The story is probably as complete as a newspaper can make it here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/05/met-officers-restricted-alleged-racist
I don’t like racism wherever I find it. The problem is that I find it everywhere. So do scientific tests. In the latter we find it in the sub-conscious, underneath what we can pretend in rhetoric. This is true of criminality, sexism, pornography and whatever to ‘push away’ from polite society (a Freudian concept). The Internet is a mirror for it all.
I saw “police racism” first hand and its language was colourful (let’s face it, PC is so bad it could even make this ‘pun’ a speech crime). In the Met this included a threat to set a police dog on ‘the Spade in cell 5’, down to ‘what do you call a nigger with a machine gun?’ and assertions the ‘way to deal with blacks’ was to go in hard, ‘knock them about to show who’s who’ and so on. In all my time, I never saw and behaviour by officers other than speech to indicate normal impartiality was dropped on race grounds. There was plenty of other stereotyping and gaming. It wasn’t a good idea to be young, scuzz-looking and driving a Ford Cortina in the late and early-hours when I was working for that matter (scuzz nicked an awful lot of Ford Cortinas back then).
I’m sure cops take far more abuse than they give out. I tried not to nick people just on this count, tolerate their drunkenness and so on. I’m not sure how we have come to operate broken windows policy on “speech” – especially what may be said in heated contexts. We have little clue on what connects behaviour with speech in common action. In terms of real racism in action, it is surely worse that we allow capital flight from Africa (through London) that kills people and keeps them in squalor, than any sloppy racist language can do. And ‘ethnic’ discrimination is colour-blind – as in the Balkan and Rwandan genocides.
I’m quite happy to see words like ‘wog’, ‘nigger’, ‘Paki’, ‘Gringo’, ‘Jihadist’, ‘Crusader’ and the rest regarded as inappropriate. That the issues remain untouched is obvious, say, when after several months working with Arabs, they announce you aren’t a Crusader. From Cyprus to the Balkans you can find friendly, even inter-married neighbours quickly at war on old ‘ethnic’lines and disgusting genocides. OJ was guilty if you were white, not guilty of you were black. Even those involved in the Rodney King beating were not convicted of any direct crime, but civil rights abuse (google the video).
I’m much more concerned at the lack of disabled people reading the news or having to throw their wheel-chairs off trains and crawl back into them, or disproportionate numbers of ‘foreign sounding’ men driving taxis rather than a cross-section of the local population than any problems in ‘politically correct speech’ amongst or towards police officers. This doesn’t make the latter right, but it is an indication that our focus remains on ‘espoused theory’ rather than theory-in-action. I deeply suspect that those pronouncing on ‘institutional racism’ are deep movers in the institution.
You can’t watch news on Sky now without (especially around tea-time) some grim advert on poverty and deprivation in Africa and children starving. Yet behind the attempt to get you to give a few quid or dollars, capital flight through the well-dressed and well spoken City and its offshore network is growing. This is the City of “Blue Arrow” convicted by a jury of us, let off by judges who aren’t. A few Met cops mouthing the wrong stuff are small beer and should be treated as such – quickly rapped knuckles are in order, not protracted legal non-solutions. Sticks and stones break bones – words can be hurtful but we should be able to give and take these in a tolerant attitude, and more importantly we need to discredit words in favour of analysis of overall actions.
That cops can still mouth this crap is sad. Yet nothing like as sad as what banksters do. That kid you see in the advert has malnutrition – but what is the cause of her not having enough to eat? The words of a few cops or something much deeper and to do with the institutions of ‘money’ and our failure to focus on what really matters and what is really immoral and should be subject of a moral imposition of the broadly democratic human rights that matter? Tariq Jahan was capable, under intense stress, of saying the right things, in last year’s riots, and yet could still break another man’s jaw for ‘looking at his wife’. Police officers who spout racism should not, yet they do less damage in this than those who spout ‘learning lessons’ or are incompetent, and a lot less damage than most of those who might hear their outbursts. This latest case is encouraging, as it seems other officers have felt able to come forward and complain. Yet surely there are more important matters they should be able to bring to light and cannot – such as the cover-up on hacking, what really happened in the Nico Bento case, and why white collar crime hardly gets a look in.