The subject of British racism is one that has quite frankly boggled my mind ever since I was old enough to make any sense of it. Perhaps due to the current financial state, ‘state’ being a key word, of our economy the matter seems to be rearing its ugly head yet again and the head is as big and as repulsive as I can ever remember it being. Before I go any further I feel it worth mentioning that I am simply commentating on this issue from my own personal experiences and what I’ve seen. I am a graduate working two minimum wage jobs and am more than aware from first-hand experience of how tough it is. Everybody has their own takes on the subject, are more than entitled to them, and I am simply giving a few accounts of my own. With that said I will now give three recent examples of how I feel that the logic behind British racism, in my opinion, makes no sense.
1. The ‘they take all of our jobs’ argument; A few weeks ago I was working on the check-out desk of my current job when my attention was grabbed by a very distinctive looking customer. Keep in mind this customer was distinctive due to the fact that he was currently the only one in the building; this was during an extremely quiet period of trade. I was bored to the point that I was seriously considering going the route of the Giraffe and simply shutting my eyes their and then and seeing if the Land of Nod would indeed take me. Due to the omnipresence of my, understanding but ultimately un-approving, supervisor I decided that the sleeping idea was a poor one and instead approached the lonely customer.
While making my way over to the said customer I realised about halfway there that I had made the mistake of approaching him from downwind. The closest I’ve been to a building that functions as a tobacco factory, a brewery and a toilet is the Cambrian Vault on a Saturday around 3am, imagine that smell and you would be about half right. Whilst trying to breath in as little oxygen as possible I asked the customer if he needed any help. Unfortunately, said customer clearly took this question out of context and proceeded to answer with a statement that went something like, “No La, I’ve just lost my f*cking job and I’m gonna lose my f*cking house”. The man had lost his job, was about to lose his home and rather than the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Council Office he had decided that a Furniture and Home Store was his best port of call, I was equal parts confused and oddly flattered. It’s always good to know that there are indeed a few people doing worse than I am so I decided to push the matter. “It’s these f*cking P*ki’s and Polish b*stards nicking the jobs and no it’s not my house but my Mums said she’s going to kick me out!” was his follow up statement.
After that outburst that I frankly didn’t feel qualified or invested enough in to respond to, the customer proceeded to walk away. I didn’t feel that it was a good time to mention that we offer Interest Free Credit on any items over £399 so I left him to his own devices. When I returned to the till point my supervisor asked me what had happened and I told her the Jeremy Kyle-worthy story and she did not seem surprised.
This event has remained in my mind as on hindsight perhaps the customer should have been focusing on the ‘whys?’ rather than the ‘what’s’ of what had happened to him that fateful day. The customer claims he was laid off because an immigrant stole his job, as I see it even if this were true the thievery would be like taking candy from a baby. The customer bore the resemblance of what would happen if a Rhinoceros bred with Susan Boyle and then bought his wardrobe off Mr Stink. His default smell setting was set to the same meter of the resident ‘smelly bar’ that’s found at least once in every city and town in Britain and his way with words was equal to that of a five year old with Tourette’s. If I were the manager of whatever establishment he was working for until that day I would consider any immigrant of any ethnic origin to be more qualified than him as long as they could speak three sentences without an obscenity and knew how to switch their shower on and off.
If I’m being honest, almost every time I’ve been hit with the ‘they take all of our jobs’ argument the person spouting the nonsense has possessed these character traits. This begs the questions are they taking your jobs, or are some of you just unemployable?
2. The ‘learn to speak our f*cking language’ argument; While waiting for food in a takeaway with some work colleagues after a night shift we were approached by all manner of characters. The majority of which were extremely friendly, however one particularly inebriated lady, if I can call her that, stood out for me in particular. She approached the counter with the graceful movements of a tap dancer on Acid and placed her order, which could have likely fed an army by the way. Due to her drunken state the people behind the counter were having some trouble processing her order, mainly due to the fact that it was changing every time she relayed it to them. The lady finally finished placing her order and stropped away with the same gracefulness described earlier towards our table.
She greeted our group with the phrase “F*cking P*ki’s learn the language for f*ck sake or get the f*ck out, like ini?” For a start the people in question were actually Turkish and not Pakistani in any way, shape or form and secondly I felt that her statement posed a few problems.
The reason for the people behind the counter struggling to place the ladies order was not due to any lack of understanding on their part of the English language but was more down to her drunken state and inability to coherently express what it was that she actually wanted. Believe me I work behind a bar and hear it all the time and as is the rule with most drunk people, it is never the drunk persons fault. In reality the customer is not always right as Danny DeVito’s character in Space Jam would have you believe and this customer’s statement was ridiculous.
As the lady stumbled out of the take-away looking like an orange Hippopotamus wearing roller skates I couldn’t help but wonder how people like her can make such statements with a straight face. She argued that somebody should learn the language in a single sentence that contained three profanities, a derogatory and misplaced term and ended said sentence with the phrase ‘like ini?’. Believe me there were other phrases that were delivered with the same grace that I’m not going to type as the number of squiggly red lines on this document is already giving me a headache. I have witnessed similar scenarios in a variety of different locations and it makes me wonder, are the immigrants or people of mixed heritage really the ones that need to learn the language? Also if the people in question were to ‘get the f*ck out’ as requested, how exactly are you going to get the things that you walked into the establishment for in the first place? The statement also provides extra laughs when the person delivering it is likely wearing hair that is Indian, colon that is French, shoes that are Italian and a dress that is Chinese.
3. The ‘as long as their working’ argument; Now this final argument would actually make some sense if not for the way that its blatantly contradicted by the same people who put it forward in the first place.
In its purest sense the argument states that the person expressing it is okay with immigrants as long as when they come into Britain they actively seek out work, then when they have it that they do the work to the best of their ability. However, this logic leads to a brick wall that the BFG probably couldn’t scale due to the fact that from my experience most of the people putting it forward are also complaining about ‘immigrants taking their jobs’.
This may sound like a cop-out but it’s true. Such a large amount of British racism is based around the misconception that immigrants are lazy and don’t work. A misconception that is not only ridiculous but one that just has its hate transferred into a different source if it is ever conquered. In the eyes of a minority an immigrant is lazy if he or she doesn’t work but is then accused of stealing jobs if they do.
All in all I feel that the attitudes of a few people in Britain with regards to racism often make no sense. People who express these views blame immigrants for the state of our current economy. I personally believe that if every one of us lived in a mansion with six cars and a pool that somebody would complain about the way that his Asian neighbour‘s fence blocks the sun out of his garden and how the black family who live opposites have kids that play their Hip Hop CD’s to loud. I am a firm believer in the fact that we should all get along but I’m also a firm believer in the sad fact that it is just never going to happen. Some of the arguments used to justify such hate are simply ridiculous, though.
As always, please feel free to leave any comments and opinions. Many thanks for reading.