Thursday, 18 June 2020
The go-to argument-settler these days seems to be the interminable poll, with which invalid conclusions we are regularly bombarded. Whatever the problem it can be resolved with a poll; polls are the new focus groups; if a poll said so it must be true. The incomplete and unsubstantiated polling about attitudes to immigration and other ethnic issues were raised on the BBC’s flagship, Today programme on Monday with great jubilation that positive attitudes have steadily increased. This was the finding,
“Asked if they were optimistic that the UK will be more tolerant and diverse in 10 years’ time, 66% of people say yes, up from 50% in 2009. And 84% strongly disagree that someone has to be white to be truly British - up from 55% 10 years ago.”
But as with all polls you must be careful. Who was asked? How many were polled? What, exactly, were they asked? Who was doing the asking and what result did they expect? Or, more probably, what did they set out to ‘prove’? And in the case of this particular poll, did they ask the same cohort this time as they did 10 years ago? If, for instance, this was a cross-section of Londoners it would be alarming if exactly these changes had not been seen, given that over that period London has become a minority white-British city.
Had you polled exclusively white respondents it would also be surprising if the same figures didn’t see an increase over this period. After all, for the last couple of decades white people have been relentlessly pounded with negative messages about their own ethnicity. But try asking white people who feel they have been driven out of their traditional stamping grounds by the intolerance and cultural iniquities of ‘the new Londoners’ and you might see the opposite result. Formerly tolerant people driven to antipathy. You can call them racist all you like but this isn’t helpful.
But what is the real purpose of polls? It isn’t to get a real perspective of how people feel – that is what elections and national referenda are for – but rather to push a pre-conceived notion of how people feel. And it is all about the ‘feelz’ because, as we have seen, emotion trumps reality every time, and what better way to affirm that your instincts are the correct ones than to find that a lot of people agree with you? Or at least some people… maybe a thousand or so who read the same newspaper as you do.
Polls are often used to push an argument rather than resolve it and the argument du jour is that of ‘white privilege’. Yes, we do know what you mean by white privilege; we understand that even the least privileged whites in our society do not have to struggle with the additional burden of being black. But where is that burden? There has never been a better time to be black, and in the UK it is arguable there has never been a better place to be black.
Does this look like white supremacy to you?
Right here, right now, the white man’s burden is to step aside in favour of any other ethnicity than our own and take a knee to show obeisance to black supremacy. Only black lives matter, whitey, hadn’t you heard? I know I am in a sample of one, but my impression is that all of this pandering to demands for reparation, for unequal justice, for preferential treatment can only backfire ultimately. But maybe I am not alone. Maybe in the white diaspora can be found other dissenting voices; maybe we should have a poll about it?