Friday, 9 August 2013
I’m not sure what’s worse: Another Ukip candidate exposed as a thoroughly rotten racist or the seemingly thousands out there who appear to agree with him. In a particular rancid rant, Godfrey Bloom MEP called for UK Aid to be halted in ‘Bongo bongo land’, which as he knows fully well is a deeply insulting term for the continent of Africa.
In a shallow and demeaning defense, which only magnified his contempt for Black people, Bloom stated that:
If anybody would care to take the trouble to get out the Oxford dictionary this morning and look it up, you'll find that bongo is a white antelope, lives in the forest, there is no connotation of racism about it whatsoever... Bongo land is the land of the antelope.”
His dislike of the other extends further than Black people. He once argued that all,
Germans were Nazis"
That Bloom is a bigot and a racist is beyond doubt. Moreover, there are many like him who wear their bigotry as a badge of honour:‘I’m representing the man in the pub’, they often spout. And therein lies the most worrying element to Bloom’s ‘Bongo, Bongo’, blast. To some, his putrid prejudice is contagious, and thus the process becomes a self fulfilling prophecy: incite racial prejudice and then suggest:
‘I’m speaking on behalf of the people."
The Guardian’s Zoe Williams wrote an excellent piece arguing that her paper and the BBC should not stand idly by, but confront and expose Bloom for what he is. However, to date over 900 people have responded, many supporting Bloom, or stating that Williams is as wrong as Bloom, because she states we shouldn’t tolerate racists, because her detractors argue ‘that’s intolerant too’. On the Daily Mail website, Bloom is a hero, legitimizing prejudice, stoking up racial hatred.
In an ever increasing bigoted society, tolerance is demanded for the racist. Some call it free speech, or that their mild racism is just a harmless joke. Others argue that ‘political correctness’ has gone too far, either way it seems that many want the right to racially offend. Incidently, in a not all together unrelated story, the Government's purge against the Traveller community has bitterly angered one of their leaders. Joseph Jones, Chair of the Gypsy Council stated:
'With all these things going on including the immigrant raids, the ad vans, the racist MEP, and now us, it seems it's open season on ethnic minorities’.
These are indeed worrying times if this is the beginning of an ‘open season’ against BME groups. Let’s at least hope Bloom’s latest bigoted outburst will be his political death. Somehow though, I wouldn’t bank on it.