RACIAL thinking in the late-19th century was predicated upon the elitist belief that the white upper classes were naturally superior to black people. Today, elitist prejudices are more commonly focused upon the white working class who are often portrayed as backward, knuckle dragging racists.

Before the “statue saving” counter-demonstrations started, an old school friend from Newcastle contacted me. Friends of his were planning to travel to various cities to protect statues from further attack, “They’re not right-wing or racist”, he said.

Well, some of the protestors are racist, some are right-wing, how many are “far right” is not clear. One group, clearly aware of how they would be portrayed, unfurled a banner in front of a cenotaph that read, Not Far Right. But the media representation of these demonstrators has been remarkably biased, one-dimensional, and at times, simply foul.

A new statue of a morbidly obese, bald, racist, white man stuck in a bin soon appeared where the Colston statue had been in Bristol. As a work of art, I actually like it. As social commentary, it sums up well the elitist contempt for the white working class.

It is safe to say that my old school friend, while not being morbidly obese is, at least, portly. He is bald, he wears ironed casual shirts (rather than a string vest) that hang over his belly and jeans, he is very white and turns pink in the sun – he is a man who middle class, culturally-correct types would call a “gammon”.

He is also a man who at 18 explained to me that he would be voting Labour, of course, because, “they’re the party of the working class”. Today, there is no such party and indeed this outlook makes little sense today.

What also makes little sense to people like my pal is why some people are celebrated for protesting while others who want to protect monuments are vilified. Why some can destroy statues and be celebrated, while others who attempt to defend the statues are portrayed as animals.

The portrayal of the white working class has become a serious problem. Prejudice in all its forms need to be exposed and challenged, to be cast into the dustbin of history. For this to happen, key sections of the media need to take a long hard look at themselves and at least attempt to have some level of honesty in their portrayal of what are, in the main, ordinary decent people.

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