Polly and Boris
Friday Ephemera

Harker, Barking

Further to Manish Vij’s claims that Apu is a “crude racist stereotype” and that Hank Azaria is actually a “brown man”, today the Guardian’s very own PC bigot Joseph Harker berates those who dared to disagree.

Readers may remember Mr Harker for his willingness to redefine words to suit his arguments, his repeated assertion that “all white people are racist,” and his belief that, “as a black man… I cannot be racist… because in the global order I do not belong to the dominant group.” (Some of the more discerning Guardian readers have wondered how this remarkable claim might address the realities of “dominant power” in, say, Zimbabwe, or overtly racist assaults committed by people with dark skin.)   

Today, Mr Harker would have us believe that Manish Vij “put across some cogent arguments” – sadly, none of which are specified – and that the disagreement of many readers was in fact an example of the “now wearisome onslaught faced by any ethnic minority writer flagging up the issue of racism”: 

“Overwhelmingly negative, it seems that nearly every commenter either didn't understand his argument, or didn't want to. Each (rare) comment expressing empathy with the writer was immediately drowned out by a welter of antis.”

Harker doesn’t appear to entertain the - perhaps more obvious - possibility that readers did understand Vij’s arguments and simply found them wanting or absurd - for instance, the bizarre confusion regarding Mr Azaria’s pigmentation. Instead, Harker blames his non-compliant readers and insinuates some nefarious racial prejudice:

“Now, the Guardian is part of the British national press, which has traditionally been produced by and for white people (though things are slowly beginning to change). But this paper is at least supposed to be at the liberal end of the spectrum, so one would have thought there'd be a few progressive types out there prepared to come forward. But where are you? Have you all been frightened off by the bullies, the boors and the bigots?”   

Naturally, Harker pre-emptively defines “progressives” as those who agree with Manish Vij, and by extension with himself. One therefore wonders whether those who have the temerity to disagree with Mr Harker, even on matters of fact and logic, will in turn be dismissed as cowards, boors and bigots.

Righteously, he continues:

“Some time ago I wrote saying that all white people are racist. I didn't mean in-your-face, BNP-style racism, but the subtle, unthinking, subliminal kind. Now I think I was being too kind… If we want to have a sensible discussion about race, or racism, is it possible on a general-access website such as this? Or do we need to find a new corner of cyberspace, and boldly go where no stupid white man has gone before?”

It is, I fear, significant that Harker’s solution to encountering unexpected disagreement is to yearn for a different venue and a more sympathetic audience, rather than to present a more convincing argument.