What if you are a racist and just don't know it?

John Terry England and Chelsea footballer says he is not a racist he gives money to charities in Africa which is as convincing as saying some of my best friends are black. JT was upset at being called a racist yet admits to calling another footballer a black c**t. It is not only white footballers who think that such remarks are not evidence of racism. According to Manchester United footballer Patrice Evra you can make a racist remark and not be a racist. The significance of this is that Patrice Evra is a black footballer who recently won a case in which he accused an opponent of repeatedly racially abusing him. Clearly there is some confusion in the minds of footballers about whether it is ok to refer to someone colour when abusing them as long as you believe you are not a racist.  

 If a racist is not someone who uses racially abusive language what then does a racist do that makes them a racist? To be a racist do you have not only to abuse someone because of the colour of their skin but hold views that some people are inferior due to the colour of their skin and therefore do not deserve to be treated the same as the rest of us? So if you only meet part of this criteria does that mean you are not racist? If you call someone a black so and so that is using racist language but if you claim at the same time to believe in treating everyone fairly and not discriminating on the grounds of colour does that mean you are not a racist?

I know it sounds like we are just playing with words but what people say and how they say it is important as is what we assume when they use this type of language. I belive that most people I have come across through work or socially are not racist but I have heard racist language used at work and in social gatherings. I explain this by the fact that people are often ignorant of other people’s culture, circumstances and feelings. That people are constantly feed negative stereotypes about Muslims, Asians or black people and so they often speak without thinking or realising the impact their words will have. But if an individual repeatedly makes these remarks despite being told if is offensive, hurtful and racist then clearly this is not ignorance but a true reflection of the way they think.

Blair McPherson author of An Elephant in the Room –an equality and diversity training manual published by www.russellhouse.co.uk   


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