Sunday, August 27, 2006

I grew up a long way from here

both physically and culturally. Durban, South Africa, is a very different place to Jedburgh, Scotland.

Warning: grumpy posting follows!

That has been brought home to me rather forcibly over the past few weeks, as the number and nature of racist rants in the pub has increased. I won't stand for it - neither racist nor sexist behaviour has any place in a civilised country - but short of barring someone from the pub there doesn't seem to be much I can do.

The language used by our government appears to be making racists far more confident about spreading their filth. Suddenly, it seems, it's acceptable to call all Muslims terrorists, or claim that foreigners are taking over the country, or whatever other piece of nonsense you like. You're far more likely to receive agreement from your fellow (white male) drinkers than any argument.

Then, or course, there are the people who've come into the UK from the rest of Europe: Poland and Lithuania are the most recent countries to send us their young people to work in jobs that the Brits don't want. The locals, of course, don't quite see it that way, as they're quite sure that if it wasn't for all these nasty foreigners then we'd all have much better jobs, houses, schools, hospitals etc.

When I attempt to pull the ranter up, by reminding them that if they want to get rid of all the foreigners, they'd need to start with me, I'm informed that of course I don't count, as I'm white.

Filth is the right word. I'm starting to feel stained by association.

Hello people: the whole of the UK is made up of immigrants who arrived over the past 2000 years. Picts, Romans, Angles, ....

On a slightly more rediculous note
I've discovered that I'm unlikely to be served a pint in one of the places John and I go out for dinner. Apparently it's not ladylike - I'd have to settle for a half pint. Just as well that they don't sell any beer that I'd drink....


Blogger Dez Crawford said...

I sadly read your post today, and I was about to say, "Welcome to America," and then I remembered I was reading Lorna's post from Scotland!

You know that organization, "Doctors Without Borders?" Maybe these low-lifes should start an organization called "Racists Without Borders" because it sure doesn't seem very different at your corner pub in Scotland than at my corner pub here in Louisiana .... except that I can order a whole pint if I want to. American men no longer seem to care if a woman is "ladylike;" in fact, they actually hope that she will ingest enough full-size pints to cause her to peel off her shirt and wave her breasts around.

In fact, I bet that aside from the difference in accents, I could sit in your pub and listen to the BS and think I was right at home!

Hmm, let me ponder the differences and similarities -- in America, hatred of Muslims seems pretty universal ... but Americans prefer to blame Mexicans and Vietnamese, not Eastern Europeans, for bumping them out of all those high-paying vegetable-picking and dishwashing jobs. Oh, and Americans don't bother to disinguish one Latino from another -- everybody from El Paso to Patagonia is a "Mexican."

Of course most Americans can't spell "Patagonia," and couldn't find it on a map if their Mama's life depended on it.

Back when I was a bartender all the regulars knew that they would be bounced if racist or sexist language was used -- and they would be bounced by me personally. I was also the one to wrestle away their keys if they were too impaired to drive.

You go, girl. Keep up your standards. There aren't too many left in this world.

I learned something from you today! O'Flaherty's Irish Pub in the French Quarter has always offered a "lady's pint" for those who call for one, and I always thought it was simply a charming little Irish custom that if a lady didn't want a whole pint, she could have a wee one and pay only half as much. I've often had a "lady's pint" when I didn't feel like a whole pint. But I didn't realize that, at some pubs on your side of the pond that's the ONLY pint women are allowed to drink from!

Now you have me thinking about that Harp's in the fridge. A big one. :)

28/8/06 20:27  
Blogger Dez Crawford said...


29/8/06 04:38  
Anonymous carlarey said...

Sickening, isn't it? Fortunately I move in a very liberal community, so when I do encounter racism face to face, it is that much more shocking. But even more disgusting is the racism that is veiled as "concern" or is so subtlely expressed that it sneaks up on you. I'd personally prefer that the racists just out themselves loudly and right up front rather than do such things as pull their kids out of a wonderful school because it has become too (actual honey-toned phrase here) "colorful".

All I know to do is raise my kid to ignore color and just see humanity, and hope lots of other parents are doing the same thing. And hope that someday these attitudes will seem as ridiculous as believing the world is flat.

30/8/06 00:41  

Post a Comment

<< Home