Evil Enlightenment 121


You were not expecting my thoughts on Michael Jackson and Beyonce Knowles.

This blog is effectively closed down during the period of yuletide festivity, during most of which I am happy to say the world gets subsumed in a warm glow of family, friends, goodwill and alcohol. The gears are grinding behind the surface and I have some explosive stuff on Adam Werritty for the New Year. But today I have escaped from the eight adults and five children watching Beyonce in the sitting room to pen some of the thoughts that it just aroused in me (actually most of the thoughts Beyonce arouses in me are best not written down, but that is another story).

For me the most interesting thing about the sorry Michael Jackson death trial was when Dr Conrad Murray announced that he had cleared out some “embarassing” creams from Jackson’s bedroom before the arrival of police. At first this sounded like it might relate to medication causing Jackson’s death; then it sounded like it might relate to Jackson’s sex life – anal lubricant? Then finally the information came out – they were skin lightening creams.

Which is what connects to Beyonce Knowles, who is beyond doubt many degrees lighter than she used to be, a fact which seems largely to escape comment. I know people in Ghana and in Nigeria who have really disfiguring marks – most commonly a series of ruched lines of skin on the body something like stretch marks – which will be with them for life, as a result of using skin lightening creams. In West Africa mercury is frequently a component.

One of my first rows with my employers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office happened in 1986 when I held the lowly position of Second Secretary (Commercial) in the British High Commission in Lagos. The sale of such creams in the UK had been very recently outlawed due to EU regulation, but it was at that time still legal to manufacture in the UK poisonous skin lightening products – including those containing mercury – for export outside the EU. I ejected from my office with little ceremony a gentleman from Birmingham wanting help from the High Commission in Lagos with his sales of mercury soaps. I recall having no sympathy at all from FCO colleagues over my stand. Why it took me twenty more years to realise I was in the wrong organisation is a tribute to my stupidity.

The pressure on black people to be as deracialised as Beyonce or Michael Jackson is a kind of racially aggravated version of the standards of physical appearance foisted on us every day by the advertising industry. It is the same process, operating in a different way, that gives us identikit politicians like Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Miliband, all striving to look like Pierce Brosnan, and devoid of deep political content.

My studies for Alexander Burnes have convinced me that the great incubus of colonial racialist baggage was largely an invention of the 1830’s onwards. Prior to that, the West largely judged people by religious affiliation before skin colour. There is no presumption in the writings of Mungo Park or Alexander Burnes of any intellectual superiority on their part on grounds of skin colour. The much underestimated presence of black people in the UK for centuries partly reflects the fact that they were viewed just as people. Of course this is broad brush, and the 18th century gentlemen with their picaresque coloured servants could have racist attitudes – and slave plantations. But it was not in general assumed that white meant superior in the way the racial construct arose during the mid-Victorian period.

It is also of course the case that prejudice in favour of the lighter skinned could be observed in Indian and African societies themselves as early as at least the seventeenth century, and that the relationship of those prejudices to lighter skinned governing elites or European contacts and mixed race people is a complex question.

But with all these caveats, it is still reasonable to assert that the mania among the fashionable young and black to have a lighter skin than God gave them is a reinforcement of the colonial and slave-owning prejudices of a couple of centuries.

I am as white as they come – almost blue like a good Scot. And pretty ugly. Colour has nothing to do with beauty.

It is illegal, but sales of skin lightening products in the UK are probably higher now that when they were still legal in the 1970’s. The real question is, what are we doing that makes people so unhappy with their own colour that they risk serious damage in this way?


121 thoughts on “Evil Enlightenment

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  • Sophia

    Boniface, Thanks

    Canspeccy, You assume many things.

    The classification including ‘Caucasian’ was actually on the medical form and I couldn’t find the correct spot to answer. I agree that ethinicity has medical relevance but Caucasian is a very general term to have medical relevance. I conclude that my medical form was either not precise enough or had racist tones. And Canadians can be racists like everybody else…

  • Jon

    @Craig – a real ale man, excellent! A couple of days ago I visited a friend who has been recuperating after an operation, but for us, we had an evening of whisky. A 12-year old Jura, and a ten-year old Talisker. I’ll pick up something else in the sales, for sure.

  • Jon

    @CanSpeccy – try posting your comment on that thread again. We have a couple of mods here, and I don’t know them all – but it weren’t me, guv! As per my earlier message to John, I try to edit comments and mark them, rather than delete them, in the interests of transparency.
    .
    > Your moderators seem to have no trouble with it
    .
    It is a fallacy on most post-moderated boards that everything has been manually checked, and is therefore ‘approved’. I am here a great deal less than the regulars, and not usually every day. I try to moderate (a) as little as possible, so everyone has their say, and (b) in context of ongoing discussions if possible. The second point is relevant here – whilst I would rather Fedup didn’t use offensive language, your linking to your ‘deliberate British genocide’ articles on your blog is seen by Fedup and others as offensive also. That no mod has removed your links and comments is testament to the very free speech here.
    .
    I hope we can get a captcha-device or something to improve spam detection (and hence a lower number of real comments going to the black hole) in 2012. In the meantime, (a) write short comments, (b) limit the number of links to zero or one, and (c) always copy to clipboard before submitting.

  • CanSpeccy

    @Suhayl
    “there is any scientific basis for ‘race’”
    .
    But all white people, except a few enlightened self-haters, are loaded with “great incubus of colonial racialist baggage,” apparently.
    .
    No wonder I am the only critic who has persisted in commenting here. Criticism of Craig Murray’s bizarre ideas is met by a barrage of stupidity, lies and hate speech.
    .
    But is remains clear that the campaign waged by Murray against this strange thing called “racism”, an antipathy toward something that Murray and his adherents claim does not exist, is directed at the majority of the British people who never voted for mass immigration, never wanted it and strongly oppose it now.
    .
    And that campaign is being waged on behalf of the globalist corporate oligarchs who want unrestricted freedom to move capital, labor and goods internationally without regard for national interests. It is a campaign to drive wages in Britain to the level of those in Kolkata and Shanghai even at the cost of destroying the British race, culture and national identity, for as Cambridge Professor Ha-Joon Chang states:
    .
    “The wage gaps between rich and poor countries exist not mainly because of differences in individual productivity but mainly because of immigration control. If there were free migration, most workers in rich countries could be, and would be, replaced by workers from poor countries.”
    .
    To state these obvious facts is not to express racist hatred of immigrants. It is to state the basis for the anger that exists against the ruling elite who are prosecuting the genocide of the British nation, a process that will generate antagonism between the indigenous British, who Craig Murray ridiculously insists do not exist, and those who have immigrated to Britain in good faith and in accordance with the law.
    .
    Sensible immigrants to Britain would do well to urge immigration restraint, if only because it is their wages as much as anyone else’s that are to be progressively lowered through the continued mass influx of people from poor countries.

  • CanSpeccy

    @CanSpeccy – try posting your comment on that thread again.
    .
    I’m not really anxious to be buggered about by you. I cannot even make a post here in response to Saadi’s denial of the existence of the British race.

  • Canspeccy

    Here’s what was just rejected — I’ll try it again in installments.
    .
    @Suhayl
    “there is any scientific basis for ‘race’”
    .
    But all white people, except a few enlightened self-haters, are loaded with “great incubus of colonial racialist baggage,” apparently.
    .
    No wonder I am the only critic who has persisted in commenting here. Criticism of Craig Murray’s bizarre ideas is met by a barrage of stupidity, lies and hate speech.
    .
    But is remains clear that the campaign waged by Murray against this strange thing called “racism”, an antipathy toward something that Murray and his adherents claim does not exist, is directed at the majority of the British people who never voted for mass immigration, never wanted it and strongly oppose it now.

  • ingo

    My best wishes to all at the end of this particularly nauseating year. My best wishes to you al especilly to Craig and thanks for this exotic and probescent thread.

    I very much would follow your ale trail, keep the Hobgoblin for last, as it is the most heavy one. The Bishops finger is an excellent brew to tickle one’s fancy its pure Kentish hops. My bets wishes to Nadine and all assembled. Frohes neues Jahr.

    The first company that realised the effect of mercury on the skin was May&Baker in Norwich, they produced it for near 40 year running and hence, left a legacy of poisoneous sludges in the local broads system of the river yare. some approx. 40 metric tons of methyl mercury. These have now become layers in the all obfusecating sludge at the bottom, but it is a tidal system and concentrations move about, not that it has stopped Dutch traders buying up the Broads eel catch.

    It is sad that a georgeous Beyonce is lifestyled to believe that she needs to conform to some knobby norm, why for crist sake, what poor judgement. Grace Jones would put is more succinct than I can, i.e. two words: be proud!

  • Other Mod

    Hi Jon, I haven’t been deleting CanSpeccy either. I don’t think anyone has. He’s making an unnecessary fuss and should just re-post instead.
    ,
    I don’t think we need the Captcha. You run WordPress, don’t you? Can’t you set it to require approval for a contributor’s first comment, all their subsequent comments appearing automatically? That’s the way most blogs work, so I assume it’s one of the standard settings.

  • Other Mod

    Try to have some patience, CanSpeccy. Nothing was “rejected”, it was just stuck in the moderation queue. I’m damned if I’m going to sit here continuously clicking the “refresh” button just to get your pearls of wisdom to the public before you get the hump. As soon as I found your comments I approved them. The appropriate response, you pompous arse, is “thanks”.

  • Azra

    Canspeccy/Suhyal: regarding the forms, I believe it is filled for the purpose of stats only, and one can refuse to fill them if one is inclined. I work for the government, and I know for a fact that when an application is filled,there is always an ethnicity form with it, but on receipt the form is separated from the application and is not sent for sifting. My daughter who worked for a while as a medical secretary at GP surgery said the same thing about the forms, they are just input and a graph is produced from the data. As you know governments are too keen on these kind of things, whether they are any use to anyone or just waste of time, who knows..

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Race does not exist as a scientific fact.
    .
    Racism does exist as a societal attitude purveyed and driven often by people who believe that race is a scientific fact.
    .
    One does not require a PhD in anything to be capable of comprehending the two statements above. It remains bizarre that anyone with higher qualifications in the life sciences would be arguing otherwise. But of course, there are a few such individuals in every field. We’ve had several years of this here from this particular individual, it appears to be an unremitting fixation. It is very boring.
    .
    Immigration/emigration are separate political/economic matters. The continuing conflation of ‘race’ with ‘immigration’ derives from a fundamentally racist viewpoint.
    .
    Perhaps Jim Davidson, racist English comedian, who now is living in Dubai (for tax reasons), with no sense of irony, will continue to rant on about how immigration into England supposedly is destroying the national/racial fabric. Now that too is a truly amusing spectacle! So, we have Alfred in Canada, ranting about immigration into the UK and how race is supposedly a biological fact, and Jim Davidson in Dubai, ranting on about ‘darkies’ coming to Britian. And so, in a swirl of supreme absurdity, we no longer laugh with the funny man, we laugh at him.

  • Jon

    @CanSpeccy – you’re just as abusive as others you recommend for deletion. Now that your comment has been approved by Other Mod, I expect you’ll want to apologise for your false statement (“I cannot even make a post here in response to Saadi’s denial of the existence of the British race”). Your posting is not filtered differently to anyone else’s.
    .
    @Other Mod – yes, I run WordPress, but I grabbed an Askimet account before they recommended that “personal users” should make a donation. That said, their recommended amounts are various multiples of 6USD/annum, so (from my experience) would be very worthwhile (see https://akismet.com/signup).

  • Jon

    > I know it’s futile trying to point out even simple scientific facts to a bunch of
    > liberal ideologues if it conflicts with their deep hatred of white people, but do
    > try to realize how incredibly stupid or dishonest it makes you sound to thus deny
    > the undeniable.
    .
    Bloody hell @CanSpeccy, you sound like a right nutter. I wish you a very non-racist and a slightly more cheerful new year!

  • Jon

    @Other Mod – on captchas generally, I concede they do present accessibility problems. I quite like ReCaptcha for this reason, as it presents an audio alternative – and helps digitise books at the same time.

  • Jon

    Suhayl, thanks – best wishes for your new year also. I would love some arak, never tried it mind you. This evening I will finish dinner, will move on to a good British cuppa, and then a touch more of the aforementioned whisky. Dash of water, no ice.

  • CanSpeccy

    Azra, I’ve no doubt your right that most forms required by the British bureaucracy are just bunk or bumpf to be filled in with the least possible effort if they cannot be avoided altogether. Nevertheless, what I state about the medical relevance of race, with respect to the identification of race for medical purposes, is correct.
    .
    The politically correct Dr. Saadi won’t acknowlege that territorially based communities differ in gene pool and hence, in race. He is apparently unable to understand that “race” is a perfectly sound and widely used technical term, applicable with reference not only to mankind but all species.
    .
    If Dr. Saadi didn’t know that, perhaps he never learned very much biology in medical school — someone, after all, has to come bottom of the class even in Med School (think about that when you’re choosing a doctor). Still, you’d think he could take the trouble to look the term up in a decent dictionary.
    .
    It’s hard to understand, though, why Hitler failed so miserably. He should just have hired a few ex-British ambassadors to spew the line that the Brits were anti-Nazi racists.
    .
    And as Dr. Saadi knows, the British public, if they ever had a chance to vote on it, would in the interests of preserving their own race–what’s left of it–put an immediate end to mass immigration.
    .
    Incidentally, mods, why do my posts above place in incorrect sequence. To make them appear illogical?

  • Jon

    Heh, I wonder if Jim Davidson is learning Arabic? I believe in Dubai a lot of people speak good English, so he may not need to bother. But given his views on integration, I would expect he’d want to. Or, um…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Jon, what a sublimely hilarious image! Ha! This thread began with a tragic absurdity – Michael Jackson’s skin-lightening activities – and as we spin into 2012, is enraptured with both conscious and unconscious hilarity.
    .
    Of course, if Davidson had moved instead to Bahrain, in the interests of integration, no doubt he’d have taken-up shooting protestors.

  • Jon

    @CanSpeccy:
    .
    > Incidentally, mods, why do my posts above place in incorrect sequence. To make them appear illogical?
    .
    No, making them appear illogical is your job, which you do admirably. As far as I can tell, posts are ordered according to the time you originally posted, not when they are approved – seems okay to me. Again, your posts are *not* treated differently to anyone else’s, as far as I can tell. It is an automated system.

  • Other Mod

    Yes Jon, I’ve always found that the comments appear chronologically according to when they were posted; it doesn’t matter when they’re approved. I was once completely shocked when one of my comments didn’t appear. Later I realised I’d posted it on a different thread.
    .
    CanSpeccy does seem on a bit of a wobbler, doesn’t he?

  • boniface goncourt

    That canspeccy is a piece of work. Gotta have one on every thread though. Don’t start censoring or you’ll end up neglected like ‘CommentIsForbidden’ in The Girlyman.

    Racism is sooo boring! But you get it everywhere. Here in swarthy Thailand, you get the knuckle-draggers who have left Europe because of ‘coloured immigration’. The Thais themselves
    are bemused by ‘chocolate man’ from Africa. Other Caucasians laugh at the poor old Poms for their bad teeth, fat women and drunkenness.

    The ‘sunbed’ craze is sociologically interesting. For most of history, beauty meant whiteness, as it meant you were not a low-class field worker, but were leisured. Then, the industrial revolution confined the workers to lightless factories, so they became pallid. Now, it was acceptable for women to ride bicycles, horseback-ride, sea-bathe etc, so that a suntan
    denoted leisure. Today it has come full circle. A suntan means a horrible artificial orange acquired in a carcinogenic Liverpool tanning salon, and denotes the dole queue. Once again, the leisured classes are avoiding excessive sun, now on health grounds.

    My advice to canspeccy and other race bores is: ‘No matter who you think you are, you are always somebody else’s nigger’.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mary, possibly. But this itself is an interesting illustration of the sorts of pressures that go back to “pre-1950s Britain” and which, when exerted on a mass societal basis, can contribute to a situation where some black and brown people might want to appear less black and brown than they are. Which (in the UK, USA, France and elsewhere) used to happen routinely in those days, which continues to define Hollywood product and which also was the subject of this thread. So, while on threads about, say, Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, the best policy would be to ignore the same-old, same-old attempts to derail and divert, in this specific case, it is appropriate and indeed, in my view, necessary – with rationality and in good temper – to counter the predictable nonsense. Which now has been done.
    .
    We’ve also heard some fascinating experiences and views from various commentators – eg. Sophia, Azra and most recently, Boniface. So, all-in-all, I think it’s been an interesting discourse.
    .
    Happy New Year to you, btw! All the best to you and yours.

  • Fedup

    I am nicking this line, and so openly too!
    ,
    ‘No matter who you think you are, you are always somebody else’s nigger’.
    ,
    This ought to really piss off the HMI aka SC so bad.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Canspecy,
    “I know it’s futile trying to point out even simple scientific facts to a bunch of liberal ideologues if it conflicts with their deep hatred of white people, but do try to realize how incredibly stupid or dishonest it makes you sound to thus deny the undeniable.”
    “Race” is not just a biological categorization, as in “homo sapiens”, but “race” is also a social construct.
    The fact of the ability to interbreed suggests, if it does not absolutely confirm that humans are of the same species. This should be the starting point.
    The next step would be to answer the question – where from do the prejudices about our fellow humans derive. The answers might be:-
    – Group identity because of similar physiognomy.
    – National identity with a sense of commonality of ethnicity.
    – A psychological sense of superiority because of one’s “race”
    – A psychological sense of inferiority because of one’s “race”
    These are some pointers, on the social construct limb.
    In China and Japan there had been instances of persons having operations on their eyes to make the eyes appear more “European”. One group dominates another; some members of the subjected group feel themselves lesser beings and psychologically believe that a step up the equality ladder is to change appearance to look more like the dominant group (i.e. the Michael Jackson syndrome – change the shape of the nose and the colour of the skin).
    You do have a point about the biological roots in describing our species. But, there are social and historical and psychological phenomena which also represent dynamics in relations between humans, and just as one can give credence and respect to your “scientific point” – one equally might weigh with respect and understanding, those other factors which impinge on this question of “race”.

  • Kenny boy

    It seems to me the motivation is a common human trait to imitate those perceived to be higher up in the hierarchy in the hope that ones own position will be elevated. Same motivation that causes white working class people on the make to change their accents, send their kids to public schools, join a posh golf club etc.

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