We live in a time that is certainly more tolerant and accepting than many centuries previously. Advantages in women’s rights, race relations and LGBT emancipation have been numerous and the activism of those groups of people agitating for change shouldn’t be minimised. However it would be foolish to argue that systemic prejudices remain commonplace in Western societies. New evidence of discrimination on the grounds of race has been revealed by data collected by the TUC. Structural disadvantages for people of colour can only be rectified if there is a popular demand for change to force the government into decisive action.
A number of months ago I was speaking to a friend of mine and they were remarking on how funny the US Presidential race had been, particularly the inane comments of Republican nominee Donald Trump. However I distinctly remember telling this person that it was no longer funny, and it’s now just plain scary. To give a bit of context this anecdote took place in the same week as Donald Trump’s appearance on CNN in which he failed to disavow former imperial wizard of the KKK David Duke. The humour has definitely gone now because David Duke, the white supremacist and horrific anti-Semite, has declared that he will be running for the US Senate on the Republican ticket.
Just when you think that his statements couldn’t get any more unpalatable, Donald Trump refused to condemn David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, for calling on his supporters to volunteer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This is not going to be a piece encouraging people to be outraged because people already get outraged over stupid shit all the time, but this is going to be a call to action. If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President, the electorate must vote for the Democrat, irrespective of which candidate is chosen.
In the UK when people speak of racism many white people, due to their ignorance, believe that this abhorrent phenomenon is uniquely historical. Those who are partially informed may acknowledge that discriminatory attitudes exist but that these views are merely thoughts and do not impact people on a daily basis. Indeed when the numerous stories of unarmed African-Americans being gunned down by police are reported online, many in the UK believe that this systemic attitude is uniquely an American problem. Not only is this false but it blinds people to systemic racism that still exists in British society.
People on the Right that are often correctly derided as paranoid or ‘on the fringe’ claim that there is a grand conspiracy where people on the Left are fighting a ‘culture war’. Indeed it wouldn’t be the Christmas season in America without Bill O’Reilly claiming that atheist crypto-Marxists were waging a “War on Christmas”. Although there isn’t a coordinated plan to change America into a less socially conservative nation, there is a culture war going on between the Left and Right, and we are winning it. Continue reading →
Having returned from Japan just over a month ago I have become more aware of the differences between modern life in the West and the hyper-reality of modern Japan that seems to pride itself on imitating American and European culture. Since the implementation of the Marshall Plan, Japan has grown from a victim of nuclear war into an economic powerhouse characterised by rapid technological advancement. This technological advancement, fuelled by a plentiful supply of nuclear-generated electricity, has had many benefits for the Japanese people, but this development has often been at the expense of progress elsewhere in society.