Racism Versus Old-School Xenophobia

The vile racist trolling of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka shames England. However, I suspect it says more about the poisonous cruelty fostered by the internet, than it says about the country’s underlying racism. Trolls seek out their victims’ vulnerabilities. There has been a rise in reported racist incidents since Brexit, and the greater awareness of racial tension in recent years seems, ironically, to have increased BAME people’s perception of that threat[1]. Trolls exploit this to add venom to their attacks. 

British trolls are not necessarily driven by a racist ideology, although they clearly don’t find expressions of racism as repugnant as they should, implying a degree of racial segregation. In fact, I suspect trolls are untroubled by any complex thought structures, no matter how intelligent they may be. They just get a visceral thrill out of being nasty and the power it gives them to upset people. 

Trolls reinforce our perception that we live in a starkly discriminatory society. Yet racial inequality in the UK doesn’t seem to originate from a racist belief system, either. That would conflict with our core liberal humanist values. In this respect, it seems very different from the United States. It seems to have a different source: old fashioned xenophobia. 

[1] Only time will tell if these are the birth pangs of a better society or the beginning of a new era of alienation. Guess what I think!

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