Raising the game by Moonlight & How Positive Discrimination Works.

A stranger  asked me what racism was like so I slapped him. Hard.  As he lay on the floor I leaned over him and said “what’s racism like?”.  He bemoaned  that he wasn’t racist cause he had a black girlfriend. I told him I wasn’t sexist cause my girlfriend was a woman and so was my mum.  These two events did not happen. I invented the first one to show how it feels when someone asks the question and I  invented the second one to show how easy it is to believe a falsehood as long as many people hold it up as true.

And there is a third. The third is the idea that positive discrimination is a new thing.   I’m sick of hearing the true  beneficiaries of positive discrimination bemoan it for others .   They say it  lowers “quality and excellence” as if the idea of quality and excellence wasn’t influenced by societal prejudices and “unconscious bias”.   On reflection my problem with the western  canon is not,  and has never been,  the quality of work. True positive discrimination has been a system  for the ruling classes in our society. And within the ruling classes positive discrimination has been for white men.  The proof is in our libraries, history books and institutions.   Positive discrimination has been so successful that it is virtual invisible. But once you see it you can’t un-see it.

Thankfully evolution is unstoppable.  Times change and values evolve.  We shine the torch of equality on their positive discrimination.   There is an outcry from the likes of Toby Jung (sic).  Positive discrimination was designed for people like  him.  

As we shine the torch of equality on the results of  positive discrimination there is an outcry from its beneficiaries and wider society – the likes of Toby Jung (sic) – . Ofcourse there is.  Positive discrimination was made for people like him

In demanding diversity we expose the lack of it.   In wanting to form  dialogue with a gatekeeper we expose his inability to hold an adult conversation.  He’s  blindsided. His present condition is a deficiency of self awareness and context: a lack of understanding of who he is and where he is. We are tasked with first teaching him the language of the present day and then to unlock the gate.  I am talking about the greatest migration of all. The migration of ideas.

Competitions,  Awards,  Laureateships…  Our systems of self knowledge like  science, education, philosophy, the arts, business,  have appeared belittled by positive discrimination to the white male  in light of the new world.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow –  like it’s hard to admit slavery’s impact on prosperity today – but it’s true.   We demand more women more black people, more gay people more disabled people and  more diversity.  By improving the equation of excellence we are simply redressing the negative impact of positive discrimination. And best of all we are making our world and its institutions better places to be by addressing the imbalance of who qualifies.  Look at the beauty and compassion of Moonlight and notice that with diversity comes, empathy,  strength, wisdom, critique, openess, learning, and extreme quality.   We are not lowering the bar in championing diversity.  We are raising the game.



Nothing is black and white. Nothing.  I have to nail my colours to the mast.    When anyone tells me they are colour blind I think  “Colour blindness is a disability! It’s like saying to a person with no legs  ‘I don’t see legs. mentally I am a paraplegic'”. And anyway. People only say they are colour blind  when they see or talk about people of colour?. And there’s another gatekeepers response “We are all human beings”.  If a woman said to a male “I am a women” and he replied “no, love, you are a human being”. How would she feel? Think about that for a moment. 

To all the brilliant white males that I know. I Include my lbest friend.  I have to write this blog. It is about inequality.  If you want to me to take you through it then I will. Leave me a message. Just one more thing.     I’ve traveled the world.  In every country there is racism. It is learned behaviour.  If it doesn’t get challenged it carries on.  I’ve never quite understood how people don’t understand (or embrace the idea)  that equality is important not just for the minority. It is for all.

15 thoughts on “Raising the game by Moonlight & How Positive Discrimination Works.

  1. There’s a lot of sharing to get used to.
    I am not being glib!
    Moonlight for me was a raw and painful and wonderful revelation of a child’s perspective. Children deserve us to hear and see their perspective. They are the most under served in our culture…black and brown children are right there at the bottom of the list of who we care about…..


    • YOu’re a love Anette. Blogs like this never go down well in the popularity stakes. I am fully aware of that. But then if popularity was my aim I wouldn’t have chosen poetry as the vehicle. Go figure. If I were a better writer I could speak with more eloquence on a subject that deserves it. I am not fishing there. Writing is as much about seeing your deficiencies as exploring ideas. That’s why most people fear doing it.

  2. I’ve just come from seeing Moonlight and am deep in thought. It was so powerful, sad, beautiful and nuanced, it has changed me adding a new story to my way of seeing the world. And thanks for all that you write, it feels like petals opening, I think I have opened up and let go of blinkered thinking and then I discover I have so many more petals to open and that is a wonderful feeling. Let’s grow on!

  3. People who identify as white need to own that identity with all its inherent privilege. The word privilege doesn’t help because it implies “better than” and perhaps many white people don’t feel that “privilege” accurately expresses their experience. What they fail to understand is that the bog-standards of respect, safety and opportunity are roundly denied non-white people everyday, along with those who are non-male, non-straight, non-able bodied, lower class and frankly anything else which falls outside of the ridiculously narrow confines of patriarchy.

    When I concede my privilege I have to acknowledge that my whiteness is a construct which ensures my right to the bog-standards (and often a lot more besides) and denies yours, as a black person. These two constructs are inter-dependent. It’s also absolutely crucial that this system of oppression be invisible to white people.

    I think white people are beginning to see the light, I’m certainly aware that my attitude to my race identity is changing, (you know, in that I actually have one). Identifying as a white person does bring all kinds of uncomfortable revelations, and I’m acutely aware that just being kind and treating everyone with respect isn’t going to cut it anymore.

    Actively ceding your privilege is hard, but nigh on impossible to those who have never had any cause to question the system, the person who has, through no action of their own, always been a perfect fit in a perfect world – these are the ignoramuses who bemoan positive discrimination. (While, as you so rightly say, continuing to be the sole beneficiaries of it).

    (And on the Western canon, yes that work is of extraordinarily high quality but only because all the duds were excluded – all those mediocre white, male creatives – best not to talk about them, ruins the illusion a bit).

    We have reason to hope that the world is evolving but I’m not going to let anyone do that work for me, and nor should any other white person, or anyone else who has the intelligence and integrity to recognise where they fall on the privilege spectrum.

    (Privilege spectrum… ugh, sounds a bit PC but anyway).

    My life has been immeasurably enriched by diverse voices, and I need them in literature, drama and film because they are so often not in my actual life, that’s how privilege works – it convinces you that you are seeing the whole picture. And I don’t want to come over all Viola Davis (I do) but that is the profound beauty and responsibility of the arts.

    Anyway, enough! Thank you for your very kind reply to my last post, I was very grateful.


    • “My life has been immeasurably enriched by diverse voices, and I need them in literature, drama and film because they are so often not in my actual life, that’s how privilege works – it convinces you that you are seeing the whole picture. And I don’t want to come over all Viola Davis (I do) but that is the profound beauty and responsibility of the arts.

      Anyway, enough! Thank you for your very kind reply to my last post, I was very grateful.

      Lemn” 🙂

  4. What if I don’t identify as white (I am if you actually need to know my skin colour) but I object as I am pink/yellow/pale brown/red I don’t actually see a shade I could honesty claim as white. This is not a conscious effort to disregard a label society feels a need to stick upon my brow but I genuinely do not see people’s colour. I see a person, I hear a person, I smell and feel a person’s presence until it is brought to my attention that person’s racial identity or age. Until then I embrace a connection with a human being. I never start to fragment that interaction, divide into societies sections, if that happens it is always prompted by them leaving me with a feeling of being cheated, being taken away on a path I would not have chosen to go. Interact with me, just me as I exist on this planet, give me you, just you as you exist on this planet. If humans evolve into spiritual beings with no outer physical shell what will happen then to those who envelop their identity in their skin colour? will they be lost?

    • Most people who identify themselves by their skin colour are in the minority. The majority do not see themselves as a colour. I find this an interesting observation.

      • This is something I am now exploring in depth and hoping to grow from……are people not aware of skin colour unless it is used in a negative form against them?…..many, many questions I will seek the answers to. Part of my own reason for not wanting to identify as white is the shame I feel of the white atrocities (which would fill books not a blog), yet I cannot name one single black atrocity off the top of my head………

  5. ‘Positive discrimination has been so successful that it is virtual invisible. But once you see it you can’t un-see it’ – That is the power, the invisibility. People seem so blind to that which society is not shining a torch on. Do they not ask who is shining the torch and why, who is guiding them only to look in one direction? Once your gaze strays and looks into the shadows you realise the truth and using your own torch you can shine it wherever you feel you may want to look. But like you say once seen, you can’t un-see it, the knowledge is then out there and must be shared. Once everything is in the light there will be no need for torches……

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