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You Might Just Be An Unwitting Apologist For Racism If...!
David Bennun , May 5th, 2016 10:43

Impecunious music critic David Bennun is plotting a career change into stand up comedy and asked us if he could try out his new routine on you, our readers. As it's sunny out we decided to give him the floor...

I've been working on a stand-up routine. Not usually my game, but I've got this great hook. What I thought I'd do is use a formula that goes, "If you [something]… you might be a [something]!" I'm quite certain this has never been done before, so the sheer novelty of my ingenious device should have people nodding wryly in recognition, then falling about in the aisles at the killer pay-off. Now, I know this isn't very highbrow - and despite occasional appearances to the contrary, nor am I - but I thought I'd start with something simple and "relatable". So here's my draft gag material for a bit called, "You might be an unwitting apologist for racism if… !"

  • "If you think a political party has no institutional problem with a specific form of racism despite the majority of people targeted by that form of racism telling you it very much does... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you think that things the majority of a race consider to be racist towards them are not in fact racist towards them... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you think it's down to you to define what is and isn't racist, rather than a wide consensus among the targets of that racism... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you do that thing where you find a few members of a race who say that things most people of that race think are racist aren't racist at all, and you say, 'See, they're of that race and they say it isn't racist,' in order to discredit the majority opinion within that race about what is racist... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you do that thing where you are one of those few members of a race who say that things most people of that race think are racist aren't racist at all, in order to provide a fig-leaf for an ideology, cause or movement you support... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you can't condemn a specific form of racism that is causing a specific problem in a specific context, without simultaneously making a blanket condemnation of all racism, as if anybody complaining about that specific form of racism actually needs telling that other kinds of racism are wrong as well... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If your arguments, rhetoric and positions mirror uncannily those deployed by people you know very well are racist towards races other than the race currently making a complaint of racism, and whom you customarily condemn for deploying those arguments, rhetoric and positions... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If your first reaction to claims of racism from across the board by an ethnic group is to question the motives of those making that claim, which you may otherwise have noticed is something people you think actually are racists do all the time... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you think that claims of racism from across the board by an ethnic group are in fact the product of some kind of conspiracy... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If one of the most commonplace, longstanding and deadly forms of prejudice against that ethnic group is a myth that it engages in conspiracies to advance its own purported ends, and you still maintain that its claims of racism are the product of or a component in some kind of conspiracy... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If any argument you make comes down in essence to, 'It isn't prejudice if it's true'... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you support a cause, and your instinctive response to widespread complaints that many within that cause are circulating racist ideas is not, 'We'd better get those racist ideas and the people who hold them the hell away from our cause, or they'll make us look like a bunch of malign cranks,' but, 'Stop trying to undermine our good and just cause with your spurious accusations; we'll tell you what is and isn't racist'... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If your first concern, when that cause is accused of harbouring and tolerating those who hold racist opinions, is not for the targets of that racism, but for yourself and the other members of the cause whom you believe to be acting in good faith, and if this leads you to prioritise protestations of your own and your cause's innocence over reflecting upon whether there might actually be an issue here that needs dealing with, and whether it might be better for everyone and truer to your self-professed ideals if it is dealt with, on terms that will satisfy not only you but more importantly the targets of that racism that your cause has cleaned up its act... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If a defender of your cause goes onto national television and says something so gobsmackingly obnoxious and wrong-headed that pretty much the entire country's jaw drops in a collective bout of 'WTAF?! You mentalist!', and instead of hurling yourself and your cause in the opposite direction, you busy yourself trying to contextualise the supposed nuances of this utterance with reference to the authority of selectively and dishonestly written texts of historical revisionism favoured by well-established racists of the most overt and foul type... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you believe in freedom, security and self-determination for all peoples of the world, and indeed one of your most ardently advocated causes is based on just this principle, yet there is one particular people and one particular people alone to whom you would deny this principle, because CRIMINAL STATE/ANTI-IMPERIALISM/THE NEW NAZIS (delete as applicable, or heck, leave them all in if you like)... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If you hold an opinion or a position on a social or political matter that you are unwilling explicitly to state, or use terms about it that you are unwilling explicitly to define, and you see any attempts to get you to do so as a form of trap, or make dark references to things you're 'not allowed to say', thus sounding exactly like the sort of people you would usually not hesitate to say are racists... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If a claim of racism made about people in your own country leads you instantly and reflexively to point to the conduct of people in another country... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If a claim of racism made about people in your own party or movement leads you instantly and reflexively to point to the conduct of people in another party or movement... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If your own party or movement defines itself by its opposition to racism and its promotion of equality, and so do you, yet you react to complaints about racism within it by claiming it is no worse on this count than parties or movements you have long criticised for failing to oppose racism and promote equality... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If any argument you make comes down in essence to, 'We never, and anyway they did it worse'... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

  • "If your sole idea of racism is active hatefulness towards a group, and you don't get that racism can also and does indeed more commonly take the form of unconscious internalisation and transmission of stereotypes, myths and prejudices, something which can be guarded against only by an understanding that for this to happen does not necessarily make one a wicked person, and by the capacity and willingness to consider the possibility that it could happen to you or to anyone, and by the resolve to better inform yourself, to be wary of dogmas and to reflect more carefully upon your own opinions... you might be an unwitting apologist for racism!"

Well, that's what I've got so far, folks. Yeah, I know, the comedy is kinda broad, but there's nothing wrong with a few good, honest belly-laughs - and, Hell, if you can't laugh at yourself and your own kind, who can you laugh at?

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