Racism by association

I appreciate that if someone wants to get paid for a "all Tories are racist" article then the first instinct is to head to The Guardian, but it would be nice if the editors imposed at least some kind of quality bar. I refer, of course to Lola Okolosie's piss-poor piece in today's edition: "Yes, you can have a Chinese girlfriend and still be racist":

[Tory candidate] Edward de Mesquita complains that he has had to fend off recurring accusations that his party produces "racist" polices. His strategy? To remind constituents that "Conservatives are not racist." The proof? Well, erm, "so many of the Conservatives have foreign wives after all".
Okolosie's text drips with scorn as she recounts this conversation, but my sympathies are actually with Mr. de Mesquita. After all, how can you prove a negative: that you are not racist? There are undoubtedly racist (by any reasonably narrow definition, say "openly prejudiced against people with an African or West Indian background) Tories, as there are racist Liberals, Labourites, Quakers, preachers and atheists. If I were to claim, for example, that BME English teachers are racist - undoubtedly, some of them are - and ask Ms. Okolosie to show that BME English teachers are not racist, how could she do so? It's not her fault that I'm asking a stupid question.

She helpfully lists six reasons why you can have a wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend from a BME background and still hold racist views or prejudices, including that you might:

[...] subscribe to the exotification of BME women which casts south-east Asian women as docile, demure and able to "treat a man well" [...]
An interesting prejudice she has there. It's an observable fact that in the UK and USA many of the younger generation of white male engineers have Chinese, Japanese, Filipino or South Korean girlfriends, fiancées and wives. It's equally observable that few white women have CJFK boyfriends or husbands - I've known precisely one female white engineer with a Chinese-ancestry husband. (The Indian male and female engineers seem to be pretty equally cosmopolitan in their choice of partners, by contrast). Having met a number of such couples, the CJFK ladies are significantly more vocal and have more drive than the white men. Perhaps they value the personality and earning potential of the man more than white women do?

Incidentally, Chinese parents seem to have a lot more problems with their daughter marrying outside their race than white parents do - and white fiances seem to be a lot more acceptable than other non-Chinese races. One Indian-Chinese couple I know ended up with the Chinese girl's father boycotting the wedding because her husband-to-be had such dark skin. Filipino fathers tend to look askance at black boys trying to partner with their daughters. I've even known a Filipino girl's father who applauded his daughter marrying a white guy because he thought Filipino boys were no good...

Okolosie also suggests that you may:

[...] believe in the idea of a model minority that is enterprising, while the majority within the BME community need to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and get with the programme of what life is like in the UK.
Well, you could look at the financial profile of the various ethnic groups in the UK and discover that Indian families tend to be disproportionally wealthier than black and Pakistani families, with their median wealth pretty close to white families and more than double that of Pakistani families. Either the UK has a weirdly specific racial prejudice that affects Pakistanis but not Indians, or there's some explanation besides simple white racism for black and Pakistani poverty. You can also look at low income in Birmingham and discover that Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black ethnic groups are over-represented in poverty vs population, while white, Indian and Chinese groups are under-represented.

This is not saying that poverty is the fault of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families (I suspect that the sharply different economic profile of immigrants has a lot to do with it), but it does at least partially support the assertion that Ms. Okolosie scorns so much. But she's an English teacher, and they are famously scornful of such white patriarchical concepts as "data". (See what I did there?)

Let's assume, getting back to Ms. Okolosie's original point, that the Tories have policies which are objectively bad for the black community - since black ethnicity and poverty are somewhat correlated, policies which negatively affect the poor will likely negatively affect the black community. We might say that such policies are "racist" since they negatively affect an ethnic group. Except that Tory policies tend to support businesses - and hence benefit Indian and Chinese families who tend to work in or own small or medium sized businesses. If we assume that Labour policies benefit the poor but penalise businesses, aren't they racist as well? Indeed, unless you have no policies at all, it's likely that one or more of your policies penalise an ethnic group. So every politician is racist! Even (heaven forfend) Diane Abbott.

Okolosie's label of "racist politician" is hence information-free. Effectively every politician is racist, by her definition.

Anti-discrimination laws may do a lot but they haven't quite yet made us a post-racial society.
As long as self-aggrandising divisive special pleaders like Okolosie (and Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Diane Abbott) are held up as arbiters of correct behaviour, you bet we're not post-racial.

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