Flip-Flops and Carrier Bags

William of Ockham risks legal action over exclusivity rights to bring us this story about carrier bags:

In Australia, most states/territories, with the exception of New South Wales, have banned supermarkets from giving away single use plastic bags with shopping.

In response to this, the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths have removed said bags from New South Wales’ stores too. I’m sure this decision was reached for purely environmentally-righteous reasons and not simply because running two different processes and sourcing operations is inefficient.

Only a few days later:

Supermarket giant Coles has buckled to the backlash from its customers over paying 15 cents for reusable plastic bags and will now give them away to shoppers for free indefinitely.

A year ago the retailer announced it would phase out single-use plastic bags in its supermarkets by July 1, but appeared to be caught unprepared for the negative consumer response that followed.

So customers find carrier bags useful and prefer them to be free? Who would have thought? The hand-wringing middle classes didn’t like this though, among them the otherwise sensible Claire Lehmann, founder of Quillette:

Whereas I’d say it takes a lot more balls to reject pointless middle class environmental posturing than to go along with it. Good on Coles’ customers! Alas, my celebrations were to be short-lived:

Coles has done a double backflip on providing free plastic bags and will recommence charging customers for them after coming under fire from green groups and consumers for giving them away for free.

In a message to the retailer’s 115,000 staff on Thursday, Durkan said the ban on single-use plastic bags had been a “big and difficult” change for customers.

While customers had been growing more and more accustomed to bringing reusable bags, many were still finding themselves one or two short at the register.

So in the absence of a law banning free bags in New South Wales, who is driving this campaign against customers’ interests?

Environmental groups, including a vocal Greenpeace, and like-minded shoppers had heaped criticism on Coles for deciding to go back on its original plan to only temporarily provide reusable bags for free.

Ah yes. As usual, it’s a loud minority of wealthy middle class do-gooders via multi-million dollar lobby groups masquerading as charities. That Coles sided with them over actual customers says a lot about modern corporate management.


Gloves Off!

As a transgender female I have often been bullied, intimidated and harassed. These experiences left me with mental scars.

moans one Melissa Griffiths in The Guardian.

And much of this assault happened in public. One day I was walking through a train station towards an escalator when I was approached by a man. As we both went down the escalator he put his hand on my leg and moved it up towards my genitals.

Any man who goes around putting his hand up the dresses of transgendered women in public is likely to be mentally ill and in dire need of help.

“No!” I said. He stopped and moved away from me. I was too stunned, scared, and shocked to do anything more about it.

Perhaps not as shocked and stunned as he’d be if he moved his hand up a little higher, but his reaction is fully consistent with one who isn’t in possession of a full set of marbles.

I went home thinking there must be something wrong with me.

Lord no.

I began to believe that being treated like this is part of being a woman, when it is not and should never be.

So you never consulted with any women about what being a women entails before transitioning? You just went right ahead and learned on the job, as it were? Sounds like something a reasonable person would do.

We must value ourselves and recognise we are worthy, because we deserve dignity and respect.

Dignity and respect are earned, not demanded.

People can say you “brought it on yourself” or the perpetrator is “known” for it, or is “just joking around”. When you mention it to someone or even dare to complain about it, they try to dismiss it, telling you to move on, forget about it. But you can’t. The damage is done.

The damage is done all right, but I’m not sure some nutter’s hand up her dress is the main culprit.

This ends now.

If part of being a woman means seeking out high drama, Ms Griffiths is taking to her new role like a duck to water.

We can no longer allow our schools and workplaces to act as breeding grounds for bullies.

Sorry, is this about bullying at school or sexual assaults on escalators?

If we stand back and do nothing, well, nothing will change. This is why I decided to become involved with Now Australia: I want to change society and the workplace for the better.

Society must change at the whim of a bloke in a sun dress.

Too many people suffer in silence. In my community, the rates of suicide and attempted suicide are among the highest in the country.

That’s because your community is rife with mental illness and rather than getting treatment their fantasies are indulged. When reality inevitably bites, they can’t cope. Now, are you helping or hindering?

Interestingly, the true figures around sexual harassment in the transgender community are yet to be measured.

The true figures around sexual harassment of bluegrass-loving cricket fans are also yet to be determined.

There is evidence to suggest that particular groups, such as young people, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and people with a disability may experience higher rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment than the general Australian population.

This appears to be saying that sexual assault of minors in Aboriginal, Islander and foreign communities is rife.

I have heard many stories of what transgender people go through, in job interviews or the workplace.

Questions regarding their abilities? Concerns over the mental health? Doubts over whether they can work in a team or handle criticism?

Imagine being a transgender woman in an interview situation, nervous yet excited about the prospect of finally gaining employment.

I’m trying, but I keep getting hung up on what I’ve been doing to date if not working.

You arrive only to have the information sheet on a clipboard chucked on your lap.

Are you sure you’re not confusing this with a public hospital?

Once you fill out the form, it’s picked up by an employee wearing gloves. GLOVES.

Really sure?

If this is not intimidation, then I don’t know what is. This happened to somebody I know who prefers to remain anonymous.

The horror. Only now is the full trauma of living life as a transgender woman becoming apparent.

When one goes through these experiences, there is often nagging self-doubt. Sadly, stories like these are not uncommon.

Another interviewer was wearing socks?

We must create workplaces free from bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment.

And gloves, apparently.

We now have an opportunity to do this, as well as support those who are suffering in silence.

Could their silence also not be a sign they are quite content and don’t need your “support”?

The mission of Now Australia is to clean up toxic workplaces.

Nothing in the article indicates she has any experience of Australian workplaces, unless the interview room counts.

Our message will be heard across the land.

Including those Aboriginal towns, which doubtless you’re intending to visit? Do let us know how that goes.

(H/T William of Ockham, who asks in relation to the picture which accompanies the article: Session musician for The Sweet, Mud or Slade?)


Victim of entitlement or diversity?

This is an interesting story:

A SYDNEY barber says he’s distraught and unable to sleep after a woman took legal action against him for not cutting her daughter’s hair.

Sam Rahim, who runs a barber shop in Hunters Hill Village in Sydney, said he was devastated when he was taken to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission after refusing the woman’s request on the grounds of being unqualified.

Just before Christmas, a woman came into his shop and asked him to cut her daughter’s hair, according to Nine News.

When he tried to direct her to a salon up the road, she stormed out in anger.

“The reason we rejected it is because it is a barber shop,” he told Today this morning. “I only specialise in cutting men’s hair. I’m not qualified to cut females’ hair. That’s pretty much it. I’m surrounded by hairdressers.”

He said when women come into the shop he just points them to the nearest hairdressing salon. “They are literally a 20-second walk away.”

The woman took her complaint to the Human Rights Commission, claiming he breached anti-discrimination laws and embarrassed her daughter.

So did this woman not realise that a barber is not the same as a hairdresser, and cutting men’s hair is a lot different from cutting women’s? Is this an example of modern entitlement culture? Or is there something else going on?

In a statement to the Nine Network, the complainant claimed Mr Rahim never said he was unqualified to cut women’s hair.

“A claim has been brought against Hunters Hill Barber Shop in the Federal Circuit Court for an alleged breach of the Sex Discrimination Act. The basis of the claim is that the barber shop refused to simply run the clippers through my daughter’s undercut, because she was a girl.

“I indicated to him that I did not need him to style, cut or trim the rest of her hair, which is styled in a ‘bob’.

“Mr Rahim’s explanation was that he wished to keep his barber shop for boys and men only. He never said he was not qualified to cut women’s or girls’ hair, as he has incorrectly reported to the media.

Hmmm. Could this be a diversity issue of the type that now has lowly bollard suppliers thumbing through Sunseeker yacht catalogues?

Over-entitled, permanently aggrieved suburban mother versus member of a protected class. Good luck disentangling that one, Australia!

(What the barber should have done is put the No. 1 head on the clipper and given the little brat a French Foreign Legion cut. Viz had a gag along these lines with One Cut Wally.)


A shortage of land, or economic sense?

This story amused me, doubly so because it was being shared approvingly by people on Facebook:

WA’s port city is rolling out a new breed of infill that will cap house size at 120sqm, encourage smaller homes of less than half that size and mandate green space to stop the loss of trees to infill.

At 120sqm the maximum house size will be less than half the size of the average home being built in WA.

The plan is initially earmarked for pockets in Fremantle, White Gum Valley, Hilton, O’Connor, Samson and Beaconsfield. However, if successful it could be rolled out more widely.

A ban on building houses over 120sqm in a given neighbourhood will absolutely delight those who already own houses larger than this, as their value will increase considerably. I wonder how many people behind this decision stand to benefit in such a manner?

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said it would be “radically different” from conventional infill.

“It’s very smart planning and at the heart of it is trying to match what is Fremantle’s existing demographics with what we’re building,” Dr Pettitt said.

Do you think Dr Pettitt, who draws a salary from the taxpayer, lives in a home smaller than 120sqm?

“Your average house size is 2.2 people but you’re building on average a house that is four or five bedrooms. We’re keen to get young couples and young families into the area.

So why isn’t the market providing them? I don’t know, but I suspect a plethora of planning rules and regulations make building small houses economically unattractive. If only a small percentage of the overall costs of a new house is in the land, materials and construction, why not build bigger houses which can be sold at a higher price?

“Your average standard house in Fremantle is $800,000-plus, that’s pretty hard on an average income. But also we’re really keen on ageing in place. We’d love this to expand beyond Freo and for it to become the norm across the metropolitan area.”

As in the UK, house prices in Australia have rocketted beyond the reach of many people, especially youngsters, because of government policies intended to hoodwink the middle classes of a certain generation into thinking they are wealthy as a result of shrewd investment rather than dumb luck. Naturally, the solution is for the government to interfere further in the housing market by capping house sizes in certain neighbourhoods.

The maximum size of any dwelling would be capped at 120sqm but Dr Pettitt said they would also encourage homes of 50sqm.

All the joys of living in a something the size of a Paris studio, in an Australian backwater. What’s not to like?

Car bays would be capped at one for every new house and two for existing houses.

What’s this got to do with making housing affordable? Nothing whatsoever, it’s just some green shite tacked on the end by lunatics in the local government who want to virtue signal. What it means is any household where both adults work will be put off buying one of these new houses. Bear in mind this scheme is supposed to help young couples.

Ms McKenzie, who is working on a prototype for compact, affordable and moveable housing, said different solutions were needed to address Perth’s urban sprawl.

“The consumption of land here in Perth is far greater than anywhere in the world,” she said. “I take my hat off to Fremantle: they’re doing something and it’s new and it’s different.”

There was an old joke that the Saudis were so dysfunctional they could run out of sand. I think it’s time to update that joke to Western Australians running out of land.


Crocodile Tears of a Nation

This is pathetic:

An emotional Steve Smith has broken down in tears addressing the ball tampering affair that cost him the Australian cricket captaincy and a one-year suspension from the game.

Smith cried on several occasions during the press conference in Sydney and had to be ushered from the room shortly after raising how he’d let down his father.

You cannot one minute be leading a team of swaggering, foul-mouthed yobs who are forever telling their opponents they should “man up” when they make the slightest complaint about your conduct, and the next be crying like a girl on television because you’ve been fired for your own blinding stupidity. Either you are catastrophically weak as a person and should never have been in such a position of leadership, or you’re putting it on in order to garner sympathy.

Nobody would mind if Australian cricketers behaved as gentlemen, as the New Zealanders do, and got a little emotional as Brendon McCullum sometimes did. It is the flip-flopping from one ludicrous extreme to the other that I find so grating, and which I mentioned in my previous post. But this is probably a symptom of the country as a whole: for all Australians’ reputation as being tough, frontier folk (which they undoubtedly once were) they are rapidly becoming a nation of insecure, rather pathetic individuals desperate to score woke points from one another with excruciating displays of political correctness and virtue-signalling. They claim to be tough and uncompromising, but live in the world’s leading nanny-state. They want to be seen as confident, but can’t abide the slightest criticism of their country even if it’s something both obvious and undeniable.

I’m being unfair to a lot of Australians, and I know many who don’t fit the description above or subscribe to the cultural Marxism which infests the country’s politics. But this is what makes it worse: Australia didn’t use to be like this, and it can still produce sensible people, but they seem to be lost at sea without a rudder. Instead of trying to tread a normal, sensible path they lurch from one extreme to the other, yelling from the rooftops in a manner which seems extremely artificial. Not everything needs to be hyped up to eleven.

Could Steve Smith and the rest of the Australian team not just gone out there, played cricket, done their best, and bask in either the glory of victory or go home and lick their wounds? That’s what every other team does, it doesn’t have to be the travelling circus it’s been turned it into. England might not be very good at cricket, but you can be sure they won’t disgrace themselves in New Zealand other than by way of the batting and bowling stats. You sure as hell aren’t going to get the whole population goading the team into behaving like fucking idiots resulting in the tour literally ending in tears. And sure, cricket isn’t as big in England as it is in Australia, but football is and when the English team gets bounced out of the World Cup in Russia at the group stage it’ll only be a handful of fans who disgrace themselves.

Australia needs to seriously grow up, and this process can start with their cricket team. Steve Smith should dry his fucking eyes then get back out and make a proper apology without all the theatrics. Their new captain then needs to tell his men to shut their mouths and play cricket, and keep it that way.


Nothing to see here, Australian edition

Well, it turns out I was completely wrong when I said yesterday’s incident in Melbourne would be forgotten by Christmas: it’s largely been forgotten already, disappearing from the front page of the BBC to be replaced by a story about kids dying in Yemen. At least it’s not the Rohingyas, anyway.

As BiG pointed out in the comments, before the ink was dry on my post the Australian authorities had declared it the work of a lone nutter and hence was not terrorist-related. The fact that the guy was an Afghan refugee, complained about worldwide “mistreatment of Muslims”, and was filmed in action by one of his co-religionists who was carrying a sack of knives doesn’t mean a damned thing, it seems. Because, as Streetwise Professor put it, lone lunatics are always accompanied by knife-wielding cameramen.

The authorities are taking the piss, secure in the knowledge the Australian population – like so many others – will just lie down and take it, with a good percentage actually siding with the men with the beards. But they’re not outright lying, it’s more of a lie by omission. I am quite sure the guys who carry out these vehicular attacks are mentally ill and are quite possibly loners. All societies have them, and Australia’s approach to nutters is to not to care for them or make them seek treatment (because that would be judgmental), but instead to clap them on the back and encourage them to roam the streets panhandling and yelling at passers-by. The irony is that most of Melbourne’s head cases congregate around Flinder’s Street Station where the attack took place, so there is an outside chance our Afghan friend has spotted a mate from way back in the funny-farm and just wanted to say hello.

The problem is, mentally-ill Muslims don’t just hang around stations yelling at people; instead they can tap into a large and well-funded network brimming with anti-western sentiment which will welcome them with open arms. There are supposedly moderate mosques and preachers all over the world who will happily embrace lone nutters and, instead of helping them, turn them into jihadists carrying out amateurish but deadly attacks on western targets safe in the knowledge they have no links to an actual terrorist network and the authorities will play along. By refusing to acknowledge the obvious and dangerous link between mentally-ill Muslim men and organised Islamic terror, western governments have entered into a quite astonishing collaborative agreement with terrorist organisations. Then again, given both see the ordinary native populations as representing the greatest threat to their ambitions, this is perhaps less surprising that you’d think.

But their culpability doesn’t stop there. One day I fervently hope that western politicians and their lackeys are held accountable for their considerable role in perpetuating among Muslims this perception they are being mistreated everywhere, and that westerners are to blame. From the hand-wringing over non-existent Islamophobia to the gleeful reporting of the Muslim world’s reaction to Trump moving an embassy, the western media and many, many governments are as much to blame for filling this idiot’s head full of angry feelings of victimhood as any radical preacher. Once again, it is a collaborative effort.

The good news is that I think fewer and fewer people are buying this crap, and compared to five years ago, more of the population are openly mocking the pathetic, craven, and self-serving response of the authorities to Islamic terror attacks. This is a small but important step along the road to doing something about it. When that time comes, I hope little distinction is found between the terrorists and those in power who currently help them.


A Mystery in Melbourne

An event in Melbourne, completely without precedent elsewhere, leaves us dumbfounded:

Australian police have arrested two people after a car drove into a crowd in Melbourne.

The car “collided with a number of pedestrians” on Flinders Street, a busy junction in the centre of the city, said Victoria Police.

Fourteen people have been injured, with several in a critical condition.

I know that junction, I used to cross it on my daily walk to work along with about twenty thousand other people. It’s busy, and there’s nothing between the pavement and the road. If you want to mow down a bunch of folk in a car in Melbourne, that’s where you’d do it.

Police have said it was a deliberate act but said it was too early to say whether it was terrorist-related.

This is probably true, but I don’t think time is really the issue here. I remember when an Iranian took a bunch of people hostage in a Sydney cafe and shouted Islamist slogans while waving an ISIS flag before shooting someone; when the police eventually got around to saying whether it was terrorist-related they’d decided it wasn’t. Just another of those “lone wolves” we keep seeing everywhere. The public responded with a hashtag fronting a bizarre campaign to sit next to Muslims on public transport. If only their cricket team behaved like this on the pitch, I’d be a lot happier.

The driver and another man have been detained.

“The motivations are unknown,” police commander Russell Barrett said.

Helpfully, 7 News Sydney tweeted a photo of the two men:

Beards and a lumberjack shirt? Why, they’re fucking hipsters! Melbourne is full of them, and they really are a menace.

Witness Jim Stoupas, who runs a business nearby, told the BBC: “It just barrelled through a completely full intersection of pedestrians. There was no attempt to brake, no attempt to swerve.”

He added: “I saw probably five to eight people on the ground with people swarming around them [to help]. Within a minute, I think, there were police on site, so it was very, very speedy.”

Victoria Ambulance said in a statement that a child of pre-school age with serious head injuries was among those taken to hospital.

If the father of that child were Chechen, the perpetrators would not have long to live. I’m merely observing some cultural differences here, celebrating diversity as we’re encouraged to.

In January, six people died when a man drove a car into pedestrians on Bourke Street.

Afterwards, city authorities installed concrete blocks in various locations – including on Flinders Street – hoping to prevent vehicle-based attacks.

Tsk! Someone tell the BBC that the official term is “diversity bollards“.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Twitter that the investigations had begun, and sent “thoughts and prayers” to those affected.

Of course. This will be forgotten by Christmas Day.


The Bigotry of Low Expectations

Via the comments at Tim Worstall’s I found this article which, if it had been written as a parody, would have made the author a genius:

I’m a young Indigenous man from the south coast of New South Wales.

While growing up, I was faced with a different kind of racism.

I have always been proud of being Aboriginal, but people have always told me that I’m not.

They would say that I’m too white and I have red hair — and that these features mean I can’t be Indigenous.

Adam Piggott did a good post back in July on the Australian Aboriginal industry which allows pasty folk with dubious claims to Aboriginal ancestry to access monies, privileges, and programmes intended to assist genuine Aboriginal communities out in the bush. US Senator Elizabeth Warren did much the same, claiming Cherokee ancestry in order to land an affirmative action place at Harvard Law School, so it’s not just an Australian thing. Is this kid in the article Aborigine? Well, if Linda Sarsour can call herself black I guess he can be anything he likes. He’s not easily dissuaded, anyway:

But luckily, I’m not very good at listening to people who tell me things that I don’t want to hear.

The options in front of this boy are wide indeed, ranging from politician to corporate manager to divorced woman. But this is the passage that really stood out:

So, straight away I think of a way to show my Aboriginal background either through art, didgeridoo playing, language, stories, culture, and Aboriginal songs and dances.

I’ve created artworks for my friends and family and I’ve taught other students how to circular breathe while playing a didgeridoo.

When I was in Melbourne some government body or other put on a display of “Aboriginal culture” in Federation Square and advertised it all over town. I guessed in advance that it would consist of a bunch of primitives sat around bashing drums while metropolitan white folk looked on as if they were visiting a zoo. Child-like art would be on display wrapped in copious quantities of mumbo-jumbo. I passed by one Saturday afternoon and sure enough, that’s exactly what it was. A more patronising exhibition I couldn’t imagine, and it must have been soul-destroying for any Aborigine who aspires to be something more than a museum piece for liberal whites. Any who did would find ginger palefaces have crowded them out and, to rub salt in the wound, are now boasting about how they’ve learned the didgeridoo and circular breathing. What is absolutely certain is the urban elites don’t want these Aborigines getting off their knees any time soon or – horror! – turning up to live next door. Which is why they keep reminding them that their place in Australian society is as little more than curios, and an excuse to keep the guilt-industry motoring along on taxpayer cash.

I mentioned drums earlier for a reason. One thing supposedly right-on palefaces like to do is marvel at dark people’s “sense of rhythm”. Nobody would be interested in an Aborigine – or an African – who’d learned the violin, clarinet, or piano (none of which require rhythm, of course); all they want to do is see them whack drums in an ethnically-authentic fashion while marvelling at their supposed natural talent. South Park covered this brilliantly here:

I had occasion to stumble into some anecdotal evidence on this topic. A friend and colleague is from Jamaica but her daughter – whose father is also Jamaican – grew up in Scotland. My friend can dance as all good Jamaicans can; alas, her daughter is absolutely hopeless and has no sense of rhythm whatsoever. It seems dancing in a Caribbean manner is dependent on growing up in the Caribbean rather than genes or skin-colour. Fortunately my friend, who holds a Masters in Engineering and a PhD in something similar, grew up in an environment where education, self-sufficiency, and genuine achievement were considered more important than “keeping it real” as defined by wealthy, privileged whites; she also believes her daughter’s education is more important than her lack of dancing ability.

Maybe one day Australia’s Aborigines will enjoy such an environment, too?


A Fear of Heights

From the BBC:

An Australian diplomat has died after falling from a New York City balcony while socialising with friends.

Julian Simpson, 30, accidentally slipped from a seventh-floor ledge of his Manhattan building to a landing on the second floor, the NYPD said.

US media reported he was playing a “trust game” with a friend when he fell.

This is tragic for his family and friends, and 30 seems a bit old to be pulling stunts like this. Then again, I’ve found a lot of Australian men shed the reckless bravado of youth rather later than most, if at all.

One thing’s for sure, you’d not catch me playing “trust games” seven stories up. I have a very mixed relationship with heights: I am fine in a tall building, I don’t mind being hoiked in the air by a crane while sat in a frog, helicopters and planes are okay, and working on the outside of tall structures while clipped on doesn’t bother me (but takes a little getting used to). But put me on a balcony with a low railing, or near a ledge, and I go weak at the knees and start to feel sick. The fear is twofold: I am petrified of someone pushing me over the edge either on purpose or by accident, but also I have a burning desire to jump off which I am never convinced I can overcome. This means I can abseil without much fear, but if I were to visit somewhere like the Trolltunga in Norway you’d not see me taking selfies at the edge, or sat with my legs dangling into the void. You’re more likely to find me a mile away, looking at it through binoculars. There’s something about being up high and unsecured that terrifies me, which is why I’d not be hanging out of windows seven floors up in New York.

Sometimes just for fun I lie in bed and watch videos of those Russian or Ukrainan nutters who climb buildings and cranes with GoPros on their heads. There are two in particular that I like, both in China:

Even in bed these videos make my stomach churn, which makes them fun to watch in a masochist kind of way. This one of a couple of Romanians climbing a chimney in Slovenia is good too:

Frankly, I think the people who do this sort of thing are complete idiots but at the same time astonishingly brave. It’s a shame this Australian lad didn’t stick to watching videos of other people doing stupid things rather than having a go himself.


Racist in speech but not action

Via Helen Dale on Twitter, this excellent article on the working class. It’s well worth reading in full, but this bit leaped out at me:

In the working-class context, in particular, it’s what you physically do, what you make—the observable physical impression—that counts. That is the native language, the one they are fluent in and the one they trust. And that language often conflicts with working-class speech or attitudes.

I worked in a recycling centre for some years. One of my workmates was a kid (we were all kids) called Ricky. I regarded him as a lowlife brute, and he regarded me as rule-following sissy. We were both right.

Every week an elderly Chinese man brought his bottles and cans to us. He couldn’t speak English, which tends to frustrate racists, and Ricky was duly irritated. One morning the man—who had difficulty walking—accidentally put his car into gear while he was half out the door and still tangled in his seatbelt. His legs went sideways and dragged on the ground as the car took off, and he struggled hopelessly to pull them in, or to reach the brakes, or to loosen his seatbelt to escape. The car was only a few feet away from me, but all I managed was an incoherent shout and an uncertain jog as it picked up speed and headed for the main road.

Ricky dashed past me, jumped into the man’s lap, grabbed the steering wheel, and quickly found the brakes. Then he helped the man out of the car, checked that he was uninjured, and knelt with his arm around him as he cried and shook on the ground. When the man was calm enough to stand, Ricky pulled him to his feet, told him to take care, then walked away, muttering, ‘Fucken Asian drivers’. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it got the job done.

My parents were racists in private speech but not in action. Did that make them secret racists who hid their racism from the wider world? Or were they non-racists who played with racist speech? Or a bit of both? Who can possibly say? My worry is that by conflating racist or offensive speech or attitudes with racist or offensive actions or activism we push people like my parents and Ricky (who represent large chunks of every dominant ethnicity or tribe in every country on earth) over to the wrong side of the political fence. By setting unnegotiated limits on attitudes and speech as well as actions, we claim too much territory and thereby risk losing it all.

The “racists in speech but not in action” was exactly the point I made in this post last January:

 If it comes to a choice between privately held prejudices in a polite society and different, approved prejudices in a society where abusing people in public is accepted and normal, I know which one I’d prefer.

Go read the whole article.

(Apologies if posting seems light over the next couple of weeks: I’m on holiday in Annecy again.)