Challenging Offensive Views and Katie Hopkins

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I read a particularly disgusting little piece of hate-filled media yesterday, written by Katie Hopkins (I resent even writing her name in my blog, she’s such a non-entity with ideas about her station, but needs must on this occasion). It was brought to my attention by Media Diversified:

KATIE HOPKINS

In short – a dead migrant is better than a migrant living in Britain, according to Hopkins

 

The full column is available to read at The Sun (if you agree to join, natch!) and they describe it as ‘brilliant‘.

The content of the piece is disgusting. I had a whole column planned to write on this yesterday, but Simon Usborne at The Independent beat me to it. However, there’s no harm in having two voices singing from the same hymn sheet.

Katie Hopkins spouts offensive views. Whether we like it or not, this is her right under free speech. However, it’s time that we started questioning the people who are publishing and endorsing her views, by giving her a platform and backing sufficient to be taken seriously. We can’t just ignore her as someone who is stupid. A bigot perhaps, but not stupid. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me, but I like to see some positive in everyone, and there’s no doubting that Hopkins is intelligent. She had a crash course in publicity after appearing on The Apprentice and she knows full well that a 50/50 split in public opinion is the best way to generate attention. Make one half of the country agree with you, make the other half so mad that they can’t form a coherent argument against you. Her views are indeed despicable, but she’s an expert at getting attention for them.

If we are going to tackle the public prevalence and spread of these ideas, the people we need to focus on are not the Katie Hopkins of this world. They are just the mouth piece, the focal point. They are thrust into the spotlight by those who are far more powerful and who want these ideas to be spread without collecting any of the shit that will be slung in the aftermath of publication. Media Diversified had the right idea – the editors must be called to account for why they allow this piece of filth into their publication.

 

There are calls to silence Katie Hopkins – have her removed from twitter, stop her posting online. This isn’t the answer.

Silencing those you disagree with is an extremist thing to do.

 

I know that her views are awful. In this article alone, she refers to living human beings as ‘plagues’ and ‘swarms’, calls them ‘feral’, ‘cockroaches’, says that they have been ‘built’, a subtle effort at dehumanising entire nations. Those little references to ‘Sharia’ stoning never let us forget who she is really talking about here – Muslims. She likens them to a spread of norovirus.

I know someone else who considers humans to be a disease, a virus.
He was despicable too. But at least he was fictional. 

“Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.
You’re a plague and we are the cure.”

Is Katie Hopkins actually an unfeeling machine construction sent to wipe out humanity? When you think about it, that would explain a lot.

However, disgusting as her views are, there is room for everyone in a society of free speech, but their entitlement to space light and air is not equal if we decide otherwise. Like plants placed in shady stony spots of a garden with no sun or water to nourish them, the views which are most offensive will wither and die if we focus on the opposites, giving all of our time and attention to messages of fairness, inclusion, equality, diversity and decent basic human kindness.

Removing Katie Hopkins from national media and television is another matter though, and it is something I will begin campaigning for as of today. If I were in London, I would have been at the protest outside the radio station which was featuring Hopkins today. We have to drown her out and get her off the air. But we have to do it by targeting the people who put her on the air.

This act against her exposure and publicity will not violate her right to free speech. She already has a website, and a twitter account. She can continue to express herself as much as she wants without fear of arrest or incarceration. THAT is the meaning of Freedom of Speech.

But what we can’t allow is for these views to be published and endorsed by the media at large. We can’t allow the idea to continue to circulate that this little piece of failed humanity might actually be right. Hopkins might claim that she has to earn a living – so do I, but I don’t resort to writing shit like this in order to do it. I’d rather go back to being a prison cleaner first. At least that was both honest and useful, unlike this travesty of journalism.

Ironically we need to take her advice from this article. Remove the emotion. Getting mad at Hopkins won’t solve anything, it will only add fuel to every little fire that she starts. It only increases her cult of personality and detracts attention from those who put her front and centre. Hating her gives her power, infuriating as that is. If we can respond logically and deconstruct her, show that these views are fundamentally wrong and highlight all of the places where she manipulates people, we can give her readers a wake up call. We need to give publicity and attention to the opposing side of the argument, we might have a chance of getting somewhere.In short – lets stop making it about her and focus on the issues that she is trampling all over.

Here are a few things Hopkins might not have thought of (or, by her own admission, cared about) when she wrote this … thing:

  • Not all migrants choose to be here. Human trafficking is at its height. Rescuing people in these boats heading for Europe might save these people from a lifetime of misery if they DO make it to the mainland.
  • Not all migrants claim benefits. I’ve taught many of them in the care sector – they work long hours, work hard, accept every opportunity for training and education and rarely if ever complain.
  • She advises them to go back to their own countries and ‘get creative’ if they want a better life. More like ‘get dead’. These people are not lazy, they are faced with war, starvation, oppressive religious law, deprivation of education and zero legal rights. Especially the women and children. If Hopkins and her children were faced with a life like that, she’d be on the first dinghy out of Dover – she wouldn’t be sticking around to ‘get creative’.
  • Oh and – ‘send them back to improve their country’? What a beautiful piece of hypocrisy from the woman who threatened to emigrate if Miliband won the election.  Not sticking around the improve the UK after all then Hopkins?

I guess your own rules don’t apply to you, dear. But then – you’re white, so why would these rules apply to you? Sorry Hopkins, but if you were a student in one of my classes, my response would be “Well dear, at least you tried. Now, who else in the class has a different point of view?”

Hopkins is routinely employed to write columns for The Sun. If you would like to protest against her being allowed to publish her views in a national newspaper, you can write to the editor here:

The Sun
1 London Bridge Street,
London,
SE1 9GF

*EDIT* OR YOU CAN SIGN THIS PETITION HERE

She also appears frequently on This Morning. If you would like to protest against her being featured on the show, you can write to the show here:

thismorning@itv.com

Or write to the producers here:

viewerservices@itv.com

ITV
Viewer Services
Gas Street
Birmingham
B1 2JT

It’s time to shout back. Shout louder. And shout often. Let’s drown her out.

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