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Ho ho ho. Straight from the horse's mouth. The Conservative Party is racist after all.
August 24, 2001 3:19 AM   Subscribe

Ho ho ho. Straight from the horse's mouth. The Conservative Party is racist after all. Embarrassment for Iain Duncan-Smith's attempt to become leader of the UK Conservative Party as it emerges that one of his backers is a supporter of the racist British National Party. Is Edgar Griffin right to say that his views are widely shared by Conservative Party members? (And by extension, Republican Party members.)
posted by salmacis (13 comments total)

 
There's a name for those who judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a single member.
posted by MarkC at 3:27 AM on August 24, 2001


Hrm. It looks like he's got a cute daughter (or whoever that women is to his right in picture)
posted by delmoi at 3:45 AM on August 24, 2001


MarkC, the question is whether Griffin has validly characterized the Conservative rank and file, not whether salmacis has. The characterization comes from the "single member". Of course, such fringe cases are quick to claim wider support; but it's entirely possible that his positions on immigration are more widely held than the party would like to present itself.

Uh, just for clarification here, are you speaking of this Republican Party or this Republican Party?
posted by dhartung at 4:08 AM on August 24, 2001


MarkC - this is complicated, so maybe MetaFilter isn't the right place for it, but there are differencee between this and racism (at least, what I judge to be racism). First, what I'm going to argue against: I think you are arguing that inferring that all Conservatives are racist, because one of them is, is itself a form of racism.

First, extrapolating the beliefs of Conservative party members from one of their workers isn't a process based particularly on race.

Second, racism (IMHO) isn't about denying that different cultures exist, but about applying generalisations to specific individuals. So arguing that Duncan-Smith supports the BNP because many Conservative party members do (for argument's sake) is akin to racism - here an assumption is made about an individual, based on the group.

But arguing that Conservatives as a whole are racist based on one BNP supporter isn't racism, it's just plain bad logic. Nor is arguing that the English, as a whole, are remote, racist, nor that South Americans are gregarious (examples from my own personal experience :-).

It would be racist, however, to argue that a particular English person is remote, or that a particular South American was gregarious, because of their race.

So inferring group attitudes from individuals is not akin to racism (it's normal behaviour), but going in the reverse direction, and assuming something about an individual from their group, is akin to racism (and is generally considered intolerant and impolite, whether race is involved or not).

This distinction is important because without it you get to many of the examples that people use to mock racism - that respecting the cultures of particular groups is somehow racist, for example.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:10 AM on August 24, 2001


I certainly believe that the BNP is racist and that implies any supporter of the BNP is also racist. I don't believe that the Conservative Party per se is racist. However, my experience is that there is an unpleasant racist-leaning attitude bubbling under the surface that is more prevalent amongst Conservative Party members and supporters than the population as a whole.

I included the Republican Party (the US Party of course) because I think this issue is just as relevent to our American cousins. For BNP, just read KKK or a whole host of White Supremecist groups.

To slightly widen the discussion, if you are a British supporter of the Conservative Party, would you support Ken Clarke or Iain Duncan-Smith?
posted by salmacis at 4:25 AM on August 24, 2001


Incidentally, my definition above would say that (for example) measuring different aggregate IQ levels for different races would not be racist (although it might be pointless or politically motivated - with the people doing it being racist or not depending on their motivations, how they interpret the results, or intend them to be interpreted etc), but inferring from that that a particular member of a race is more or less intelligent is racist.

I think that's a sensible distinction (and in the past I've argued similarly), but others would disagree (as I've experienced :-).

Sorry - didn't intend to hijack this thread. Just something I've thought about a bit.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:26 AM on August 24, 2001


I think you are arguing that inferring that all Conservatives are racist, because one of them is, is itself a form of racism.

That's not racism. That's just prejudice. Racism is prejudicial discrimination based on racial stereotypes.
posted by Dirjy at 9:56 AM on August 24, 2001


So having fired someone "within minutes of his BNP links becoming known to the campaign" makes the tories racist hmm? seems logical to me...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2001


Define racism. I would argue that a significant portion of the British public would be classified as racist under many definitions.

Personally I think that it is very dangerous that it is presently impossible to discuss the issue of asylum and immigration without being branded a racist if you happen to believe that there is a genuine problem.
posted by Atom Heart Mother at 12:03 PM on August 24, 2001


I think some people have lost sight of what the article was about. The question ("are the tories racist?") was asked based on Griffin's assertion that most tories agree with him. It wasn't necessarily based on the fact that Duncan-Smith had (inadvertently?) hired somebody that was a racist.

Nobody has bothered to answer the question of whether Griffin is correct or whether he's just trying to make himself sound more important/influential than he is.
posted by jnthnjng at 3:16 PM on August 24, 2001


Yeah this piece of news doesn't make the conservative party racist. However this along with the John Townend's mongrel racecomment, it surely has to sour the Tory's reputation in the minds of minority groups.
posted by kathrynhunter at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2001


Yeah this piece of news doesn't make the conservative party racist. However this along with the John Townend's mongrel race comment, it surely has to sour the Tory's reputation in the minds of minority groups.
posted by kathrynhunter at 11:50 AM on August 25, 2001


I posted a reply that got zonked somewhere along the line: suffice it to say, the fact that most paid-up Tory members are rural/suburban and over 60 may provide deep background for their suspicion towards "foreigners", no matter what the colour of their skin. The irony being that many of the first and second generation "Commonwealth" immigrants (ie non-white, since that term's never applied to white .au/.ca/.nz/.sa immigrants) better epitomise the Thatcherite entrepreneurial spirit (if not the "no such thing as society" stuff) than the traditional shire Tories.
posted by holgate at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2001


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