Thursday, 11 September 2014
What are the ethics of outing a racist? Do you only call them out when they’re subjecting you to abuse? Or only afterwards?
There’s this one person I know of, a friend of a friend. We’ve never met each other. But, thanks to social media, I know his face. I know his name. I know that he’s in a high-paying, low-profile job that has a significant impact on the performance of many local enterprises. I know where he lives, and what number to dial to reach him. I know that he enjoys going to the beach and wakeboarding. I know that he consciously hides the fact that he’s racist to all but his closest friends, with whom he openly mocks Darkies and Slanties for their supposed inferiority.
I know that he’s the kind of person who would hurl racist abuse at me if I’ve genuinely inconvenienced him in some way; the kind who’d throw in a racist taunt if I’ve, say, inadvertently cut in front of him at the supermarket (which, incidentally, happened last week).
Out of a possibly misguided sense of fairness, justice and equity, I treat all strangers equally. It goes some way to explaining why racist attacks seem so sudden and out of the blue to me.
But this guy? There’s a decent chance we’ll meet each other.
Would it be wrong of me to just call him “racist scum” as soon as we meet? Pay him the same courtesy that those of his ilk always pay me when they insult me out of the blue? Walk away and say “welcome to my world, dickhead” while he stands there trying to figure out what just happened?
I’m not the kind of person who’d do that. But I’ve never known that a person is a massive racist this far in advance before.
And here’s the thing: he’d be embarrassed by it, but he won’t deny it. He’s the sort who’ll defiantly stand by it.