The ethnic minority victimhood sector couldn’t quite believe their luck when, earlier in the week, PM David Cameron had hinted at some sort of vaguely defined discriminatory practices regarding Oxford University’s admission policies.
“Oxford has to recruit more students from ethnic minority backgrounds.” It may be a cornerstone of our race relations industry as old as the hills, but Cameron’s PR team must have thought it was worth rehashing for the umpteenth time. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Has Cameron got any scruples left? Even a single one?
And so on the BBC’s This Week programme a black, ex-Oxford student presented more evidence of what he termed Oxford’s ‘institutional’ racism. When I say ‘evidence’ I mean his own opinions. For he provided no actual evidence, at least not what you and I would understand as evidence.
Bereft of facts as it was, Soweto Kinch’s presentation provided a very interesting snapshot of the canker that eats away at our society. The young man was absolutely convinced that the lot of ethnic minorties in the UK is one of total discrimination.
Following his VT, in which he exposed racism here, there and everywhere, he duly popped up in the This Week studio opposite studio regulars Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo. And then the fun began...
The young man once more berated Oxford and by association all those other institutions that are ‘institutionally racist.” He was on a role. Oxford and co. discriminate against ethnic minority students and that’s all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
But then something awful happened. Andrew Neil presented him with facts.
“Thirteen percent of Oxford students come from ethnic minority backgrounds – a reflection of their number in the UK population.” Underneath the seeming casual delivery, a definite note of exasperation infused the familiar Metro-Scots twang.
You could have heard a pin drop.
“Statistics don’t mean a thing,” retorted the young man attempting, but failing to look unflustered, “Just look at Cecil Rhodes.” Throwing in the argument about Rhodes might have worked with some people, but not with Andrew Neil:
“But based on these figures, Oxford is certainly not discriminating against ethnic minority students at all, which is what you stated in your argument.”
Kinch started shuffling in his chair. He’d been ambushed. Not by guile or trickery or any form of skulduggery, but by facts. But there was no going back now.
The young man started to stumble. He started to mumble. In a desperate effort to regain the high ground he once more threw in the name of Cecil Rhodes. It didn’t work:
“In fact at the Red Brick universities the figure is even higher – 25% of students are from ethnic minority backgrounds.”
It was going from bad to worse. As a university lecturer myself at one of those Russell universities, I knew full well that Neil was absolutely spot on. Very judiciously, the host of the programme had bothered to do his research before going on air. The facts and figures were at his fingertips.
Kinch had virtually broken down at this point, helpless under this onslaught of facts. And when Neil came up with his piece de resistance, I really worried about this young man’s psychological welfare:
“The statistics show that it’s actually white working class boys who are under-represented at Oxford.”
As soon as he heard those dreaded words, Kinch started howling, frantically so. His attempt to over talk his host however failed. Neil was on a mission: A mission to destroy the demagoguery and hysteria of those who play the race card. And boy was he doing it well.
Incredible what you can do with facts. Kinch had entered the This Week studio with all the swagger and confidence of one who truly believes in his own righteousness, one who was not expecting even the slightest opposition to his racist mantra. What he got were facts. It was brutal. A cat toying with a mouse. Man against boy.
Owned lock, stock and barrel on the This Week sofa by Andrew Neil. Interesting to see if this little episode makes it onto the CV of Soweto Kinch.
But it was the reaction of Messrs Johnson and Portillo that was perhaps most revealing. Portillo’s reaction was a depressing indictment of the modern Conservative party:
“Thirteen percent represents Asian, not black students,” said Portillio intent seemingly on propagating Kinch’s racist narrative. “I know that for a fact.” His BBC paymasters would have no doubt approved, but Andrew Neil didn’t:
“Not correct. I have the figures here. Black students’ representation corresponds to their population at large.” Virtue successfully signalled, Mr Portillo could now sit back on his fence. His days of continental train journeys courtesy of the BBC are not over yet by a long chalk.
Labour MP Johnson merely attempted to shift the ‘blame’ – for blame there always is – somewhere else. “It’s the schools and teachers,” he announced. If the facts don’t stack up, just blame someone else.
Instead of faithfully regurgitating the narrative, Portillo and Johnson should have challenged Kinch’s claims further. But no. Doing so might have jeopardised their place on the political and media feeding trough. Doing so might have put them on the ‘wrong’ side of the argument. Two more useful idiots you'd have to go a very long way to find.
And therein lies the problem with our society. Even when faced with facts, when faced with overwhelming evidence, too many individuals will simply toe the line – especially when it comes to career prospects. Sad, but true.
So deeply entrenched in our psyche are the politics of grievance that nothing – not even facts – can reverse this invidious trend. Kinch’s performance was just the latest in a long series of victim branding that include the recent OscarsSoWhite spat.
Like our American counterparts the UK has created and sustained a whole class of professional victims and victim-cheerleaders who are, in the words of Ed West, “financially incentivised to see racism everywhere.”
The real problem thus lies in the very disturbing fact that a whole raft of charities, NGO’s, journalists. lawyers and politicians have built very lucrative careers directly or indirectly dependent upon propagating the race narrative.
Facts are all well and good, but when it comes to sustaining a grievance culture that leads to enrichment, who gives a toss about facts?
Just ask Soweto Kinch. Or Diane Abbott.
Is Britain Racist? BBC3, Tuesday 5th October >>>
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