Dear Sift

Can we talk about racism?

Didn't find your answer?

Dear Sift

Sadly the thread on monarchy and racism was removed.  Here are my reasons for why I think the thread brought benefits:

  • It is good to read neat articles on equality and racism on this site. It is a start. This just does not go far enough. To attempt to change beliefs, exposure and discussion is likely to get somewhere over a period of time. 
     
  • My thread exposed people's deeply seated beliefs. It allowed for different perspectives to be brought into the light. Although unappealing, uncomfortable and at times hurtful to all parties, this is a good way to make progress on the subject. 
     
  • Removing the thread is simply hiding deep-seated issues under the carpet. Exposing those beliefs to racism and monarchy is healthy. With respect, it is more effective than reading well-written neat articles with a beginning, middle and end. Life, as you know, does not work that way. 
     

I understand you are protecting your commercial interests. After all, you are a private company and like other private companies, the profit motive drives your decision-making. In my view, this was one of those occasions where the profit motive should have been put aside for something bigger - addressing racism.

Before someone points out the damn obvious, I know it is YOUR site and your decision. However, your site is built on contributions from the community. 

I also want to say thank you for allowing the thread to continue for the period it did. All I can do is ask not to remove threads in future. I understand you have a tough role here. 

Replies (52)

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By Hugo Fair
18th Sep 2022 18:14

"My thread exposed people's deeply seated beliefs" ... No, it didn't (other than yours).

I held back from posting any comments because you were so obviously determined to act as agent provocateur ... and when that didn't work (despite you stoking the flames with ever more offensive comments), you fell back on the spurious claim of racism.

That last aspect I find despicable - given that I saw no comment that was racially based, let alone targeted at you (which is unsurprising as no-one has the least clue about you ... in genetic or any other terms).

I say 'despicable' deliberately because, although I feel for anyone who truly suffers racial abuse or discrimination, I reserve the right to use that accusation against people expressing themselves with obvious intention ... as did those who openly called for my execution (when I was just 5) merely on the basis that my parentage left me unable (in their minds) to claim that I was human.

FWIW I don't seek out examples of racism ... but nor do I let it slide by when either encountered or merely observed (i.e. if it is being aimed at a 3rd party).
I would suggest a moment or two of self contemplation may ease any anguish you seem to be suffering ... certainly more than attempts to stoke division.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
FT
By FirstTab
19th Sep 2022 22:01

Are you from an ethnic minority group?

How does leave the country not be racist?

Have you ever had white people tell you "Pakis out'? Have you ever had racist graffiti on your bedroom window?

Have you ever been to a job interview and been told, "I will be honest with you. I think you are great, but sorry, our clients do not take to Indians."

Have you seen your mother being verbally abused because of the colour of her skin?

You have read the instruction book on how to drive but have not been in a position to drive. When I say racism, I am not saying to get attention. I am outlining now because I have had enough of not saying anything much earlier. Also, I hope, it makes it easier for others.

Please do not tell me I do not know what racism is. I have lived through it. I know when I see it. I saw it in the previous thread and I have seen and experienced it on AW before.

Highly disrespectful to say "agent provocateur" when I see racism very clearly. I have had comments like yours all my life. "You are oversensitive". "Honestly he/she is not like that." They are.

I think you are a white person commenting from your not faced racial discrimination perspective. You have NO IDEA.

You are in not in a position to comment about my, according to you, my made-up racial discrimination. It is not made up. I wish it was made up. My life would have been so much easier.

I have also had similar comments, "if I saw discrimination, I would have supported you. "

Because of comments such as yours, I would argue, that most people who are discriminated against would not say anything. This was me years ago. My age means, I just do not care anymore about what people like you think. I just have had enough.

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Replying to FirstTab:
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By Hugo Fair
19th Sep 2022 22:36

'Yes' (to your first question) ... and, 'when the context is based neither on intended racism nor knowledge of your background' (to your second one).
I don't intend to answer each of your questions ... but the same type of response would apply to your next 4 questions.

FWIW I've had far worse experiences than those - which is neither to exculpate the perpetrators nor belittle any situations that you've endured (this is not a competition), but please don't tell me who (or indeed what) I am - a person whom you've never met.

Unlike you I don't hide behind a pseudonym - but you could say my names are not real in the sense that they were changed (by deed-poll) 3 years after arriving in this country. Why? Because having fled genocidal attempts by a government of supposedly democratic intentions on my whole community, we encountered such overt racism in the UK that it was decided to start again (new town, new school and new names) now that my English was up to 'native' standards.
[My father was told at the end of a gruelling series of interviews by the Civil Service that "We'd like to offer you a job but of course we can't employ someone with a wog name - are you prepared to change it?"].

I feel your pain (how could I not) - but I was being serious when in my previous post I suggested that "a moment or two of self contemplation may ease any anguish you seem to be suffering".
Using this forum to stir things is highly unlikely to help your peace of mind - and only leads to polarisation of the views you say you wish to change.

This is not the way to open people's minds ... and on that point, I'm out for the sake of all concerned.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
FT
By FirstTab
19th Sep 2022 22:50

I will disagree and move on from you.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Tax Dragon
20th Sep 2022 06:41

Yes self contemplation is appropriate. By FT, assuredly, but also (I would say moreso) by those who think themselves immune from bias. Noone is immune.

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By Tax Dragon
18th Sep 2022 18:25

WT's comments here https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/practice/people/accounting-for-diversity... are imho worthy of attention.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Hugo Fair
18th Sep 2022 18:47

Indeed.

It's a puzzle to me why the strident (of any persuasion) seem to be given so much oxygen on this site, whilst reasonableness (when it is brave enough to poke its head above the parapet) seems to be regarded as argumentative!

Can't make up my mind whether it's a reflection on this site specifically or on society at large.
I hope not the latter (my experience via random conversations on buses, taxis and elsewhere tends to confirm my long-held belief that most people are intrinsically 'decent') - but if it's this site then what does that say about Accountants (or is it just those who are attracted to posting on this type of site)?

It's beginning to feel that checking out the latest posts here is more akin to 'work' than pleasure, which now that I'm feeling the benefits of retirement is an increasing hurdle (of lethargy) to overcome.

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By jonharris999
19th Sep 2022 10:17

Well THAT'll teach me not to login at the weekend. ::))

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By Leywood
19th Sep 2022 14:24

I missed the part of the post allegedly covering racism.

In fact I also missed the fact that FT apparently drop some anti monarchy comments in the his original post. I only saw the heavily edited OP following a bit of a back lash.

Not sure why Sift have completely annihilated the whole thread, clearly wasn’t necessary. I guess that’s less hassle for them than just moderating specific comments.

There really is no room for any kind of racism in any area of life as far as I’m concerned.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
19th Sep 2022 10:35

I didn't see this thread later than Friday, but I made an important point which may explain a lot of the friction in that thing which was lost somewhere in the middle as a reply to other points.

Fundamentally FT's objections to this was due to 3 contributors suggesting (to different degrees) if he didn't like the something about this country, to leave the country.

I pointed out (along with the point this was a really poor argument, when I see it, I think of Goodwins Law) that that is getting into very sensitive territory for anyone not 3 generation White British given long running racist tropes along the lines of "[insert racist expletive of choice] go home".

Those that are not used to being on the wrong end of that sort of thing might not realise such statements carry a whole heap of baggage.

I assumed this was completely unintended.

Its one of those where I can see why FT took those comments to be racist, whilst the posters may be genuinely surprised by this reaction.

Anyhow that was your diversity awareness course for the day. For the next topic, why asking somewhere "where they you from?" whilst might be intended as genuine interest in a fellow human being, comes off making you look like a bit of a racist.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Ruddles
19th Sep 2022 11:21

I can speak only for myself. To be intentionally racist one needs to be aware of the background of the ‘target’. Having no knowledge of such background in this case the thought didn’t cross my mind that someone might take offence at my comment. But yes I now fully take on board how such a person may have misconstrued my comment

But in my case the issue is not about the comment itself but the subsequent exchange. Having explained what lay behind my comment, and however sensitive he/she was to it, the OP continued to allege that I am a racist. That is my complaint.

I think that one also needs to bear in mind that the original discussion was about the monarchy - any suggestions about leaving the country were therefore made in that context.

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By jcurran
20th Sep 2022 09:21

The monarchy doesn't help anyone on here make any money or run their business, therefore they shouldn't be brought into the forum at all.

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Replying to jcurran:
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By Paul Crowley
20th Sep 2022 13:29

Probably a safer subject than a few that get raised, by Aweb articles and ordinary members
Please do not forget that Paul Aplin dedicated his award to the Queen. I would have liked to say 'well done Paul' but quite sensibly Aweb decided to ban comments. Maybe they know the members well enough and they did not want offensive remarks at a time of national mourning

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
20th Sep 2022 09:45

First Tab wrote:
Before someone points out the damn obvious, I know it is YOUR site and your decision. However, your site is built on contributions from the community.

I also want to say thank you for allowing the thread to continue for the period it did. All I can do is ask not to remove threads in future. I understand you have a tough role here.

You say you understand it is their site and their decision, yet you are still telling them they were wrong to take the decision they did.

It is trus that this site is built on contributions from the community. However, what you seem to be ignoring is that it is an accounting website. You appear to want to turn it into some sort of general discussion forum. Putting a simple business question to justify your rant against the monarchy does not hide that intention.

You are also painting yourself as the innocent again. Whilst I may not have seen all that happened over the weekend, you were fanning the flames of hostility as much as any of the monarchists last time I checked that thread. I would expect you to get hostile responses, directed solely at you, in response. Whether any such comments were actually racist, or are simply being interpreted by you as such, is difficult to judge now the thread is gone. But if the best example you have is being told to "leave the country" when you are actively against a major feature of that country, I think you are over-interpreting.

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By JD
20th Sep 2022 10:05

I fully support shifts in removal of any post relating to racism, gender or for that matter any equality issues. Equally I do not support Shifts support of LGTB issues.

This is a professional forum to discuss and support fellow professionals with accountancy issues only. There are plenty of other places for the equality type of discussions you (FT) wishes to engage in.

Before anybody accuses me of being a white racists for holding such a view I would suggest caution, as they would be somewhat off the mark.

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Replying to JD:
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By Paul Crowley
20th Sep 2022 13:41

Aweb does have a habit of stirring it up themselves
We have been told that there is no such thing as unconscious, all bias is conscious and consequently deliberate.
The corolly must be that deliberate racism is rife

See the TD link above
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/practice/people/accounting-for-diversity...

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FT
By FirstTab
20th Sep 2022 14:34

I would like to say thank you to Sift for allowing this thread and leaving it open to date.

I do not have the time to comment on each post. Here are my key points, not different to what I have said before:

1) My main issue remains, leaving the country comment was only made towards me and not others who made similar comments as I did. For this reason, I still see it as racial.

2) For those who think the subject should not be on this professional forum. Racial issues are everywhere, even amongst accountants. The difference is professionals word it in such a way that makes it difficult to prove comments are racial. At least with shouting racial abuse, it is clear. This has been my experience here and in the working world.

3) The subject heading is very CLEAR on the nature of the topic. If a member does not want this issue here on the high-brow professional site, as they see it, move on. They are so many technical issue threads, thankfully, on the site. If they are so keen not to see the race on this site, how do you explain those (you) clicking on the topic? The best way you can express your disapproval is by not clicking and not commenting. Just move on. Do not give me the fuel through clicking and commenting.

I have said what I want to say. I will read your comments. I think it is time for me to stop commenting on this subject.

Thank you for all the comments and/or for reading the thread. It brings the topic of race to the forefront, at least for now. I hope to see more race and equality issues on this site.

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Replying to FirstTab:
By Ruddles
20th Sep 2022 14:48

You can make one further comment - being an apology for insinuating, and continuing to do so, that I am a racist. I have already explained the thinking behind my comment, yet you seemingly refuse to accept that explanation, just as you refuse to accept that I was blissfully unaware of your ethnicity at the time that I made the comment.

But I will add one more point - the only reason that my comment (I cannot speak for others) was directed at you was that you were the one that started the whole argument and you were the one that continued it in such vociferous fashion.

Remember also that my comment was nothing more than an observation of the illogicality of one of your responses - no-one else had reacted in such illogical fashion. If anyone else had done so then rest assured that they would have been treated by me in exactly the same way, regardless of creed or colour.

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Replying to Ruddles:
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By Tax Dragon
20th Sep 2022 16:10

Ruddles wrote:

...my comment was nothing more than an observation of the illogicality of one of your responses - no-one else had reacted in such illogical fashion.

You still seem to be missing ireally's point. FT found the comment to which (I assume) he reacted with 'illogicality' offensive. The reaction was visceral, driven by emotion, not logic. That emotion comes in part from word association (ireally explained better).

Your response to being called a racist is also to an extent one of emotion, that emotion I posit likewise coming from word association. Like me, you associate the r word with a history of evil. But, wisely or not, people now also use the r word to describe any perceived unfairness, or behaviour or comment they don't like.

An analogy here is the thread about the potential client on the sex register. It seems that the register includes people who have committed horrific crimes and others whose offences are trivial (in comparison, and maybe even in the absolute). To my mind having both there devalues the whole purpose of the register and trivialises some serious issues about attitudes in our society. (If the intention is to get people to think "oh yes, touching someone's knee (or wolf-whistling, or what have you) is a serious matter", I suggest it fails in that (worthwhile) objective.)

The r word likewise is used rather too glibly, in my view. Challenge me these days by calling me a racist and I might pause and reflect (but that's because of personal circumstance that I won't bore you with). Challenge a younger me in that way and I would have reacted as you have now - which would have advanced neither my cause nor my accuser's. Much better to differentiate, reserving the r word for, as a minimum, language intended to offend.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
By Ruddles
20th Sep 2022 16:25

No, I am not missing ireally's point. This has little or nothing to do with FT's initial reaction to that comment or indeed to my response. I have already acknowledged, with the benefit of hindsight, that someone with a particular sensitivity (of which I was quite unaware at the time) might have over-reacted. It has everything to do with FT's continued insinuations despite my attempts to explain myself.

I take your point about the possible different uses/interpretations of the word, but it seems to me quite clear what FT has in mind when using it given his references to his ethnicity. If I have misunderstood then perhaps he might take the trouble to explain exactly what he meant by it. Or perhaps confirm that his continued comments were not actually directed at me.

Just as we all react differently to different words, I find, and am entitled to find, being accused of racism quite offensive. Just as you are entitled to consider that I am over-reacting. But this is not our argument, it is between FT and me.

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Replying to Ruddles:
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By Tax Dragon
20th Sep 2022 16:37

You are taking FT's comments (none of which has been aimed at or addressed to you) personally. For that parenthesised reason, I believe you are wrong to do so. Specifically, FT's point 1 above is about the initial comment, not your reply to his* reply. You are arguing with him*; he* is not arguing with you.

* I assume.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
By Ruddles
20th Sep 2022 17:41

Perhaps I should not be taking it personally, but I am. He/she refers to people (pl.) above in the comment about long-standing members and in that other thread made the very point that I am a long-standing member (and therefore allegedly aware of his/her background - a non-sequitur).

So he/she may not be directing his/her comments at me - until he/she confirms not, I will continue to assume that he/she is. This could all be put to bed if he/she were to confirm.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Tax Dragon
20th Sep 2022 16:40

Tax Dragon wrote:

Much better to differentiate, reserving the r word for, as a minimum, language intended to offend.

Another aspect is that failure to differentiate might ultimately tend to trivialise the serious. As in, if I get accused of genocide (or even mere murder) if I slap you about the face, then it belittles the seriousness of actual murder (or genocide). Of course I shouldn't slap you, but... you get the point.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Paul Crowley
20th Sep 2022 19:59

The same issue with the words like abuse
It is abuse to give me jam tarts, because I like lemon curd tarts.

But when little girl then says Daddy is an abuser..................

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By Paul Crowley
20th Sep 2022 17:32

The Donkey, the Tiger, and the Lion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoHgGP5H5bU

When people hold fixed views, they stay fixed.

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FT
By FirstTab
20th Sep 2022 20:08

Hello

My employee is on leave. I had a busy day. I just caught up with the posts.

Thank you both Tax Dragon and Ruddles. My intention was not to comment further on this thread. However, Ruddles is asking for clarification and an apology. Here it is.

Ruddles, I did not have you in mind when I made when I posted earlier today. You have made yourself clear that your comment about me leaving the country was not based on my race since you did not know what race I was. I accept this.

As regards apology here it is I have no issues. I am sorry for my misunderstanding on this point.

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Replying to FirstTab:
By Ruddles
20th Sep 2022 21:31

Thank you. Apology is gratefully accepted. Tax Dragon - you can wipe that smug smile off your face ;) ;)

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Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
21st Sep 2022 11:38

Well... it seems like I've missed a couple of really "interesting" discussions over the weekend.

Seems like everyone is friends again though, so all's well that ends well.

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