If you put an adequate amount of effort in, you will see that racism is everywhere. I myself spend at least 30 minutes per day practicing how to interpret things white people say as racist. Thankfully, there are many other tireless activists out there who have trained their mental gymnastic skills to an impressive degree so that we may ensure that no white person gets away with saying anything we perceive to be racist.
Alastair Stewart is, or should I say ‘was’ (lol), a newsreader on a British TV station. He had held this position for 40 years. As a white male, it was only a matter of time before he slipped up and revealed his hatred of brown people to the public. On Wednesday it was announced that he would be leaving social media and had stepped down from his decades-long position at ITN due to an ‘error of judgment’. Of course, as we all know, ‘error of judgment’ is code for: ‘Although happy in my job as a respected newsreader, with no previous inclination towards racism or prejudice, I decided to publicly post the most racist thing I could think of and set fire to my career and reputation in the process.’ Because this is the only logical explanation for what Alastair did, and why he was subsequently ‘let go’.
TRIGGER WARNING: The next paragraph contains a highly offensive oldy-worldy Shakespeare quote.
PoC Martin Shapland was involved in an exchange with Stewart on Twitter, during which Stewart posted the following Shakespeare quote:
‘But man, proud man,
Dress’d in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d-
His glassy essence – like an angry ape.’
Of course, Martin correctly reported Stewart to his employer, which eventually lead to Stewart deleting his Twitter and leaving his job. To use the phrase ‘angry ape’ in a conversation with a black man is obvious racism. Now, what makes this comment even more offensive is that apparently Stewart didn’t see the racism in it. When posting the tweet, he didn’t see that ‘angry ape’ automatically refers to black people. What kind of racist mentality doesn’t see black people as ‘apes’?! It’s astoundingly disconcerting that in the year 2020, white people don’t understand how racist things are even if they had no intention of those things being racist.
As if this were not horrifying enough, Stewart did not even have the decency aim the offensive quote directly at Martin Shapland. I kid you not! He was replying to another Twitter user. Stewart is not only a stealth-racist, like Danny Baker, he is also a coward. Honestly, if you are going to use insults a PoC might perceive in their own mind of having racist intent, at least possess the modicum of courtesy required to address them to a PoC directly, otherwise it just comes across as a foolish and clumsy attempt to disguise your racism under a blanket of not actually being racist.
Of course, since Stewart’s predicament was made public yesterday, Martin Shapland’s Twitter account has been inundated with abuse. He has been forced to delete every single one of his ‘white people are awful’-themed tweets because ignorant fools have been accusing him of hypocrisy. Which in my mind, is about as racist as you can get. How dare these people suggest that we hold a PoC up to the same moral standards as us? It’s sheer bigotry to even expect it.
It’s almost unbelievable that a white man with a successful career spanning decades would suddenly decide to out himself as a racist by using a convoluted Shakespearian quote not even aimed at a black person, but there we have it. This is the age of Brexit and Trump, and racism and bigotry lurks around every corner, even when it doesn’t actually exist. Scary times.