‘I’m not racist. Racism is a crime. And crime is for black people’.

The first two sentences embody what people say out loud, eyes wide open, frowning eyebrows, lips stiff with insult, head shaking in dismay. The last sentence  is what they silently think to themselves. In the same idea of how Kübler-Ross came up with the five stages of grief, I believe that humans go through the same five-stage model when it comes to being accused of racism. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If one were to think about it, everyone is pointing fingers, but when fingers are pointed towards them, they rush to defend themselves: ‘Me? A racist?’ or ‘I’m not a racist. I actually saw a black person/Muslim last night walking on my side of the pavement, and I didn’t switch sides!’ Denial. The creation of a ‘call-out’ culture is necessary, and this refers to the act of drawing attention to problematic behaviour. But, of course, nobody likes to be called out, and this is when anger kicks in.

An international comparison, carried out by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, shows that concern about immigration is particularly widespread and intense in the UK. People in Britain are more likely than the people of other nations to view immigration negatively. Furthermore, the Daily Mail revealed that almost 40 per cent of British people confessed to using the phrase ‘I’m not a racist, but…’. It is usually something along the lines: ‘I’m not racist, but I don’t really like Asians. I really don’t have a problem with Eastern Europeans, though. So that doesn’t really make me racist right?’ Bargaining.

Strangely, the less racist Britain has become, the more an industry has expanded to fight racism. It’s almost similar to how the increase in sales of diet coke and low fat meals over the last years seems to have overlapped with a massive increase in obesity.

Even though racism has probably been around from the very beginning of mankind’s existence, the majority of modern-day people are inclined to think that racism has been subdued, and that humanity has been ‘refined’. What with all the complex legislation at hand (all bearing long, sophisticated titles, so as to give the impression of being tough crime fighters), such as the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Convention on Human Rights, and Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, it seems that the legislature is keen on fighting racism and discrimination. However, it seems that pretty much everyone is keen on fighting racism. And that’s great! If only it weren’t so pretentious.

Humanity has not been ‘refined’, but, dare I say, it has rather tipped the scale to the opposite side. The situation has become ridiculous, to the extent that certain sections of the population are now so acutely tuned into the issue of race, that they infer racism where none is intended. The world has increasingly become so scared of being accused of racism that every single scholarship in universities is directed towards those that can tick a minority box, every single article is carefully edited and crafted so as to remove any word that might in the slightest connote racism, even movies are banned on pretext of being absurdly racist.

Only recently, a French comedy called ‘Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu’ (What did we do to God?), which mocks and transcends racial stereotypes, has been banned from the USA, as it was found to be inappropriately racist. The movie will not reach the UK either, as viewers ‘would never allow themselves to laugh at blacks, Jews, or Asians’. But the movie captures the actuality and severity of racism, and society should be able to embrace self-derision as well as self-criticism, in order to promote multicultural tolerance and strive towards the last stage of ‘racial healing’: Acceptance. Depression and self-loathing can kick in, after you realise racially motivated crimes in Northern Ireland have risen by more than 50 per cent in a single year.

Mario Balotelli once said: ‘You can’t delete racism. It’s like a cigarette. You can’t stop smoking if you don’t want to, and you can’t stop racism if people don’t want to’. To embrace the final stage, that of acceptance, one has to accept the fact that racial prejudice exists, and then you begin to battle it, head on.

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