Sam Smith and the myth of everyday racism

Guy Birchall

Topics Politics

Sam Smith has stirred the ire of the Twitterati for tweeting his shock at his friend being racially abused in London. The multi-award-winning singer took to social media claiming to be ‘absolutely speechless and hurt’ following an incident which, judging by the timings of the tweets, happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Within 15 minutes, the self-righteous Twitch-hunters, who don’t object to keeping unsociable hours lest they miss an opportunity to show how stultifyingly PC they are, leapt into action. Rather than expressing sympathy for Smith, or indeed his friend, the incensed tweeters asked him if he ‘watched the news’, because, they said, racial abuse ‘happens every day’.

They went on to accuse Smith of ‘living under a rock’, asking him if he had ‘just moved to London or something?’, all, it seems, to advertise how aware they were of the capital’s epidemic of racial abuse. Obviously, this pathetic mob was talking total nonsense.

Having lived in London for a few months now, I can honestly say that I have never witnessed anybody being racially abused. Even during my time growing up in far-less-cosmopolitan Staffordshire, there was no occasion where I saw or heard someone being actively abused for their race.

Britain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and London perhaps its most tolerant part. The idea that a non-white person wandering the streets of the capital is likely to be racially abused is a complete fallacy.

Bar a few berks on buses – who tend to get videoed and exposed rather quickly, by the way – people in London, and indeed in Britain as a whole, do not go out of their way to abuse ethnic minorities. If you do hear about such abuse taking place, you should enquire about the wellbeing of the person being abused. Don’t use it as a means of illustrating what a ‘racist’ country you live in, and thus displaying how ‘aware’ you are of the problem.

I would go on to deal with the accusation that Smith was ‘whitesplaining’ racism. But, frankly, that claim is so unfathomably fatuous those levelling it are already beyond help. Anyway, I’ve only ‘just moved to London’, so my opinion won’t be considered valid by the smug gits anyway.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

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Topics Politics