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The War Against White Trash
[Previously by John Derbyshire: Thinking About 7/7: Enoch Powell's Revenge?]
Here is a picture of a 14-year-old English girl named Codie Stott. Here is another picture of Codie. Here is a picture of Codie with her mother, Nicola Stott. And here is a picture of the headmaster (= principal, approximately) of the school that Codie Stott attends.
Now, it is a well-known fact that there's no art to find the mind's construction in the face. I certainly would not presume to plumb the depths of these people's psyches merely by references to the pictures linked to above. It is an odd thing, though, that the impressions of Miss and Mrs. Stott, and of Dr. (as he now is) Edkins, that popped into my mind on seeing those pictures are amply supported by the background material in the surrounding text.
What were those impressions? In the case of the Stotts mère et fille the impression was: "White trash." Dr. Edkin's picture triggered the response: "Multi-culti enforcer."
"White trash" is of course an unnecessarily harsh expression. "White Anglo-Saxon-Celtic working class" would be kinder and more precise. I am going to go on saying "white trash," though, because
it is less cumbersome,
and... I feel I have a license to do so, being white trash myself by origins, having been raised among people who looked very much like Codie and her Mum, and likely shared the Stott ladies' taste in food, entertainment, spectator sports, home furnishings, celebrity gossip, dental-hygienic practices, and the milder sort of vices.
Those coarse, homely faces aside, the evidence for the white-trash status of the Stotts is, as I said, there in the supporting text. Mrs. Stott works as a cleaner. She seems to have misplaced her husband, but she has a live-in boyfriend, whose line of work is cable laying.
Young Codie Stott attends a school named Harrop Fold, of which an official report in December of last year noted the following:
The school is situated in the mainly residential areas of Worsley and Little Hulton which experience significant levels of social and economic disadvantage. The proportion of students eligible for free school meals is more than double the national average. Few students are from minority ethnic groups. Students enter the school having achieved results at primary school that were below average overall, particularly in English. An average proportion have been identified as having learning difficulties and/or disabilities and 20 students have a statement of special educational need.
Plainly a white-trash school in a white-trash neighborhood. The headmaster of that school is Dr. Edkins, the one whose picture seemed to me to have the phrase "multi-culti enforcer" stenciled across it in red-ink block letters.
Dr. Edkins is something of a superstar in his profession. When he was put in charge of Falmer School in Brighton, down on the south coast of England, back in 1999, he was then the youngest headmaster of a publicly-run secondary school anywhere in the nation.
Falmer was, like Harrop Fold, an "underperforming" school in a "disadvantaged" white-trash area. Edkins turned the place around, and was then head-hunted to do the same for Codie Stott's school. He did such a good job on this second mission, he was praised by British Prime Minister Tony Blair himself. As I said, an educational superstar—a sort of Barack Obama of British ed-biz.
So what on earth has gone wrong at Harrop Fold School that young Codie had to be hustled off to the local Bridewell to have her fingerprints and DNA databased, and to be detained for—depending on whose story you believe—either three and a half or six hours in—ditto ditto—either a cell or a "juvenile unit"?
Well, according to the news reports, Codie was arrested on suspicion of having committed "a Section 5 racial public order offence."
(Just pause to savor that phrase for a moment, and reflect on the exquisite, quivering pleasure it would have given to George Orwell.)
What had happened was, in a science class where the student body was partitioned into "discussion groups," Codie found herself with a group of five Pakistanis. Four of the five were recent immigrants who spoke no English, so the fifth occupied himself by explaining to them, in Urdu, what the teacher required.
Codie found it educationally unrewarding to sit there listening to her five team-mates chattering in Urdu, a language she does not herself speak. She therefore sought out the teacher to ask if she might be re-assigned to some other group, preferably one whose members spoke English.
This mild request had somewhat the same effect on her teacher as Oliver Twist's request for "More" had on that beadle. All the school's PC alarms went off simultaneously. According to Codie, the teacher "started shouting and screaming, saying 'It's racist, you're going to get done by the police.'" The newspaper report continues:
"Codie said she went outside to calm down where another teacher found her and, after speaking to her class teacher, put her in isolation for the rest of the day.
"A complaint was made to a police officer based full-time at the school, and more than a week after the incident on September 26 she was taken to Swinton police station and placed under arrest.
"'They told me to take my laces out of my shoes and remove my jewelry, and I had my fingerprints and photograph taken," said Codie. 'It was awful.'
"After questioning on suspicion of committing a section five racial public order offence, her mother Nicola says she was placed in a bare cell for three-and-a-half hours then released without charge.
"She only returned to lessons this week and has been put in a different science class."
Now, there are some different versions here. As any schoolteacher, or any parent, knows, it is not always easy to get to the bottom of these matters. Codie's account has been disputed. It has been alleged that she spoke insults to the Pakistanis, though the worst such allegation I have been able to find is that Codie referred to them as—you might want to take a firm hold of something solid here—"black."
What is not in dispute is that after a pause of several days while the authorities ruminated on the matter, Codie was arrested, taken to the police station, fingerprinted, had her DNA registered, and was given the full attention, for at least three and a half hours, of several bobbies who might have been better employed trying to do something about their district's appalling levels of burglary, motor vehicle theft, and " violence against the person."
What does Codie's headmaster, the miracle-working Dr. Edkins, have to say about it all? Quote:
"An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark by one student towards a group of Asian students new to the school and new to the country. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards people and pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form."
More words to savor—words, in fact, to chill the blood of anyone who believes in liberty and personal autonomy. "We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude…"
It is not often one is offered such a vivid glimpse of the iron fist inside the velvet cliché, of the totalitarian, nation-killing purpose of the whole sweet-talking multi-cultural enterprise. Be caring… be tolerant… or WE WILL SMASH YOU TO PIECES!
One hopes, for her own sake, that young Codie got the message.
I'd like to suggest that this incident was one tiny skirmish in a war that has been underway for some years now, the war I named in my title: the War Against White Trash. On one side in this war there is, of course, the white Anglo-Saxon-Celtic working class of Britain.
That word "working" needs some emphasis. As I have noted, both Mrs. Stott and her boyfriend are gainfully employed. "White trash" is not the name of an unemployable underclass. White-trash-hood is more a state of mind, which a person at almost any economic level can enter into. One of the revelations in Bill Buford's book about English soccer hooligans (an essential item on the reading list of anyone wishing to explore white-trash culture) is that the white-trash marauders he writes about are in many cases "people with real jobs with real responsibilities: an engineer for British Telecom … a trainee accountant; a bank clerk."
On the other side of this war is a coalition of forces. Some of this coalition's components just dislike white trash for reasons of esthetics, race prejudice, or class snobbery, and take pleasure in seeing them harried and discomfited. Other, far more sinister, elements are driven by missionary spirit—by the desire to lift up the white trash from their present benighted state to a higher plane of consciousness.
That plane will be one where such paleolithic concepts as "nation" or "race" will have no meaning, where the traditional English contempt for foreigners has been replaced by a world-embracing spirit of universal brotherhood, where both sexes and all "lifestyles" are equal, where the past is viewed with horrified guilt, the present with earnest reforming zeal, and the future with serene complacency, where everyone advances to higher education and thence to symbol-manipulating employment in accountancy, or law, or the ever-swelling government bureaucracy, and nobody has to be a cleaner or cable layer.
Either dirt will cease to accumulate in buildings and cables will lay themselves spontaneously, or else small, grateful, polite brown people from distant places will be shipped in to do this demeaning work at starvation wages.
Dr. Edkins is a warrior in this fight; though which of the above-named motives—the desire to vex white trash, or the desire to embourgeoisify them—is uppermost in his mind, I would not venture to say.
His declaration that he "will not stand for racism in any form" is at least open to reasonable suspicion, though. In any form, Dr. Edkins? Suppose those Pakistani students had complained that Codie Stott made a poor sixth in their group, being unable to converse satisfactorily with them, and that they would be happier and better instructed if a sixth Urdu-speaking classmate could be found. Would the five of them have soon found themselves down at the cop shop having their fingers rolled on ink pads?
Why am I quite certain that the answer is "No"?
But come now, Derb (I hear you cry): Is not Dr. Edkins a hero of our time? Has he not turned around two failing schools, transforming them into places where studious kids of a white-trash background—kids very much like your own younger self—have a shot at learning something and advancing to a comfortable middle-class life among friends and colleagues who know the difference between pointillisme and portamento?
Well, yes; but there are matters of intent and purpose. Mussolini made the trains run on time; Hitler built the autobahns; Mao Tse-tung quashed the warlords.
It is a fine and worthy thing to improve a school. If, having improved that school, you then summon the peelers to stick a Section 5 on some 14-year-old girl because she expressed a preference to be taught in her own language, you have revealed yourself to be a vindictive ideologue who holds the tenets of ideological multiculturalism more precious than the ancient liberties of the English.
You have revealed yourself, in fact, as a person who wants the white trash smacked down good and hard, and their politico-cultural sentiments at least intimidated to silence, at best outlawed.
There are a lot of such people. A few weeks ago, in a different web magazine, I passed some remarks about the recent history of America's political parties in relation to the Civil Rights movement. I got many emails from readers chastising me for not having said how disgraceful Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" was—how simply appalling it was for him to go trawling after the votes of racist Southern whites as he had done, after those people had deserted the Democratic Party (or perhaps more precisely, after it had deserted them).
The implication of all these emails was that the votes of white Southerners in the 1960s and 1970s should not have been sought by any political party—that, in fact, white Southerners should not have been able to vote until they changed their thinking about race. But it is a regrettable fact about our political system that every adult citizen has a vote—even those citizens who prefer their own race to another.
Codie Stott doesn't even fall into that category. She just wants to get school science instruction in her own language.
When she is a little older, she may perhaps reflect on how odd it is that after forty years of angry controversy, after the transformation of entire English towns and city districts into simulacra of Karachi and Dhaka, after race riots and jihadist bombings—after all that, illiterate (in English, at any rate) Muslim South Asian peasants are still pouring into England in numbers apparently uncontrolled, and are being granted courtesies, dignities, and privileges which the native English are denied.
If, after reflecting on this for a while, Codie should come to the conclusion that the land of her ancestors has gone drooling, gibbering mad, who will say she is wrong?
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. His most recent book, Unknown Quantity: A Real And Imaginary History of Algebra, was reviewed here in July.