Back in the sixties, challenging
discrimination was easy. We knew that it was stupid and unfair to
disadvantage people on grounds of their colour or race or sexual
orientation - and we said so. We were delighted to see others,
awareness raised, aligning their views with our own and joining
our campaigns for equality.
As the years passed, however, some of us
began to feel uneasy about individuals within our own ranks.
Often these people were the most ardent and committed campaigners
- stopping at nothing to root-out discrimination; locating even
other liberals who may, via a chance remark or behaviour, have
betrayed latent discriminatory tendencies.
It was the orchestrated campaigns of
harassment and victimisation aimed at these transgressing
liberals that focused our concerns - campaigns which were as
vindictive as those previously launched against minority groups.
Sometimes they were even co-ordinated by the very people who had
joined us in repentance of their own former prejudice.
The advantages to bullies of discriminating
against those who were alleged to discriminate, were huge. Not
only was there the feeling of power which derived from bullying,
but also the satisfying glow of self-righteousness. Also they had
an unassailable moral position - surely if anyone challenged
discrimination against someone who was alleged to be
discriminating, then that challenge was really attacking the
group which the person who was alleged to be discriminating was
alleged to be discriminating against.
It took us most of the nineteen-seventies
to understand that last sentence. When we did, we resolved to
root-out those bullies who had simply switched from mindlessly
attacking minority groups to mindlessly attacking those they
accused of mindlessly attacking minority groups.
Several took to this with enthusiasm and
gusto. Our efforts in understanding the last sentence in the
paragraph before last, however, quickly sensitised us to identify
that some of these new guardians of equality were actually
bullies who, having previously switched from mindlessly attacking
minority groups to mindlessly attacking those they accused of
mindlessly attacking minority groups, had now switched to
mindlessly attacking those who they accused of having previously
switched from mindlessly attacking minority groups to mindlessly
attacking those they accused of mindlessly attacking minority
Work on understanding that last sentence
took much of the nineteen-eighties until one of our number, with
degrees in maths and logic from Cambridge, devised explanatory
mathematical notation. Mindless discrimination against a minority
group was defined as D. Mindless discrimination
against someone accused of mindlessly discriminating against a
minority group was defined as D2. Mindless
discrimination against someone accused of mindlessly
discriminating against someone accused of mindlessly
discriminating against a minority group was defined as D3
and so on.
I now spend much of my time pursuing such
individuals. I recently exposed someone committing D14
in New York and another committing D27 in London. The
latter was a difficult battle as he accused me of committing D26!
Fortunately his true colours were shown when he demanded that I
be publicly flogged, hung, drawn and quartered and all members of
my family and home village be shot. All I wanted him to do was
behave like an adult and treat other human beings decently.
Back in the sixties, challenging
discrimination was easy.