Opinion: The Danny Baker backlash is no longer about anti-racism

Danny Baker

Friday, May 10, 2019

Spiked editor Brendan O'Neill says there is an element of "cruelty" to how people have treated Danny Baker since he posted his controversial royal baby tweet. These are his views and not talkRADIO's.

I think that when we are talking about racism, we have to think about the person's intention. We have to ask ourselves, did this person intend to make a racist comment?

In the case of Danny Baker, I really don't think he did. 

I  buy his argument that he thought it was funny, that he thought it was just making fun of the ridiculous nature of royalty. I accept that explanation, and I'm shocked that so many other people are unwilling to accept that.

Something in his mind should have said, 'Hold on, this is a picture of a chimpanzee and that is an old racist trope so I should stoip while I'm ahead'.

Something should have said that to him, but it didn't. There was a glitch in his matrix. Something went wrong and he made a misjudgment. A very bad misjudgment.

The thing I find most shocking about this case is the swiftness with which he was sacked by the BBC. This is someone who posted a really stupid tweet, deleted it within minutes and apologised for it.

The first apology was a bit lame. He did then apologise for what he referred to as his "grotesque error".

This is what I really dislike about the Twitter mob culture. 

Even when someone does eventually apologise and basically asks for repentence, the Twitter mob still says 'We don't accept your request for repentence and we're still going to cast you out into the social wilderness for the next few years'.

There's an element of cruelty to that.

There was a point when I thought the reaction against Danny Baker is not about anti-racism, it is about punishing someone for making a mistake, and I think that's a bit vindictive. We do need to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Political correctness presents itself as this happy-clappy, lovely ideology, all about fairness and equality, but in fact it is an increasingly cruel ideology.

It is one that will cast you out of society if you're a feminist who doesn't think that men can become women, or if you're someone who is uncomfortable with certain elements of Islam, or in the case of Danny Baker, if you're someoen who just makes a really stupid mistake.

A society that cannot accept different opinions and cannot forgive people who make mistakes is a society that's going in the wrong direction.

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