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Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism

How to raise racist kids

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How to raise racist kids

Telfair Museum, Savannah, Georgia. Photo: UGArdener via Flickr

Jonathan Liu has written a fascinating article for the Geek Dad section of Wired magazine. He highlights research done by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in their book NurtureShock. Their research gives the lie to the popular belief that ‘colour blindness’ and an environment of ethnic diversity makes sure that children grow up tolerant and respectful of racial differences. As Jonathan Liu puts it, to raise racist kids

Step One: Don’t talk about race. Don’t point out skin color. Be “color blind.”

Step Two: Actually, that’s it. There is no Step Two.

Congratulations! Your children are well on their way to believing that <insert your ethnicity here> is better than everybody else.

It is tempting to believe that by pretending that there are no differences in skin colour — being ‘colour blind’ — children will grow up treating people of all ethnicities equally. However, the truth is that this approach simply leads to a void where some parental guidance should be. Just like not talking about sex, the absence of parental advice might be more a reflection on parental embarrassment on the issue of race than an active educational plan. If something is said, it is far too easy to make it non-specific, like ‘all people are equal’. Liu shares a few points taken from NurtureShock, which, although based on US research, are applicable elsewhere

  • Only 8% of white American high-schoolers have a best friend of another race. (For blacks, it’s about 15%.)
  • The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships.
  • 75% of white parents never or almost never talk about race with their kids.
  • A child’s attitudes toward race are much harder to alter after third grade, but a lot of parents wait until then (or later) before they feel it’s “safe” to talk frankly about race.

The second point, that ethnic diversity in a school makes cross-race friendships less likely, is striking. The comments on the Racialicious re-posting of the article examine why this may be, suggesting that a large, ethnically diverse school often has student cliques that develop along ethnic lines. My primary school, in a Devon village, was small and almost entirely White. The one Black student at the school was simply a different individual, and her difference was personalised rather generalised. This doesn’t mean that there was no racist abuse in the school, there was. It simply means that being in a more diverse atmosphere can actually make one more rigid in one’s views on race because race becomes generalised.

The fourth point, that attitudes about race are formed young, also deserves comparison with sex education: good principles are better taught earlier in childhood, but the assumption that these are adult issues means that they are often left until their telling has little or no impact.

Jonathan Liu ends by saying that just as parents are becoming more used to talking about gender stereotypes with kids, they should not be afraid to talk about race in the same way. He links to this article on Parenting.com giving five tips for talking about race with kids (although he now reckons that saying something is the most important, rather than ‘being a role model’, which could easily be a way of not talking about it).

Author: Gareth Hughes

A priest of the Church of England, who is Chaplain of Hertford College, Oxford, and doing Syriac research at Oxford University.

14 thoughts on “How to raise racist kids

  1. Once again we see the juxtaposition of ‘race’ and’ colour’ with ‘ethnicity’, with last factor embracing culture. Consequently, there is confusion and a failure to differentiate between ‘multi-race’ and ‘multi-culture’ . . . more concisely, between ‘race’ and ‘culture’.

    I do not object to there being multiple races, after all, we inherit our race, but I decline to have foreign cultures imposed on me; they (including religion) are what people choose to practice.

    Children in particular do not like differences; if they did, it would be much harder for commerce to exploit so called fashion.

    The goal of indoctrinating children to accept that there is no difference between races, no difference between those of different colour becomes much less attainable when, at the same time, children are expected (required?) to accept that there ARE differences of culture and that they must be respected.

    In earlier eras, it was conquered peoples who were required to accept imported cultures, and that remains so today in many parts of the world.

    One might argue that many of the components (erstwhile nations) of the USSR had an alien culture imposed on them by the Soviets, including transplanted Russians, and in Russia itself the suppression of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The results of imposing such ‘unifying’ policies are exposed for all to see today.

    One approach to the problem described by Mr Liu is: (1.) Keep it simple ie condemn discrimination solely on the ground of race or colour; and (2.) Adopt the maxim of ‘When in Rome . . .’ substituting England for Rome, and English for Romans!

    .

    • It looks like you’re trying to make a distinction between an identity you see as solid like ‘race’ and an identity you see as less solid like ‘culture’. Is that what you’re saying? Is it possible to separate a person’s essence (what they are) from their activity (what they do)? I think not. Isn’t saying that you’re in favour of a multiracial society but not a multicultural one like saying that people may look different yet should act uniformly? If you think that I’m confused about race and culture, it is perhaps because you see them as more separate than they really are: these categories are confused in reality.

      Remember, no one is imposing anything on you. You might object to certain manifestations of ‘multiculturalism’, but it is not about imposing anything on anyone. In fact, it is multiculturalism that leaves people to practise their cultures in peace, quite unlike forced assimilation.

      Your comment ‘children in particular do not like differences’ is so vague as to be an unprovable tenet.

      Your use of the word ‘indoctrinating’ is a rhetorical trick; I’m sure any form of education you disagree with would get that label. Child education is mostly about passing on our values and beliefs, and it is only right and proper that equality and respect among peoples be part of this.

      You miss the point entirely when you say that this is about teaching that ‘there is no difference between races’, because the whole point of the article is that ‘colour blindness’ is not a useful approach, rather talking about differences is. So, you seem to have misread it.

      I agree with you on the point that imperialism is a culturally destructive force.

      The approach to ‘nationalities’ in the USSR has left its mark. Some nationalities were pretty much created from scraps of traditions. In the autonomous republics and the SSRs there was a dual culture of Russian political dominance and local ethnic cultures. The PRC has a similar policy for its many ethnic groups. In both systems the effect is destructive, but it does not lead to the suppression of ethnic identity, but its subversion.

      Your rewriting of the two points with a condemnation and a maxim strikes me as rather judgemental. I don’t think condemning things ever really gets one anywhere: in politics it is often mere posturing. The interpretation of you maxim ‘When in Rome…’ is open to numerous interpretations, including forced assimilation. The freedom you claim for yourself, not having cultures imposed on you, you seem to want taken from others. If a society can avoid the ghettoisation of groups within it while giving ample room for diversity, a unity of purpose can be achieved over time which doesn’t go down the unhealthy route of wishing certain people be different.

      • It looks like you’re trying to make a distinction between an identity you see as solid like ‘race’ and an identity you see as less solid like ‘culture’. Is that what you’re saying? [b][No!][/b]

        Is it possible to separate a person’s essence (what they are) from their activity (what they do)? I think not. [b][There are too many unexplained assumptions in these questions eg what are they?][/b]

        Isn’t saying that you’re in favour of a multiracial society but not a multicultural one like saying that people may look different yet should act uniformly? [b][No!] Why do you ask?[/b]

        If you think that I’m confused about race and culture, it is perhaps because you see them as more separate than they really are: these categories are confused in reality. [b][This adds nothing either for or against my point.][/b]

        Remember, no one is imposing anything on you. [b][I am forced to tolerate imported customs.][/b]

        You might object to certain manifestations of ‘multiculturalism’, but it is not about imposing anything on anyone. [b][Ok, so you disagree!][/b] In fact, it is multiculturalism that leaves people to practise their cultures in peace, quite unlike forced assimilation. [b][This is mere theorising, and reality is different.][/b]

        Your comment ‘children in particular do not like differences’ is so vague as to be an unprovable tenet. [b][I would have thought it is so obvious that it would not need to be proved. Indeed, you seem to be disagreeing with Mr Liu eg “The more diverse a school is, the less likely it is that kids will form cross-race friendships.”][/b]

        Your use of the word ‘indoctrinating’ is a rhetorical trick; I’m sure any form of education you disagree with would get that label. [b][Those in weak positions, often try to defend them by misrepresenting others.][/b]

        Child education is mostly about passing on our values and beliefs, and it is only right and proper that equality and respect among peoples be part of this. [b][Am I to accept that “our values and beliefs” is not so vague as to be meaningless? My dictionary describes indoctrinate as “make someone accept a set of beliefs, without allowing them to consider any alternatives.” The matters to which I refer are underpinned by law which is in process of being added to.][/b]

        You miss the point entirely when you say that this is about teaching that ‘there is no difference between races’, because the whole point of the article is that ‘colour blindness’ is not a useful approach, rather talking about differences is. So, you seem to have misread it. [b][You should try reading my actual words.][/b]

        I agree with you on the point that imperialism is a culturally destructive force. [b][That wasn’t my point. Indeed, ‘culturally destructive’ is too imprecise a phrase for my taste.][/b]

        The approach to ‘nationalities’ in the USSR has left its mark. Some nationalities were pretty much created from scraps of traditions. In the autonomous republics and the SSRs there was a dual culture of Russian political dominance and local ethnic cultures. The PRC has a similar policy for its many ethnic groups. In both systems the effect is destructive, but it does not lead to the suppression of ethnic identity, but its subversion. [b][Quite, but here you refer to the treatment of indigenous peoples by incomers. Do I need to say more . . . ?][/b]

        Your rewriting of the two points with a condemnation and a maxim strikes me as rather judgemental. [b][Quite, I have an opinion!][/b]

        I don’t think condemning things ever really gets one anywhere: in politics it is often mere posturing. [b][If you say so!][/b]

        The interpretation of you maxim ‘When in Rome…’ is open to numerous interpretations, including forced assimilation. [b][Those who choose to desert the land of their birth and come to England can hardly be regarded as being subjected to forced assimilation.][/b]

        The freedom you claim for yourself, not having cultures imposed on you, you seem to want taken from others. [b]There y’go again, telling me what I want. I’ve no intention of emigrating to another country, but if I’m forced to, I’ll try to integrate as much as possible.][/b]

        If a society can avoid the ghettoisation of groups within it while giving ample room for diversity, a unity of purpose can be achieved over time which doesn’t go down the unhealthy route of wishing certain people be different. [b][Yes, I do wish there wasn’t the pressure to make the indigenous population in England different.][/b]

  2. That looks pretty messy!

    What ‘imported customs’ are you forced to tolerate, Alan? Please give a list.

    It still looks like you don’t mind black people as long as they act white. That’s why I asked that question, so that you would elaborate on it.

    When I describe your points as judgemental, I mean to say you act as one sitting in judgement. So, what would you do when someone refuses to obey your maxim?

    ‘The treatment of indigenous peoples by incomers’, or the treatment of indigenous peoples by imperial powers. In discourse on racism, the power differential between groups is important too. What if the indigenous people are an imperial power?

    You say that forced assimilation of immigrants is acceptable because they choose to migrate, but it is not true that there is real choice there. Many would prefer not to migrate, but are forced to do so for political or economic reasons. Some are refugees from disaster, both natural and man-made. Even though the press would like us to believe otherwise, you cannot make simple divisions of good and bad immigrants.

    • QUESTIONS:
      1. That looks pretty messy!

      2. What ‘imported customs’ are you forced to tolerate, Alan? Please give a list.

      3. It still looks like you don’t mind black people as long as they act white. That’s why I asked that question, so that you would elaborate on it.

      4. When I describe your points as judgemental, I mean to say you act as one sitting in judgement. So, what would you do when someone refuses to obey your maxim?

      5. ‘The treatment of indigenous peoples by incomers’, or the treatment of indigenous peoples by imperial powers. In discourse on racism, the power differential between groups is important too. What if the indigenous people are an imperial power?

      6. You say that forced assimilation of immigrants is acceptable because they choose to migrate, but it is not true that there is real choice there. Many would prefer not to migrate, but are forced to do so for political or economic reasons. Some are refugees from disaster, both natural and man-made. Even though the press would like us to believe otherwise, you cannot make simple divisions of good and bad immigrants.
      RESPONSES:
      1. One cannot edit one’s replies.

      2. Why?

      3. Why should I elaborate? Does your poor perception inhibit or perhaps even prevent you from addressing this situation?

      4. Forming judgements is very common you know, and there is nothing inherently undesirable about that.

      5. You’ve drifted far away from the subject of this thread.

      6. Perhaps you’d care to specify the actual words I’ve posted which say “forced assimilation of immigrants is acceptable”, or may I cite this as another example of your inadequate perception? To be frank, I’d rather you withdraw this contrived and inaccurate distortion. You seem to be arguing that all immigrants should be treated as though they are asylum seekers, when the Government (as distinct from the Press) would have us believe that refugees relatively are a very small minority of the total.

  3. You did say for yourself ‘I am forced to tolerate imported customs’. So, I asked you to list those customs, but you don’t want to say. This is a problem for this conversation if you refuse to explain yourself.

    Let me put it this way: I believe that the end point of your maxim and resistance to ‘imported customs’ is forced assimilation. If immigrants should exchange their customs for English ones, that is clear pressure to assimilate. You may wish to mitigate this by talking about the immigrant’s choice to be here or not, but I have countered that I am not so sure there is that much choice in the motives for migration.

    • 1. You did say for yourself ‘I am forced to tolerate imported customs’. So, I asked you to list those customs, but you don’t want to say. This is a problem for this conversation if you refuse to explain yourself.

      2. Let me put it this way: I believe that the end point of your maxim and resistance to ‘imported customs’ is forced assimilation.

      3. If immigrants should exchange their customs for English ones, that is clear pressure to assimilate.

      4. You may wish to mitigate this by talking about the immigrant’s choice to be here or not, but I have countered that I am not so sure there is that much choice in the motives for migration.

      1. Yes, I suppose it is a problem if you wish to digress from my central point which is the failure to distinguish between ‘colour’ and ‘etnicity’. Your response indicates that you have difficulty grasping and analysing this point as evidenced by your reaction ie “Isn’t saying that you’re in favour of a multiracial society but not a multicultural one like saying that people may look different yet should act uniformly?”. Because you conflate ‘colour’ (‘race’) with ‘ethnicity’, you fail to consider the diifering cultures [customs and practrices etc] of others who do not (to use your phrase) “look different”, all of which serves to underpin my starting point!

      One custom I’m forced to tolerate is individuals walking around our streets with their faces covered and without it always being clear whether they are male or female. I object to those from other cultures bring their sex discrimination attitudes here.

      2. First, it is not a ‘maxim’! Second, you have omitted (failed) to explain your belief, how it is the ‘only option’ for those who seek permanent residence in England, why the indigenous English community should give way to alien customs etc when they conflict, why non-English people should want to come to England to reject our way of life and follow their own, and how ‘forced assimilation’ is the inevitable consequence of encouraging non-English people to adopt our way of life as much as possible.

      3. You’ve not recorded your objections to immigrants being encouraged to adopt our way of life?

      5. Are you seriously suggesting that the hundreds of thousands of Poles, Roumanians and others did not choose to come here?

      I suppose it is too much trouble for you, with your anti-English atitude, to address the thread and [for example] the conclusion: “The second point, that ethnic diversity in a school makes cross-race friendships less likely, is striking. “?

  4. My name’s on the top of this page, on an article about child rearing and teaching about racism. So, digression is obviously yours. I have engaged with you in your digression, and pointed out that your fundamental assumption about ‘colour’ and ‘ethnicity’ impose a rigid division of identity where none truly exists. Put simply, I think your points boil down to saying ‘You can be black in England as long as you don’t act black in England’. You have a problem with not ascribing to your definitions of the concepts, which you think is an inability to grasp them. Whereas I can understand them fully and reject your definitions as a category mistake: their internal integrity is undermined by false axioms.

    I’m glad you eventually condescended to some specifics of what you feel are foreign impositions. The niqab is a favourite symbol of these perceived impositions. However, no one is imposing the niqab on you. The plea to liberty becomes thus untenable when the ‘imposition’ is the sight of women wearing niqab. It is not a true argument for personal liberty as it opposes the liberty of another to wear or not to wear the niqab. This often accompanied by a smokescreen of faked concern for women’s rights, but of the tiny minority of Muslim women in England who wear niqab, a large number choose to wear it.

    Regarding the word ‘maxim’, that is how you introduced it in your first comment: ‘Adopt the maxim of ‘When in Rome . . .’ substituting England for Rome, and English for Romans!’ I have simply continued to use your word for it. Seeing people being different is not an imposition, they are not making you or me do anything we would rather not do. I know lots of people who are not ‘indigenous English’ who make great changes to adapt to life in England.

    My objection is to the means of ‘encouragement’. I would like to see subsidies for evening classes in English and maths for new residents in this country, because many can’t afford the fees. However, the means of ‘encouragement’ I expect you have in mind are more akin to making people jump through ever shrinking hoops.

    I’m suggesting that economic migrants come here to make money because there are few opportunities in their own countries. There is plenty of evidence that many economic migrants return to their own countries when they have the money to build homes and start businesses there. There’s not much choice involved when this becomes the most effective way of getting ahead in life.

    I don’t appreciate having my attitudes dubbed ‘anti-English’ by you, when you know I’m English, but just because I oppose your xenophobic viewpoint. But back to the original post: ethnically diverse environments require us to talk about the issue to avoid the assumptions and misunderstandings that can deepen racism.

    • 1. My name’s on the top of this page, on an article about child rearing and teaching about racism.
      2. So, digression is obviously yours.
      3. I have engaged with you in your digression, and pointed out that your fundamental assumption about ‘colour’ and ‘ethnicity’ impose a rigid division of identity where none truly exists.
      4. Put simply, I think your points boil down to saying ‘You can be black in England as long as you don’t act black in England’.
      5. You have a problem with not ascribing to your definitions of the concepts, which you think is an inability to grasp them.
      6. Whereas I can understand them fully and reject your definitions as a category mistake: their internal integrity is undermined by false axioms.
      7. I’m glad you eventually condescended to some specifics of what you feel are foreign impositions. The niqab is a favourite symbol of these perceived impositions. However, no one is imposing the niqab on you. The plea to liberty becomes thus untenable when the ‘imposition’ is the sight of women wearing niqab. It is not a true argument for personal liberty as it opposes the liberty of another to wear or not to wear the niqab. This often accompanied by a smokescreen of faked concern for women’s rights, but of the tiny minority of Muslim women in England who wear niqab, a large number choose to wear it.
      8. Regarding the word ‘maxim’, that is how you introduced it in your first comment: ‘Adopt the maxim of ‘When in Rome . . .’ substituting England for Rome, and English for Romans!’
      9. I have simply continued to use your word for it. 1
      10. Seeing people being different is not an imposition, they are not making you or me do anything we would rather not do. I know lots of people who are not ‘indigenous English’ who make great changes to adapt to life in England.
      11. My objection is to the means of ‘encouragement’.
      12. I would like to see subsidies for evening classes in English and maths for new residents in this country, because many can’t afford the fees.
      13. However, the means of ‘encouragement’ I expect you have in mind are more akin to making people jump through ever shrinking hoops.
      14. I’m suggesting that economic migrants come here to make money because there are few opportunities in their own countries.
      15. There is plenty of evidence that many economic migrants return to their own countries when they have the money to build homes and start businesses there.
      16. There’s not much choice involved when this becomes the most effective way of getting ahead in life.
      17. I don’t appreciate having my attitudes dubbed ‘anti-English’ by you, when you know I’m English, but just because I oppose your xenophobic viewpoint.
      18. But back to the original post: ethnically diverse environments require us to talk about the issue to avoid the assumptions and misunderstandings that can deepen racism.
      _________________________________________________________________

      1. You can’t even describe the piece accurately. It’s about the alleged failure to teach(!) “children grow up tolerant and respectful of racial differences.” in “an environment of ethnic diversity”.
      2. Really? Just what are YOU taliking about? Do YOU know yourself?
      3. So according to Gareth. mere discussion of the different components of identity is, firstly, a “fundamental assumption about ‘colour’ and ‘ethnicity’ ” on my part (albeit one unexplained by you) and, secondly, it “impose[s] a rigid division of identity where none truly exists.” Amazing!
      4. Put simply, if I may be so bold as to describe MY point, ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ are two different (even though connected) things.If they are not, one wonders why both ‘race’ and ‘ethnic origin’ (and ‘colour’) are mentioned separately by Parliament. To put it another way, Parliament seems to support my simply put point.
      5. I trust you know what you’re on about here, because I don’t.
      6. Which definition? I’ve yet to record one!
      7. I really cannot be bothered to respond to this diatribe. It is yet another manifestation of egalitarian dictatorship imposed on the tolerant English.
      8. I did!
      9. What is ‘it’ and used by you where?
      10. You are entitled to your opinion, but then. so am I.
      11. Fancy that, and I didn’t specify any! Go on put up some more Aunt Sallies and ascribe them to me. You’ll feel so much more secure.
      12. Of course you would! Subsidies for anyone and everyone but the English. [See, I’ve adopted your tactic!]
      13. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, those with weak positions to defend often misrepresent their opponents.
      14. Yes, they certainly come here for their own purposes. I do not accept that we in England have a duty to permit them to do so on the basis that there are few opportunities in their own countries.
      15. In the meantime, our citizens must be placed in inferior positions and be at a disadvantage because the interests of economic immigrants come first. You seem to be ‘mitigating’ this by idea that their presence is temporary. [Two can play at your game, Gareth!]
      16. You demonstrate a paucity of imagination in order to bolster your line.
      17. This single remark amply demonstrates your intellectual limitations. Are you seriously asserting that someone English cannot be anti-English? You’re feeble logic is not strengthened by describing my patriotic position as xenophobic. I might respond in kind and describe your position as disloyal and, to the extent that it damages the indigenous ethnic English community, traitorous!
      18. Mr Liu seems to think that “the popular belief that ‘colour blindness’ and an environment of ethnic diversity makes sure that children grow up tolerant and respectful of racial differences.” is a “lie”!

  5. According to BBC reports, the northern parts of Iraq are predominantly occupied by Kurds and is essentially mono-ethnic or mono-cultural. In respect of personal security, it is regarded as being the most safe and, as a consequence, has had a high [if not the highest] turnout in the recent general elections in Iraq.

    There is an abundance of evidence which supports the opinion that the most stable and trouble-free societies are those in which a single, inclusive culture predominates.

    • As a syriacist I am quite aware of the demographics of the region, and likely to be better informed than the compiler of the BBC’s information. The Kurdish Autonomous Region is certainly not mono-ethnic nor monocultural. The relative security of the region is based on a number of factors in recent history, which have nothing to do with monoculturalism.

      Such ‘opinion’ as this has been the basis for ethnic cleansing. While your use of the word ‘inclusive’ to describe your ideal cultural system is laudable, it is unclear how you see it functioning as part of a ‘single culture’. There is a spectrum of practical outcomes here: from a heterogeneous union of cultures (united in some common cause) to a homogeneous culture that encourages assimilation. I know I prefer the former and you are likely to prefer the latter. Both diversity and unity have their limits (no society can be wholly one or the other and be healthy), so we are left with the decision of which concept is operationally dominant.

      • 1. As a syriacist I am quite aware of the demographics of the region, and likely to be better informed than the compiler of the BBC’s information. 1A: it appears that you need to invent an undefined term to bolster your position. As for your boast that you are “likely to be better informed than the compiler of the BBC’s information” how would we know? Indeed, without knowing the identity of the “compiler of the BBC’s information”, how can a reasonable and rational assessment be made? Finally, your bragging adds nothing to the debate.

        2. The Kurdish Autonomous Region is certainly not mono-ethnic nor monocultural. 2A. Permit me to respond in an equivalent panto style ~ Oh yes it is!

        3. The relative security of the region is based on a number of factors in recent history, which have nothing to do with monoculturalism. 3A Oh yes it has!

        4. Such ‘opinion’ as this has been the basis for ethnic cleansing. 4A. Such opinion is the basis for peaceful, harmonious and stable societies! Indeed, ethnocide – the killing of a particular ethnic group or groups – is usually to be found is so called multi-culti societies.

        5. While your use of the word ‘inclusive’ to describe your ideal cultural system is laudable, it is unclear how you see it functioning as part of a ’single culture’. 5A. Certainly not by persistently singling out the indigenous [and most numerous] racial group to treat less fairly.

        6. There is a spectrum of practical outcomes here: from a heterogeneous union of cultures (united in some common cause) to a homogeneous culture that encourages assimilation. 6A. Indeed, and a predominant [see 8A below] culture lends itself to change when it is relaxed and open to other influences, rather than being required to tolerate imported customs and practices.

        7. I know I prefer the former and you are likely to prefer the latter. 7A. Kindly speak for yourself, instead of assuming you know my position and presuming to speak for me.

        8. Both diversity and unity have their limits (no society can be wholly one or the other and be healthy), so we are left with the decision of which concept is operationally dominant. 8A. I used the word ‘predominant’ which, as the main cultural element, implies others. You have resorted to using ‘dominant’ to attempt to justify your position, but then, you tend towards the use of absolutes to bolster weak arguments; hence the use of (for example) “nothing” above!

  6. It’s another turn of your nastiness to accuse me of bragging when I tell you what my job is. You earlier wrote about my ‘intellectual limitations’, such is the ugliness of your communication, but I did not ‘brag’ about the evidence that might suggest otherwise. Have you visited Kurdish regions? I have. What you wrote about the region lacks adequate nuance, and I infer from that that what you read lacks sufficient depth.

    ‘Panto style’ is your response, as I’ve told you, mine is informed comment. Your responses of the style ‘Oh Yes it has’ merely mark you as a lightweight. Try a reasoned argument for a change, otherwise there’s little point responding with you.

    It is unclear whether you support or oppose you comment 5A. I presume you oppose it, but you write as if supporting it.

    You only started using the word ‘predominant’ in 6A, and misread my use of the word ‘dominant’ (being the principles of diversity and unity, whichever is operationally dominant). Then you finish with your characteristic bantering. I still wonder why you are here commenting, when you show little respect for me.

    • 1. It’s another turn of your nastiness to accuse me of bragging when I tell you what my job is. 1A. So, a syriacist is the name of a job, just like a dustman is, eh? Both of which beg what is actually done, what those titles entail. You’re so busy being offended and describing my response that you’ve ducked the important bits. Here they are again: As for your boast that you are “likely to be better informed than the compiler of the BBC’s information” how would we know? Indeed, without knowing the identity of the “compiler of the BBC’s information”, how can a reasonable and rational assessment be made? Finally, your bragging adds nothing to the debate . . . or am I required to accept that your assertions are unchallengeable?

      2. You earlier wrote about my ‘intellectual limitations’, such is the ugliness of your communication, but I did not ‘brag’ about the evidence that might suggest otherwise. 2A. I don’t find your communication attractive, devoid as it is of substance!

      3. Have you visited Kurdish regions? I have. 3A. Ah, you’re obviously one of those who maintains that unless and until you stick your hand in the fire you’ll have no idea of what the consequences!

      4. What you wrote about the region lacks adequate nuance, and I infer from that that what you read lacks sufficient depth. 4B. I wouldn’t dispute the former, but clearly one can’t look to you to meet the deficiency. I would regard your remark about the extent and scope of my reading as ignorant conceit, but I am mindful of your intellectual limitations and suspect that it won’t have occurred to you that I did not deploy any further detail until I had had a sample of what you might want to tender . . . what a forelorn thought that was!

      5. ‘Panto style’ is your response, as I’ve told you, mine is informed comment. 5A. Really? How would anyone know? Perhaps you should consider modifying your ‘Daddy knows best’ stance and impress us with your extensive and detailed knowledge?

      6. Your responses of the style ‘Oh Yes it has’ merely mark you as a lightweight. 6A. That’s all your assertions merited. My replies were in kind. ‘Lightweight’? Yes, your comments are.

      7. Try a reasoned argument for a change, otherwise there’s little point responding with you. 7A. I recorded a reasoned argument about the shortcomings of multi-culti societies. Your inevitable response merely poo poos that!

      8. It is unclear whether you support or oppose you comment 5A. I presume you oppose it, but you write as if supporting it. 8A. I’m not required to be prescriptive in order for my main argument to hold true.

      9. You only started using the word ‘predominant’ in 6A, and misread my use of the word ‘dominant’ (being the principles of diversity and unity, whichever is operationally dominant). 9A. You are correct and I admit that [much to my chagrin] I misread your use of the word ‘dominant’ for which I apologise.

      10. Then you finish with your characteristic bantering. I still wonder why you are here commenting, when you show little respect for me. 10A. To shake you out of your apparent complacency! It appears that I’ve failed, so I’ll bow out.

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