This week, Britain has seen another moral panic over racism, resulting from online abuse of black footballers in the wake of England’s football defeat on Sunday. Having followed such panics over many years, I could have written Monday’s script in advance - and some commentators clearly did. Britain has, in fact, been in the grip of a series of moral panics over racism for some years: at least since the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York police in 2014, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This narrative, which has seeped from the far-left into the mainstream media over the years needs constant feeding, and so will seize on almost anything to sustain itself. This has resulted in countless, spurious claims of racism - many of which are so ludicrous that only the true believer can take them seriously. We have had racist rice, racist burgers, racist hair, racist t-shirts (which weren’t actually racist), racist chicken boxes… in normal times, these claims would be the subject of satire and mockery. But these aren’t normal times, and people are not acting rationally. Given the media’s newfound habit of finding racism literally everywhere, then any story, however trivial or questionable, will be amplified.
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