Dan Hodges is an English newspaper columnist and son of Dame Glenda Jackson the former Labour Party MP. Dan writes for The Daily Mail. This means that Dan must represent the views of Mittel-Ingerland. Dan is very much not alone in his confusion about why other people don’t think being racist is a good thing. This is what Dan wrote in public today.
To précis this then: “A columnist in a very popular newspaper believes that an anti-racist gesture shouldn’t be imported from foreigners because it’s not English enough anti-racism”.
Dan is not alone in this confusion over what it is to be anti-racist. In his mind (and in fact), Dan is voicing the concerned bewilderment of ‘many players and many fans’, all of whom I assume are The Daily Mail-reading players and fans yet simultaneously want to be seen as “not racist but…”
The ever-present “but” appears here as it usually does in the context of not actually being a decent human being. It’s sits there alongside, “Some of my best friends are black and what they need to understand racism is…” in a pantheon of dankly disingenuous Pecksniffery.
We can translate Dan’s dissembling (and remember he’s not alone) as follows:
“I want to appear to be making an anti-racist statement because I want to appear to be anti-racist but… this gesture is just way too Black Panthers and not enough Priti Patel for my liking”.
As for the “We simply need an anti-racist statement that people can unite behind”. Dan is surely not alone in believing that, like skateboards, computer games and foodbanks, this newly discovered exceptionally English anti-racism must fade and die unless everybody – including racists – can find a symbolic gesture to get behind. Or in many cases to hide behind.
This is the problem with anti-racism though for many people who read The Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express and their mucky ilk. This is their quandary, as it is for the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister. This is what Dan is expressing: How is it possible for England to appear to be not very racist unless everybody in England is appearing to be not racist? Even the racists?
Obviously Dan and his brother and sister columnists will certainly unite behind anti-racism as soon as someone comes up with a properly English activity.
Until then, Dan’s conclusion I suspect, and that of his supporters is simply not to bother at all.