All 5 entries tagged Racism

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January 29, 2008

ES: Setting the standard for Islamophobia

Writing about web page http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/?ito=1640

I've recently written a couple of blog posts on some hideous pieces of recent Daily Mail tripe. It is only fitting that the next paper I should have a rant about is The Evening Standard. It is of course owned by Associated Newspapers Ltd. (responsible for other such tripe like The Mail on Sunday and The Metro).

If you're a Londoner as I am, it's not unusual to glance at the Evening Standard headlines from time to time. Has Madeline been spotted? Let's print a hideously inappropriate story! Red Ken cares about the environment? Let's print another hack attack! You get used to it.

 Today was slightly different. Making my way home the Standard forced me into a double-take. I felt compelled to buy the issue to see any justification for the headline. What was the headline?

 Evening Islamophobia 

"MUSLIM PLOT TO BEHEAD SOLDIER" - Wonderful. Imagine encountering "JEWISH PLOT TO KILL MAN". What do you think your reaction would be? More importantly, do you think the Evening Standard would in any event carry such a headline?

  It's disgusting, offensive and I'm going to telephone the ES tomorrow to ask for a comment.

 


January 15, 2008

It's The Daily Mail again: This time 'I have big problems with [Chinese] culture.'

Writing about web page http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=506153&in_page_id=1811

I have big problems with animal cruelty. Torturing animals for any reason is morally reprehensible. I do not (generally) consider the use of animals for medicinal (testing) purposes, food, pets and agriculture a form of torture/cruelty. Bear baiting, cock fighting, the conditions in battery farms, cows hooked up to milking machines: all disgusting.

When it comes to the eating of animals, I don't eat seafood, pig flesh or anything that is carnivorous/omnivorous. I find it hypocritical that people who love nothing more than chomping on their bacon, sausages and blutwurst will cringe at the idea of eating dog meat. Rare steaks dripping with blood and finding tiger penis soup gross? Very odd. 

How about the keeping of animals in captivity? I don't generally have a problem so long as they are looked after. Domestic pets are fine (and yes, animals are abused, as are children), although I have a problem with the caging of birds. Zoos are a necessary evil in that they are often of limited space (see the Gorillas in London zoo, or bent-fin Killer Whales in any aquarium) but they preserve rare species or species on the brink of extinction.

What has all this got to do with The Daily Mail and "Chinese Culture"? 

Well I came across this recent article on a random Google search and I gave it a read. Some choice tidbits:

"It's almost a form of child abuse," says Carol McKenna of the OneVoice animal welfare group. "The cruelty of Chinese zoos is disgusting, but think of the impact on the children watching it. What kind of future is there for China if its children think this kind of cruelty is normal?

"Zoos like this make me want to boycott everything Chinese," says Emma Milne, star of the BBC's Vets In Practice.

"I'd like to rip out everything in my house that's made in China. I have big problems with their culture."

"Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by their behaviour towards animals, as the value of human life is so low in China."

I think Emma Milne is bordering on racist there. "I have big problems with their culture... the value of human life is so low in China". Disgusting. Perhaps we should boycott her? 

The Chinese do have some serious problems with animal cruelty. Zoos and supermarkets alike. I've seen videos of monkeys beaten by street performers, images of tigers having had their teeth shaved to the point of exposure of the roots and I've personally witnessed crabs, lobsters and fish kept in distressing conditions in run-of-the-mill Beijing supermarkets.       

Does this provide a stunning indictment of "Chinese culture"? I don't think so. You will find such cruelty in any developing country, especially one so difficult to regulate (through geographical and population size). Moreover, even in "developed nations", animal cruelty is common. I previously mentioned battery farms: if you've seen the pictures and videos they are vomit-worthy. Cows screaming with milk-swollen udders waiting for the machines to kick in;  chickens dragged through electric baths, cows still alive because the bolt hasn't killed them first time around; animal culls; cosmetic testing (and let's not pretend that's not cruel); the list goes on and on.

Let's get back to Emma Milne. Here's a BBC article in which she's quote with regards to her views on dog-breeding:

Emma Milne, from BBC One's Vets In Practice, described the dogs as "mutated freaks". She claims inbreeding to produce show dogs has led to damaging genetic weaknesses.

"Modern bulldogs can't run, they can't breathe, they can't give birth," she tells the Real Story programme.

"They have enormous problems with too much soft tissue in their mouth and it adds up to a dog that is struggling for air all its life."

The breed, once pitted against bulls in fighting rings, is now a regular at competitions where champion bulldogs are worth up to £50,000.

Males and females with the flattest faces, biggest shoulders and smallest hips are mated to produce the purest possible offspring.

I agree. This sort of dog-breeding is disgusting. The animals are, as she says, essentially "mutated freaks" and it is cruel to breed them in this fashion to win dog shows so that rich housewives (and househusbands) can show their wealth and cruelty to the world. I don't see the same sort of criticism of "British culture" though. Perhaps it's not so obviously cruel? Watching a tiger kill a chicken is nasty and inhumane. But keeping a little dog as a fashion accessory..? 

How about the "child abuse" with some children witnessing animals feeding on chickens? It may be terrible and it may verge on abuse. I saw Jurassic Park when I was about nine or ten and I remember seeing a T-Rex (which I found quite realistic at the time) eating a chained-up goat. Veliciraptors  tearing apart  a live cow (off-screen). Not a great example? Seeing a realistic polar bear swipe off the jaw of another polar bear (in the rubbish Golden Compass)? Perhaps seeing what appears to be a lion killing and eating a deer (in I am legend)? Or the strangling of one's own dog (again I am legend). What about the brutal stabbing of a tiger depicted in Gladiator (not to mention the number of grisly deaths)? Will this have less of an impact on a child than seeing a tiger killing and eating?

There's much to fix in China. There's also much to fix over here. There's no use climbing on your high-horse because people here don't like to witness what goes on in an abbatoir while they're busy using their lipstick (that may well have been tested by rubbing it over a monkey/ape's eye) and carrying fashion-accessory pets. 


January 02, 2008

Tryl the shill.

Writing about web page http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article2951490.ece

You're all probably aware of the recent controversy over the Oxford Union inviting Nick Griffin (renowned racist) and David Irving (convicted Holocaust-denier) to come speak at the venerable institution. You are probably also aware of the attention-seeking President of that society, Luke Tryl, who has been waffling on and on about free speech and loathing what they say but it being necessary to hear it and all that tripe.

Tripe? Yes, when it's coming from his hypocritical mouth or hands. 

Why hypocritical? The man is defending the invitation of two of the most disgusting men in the country, and giving them a platform to publicise their hate. In the ensuing (expected) media furore and protests, they've garnered even more publicity. Luke is revelling in it. Does he give a damn about free speech?

Let's see what Luke Tryl had to say when he was disinviting Norman Finkelstein (author of The Holocaust Industry), the Jewish son of concentration camp survivors.

From: Luke.Tryl[at]magd.ox.ac.uk
To: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Debate
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 20:38:31 +0100

Dear Dr Finkelstein,

I hope that you are well, I'm so sorry for the confusion about the debate. There was an organisational difficulty at my end and my secretary hadn't seen your emails.

I would appreciate it if you could keep this bit between you and I. Many people expressed concern that the debate as it stood was imbalanced and people felt that as someone who had apparently expressed anti-zionist sentiments that you might not be appropriate for this debate. I tried to convince them otherwise but was accused of putting forward an imbalanced debate and various groups put pressure on me. I received numerous emails attacking the debate and Alan Dershowitz threatened to write an Oped attacking the Union. What is more he apparently attacked me personally in a televised lecture to Yale.

I hope that you understand my position, this is not ideal and I would be happy to welcome you as an individual speaker to the Union in a forthcoming term. I know that the President-Elect Emily Partington would be keen to host you in Hilary. I just did not want to see the debate compromised and given the Irving Griffin Controversy I couldn't fight a battle on all fronts.

Best wishes

Luke.

Wonderful. 


April 12, 2007

Underground Islamophobia

Islamophobia on the tubeI notice this graffito while on the Victoria Line. I normally don't give graffiti more than a glance, but this is precisely because most graffiti is little more than 'artist'/gang signatures and random phrases. I've rarely seen racism etched or painted into the windows or walls of the tube, yet this is the third time I've seen this exact phrase three times on London underground trains and I've encountered anti-Arab racism twice in the past couple of years.

It's quite worrying to see such things on the public transport system, at least in the areas to which I travel. While antisemitism continues to worry British tabloids and broadsheets, not much seems to be being done about rising Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in London and, perhaps, other areas of the UK. 


November 24, 2006

Links of the Day

Kramer: I’m not a racist! Rap
– Excellent rap song created from samples of the actor’s outburst and subsequent apology on Letterman.

Bust-a-nut Corn Nuts! – Cheesy early nineties advert for Corn Nuts which caused a bit of an uproar when it was first released. Great stuff.


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