That’s Racist!


How the Regulation of Speech and Thought Divides Us All

Author: Adrian Hart

This book suggests that modern day anti-racism can be argued as having taken over from old-fashioned racism as the dominant racialising force in British society.

Paperback 160 pp.

£9.95    £7.50

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In twenty-first century Britain, children of all ethnic groups play together at school and in their neighbourhoods. They grow up together, and have children together. The ongoing rise of the ‘mixed race’ population shows the extent to which the awareness of ‘racial difference’ has disappeared from people’s everyday experience: a fact, surely, that anti-racist campaigners should celebrate.

And yet in recent years, playgrounds and classrooms have endured unprecedented interference in the form of official racist-incident reporting, training on the importance of racial etiquette, and the reinforcement of racial identities. In workplaces and public institutions, self-styled ‘anti-racist’ campaigns seize on bad jokes, playground insults, and clumsy behaviours as evidence that racism is on the rise, and that more rules are needed to control people’s attitudes and behaviours.

How do we make sense of this reality gap, between the genuine diversity of everyday life and the racialised assumptions that drive ‘anti-racist’ policy? In That’s Racist! Adrian Hart reflects on his experience of anti-racist campaigning in 1980s East London, and his later studies of allegedly racist behaviour among primary school children, to show how the language of anti-racism has been co-opted by a divisive new policy agenda.

In Britain today, it is no longer racism that sets us against each other, but the demand that we should be hyper-sensitive about each other’s differences. As we try to navigate this new landscape, the first casualty is freedom of speech.

5 reviews for That’s Racist!

  1. Post
    3 out of 5

    “I’m not for howling him down, even though I’m there in the index and get a bit of a scuffing in his text. For debate is just that. Opinions differ. Maybe he’s right and there has been a kind of anti-racist mission creep.” Hugo Muir, The Guardian, Oct 19th 2014

  2. Post
    5 out of 5

    “‘That’s racist!’, along with such fashionable ripostes as ‘Check your privilege!’, is another way of repeating the dominant cultural prejudice that You Can’t Say That. Fortunately, there are still those like Adrian Hart who can, and will.” Mick Hume, Spiked Nov 14th 2014

  3. Post
    5 out of 5

    “This isn’t the first Imprint Academic Book which I’ve begun with the thought that that my own prejudices were going to be confirmed and ended up with a complete rethink.” Sue Magee, The Bookbag

  4. Post
    5 out of 5

    “The observation ‘that’s racist’ frequently means little more than ‘that’s unpleasant’. This book warns that such inflated rhetoric actually robs racism of its real meaning. An excellent contribution.” Prof Frank Furedi, sociologist, commentator and author

  5. Post
    5 out of 5

    “Adrian Hart has written a punchy yet balanced account of the growth of official anti-racism policies in Britain and their unintended harm. Packed full of examples, it is all the more persuasive because of his own experience as a passionate anti-racist activist in the 1980s.” Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture of London

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