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Good golly miss Molly…Here wog go again

OFFENSIVE GESTURE: This golliwog was at the centre of a row between neighbours Rosemary O’Donnell and Jena Mason

I DON’T need to tell you that if it looks like racism and smells like racism, you're either going to have to stand and fight or run like hell with your shirt full of wind.

Rosemarie O'Donnell has decided to stand firm. She was in a planning dispute with her neighbour, 65 year old Jena Mason.

A few days after the local council found against Mrs O'Donnell, a golliwog mysteriously appeared in her neighbour's window.


To most of us who have experienced racism this was no harmless coincidence. Even to those who have never been the victims of racism the implication is clear. We all know what the golliwog means. But the law requires a stronger burden of proof in race relations. And that is what is proving so intractable in the fight against racism.

You see, racist white folks think they're getting cleverer and cleverer in being racist without being charged for racism.

Why does it matter? Because racism is raising its ugly head again in every nook and cranny. And, just like the bad old days, when you speak up against it you're immediately accused of being over sensitive. Or being as bad as the racists. A standard reply to a complaint of racism nowadays is the question, “What about all the black people who are racist against good, honest, hard-working white people?"

What has that got to do with our claim of racism?

“It cuts both ways."

Well, I don't know about that. I don't know what it is when a black man is ‘racist' to a white guy, but believe me it's not racism. Call it something else. Wotlessness, foolishness, ignorace, bravado. Anything you like. But it's not racism. Racism is when some cocky little white guy believes that they can come up to you and start mouthing off about how this country is theirs and you don't belong here and you have less rights than they have and they're confident that the rest of society from the police to the bankers to the teachers and the judges are backing them up by their treatment of you and yours. THAT'S racism.

But it's so hard to prove. The current legislation only protects us from the most blatant expression of racism where the affront is accompanied by the N-word and such like. How many racists are stupid enough to use the N-word nowadays? Not even Nick Griffin of the BNP would do so in public.

The level of proof could of course be dropped altogether and the law could simply take our word for it. The only other way to determine whether something is racist or not, where the level of proof needed can never be met unless black people go around secretly wired for sound and pictures 24-7, is to create a daytime television gameshow. The gameshow will allow the public to  decide by phoning a premium number, whether a golliwog in a bedroom window overlooking the garden of the Jamaican woman next door a few days after you have won a planning permission dispute with them, is tantamount to racism.

I wonder how the country would vote. Don't you?

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