of immediately accepting it and jumping on the "them and us" bandwagon, like you have just done.

  24. to ferryman:
    I dont see someone always playing the racism card every time someone disagrees.
    What I see is, playing the racism card when someone makes dramatic exaggerations to stir the anger of the society against foreigners.
    I'm okay with that.

  25. Why is Ferryman getting so upset about people taking their neighbours' wishes into consideration?

  26. A genuine 'if you like it so much why don't you live there' comment! Excellent. Check for a general demolishing of internet comments

  27. Ferryman, I'm going to leave the dissection of your story about Oslo to someone who wants to fact check it - given what passes for reporting in this country I wouldn't be surprised to hear there's more to that story than you're making out.

    I will however take issue with the other points in your reply, namely, the whole point of the article that spawned the letter (covering up swimming pool windows) is that it was absolute rubbish.

    The fact of the matter is we DON'T have to abide by "their rules here", even though the likes of the Mail would like to sell you the idea that we do. A huge chunk of the articles on this web site back that up. Why is it that stories about immigrants imposing "their religion and laws" on the country get so much traction, especially when they're quite often demonstrably entirely lacking in fact? What is it about the Mail's target audience that makes it so easy for them to believe negative stories about minorities? If you could sum it up in one word, what would you choose?

    Lastly, it's unfortunate but perhaps telling that in summing up you bring up people disagreeing with foreigners, in relation to this article. Case in point: just because someone is a Muslim, does not mean they are foreign.

  28. Well, yes, Ferryman.
    I suppose the rights in Norway are that people who live there are allowed to register objections if a big hotel is being built near them.
    And an agreement can be reached by the residents and the developers.
    There seems to be an assumption that their objection is less valid than anyone else's.
    Which would be racial differences producing an inherent inferiority of a particular race.
    Which is slightly the other way round to your definition, if you see what I mean, but probably counts as racism.

  29. 'I'm not racist, but I'm getting fed up with opening the newspaper every day to read that we're bowing and scraping to the Muslim community.'

    Then please stop opening newspapers and swallowing what the media tell you. If you read something and believe it you are a fool. Sources of any articles are always contested and even the most reliable of statistics, information or qualitative evidence should be questioned instead of accepted. So please do us all a favour and STOP opening the newspaper until you learn the true effect of mediation and while you're at it do us all a favour and keep your biased Daily-Fail-inspired opinion to yourself. Thank you.

  30. There's another "coming over here and changing everything story" today...about toilets.

    I see, so now we English are not even allowed to sit down on the toilet anymore in case it offends "asians". Actually, it comes from a meeting with one person, Ghulam Rasul Shahzad. Just goes to show what you can achieve by being an ethnic boat rocker. Sickening.
    - Dave, Liverpool, 14/7/2010 13:15


    What part of "were installed to give staff and customers the option of using them." did you not understand? Option being the key word here.

  31. I think the question is 2 fold: Immigrants and indigenous Muslims. One doesn´t have to be an immigrant to be a minority but when minorities get too big influence on the majorities everyday life, conflicts occur. I.E. The majority want a bicycle path built on the school-road and doesn´t get that. The minority wants a school for other religions and they get one...

    This can happen with Muslims, immigrants, Gay people, single fathers or whatever minority. (I´m in 2 of these categories myself) The difference is that if I, as a foreigner, want something and you disagree with me, you can quickly be labeled a "racist" while if I, as a single father, have an argument with you, it will be much harder for me to "win". The community around us won´t label you as a "single-father-hater"...

    There is my point: People have a tendency to play out the "racism" card way too quickly.

  32. No. No, come on, now. That's not an actual letter. That's a parody made by a simplistic computer algorithm that picks from a list of trite xenophobic tabloid clichés and turns each one into a barely coherent paragraph of outrage. You can't fool us.

    I mean, "Shoeburyness"? You're not even trying to make that sound like a real place.

  33. And you know why that happens? Because most of the time, people point and complain and say "they only got that school because they're muslims."

    And they completely ignore every other factor, and focus on that aspect. They ignore, for example, that there might be ring fenced funding that provides for a new school, or an active community that raised money for one, while there's no actual money left in the highways budget.

    Claiming "special treatment for minorities" when things like that happen is playing the race card. And that's a very real problem - people spouting rubbish, because they have a sense of entitlement, and they see "other" people getting something, and feel that money should have been spent on what they want instead.

    Public spending seldom - almost never, in fact - works like that. Money that's not used in the education budget doesn't magically end up sloshing around in a drawer for the highways department.

    Even within a major department like health, it's seldom like that; cutting funding for, say, outreach workers who try to tell gay men in clubs about safer sex doesn't mean the cash will automatically buy an incubator for a children's ward.

    So, when people play these silly games, and try to suggest people are somehow getting special treatment, or preferential treatment, because they're foreign, or gay, then I'm not afraid to say that actually, you're talking bollocks, and I suspect your motives when you complain that people who aren't like you are getting something they want, when you're not getting what you want.

    If you say "It's outrageous that money is spent on safer sex for gay men when babies need" then damn right, I'm going to suspect you have an anti-gay agenda.

    People who rely on a simplistic interpretation of how the world works are often wrong. And when they turn out to be wrong and simply decide that the foreigners are to blame, I can think of a very good word for that too.

  34. Why is it always assumed we are from Afghanistan or Iraq? I'm a Muslim woman who wears the niqab (face veil) and guess what ... I'm English born and bred with English parents (and family roots in Wales and Italy). I've lived in England all my life and have no plans to live anywhere else.

    I have never, ever asked anyone or expected anyone to 'pander' to my religion.

    These idiots make me sick, how dim are they that they'll actually believe the rubbish they read!

  35. Just wondering what you'd make of this story:

    The so-called "Islamification" of the "great British loo".

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  37. This kind of loo was widely used in France back when I was a kid; it's been replaced slowly over the last 30 years with the more familiar to us sit-down type. I didn't hear a lot of Brits complaining about that in the 70s and 80s and saying to France "no please, don't change your ways just to accomodate the wishes of us tourists. We must respect your cultural differences".

  38. I particularly like this, its a heads I lose, tails they win story.
    It is so easy to recast with other popular screaming headlines to achieve an opposite effect.

    Council causes outrage by refusing to black out the windows of Walsall swimming pool.
    Kids on view to Paedo's.

    One outraged resident said "If the council don't care about my kids being leered at by perverts, I do and we will not use this pool ever again."

    A member of the local citizens committee casts aspersions at council for providing a freeview charter for paedophiles.


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