Feel the Racial Healing
July 29, 2015
Living in London, the Guardian’s Aisha Mirza is, naturally, unhappy:
I understand there is a psychic toll of living in a place where you have to fight, for space, time, money. But what these Why I am Leaving London articles are missing is that, while the psychic burden of living in the city with the highest living costs in the developed world is very real,
Wait for it.
for a brown person, the cost of living surrounded only by white people is worse.
“Please, no more white people writing smug articles about leaving London,” writes our Guardianista, smugly, before claiming that “the world will validate your beautiful white children,” wherever they are, “forever.”
I feel the comfort of London peel away whenever my train pulls out of King’s Cross and the threat of overt racism is increased... Outside London, I am put immediately into a position of defence. This is something my white counterpart will never understand.
Because, obviously, outside of the capital, folks ain’t never seen a woman whose skin is slightly brown. Behold ye, then, a mysterious, alien creature unknown to Northern brutes:
When not referring to “WHITE PPL” as some homogeneous mass of simpletons in need of collective scolding, or probing such heady topics as “the experience of having body hair as a woman of colour,” Ms Mirza tells us that she “writes about feminism and mental health.”
While busily deleting comments that complain about Ms Mirza’s demographic ignorance and racial bigotry (and deleting comments that complain about those comments being deleted), the Guardian team have found time to quietly change the title of her article and much of its text. It now reads, “London’s super-diversity is a joy. Why would you ever want to leave?”
Update 2, via the comments:
The more I think about it, the more this may exemplify a near-perfect Guardian article, the ideal to which all other Guardian columnists should aspire. It’s haughty and obnoxious, is ignorant of relevant subject matter, is frequently question-begging, and its imagined piety is premised on a rather obvious double standard. Specifically, Ms Mirza’s belief that people who leave London do so, secretly, because they don’t feel comfortable living among people with skin of a darker hue, which is racist and therefore bad, and her own simultaneous preference not to live among people whose skin is paler than hers, which is somehow not racist at all, and is in fact aired as the last word in righteousness.
The article extrapolates wildly and in hyperbolical prose from one personal anecdote – an anecdote that doesn’t sound terribly credible - and casually implies that, outside of London, the country is simply unsafe for anyone with skin browner than mine. Because, hey, white people. It goes on to make spiteful and baldly racist comments as if they were a measure of leftist virtue - among them, the claim that “living surrounded only by white people” is “worse” than panic attacks, unemployment, unaffordable housing and even being mugged.
And the dogmatic and resentful woman who wrote the thing, ineptly, later tweeted her disdain for the people who found her article wanting and even dared to correct her on points of fact and logic. Indeed, so numerous were the readers’ objections and corrections, the paper’s editors had to quietly change the title of Ms Mirza’s article along with much of its content. Despite which, the author dismissed her readers en masse as ignorant and beneath contempt, while congratulating herself on not bothering to read any of their rebuttals. A conceit she excused by tweeting, “The only praise or criticism that matters is that from fellow people of colour.”
Quite an achievement, really.