Sam Kerr calling a cop a ‘white bastard’ isn’t reverse racism

If anyone was going to pull off the world’s first reverse milkshake duck and stick the landing, it’d be Sam Kerr.

The emotions! Shock, when the news broke that Our Sam had been charged criminally in the United Kingdom with, what, racial harassment? Then the a-ha moment — working backwards, it turned out, Sam had called a British copper a “stupid white bastard” (although some UK media has reported it as “stupid white PC”) after she’d had a drunken altercation with a taxi driver following her chundering in his cab.

Even if you didn’t know that she was literally reenacting “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie”, 52 years after the original, you’d be un-Australian not to instinctively just stand up and give her a round of applause.

Still, there are serious questions here. Kerr is facing a criminal trial on charges that carry a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

From what I can work out, the charge against her comes under section 4A of the UK Public Order Act, which makes it an offence when a person, with intent, uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, causing another person harassment, alarm or distress.

The prosecution appears to be claiming that Kerr’s offence was aggravated by “racial hostility”, meaning that she was either motivated by, or demonstrated, hostility towards the police officer based on his membership of a racial group. The aggravating factor, if established, points to a more severe sentence.

Kerr’s defence will be that her actions lacked any such intent. If her public persona is at all reflective of who she really is, that sounds pretty right. Rationally, the idea of wasting a four-day criminal trial on this incident seems ludicrous.

But let’s get directly to the heart of the matter. It is no defence to a charge of racial vilification to point to the literal truth of the racist words you’ve said. Use “brown” or “yellow” as a personal descriptor and, yep, that’s racist.

So does the same apply to “white”? As one conservative commentator insisted, if you’re okay with what Kerr said, “You need to genuinely be okay with a white guy calling someone a ‘stupid black bastard’ … and you might be, but you need to be consistent.”

Well, white man, no, you don’t. There’s legal precedent for why you are talking about two unrelated things, which only reflects the simple truth that really gets your goat: reverse racism is not a thing.

Twenty-odd years ago, a lady called Samantha Power was visiting her partner in the South Australian prison where he was serving a sentence. She was refused entry, allegedly expressing her unhappiness by calling one of the prison officers a “fucking white piece of shit”.

The officer’s claim that he had been racially vilified was rejected by the Federal Magistrates Court. Similar to the UK offence, it was essential to the charge that Power’s abuse of the officer had been done “because of” his race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

The judge ruled that being “white” per se is not descriptive of any particular ethnic, national or racial group. Nor is it of itself a term of abuse. White people are the dominant people historically and culturally within Australia. They are not in any sense an oppressed group, whose political and civil rights are under threat.

Power, he noted, was “a person of dark coloured skin” who “wished to express her express her frustration at what she perceived as being a power imbalance … in as stark and confrontational manner as she could”.

Recall that, in 2018, the Australian Senate actually passed a motion by Pauline Hanson that “it’s OK to be white” (the Coalition voted in favour, before realising its stupidity and reversing course). Hanson’s debating point was that “anti-white racism is well and truly rife in our society”.

It may be that the UK copper has been sincerely feeling the sting of his whiteness, in these woke-filled days when being a member of the majority intergenerational ruling colour-caste has become such a weighty cross to bear. So it may be that when he is called “white”, as a pejorative, he feels genuinely sad.

However, the law of race-hate was invented to combat actual racism and its toxic social effects. White people in the UK, as in Australia, have never been the victims of actual racism. The privilege afforded by their skin remains intact.

That Kerr’s undoubted hostility towards this police officer was not because of his race (whatever his race may be — could be anything from French-Canadian to Lower Slobovian — is surely beneath our dignity to have to explain.

Nevertheless, it is apparently a terribly difficult thing for many white people to get their heads around, as they melodramatically insist that all lives matter. Like men’s rights activists, they shout at the passing clouds of progress, unwilling or more likely unable to understand that the loss of privilege that equality requires is not a loss to mourn. Or fear.

And yet they fear, and we get stupidities like this. I hope the English court gives Constable Snowflake the justice he deserves.

As for Sam, I’m petitioning for a statue of her chucking her guts up in an English cab. Nothing could be more Australian than that.

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