Saturday, 21 November 2009

Rajinder Singh, the BNP's first non-white member

When it emerged that the British National Party - the organised, political face of British racism - would have to begin taking non-white members, I found it very difficult to believe that any non- "indigenous caucasian" - the BNP's euphemism for "white-and-therefore-superior people" - would actually want to join a party that essentially believes anyone "on the wrong side of beige" (as I once heard one particularly spectacular racist pr**k describe non-whites) does not belong in Britain.

Apparently I was wrong. Rajinder Singh, a Sikh ex-schoolteacher who emigrated from India in 1967, says he would be "proud" to join the BNP. Mr Singh, who provided a character reference for Nick Griffin - the BNP leader - at his trial for inciting racial hatred (note the irony), supports the BNP because it is the "only party who has the guts to say the word Muslim".

Mr Singh claims to have "put his own ego aside" in his support for the BNP. Joining a party that hates you because of the colour of your skin seems to me to be much more than that - it is a display of distain for non- "indigenous caucasian" Britons who suffer the effects of racism. This justification for his decision to seek membership sends out the message that racism doesn't matter; and lends credibility to a group of thugs and fascists in the eyes of voters who would never before have considered voting BNP, but have become frustrated with mainstream parties.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The 10-year-old hero making a stand for gay rights in the US

"I've grown up with a lot of people and I'm good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I'm not going to swear that they do."

This from the mouth of one brave ten-year-old on CNN this Monday - when many leaders of the free world (including the esteemed Barack Obama) still don't believe in equal rights for gays.

Will Phillips is an Arkansas elementary student who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance in school because of discrimination against gay people - on October 5, when the other kids in his class stood to say the pledge, he remained sitting down, and has done the same ever since, despite the depressingly predictable "gaywad" taunts from other students (pity so many grown men and women display the level of maturity of the taunters, rather than the courageous young Mr Phillips).

Will, who wants to become a lawyer, and his parents, Laura and Jay Phillips, who support him fully - they print off messages of support for him to read - are an inspiration.

Why is Will Phillips so important? Because people are attacked - verbally and physically - every day because of homophobia. People die because of homophobia. This year, a civil servant named Ian Bayhnam was set upon and murdered in Trafalgar Square, London, for nothing more than the heinous crime of being a man who falls in love with men. Until gay people are treated as equals before the law, bigots will go on thinking that its okay to be homophobic, that gay peoples' lives are expendable because of their sexual orientation.

So, my first post is dedicated to Will Phillips, the 10-year-old who is trying to make a difference, and in doing so has shown more maturity, reason and courage than many adults.

Watch Will on CNN: