“aphra behn racism poems”

Checking my blog-stats yesterday, I found someone had been looking for “aphra behn racism poems”. My guess is they were actually searching for 17th century racism, but – hey – they stopped by, which is always nice.

Oddly, I had in fact considered blogging about racist poems yesterday.

A local councillor and aspirant MP is in the news in the UK and has been suspended by the Conservative Party because a racist poem was sent out from her email account. She says her husband sent it out from her account, forwarding it to his friends in the same spirit of light-humoured jokiness that someone had sent it to her.

She obviously has not thought through the implications of what she is saying:

(a) someone sent it to her in the first place – Not good really; you can control what you receive: when an aquaintance was sending me “nuke ’em all” stuff after 9/11 I told her not to.

(b) her husband thought it funny – Or did he? See below.

(c) he thought it funny enough to send on to other people – Which at the very best is a lapse in judgement which is worrying in itself, and at worst is racism showing exclusionist thinking which one most definitely does not want in representatives to parliament. But of course it was sent out by her husband, so that’s ok. Sure it is.

(d) he has so little respect for her privacy, and for the confidentiality of emails sent to her, that he not only reads her emails, he also uses her email account – Or perhaps this is not an issue, see below.

If she had thought this lot through, then she might not have blamed him so easily. Especially since he is almost certainly innocent. The forwarded email is signed with the message:

“Oh Yes!


Cow. I think. Don’t you? Lying cow, it seems. I’ll stop now before my ranting deafens myself.

Is the poem racist? Undoubtedly.

Is it funny? No. It has some moderately witty wordplay, but it isn’t funny. The cute use of animated icons is particularly offensive.

“Some years ago”, according to a old joke, “the Conservative Party decided that it needed to broaden its appeal to ethnic minorities and selected the following slogan:

“Goodness Gracious! Glory! Glory!
Clever darkies all vote Tory.”

That, my ladles and jellyspoons, is a political joke, not a racist one.

3 responses to ““aphra behn racism poems”

  1. I can understand that some people have a ISP e mail account that gets used by the whole household and think of it like a snail mail account. I lived in one house that had the e mail address 223Anyroad@ISP.com. The people who set up the account only used to e mail people who already knew their addresses anyway.

    But seriously: signing it ‘oh yes – Ellie’ is a utter give away. She is lying.

  2. The lying, whining, cow! The lying, whining, racist insult to decent cows everywhere! And then to blame her husband! If my spouse blamed me for such a spectacular lapse in taste, decency, intelligence, wit and common humanity, I’d change the locks.

    In my naive, ‘I love everyone, I do,’ little way, I find it very hard to believe that there are people who think like that. It always shocks me to the core. In my hard-bitten, ‘we’re all PoMo now’ way, I find it very hard to believe anyone thought the sodding thing was funny in the first place. It shocks me right through the core.

    (A fine display of priorities there).

  3. Yes, Z, I can understand that sort of communal thing, but this is an elected representative, ok, a local councillor, but an elected representative nonetheless. She should really have taken on board the concept of confidentiality. Actually, of course this is a side-issue, since the email was sent by her not him. The issues then are, as Reed says, that she is a lying, whining, racist insult to decent cows everywhere.

    Thanks for putting up with my rant. It seemed so elegantly crafted when I posted it, and it seems barely comprehendable now.

    Hey ho.


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