Why Confronting a Racist is like Telling Someone They Have Bad Breath

There are many impossible situations in life, most of which require telling someone the truth. Closeted racists have a hard time hearing the truth and are skilled at distorting reality to maintain their twisted view of the world. In their post-racial minds, ethnic minorities do not have any problems because they are in Great Britain (emphasis on the ‘Great’). It is not easy for minorities to share their experiences because so few people can relate and therefore understand. It is easy to dismiss a concern if it has never affected you personally. That is why I compare confronting a racist to telling someone that they have bad breath. I hate saying it as much as you hate hearing it but it has to be said no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Soulay, the co-host of the Two Fools Talking podcast eloquently, explains the impossible situation as follows:

“If I’m coming to you and saying Keira [co-host], your breath smells bad today that means I would have had to have checked my own breath at some point, and be like if I’m gonna tell someone their breath stinks I better make sure that my breath ain’t stinking too. Checked it and now I’m coming to tell you with that arrogance that I know my breath is good today, and yours is a bit off…”

When I appeared on ITV EU Referendum Debate with David Cameron and Nigel Farage last week, I was placed in that difficult position. In the weeks leading up to the debate, I spoke to some people about my concerns. Unsurprisingly, most of them shared those concerns including those that want to vote Leave. The point of the debate was to get an answer to my question. I wanted to focus on safeguarding the non-white British citizens from the very real threat of discrimination and xenophobia that the Brexit camp has used to bolster their campaign.

I went there and let Farage know that his breath was ‘a bit off’ and I offered him some ‘chewing gum’ in the form of my question. Instead of gracefully accepting the hint he chose to reject it. Don’t you just hate when that happens? I wrote about the entire experience on The Guardian earlier this week.

I heard compelling arguments from both ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’, but I attended the debate sitting firmly in the ‘undecided’ camp. I had hoped that the debate would provide new information that would help me make up my mind. As one of the ‘lucky’ few to ask Nigel Farage a question he made his best David Cameron impression and dodged the question.

Nigel Farage has a troubling history of racism that his loyal followers casually forget. He bolsters his campaigns by demonising migrants and immigrants alike. His platform is built on the type of patriotism that seeks to exclude and divide British people. To Farage and his band of extremists, saying ‘racism’ is equivalent to racism. Only people deluded and blinded by white privilege could come to such a preposterous conclusion.