Monday, 21 August 2017

White people using black emojis is a burning issue, apparently

To which there really is only one appropriate response:

Okay, Victoria Princewill, let's cut a deal. I do solemnly and faithfully swear never to use an emoji or gif featuring a black person, if you promise never to use an emoji or gif featuring a white person. Would that be enough to satisfy your desire to split blacks and whites into two separate cultural camps, i.e. to achieve cultural apartheid? By the same token, I suppose we could ask whites not to applaud or support black athletes or sportsmen, in case some blacks found that inappropriate and vice-versa. We could include Asians in that as well. Pity, because the four players who scored for Manchester United on Saturday were all black, Mo Farrah got one hell of a send-off from the mainly white crowd at the recent World Championships in London, Anthony Joshua is a seriously impressive British heavyweight boxer, and Moeen Ali is a bit of a hero to England cricket fans. Also, about half of the popular music I love has been created by black singers and musicians. And then there's all those black conservative politicians and political commentators I so admire. As for cinema, does that mean we whiteys have to stop loving Morgan Freeman and Denziel Washington - and about 100 other terrific black actors. And then there's the unfortunate fact that I go weak at the knees whenever Lorraine Pascale appears on TV.

In this BBC video Ms Princewill (who read English at Oxford and holds a Masters in Philosophy from University College, London) tells us that white people using black gifs and emojis is an example of cultural appropriation, adding: "Black people are not here for other people's entertainment... we don't want to be seen as having two-dimensional personalities. Let us decide for ourselves how we wish to be perceived." Well, some black people do undoubtedly seek to entertain other people - including, presumably, non-blacks - and many are appreciated, loved, admired and handsomely rewarded by blacks and non-blacks alike for doing so. And, like it or not, it really isn't up to anyone to decide how they are perceived - that's entirely a matter for the the perceiver. You can't, as an individual or as a race, demand to be adjudged admirable, witty, handsome, talented, compassionate, charming, intellectually brilliant or great in bed:  that's just not how it works.    

But if it makes culturally prickly people like you feel better,  I'm sure we'll all eventually get the hang of viewing the world entirely through the prism of race. Or we could allow you to live in your horrible alternative identity politics reality, while the rest of us just muddle along somehow, the way we usually do when we're left alone by those who insist that race doesn't matter at all (when it obviously does) or that race - rather than the content of our character - is an individual's most important defining characteristic (when it so screamingly obviously is not). Meanwhile...
Oh, damn! I promised not to do that! Okay, starting... now.


  1. Here's an example of an implacable, unappeasable and unrepentant racist :

    He was an obvious Nazi as his position at Merton College was Warden.

    Sadly, there are another 12 examples of Dr Roberts's White Supremacist videos still online.

    1. Strangely, when I copied and pasted the above url into my browsertwo days ago, it took me where you wanted it to - but when I tried it again just now, it didn't. Here's another link to a YouTube page displaying all the available episodes of Dr. John Roberts's excellent 1985 BBC series, Triumph of the West:
      - I only caught a few episodes at the time, but I remember enjoying it. I'm pretty sure Dr. Roberts's accent would qualify as hate speech these days, let alone his message!

  2. Thank you for the link. The antique accent of Dr Roberts is one of the reasons for the brave new activist push agin the obvious discrimination represented by. voicism.