How to freak out your racist friends

Just show them this video.

If you don’t have any racist friends, just read the comments (don’t read the comments, ever).

When I’ve visited London (or New York, or any cosmopolitan city), I’ve always enjoyed the diversity — it’s a good thing. I’m also happy when everyone can feel like their wonderfully complicated place is home. There are plenty of white people in London who also feel it is their home — why should they also have this sense of exclusivity? We can all be home. If someone else feels at home in your city, that doesn’t mean you can’t also feel at home.

If you think “home” has to be a place where the only residents have the same complexion that you do, that means you’re a racist. It’s a pretty easy test.


  1. danielroseman says

    The statistics are slightly misleading. White people continue to be by far the majority in London; but lots of them are non-British (especially Eastern Europeans). But there are indeed lots of non-white people here, both British and non-British. So altogether the combination of non-British white people plus non-white people (both British and non-British) outweigh the number of specifically white British people. If that makes any sense.

  2. mathymathymathy says

    Is there an equivalent of Lewis’ Law for race? This is pretty much a textbook example. It took a while going through all the comments to find even a single non-racist one.

  3. alans says

    If they’re racist, you gotta stop being friends with them. That’s the law.

  4. lucifersbike says

    I was born and grew up in London. In 1977 I left to work in Germany. It felt strange. I knew they drove on the other side of the road, I knew I’d have to learn German, and as I’d expected the city looked and smelt different (it was a lot cleaner than London). But I still felt weird. After about a month I met an American student who was black. It was only then that I realised that for the first time in my life everybody I’d seen up till then was white, and that was why I’d been feeling uneasy.
    I line in a northern English city now – my home is in the most ethnically mixed ward in the whole of the North East. There are around a dozen different languages spoken in my street of about 100 small houses. I love it.

  5. says

    That was lovely. I live in Vancouver, Canada, which is also really ethnically diverse, and I LOVE that. I love living somewhere that people from all over the world with a thousand colors and cultures and backgrounds can call Home.

  6. Mark Jacobson says

    That video must have been brigaded. Even for youtube, that comment section seems too uniformly awful.

  7. nomadiq says

    Just read through some of the comments on YouTube. I think many but no where near all are socket puppet accounts. Having said that, the comments seem to center around the idea that diversity has made London violent. But more violent than it was in the 1800s? Doubt it. If you’re pissed off and feeling violent because your neighbour is a different colour than you, you’re the problem, not some ones colour. But of course the unwritten message here is that non-whites are violent. These commenters need to (re)read their ancestors history.

    And then there are those that try and not be racist and try to break it down to races just can’t mix. They talk about how Tokyo is only Asian, Nairobi is only black (the frequency that that came up suggests bot behaviour to me). And everyone forgets Singapore. Not that there aren’t racial problems in Singapore, but you can’t claim the place is violent nor an economic and technological powerhouse. It’s less successful neighbours are much more single-race. If homogeneity in race is so good why is Laos such an impoverished country?

  8. blf says

    Very nicely done ! My congratulations to the people involved with the video.


    Amusingly, (Chicken) Tikka Masalaa “was most certainly invented in Britain, probably by a Bangladeshi chef”, so being very — and pointlessly — pedantic, it’s not an “Indian” dish. Except that it is, and the claim of invention in Britain is disputed.


    There has been an uptick in murders in London this year (2018). Last I checked, the murder rate is now slightly above NYC. The reasons are still unclear, and it could just be a statistical anomaly. (It is not due to terrorist attacks.)

  9. tacitus says

    @blf: There was a spate of knife attacks earlier this year in London, and as you say, given the homicide rate in New York was still almost triple that of London in 2017, it’s a little early to call it a trend.

    The Sun posted a list of the London murder victims, and just by eyeballing the names, you can tell that people of color are much more likely to be victims that white people.

    Overall, the crime rate in London has rise in the past few years, but that was from historic lows in the middle of the decade, and the rate is still lower than it was in the previous 25 years when, presumably, London was more white than it is today.

    It’s so easy to cherry pick crime statistics since there are all kinds of factors that influence them, and collection varies so widely from place to place that they can be extremely difficult to compare like with like.

  10. cartomancer says

    Oh yes, Londoners are indeed a diverse bunch. Irish Londoners, Pakistani Londoners, Italian Londoners, Japanese Londoners, Mauritian Londoners, all rubbing along. It’s a veritable United Nations inside the M25, albeit with considerably more Pie and Mash.

    But just you try suggesting that they come OUT of London and visit the rest of the country (which is objectively better, because it doesn’t smell of petrol and stale shoes), and suddenly they’re the most parochial of inward-looking navel gazers to whom Dorking might as well be Alpha Centauri.

  11. tacitus says

    I lived in the UK for 30 years, but rarely visited London during that time. I did, however, spend a week in London during the 2012 Olympics, and I must admit that I came away with a new appreciation for the city. If only it wasn’t so damned expensive to live there!

    A lot of the racism in British cities stems from a resentment of how much they have been changed by the immigrant communities. Young people who used to multiculturalism are more willing to embrace the change, but older folk — as in the US — are not so accepting, to say the least.

    An elderly cousin of my Dad’s was as sweet a woman as you could hope to meet. Friendly, welcoming, and never a harsh word to say about anyone… unless you strayed onto the subject of Bradford, the Northern English city where she was raised, which is home to the third largest Pakistani community in the UK. My parents had never heard such racist language from her in all the 70 years they had known her.

  12. wzrd1 says

    There are places in London one just doesn’t walk through. Too long of a walk!
    There are places in London one just doesn’t drive through. No bloody parking!
    But, why should one bother, when there is such a splendid public transportation system there?

  13. blf says

    tacitus@11, Yes to all of that, and thanks for adding additional clarifications. I do not recall where now, but I’ve seen that “higher than NYC” factoid — usually misrepresented — being used as “proof” than London is “exceptionally” violent. Traitor don did it at the NRA convention, bleating (Trump’s knife crime comments are ridiculous, says London surgeon):

    I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a warzone for horrible stabbing wounds, [traitor don] said. Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives, and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military warzone hospital.

    Teh eejit went on to suggest the “solution” was guns.

  14. tacitus says

    And everyone forgets Singapore.

    Not sure Singapore is the greatest example of ethnic harmony around. The Chinese dominate the demographics (75%) and the minority Malays are pretty much shut out of the higher ranks of the government, armed forces and the judiciary. (There is a Malay president at the moment, but that is mostly a ceremonial role.)

    The lack of serious ethnic strife is likely because (a) economic prosperity helps, and (b) Singapore is about as an authoritarian single party state as you can get an still remain a nominally democratic nation.

  15. blf says

    tacitus@13, In the last century, I did live in London for years. My own story about sweet Ms Jekyll turning into Racist Hydebound was a conversation with an elderly downstairs neighbour. We got on the subject of food, and she asked me what sort of cooking I did. Among the things I mentioned was stir-frying in wok.

    A look of pure disgust crossed her face, and she blurted out (paraphrasing from memory) Filthy foreign muck, you should eat normal food! I can still clearly recall the emphasis on “normal”.

    I don’t now recall having any retort / reply at the time, perhaps because I was quite taken aback by the Jekyll→to→Hyde transformation of someone who seemed so nice.

  16. gijoel says

    I had a racist friend. Last year I got sick of his constant whinging and told him not to contact me. Best decision I ever made.

  17. Owlmirror says

    I don’t now recall having any retort / reply at the time, perhaps because I was quite taken aback by the Jekyll→to→Hyde transformation of someone who seemed so nice.

    Foreign food (and presumably people) is her Berserk Button.

  18. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    “Foreign” food (and presumably people) is her Berserk Button.

    A right insult to the grand old tradition of bland boiled mush, deep fried…stuff…and disgusting organ meats, it is!

  19. andrewpang says

    @#7 Mark Jacobson:

    That video must have been brigaded. Even for youtube, that comment section seems too uniformly awful.

    My theory about why it doesn’t even take brigading for a YouTube comments section to degrade into the typical gutter it is: Contrary to what the Internet may cause you to perceive, most people are against racism. However, they take their anti-racism for granted due to an assumption their views are normal and don’t go around pushing their viewpoint online everywhere. In contrast, the racists are out there either due to pure stupidity and running their mouth, or actively recruiting for the dark side.

  20. A. Noyd says

    wzrd1 (#14)

    There are places in London one just doesn’t walk through. Too long of a walk!

    I actually had a conversation like that on the train back to Seattle from the airport. I was telling a newly-arrived out-of-towner about getting around the city, and pointed out that the area we had just gotten to, which was adjacent to where he was heading, wasn’t one he’d want to walk through.

    He was like, “I’m a black man from Cincinnati. I think I can handle it.” And I was like, “Noooo, I mean with all the fenced-in warehouse complexes, the manufacturing depots that go on for blocks, and the maze of impassable highways cutting through everything, it’s a complete pain in the ass to get from point A to point B.”

  21. hunter says

    I don’t have any racist friends (if I do, they’re keeping it really secret). If I do run into anyone racist, I like to cite my neighborhood in Chicago as an example of a great place to live: white, black, Latino, African, Arab, Iranian, Indian, Pakistani, with just about every religious affiliation you can think of. Centro Romero, a Latino community service organization, is downstairs; the Iraqi service center used to be up the street, but moved. I periodically see conservative Muslim women in the full burqa walking their children to school, along with the Latino, white, black, etc. children who attend the same school.

    And everyone gets along just fine.

    The only problem is that shopping is limited — unless you need auto parts.

  22. says

    It still seems strange to me to consider Arabs, Pakastanis, and others from Eurasia as anything but very dark whites. They don’t look a lot like my family members who show their roots in the Americas.

  23. Saad says

    robertbaden, #25

    Did you mean Pakistanis or Palestinians?

    Also, can you explain what you mean? Why should Arabs be considered white? White isn’t just about color of skin (otherwise many east Asian people would be considered white).

  24. says

    I love this. I lived in London for over two decades, and loved the diversity. If anything, the diversity is even greater in East London where my family settled.

    I’m now back in Sunderland, just a couple of miles from where I grew up. It was a bit of a shock at first, being surrounded by people who all look so much like me. It’s a really beautiful area, though, and we’re still pretty cosmopolitan overall.

  25. khms says

    #5 +lucifersbike

    everybody I’d seen up till then was white

    Interesting. Where in Germany was that?
    I’m a bit – how do I put it – reverse-prejudiced? I had three adopted siblings, all half-German, half-“exotic” (those halves having come from Turkey, some place in Africa I can’t keep straight in my head, and South Korea – unfortunately, my half-Turkish sister was a victim of breast cancer and alt-med), and thus had a slightly more colorful normal than others.

    Then again, due to my father’s job (pedagogics prof), we moved to a number of university cities, and those also tend to have more exotics. Right now I’m where the Peace of Westphalia was signed, and this city quarter has a significant amount of – what’s it called – people with immigration background. Come to think of it, that could perhaps describe me, too; my mother and her family came West after WW II (as refugees), and while I remember that during her time over there, she had Austrian, Czechoslovakian, and German papers, I’m not entirely certain what she was born with. (Of course, that’s still not what those terms are commonly interpreted to mean!)

  26. says


    The statistics are slightly misleading.


    The video strongly implies that “the majority” of Londoners are non-white. But according to the 2011 census, only 40% of Londoners are non-white, less than “the minority” 45% who are white British.

    I’d call it a bare-faced lie myself.