A comedian who sued for libel after being branded a “racist” has been awarded £54,900 damages. Does that mean we are all due for a payout?
The comedian Frankie Boyle has been awarded £54,900 damages against Mirror Group Newspapers after a jury at the High Court found this word had defamed him. He was awarded a further £4,250 over an allegation that he had been forced to quit the TV programme Mock The Week.
While Boyle said he was very happy with the verdict, one should ask why in 21st Century Britain should anybody - English, Scottish, white, black, Moslem or Jew - bother resorting to the civil law over such a vacuous epithet.
Frankie Boyle is a comedian who appears to specialise in outrageous jokes. You will of course find him all over YouTube. An admirer has compiled what he calls Boyle's four most outrageous jokes here. One wonders what the Heir to the Throne must think about the joke Boyle made at the expense of his deceased first wife. More to the point, it beggars belief that a man who will tell a joke of that nature in front of a TV audience of millions can be offended by the word racist.
A review of some of Boyle's other material leads one to believe he doesn't give a monkey's who he offends, and his targets include everyone from the Queen herself and swimmer Rebecca Adlington to the Israeli Defense Force - heck, he must be an anti-Semite as well!
Seriously though, he appears on at least one occasion to have used the dreaded N word, but defended himself by saying context is everything: "If you use this at a dinner party to insult someone that would be a terrible hate crime". No, it would still be a racial insult.
He is certainly correct that context is everything; let us not forget that John Terry used an even stronger racial epithet on the football field - one which nobody actually heard - and in acquitting Terry of this non-crime, the district judge who did so used the same insult no less than nine times in his ruling.
Having said that, the word racist and declensions thereof is now used so freely in Britain and throughout the West as to be virtually devoid of meaning.
The word racism appeared in print for the first time as recently as 1935. This was at a time when there were still a few blacks alive in the Deep South who had been born into slavery.
Since then we have seen the abolition of state sanctioned segregation and of Apartheid in South Africa - neither of which has ever been entertained in Britain. We have seen also the erosion of class barriers not only in Britain but throughout the world, yet curiously, the better society gets in this respect, the worse the problem of racism becomes.
Not only that, different types of racism have been discovered (read invented). The following, in no particular order, are identified by Dinesh D'Souza in his 1995 tome The END of RACISM "Principles for a Multiracial Society"
Kinetic racism which "manifests itself by non-verbal means"
benign or benevolent racism
Process racism which "refers to procedures that generate racially disparate outcomes"
Dominative racism - as practiced in the Deep South
aversive racism - as practiced in the North
crypto-racism or neoracism
cultural racism = "A bigoted preference for one's own culture"
metaracism - racism which has been generated by modern technology
Missing from the above list are institutional racism, the chimera said to lie at heart of the police investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence way back in April 1993, and statisticalracism, which appears to have been first identified by the American House of Representatives in 1994, which rightly dismissed it as arrant nonsense.
Process racism is sufficiently similar to the statistical kind to be considered more or less the same, and using this yardstick, every society, not simply white society must be deemed inherently racist, and for a good reason. Human beings are not statistics, and cannot be treated as such. The talents and abilities of human populations vary by race and many other factors, and would to some extent even if we were all genetically the same. Is snookerracist because to date every single world professional champion has been a white male, and all but two have been born in these islands? Perhaps it is also sexist?
Is table tennis racist because it is dominated by the Chinese? Or heavyweight boxing because it is dominated and has been for decades by black Americans? A level playing field does not mean equality of outcome. Perhaps we should elect our heavyweight champions in future? Maybe the next one should be a seven stone female Inuit? This is how silly this racism business gets.
Having said all that, Mirror Group Newspapers could have defended Mr Boyle's libel action successfully, not on the grounds of fair comment, but on those of universality. If we are all racist collectively as well as individually, then branding him racist or a racist was and is no better and certainly no worse than the myriad insults the race lobby has directed at the peoples of these islands for the past forty plus years.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com