Have you come across any of these fallacious excuses? Ubiquitous themes employed by apologists in attempts to defend, conceal and prevent racist or bigoted behaviour being exposed publicly include :
- You are being *divisive*, we need non-partisanship, a unified movement (yet to include racists and bigots discredits and divides any ethical human rights movement) AKA “Don’t deprive the movement of important activists!” (despite their racist/bigoted behaviour). This point includes protecting divisive people who have attacked entire segments of the movement with their racist rationale, even going so far as to call an entire population within the movement, by mere identification with their ethnicity, an enemy of the movement;
- You are smearing [insert racist here] by identifying their racist behaviour;
- You are bullying us by identifying racist behaviour. (Or eg. Why are you ‘singling out’ Israel? as if the bully/Israel doesn’t single themselves out with their behaviour.);
- You are witchhunting those poor racists and in public too (as if their behaviour was only expressed privately);
- By criticising this racist behaviour, you are being racist. (Doublethink – eg. ‘criticism of [racist] Israel is anti-semitic’);
- You will alienate people “on the fence” by identifying racist behaviour; eg. ‘Don’t call Israel “apartheid”, it will turn off potential supporters of peace’.
- Our support of [insert racist behaviour here] is just a ‘difference of opinion’ AKA “We have a right to be racist”;
- You are ‘gatekeeping the discourse’ by identifying racist behaviour; (new variant is “you’re censoring. what about free speech?”)
- We need “education” and/or “dialogue” not “confrontation” with racists and racist behaviour (variation on 1.). (Yes, we do need education about racism and bigotry and why they aren’t acceptable within human rights movements, so we can confront the behaviour when it occurs. Why would one engage in normalising *dialogue* with zionists or any other racists? Resistance, not normalisation!);
- What gives you the right to determine what is racist behaviour? (As Raoul Wallender said, ‘every individual has a responsibility to fight against racism and other human rights violations’) AND corollaries “Racism is whatever I say it to be” or “‘Racism’ has no fixed meaning therefore we cannot identify racism” (in order to derail discussion away from racism)”;
- Your attitude is aggressive and counter-productive. (The “tone” non-argument) – variation on 3.;
- Why are you bringing up racism over and over and over again? we heard you the first time! (but still didn’t confront the racist behaviour);
- “I don’t see race. By seeing race you are being racist.” (Variation of 5.);
- “[Insert group] isn’t a race so nothing we say or do about this group is racist.” (ignoring the social construct of racism and reiterating the biological determinism inherent to racist ideology;
- “Please move on” AKA “Give peace a chance” AKA “We have these wonderful anti-racist principles and declarations, so now we can bury further discussion about racism and racist behaviour and get on with our ‘activism’.” AKA “Look over there, at Gaza/Syria!” AKA “The situation is complicated!” AKA “Yes, they may be a racist, but they raise good points”;
- “Race is culturally determined”. Now that biologically constructed racism has been debunked, racists are constructing race via culture. eg. ‘you come from a non-western culture and your race is suspect.’ This is really just a variant on biologically determined racism, since the target/s have been born into a culture/ethnicity.
To help end racism and bigotry, which are both tools used by ruling elites to divide and rule all the better to disempower any opposition, it is logical and essential to deal with these behaviours as they arise. Movements for freedom, equality and justice are strengthened when there’s zero tolerance within and without for the racism and bigotry they are attempting to end. Racism and bigotry belong on the zionist, colonialist and imperialist side.
“It is helpful to think of normalization as a “colonization of the mind,” whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with. Those who engage in normalization either ignore this oppression, or accept it as the status quo that can be lived with.”
“Irrespective of its sources, racism is racism. Ignorance is no excuse. Insecurity is not justification…racism in all its forms should be uncompromisingly condemned.”
Michael Dodson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, quoted in Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Fourth Report, 1996