Monday, 17 December 2012

(a bit) Racist!


When the Army wins, it's a victory
When the Germans win, it's a defeat
When the Zulus win, it's a massacre

The expression "a bit racist" has been cropping up of late in the dialogue of English language. One day does not pass without listening to it on Radio, Television, the streets... I find its use almost endearing, not to apologize for an attack on any racial minority that lives in this country, but to excuse or slightly admonish the originator of the comment.

However... there is no such thing as "a bit racist", like there is no such thing like "a bit murder", "a bit theft", "a bit rape", "a bit adultery", "a bit punch", "a bit stab"... There is only Racist! The more you excuse yourself and others of the mindset you have regarding your outlook towards minorities, the more you perpetuate a state of affairs that is omnipresent on all minds, and by proxy, all institutions of this country... and you cannot and should not tone down your words or views by putting a little "a bit" behind your prejudices. The risk is that they will never go away and will stay on your subconscious as part of a National culture (I was almost inclined to add "British" National "Party" culture, well I just did!).

The point with racial discrimination is that is very hard to evaluate. I was formally taught in this country (what I culturally knew already in my heart from mine) that you do not need to be discriminated to be discriminated and this is not an echo. You are discriminated not only when you are discriminated as a matter of fact, but also when you FEEL discriminated! The main problem with the British/English society on this matter, is that they think they have done enough by sticking to the rule book of "Equal Opportunities" and tackle it with a sledgehammer. Unfortunately the rule book is omissive from the part of the discriminated because it has been written to standardize the discriminator. The rule book is unequivocally written from the discriminator's point of view.

And then I continuously find little gems almost on a daily basis, being one of the last, the Football Association's Anti Discrimination Action Plan which includes "cultural lessons" for foreign footballers. That is Racism with a capital R, the assumption that a foreign player needs to understand the values of the British multiracial culture. It is on the same level of the old and defunct British Empire bringing "civilization" and "culture" to those "savages" in Africa and Asia less than two centuries ago. Ah and the book would be again written by the same "missionaries". Some will soften this approach by calling it "patronising" but no, it isn't, it is (a bit) Racist. The biggest oversight is the fact that most of the football fans (and the FA) are in desperate need to attend "cultural lessons" given by the foreign players that come here and make the sport as brilliant as it is at present.

The same applies for the obtention of British Nationality. The exam needed for such coveted gong is yet another form of racism and discrimination, as most of the long living and natural residents would fail it. Worse, in many cases after the nationality is given, the new Nationals feel like they have now a licence to discriminate.  And there is no prize to be given to anyone that knows why this happens.

I found very disturbing the plea from Ed Milliband last week for the compulsive need to learn English as essential to social integration. That is also very racist, veiled colonialism again, as social integration is not the basis for a happier society: Tolerance, Humanity and Equality should go beyond any language barrier. West Indian immigrants have been coming to this country for the past century. They all speak English... and so did Stephen Lawrence.

I finish with a couple of pointers... the first on the Huffington Post about discrimination of minority ethnic women with some comments on the bottom of the page going both ways, well more on the way that would make Nigel Farage think that he has a chance of becoming the next Prime Minister. The comment I selected goes like this:

I know for a fact discrimination exists even when there are measures in place to prevent it. I used to work as a civil servant in the personnel department for a Government agency. We used to sift the applications and remove the front page so no decisions could be made on the applicant based on their age, race or gender. Those who fulfilled the criteria were short-listed for interview. A pass mark would be set (such as 70%) and if the applicant achieved this at interview, they were offered a job. One asian gentleman attended the interview and scored 73 but the interview panel marked on his form that he should not be offered a job because his spoken English wasn't very good. Bear in mind, he had performed well enough at interview to score 73. My boss told them that this was discrimination and he could not allow the panel to disregard anyone who had passed the score required. So the interview panel RAISED the score required to 75 to ensure this man would not have to be offered a job.

The next one is regarding one of my photos posted 4 May 2006 to which I jokingly gave the title of "Welsh Beauty". A few days later I got a comment on that page with expletives I had to delete. Later on 27 May I received an email from "A. Jones" with the subject "Still?"... have a read:

Morning Mr. Ferreira, I see that you didn't see it fit to address my last e-mail to you, so, before we go to the Race Relations Board, and maybe the Assembly Government. Let's be adult about this and look at it in an adult manner. I, being Welsh, object to your image of the sheep, in the gallery that you saw fit ti post on the W.W.W. and distribute to dpreview. All I ask is that you either remove that image, or more to the point, the insulting, offensive, rascist title. But you as an English man, well living in Manchester anyway. Ooops, before we go any further, let's have a look at that, Paulo Ferreira, Not an English name is it? Therefore, I don't know, you might have had the misfortune to have been born in England, but your name is certainly NOT of English descent. So what does that make you? Are you an "eyetie?" or perhaps a "dago?," or even (Lord forbid), one of those "rag headed middle eastern, suicide bimbers?" Mr. Ferreira, do you see what can be done by racial comments? An "eyetie, a wop, a dago, or a raghead." Not very nice, Mr. Ferreira, is it? Racial slurs like this go no way to this countries racial harmony, and with an ancestry like yours I would have thought that YOU of all people would not want to cause any racial hatred. Please Mr. Ferreira, remove that offensive tiltle. Yours sincerely. A. Jones. 

I learned that jokes in this country are mostly unidirectional, and removed the caption a few months later. It had stopped being funny, for me anyway.

Some would catalogue and defend "A. Jones" reply as a good example of positive discrimination. I look at positive discrimination in the same way I would look at Roman Abramovich complaining after a match, that someone on a stall charged him £50.00 for an hot dog.

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