One bonobo's view of the world...and stuff.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

...and it's a fuckin' ugly head

Welcome to my first 'Guess The Relevance Of The Accompanying Image' competition.

So anyway…on the way to work yesterday, I stopped for petrol at a supermarket (I’ll not mention which one, but if you were to assume that it was whichever one first comes to mind, statistically you’d have a good chance of being right.). When I went to pay, there was an East European lorry driver at the counter trying to get directions – the supermarket is brand new, and he’d fallen off the edge of his GPS. He was getting nowhere in sign language, so I asked him if he spoke German – which he did, some – and pointed him in the right direction. After he’d gone, I paid for my petrol, and the woman serving engaged me in conversation:

“Where was he from?”

“I’m not sure. I think it was either The Czech Republic or Slovakia.”

“Hmmph. See if you went to one of their countries? Nobody would be friendly like that. They wouldn’t give you the time of day.”
(Sigh! Always give them a chance to be educated, though).

“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve always found the people very friendly over there.”

“Aye – but see on our estate? They get all these houses for the Russians, and the council pays for it all, and they just fill them with prostitutes…”


I turned on my heel.

“Tell you what – I shouldn’t have to listen to racist garbage like this on my way to work.”

“I’m not a racist.”
I turned and gave her my steeliest of glares.

“Yes you are.”

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…then it probably hasn’t spent enough time in the microwave. But isn’t this kind of run-of-the-mill stuff just soooo tedious?

When I got to work, I phoned the store manager. Give them their due, they’ve taken it seriously and I’m confident that certain working practices will be explained.

As Jeremy Hardy said the other week:

“You have to sympathise with racists these days – they’re having a hard time putting across their point of view: ‘These immigrants – they come over here with their white faces and bland food and fit thermostatic valves to our radiators.’ Hardly has the right force, does it?”

11 comments:

Woodpigeon said...

Crikey - it's not only you that comes across this all the time. Just scratch the surface and there it is. Bravo for taking a stand though.

healingmagichands said...

It is hard to take the stand though. I have, over the years, educated my massage clients as to what constitutes unacceptable language in my home, and I now have them making statements about the hard bargain they drove, or the jury rigged machine, rather than the alternatives.

Edward the Bonobo said...

It's argued in the anti-racism industry that if you don't challenge racism it amounts to racism. That's easy to say when your livelihood doesn't depend on it. Well done you for doing what you can. I once got myself in enormous trouble with a bullying boss when I challenged his constant (and deliberately provocative) use of the term 'nigger in the woodpile' I was on the verge of raising it as a disciplinary issue, but medical factors intervened.

I'm naive, though...hard bargain? jury rigged?

jcnsmith said...

"Welcome to my first 'Guess The Relevance Of The Accompanying Image' competition."

An aerosol can of spray wax. Being severly imagination-challenged, I find this a tough one. And since this is your first competition we have little in the way of previous examples to give us a clue. So I'll take a wild guess and say aerosol is somehow connected with racists being air-heads! :)

Oh, and you failed to mention the nature of the prize for the winner of the competition! What's our incentive here? And when will the winner be announced? And when can I expect to receive my prize?

Edward said...

The prize is ton of the finest, primo grade A kudos. It will be beamed to the winner via the usual channels.

You'll kick yourself! :-)



Hey! Today's word verification actually makes sense. It's an exhortation to someone called John or Jim or Julian to complete his education: get phd, j

scratch that. the g was a q. However...the replacement refers to a Scottish member of one of the unions that was subsumed into Amicus: MSF jock

Polonius said...

Guess The Relevance Of The Accompanying Image

Following your discourse with the numpty, you stepped outside and saw the East European lorry driver's lorry. From the markings on it, you were able to see that he was neither Czech nor Slovak, but...

...Polish!

Edward the Bonobo said...

A ton of kudos to thet man. Don't smoke it all at once. (yeah...I ought to be ashamed :-) )

Of course, it was easy for you, since your employer, Fortinbras, "...smote the sledded Polacks on the ice."

psychocandy said...

Edward- a common phrase for driving a hard bargain is to "jew someone down".

A common phrase in the U.S. for jury-rigging is "nigger rigging". I assume the implication is that blacks can't afford to fix things properly.

I try not to use phrases like that. Sometimes it's hard. For example, I heard the word "polack" bandied about so frequently by my parents, in a variety of ways (and not always in a really mean-spirited sense), that I have the unfortunate habit of slipping and using it once in a while without noticing (usually after a glass or two of wine). It's really inexcusable... but it can be so hard to consciously work against years and years of envrionment.

Edward the Bonobo said...

In Shakespear's days, 'Polack' was the usual word (not that he was known for his racial sensitivity). Some have argued that he meant 'pole axe'. He didn't.

I can understand that the word has racist overtones in the US - especially Chicago. In the UK, there hasn't traditionally been racism against the Poles - the only Poles around were plucky heroes who flew with the RAF. Sadly, racism is on the rise with migration from the EU accession states.

Jesus fucking Christ - who do people imagine is going to pick their rapberries, dig their ditches, wipe their Granny's arses? Who do they think is going to pay for our pensions?

healingmagichands said...

totally off subject, but your potrait is on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine this month. And a very handsome fellow indeed.

Tan said...

Well done you for your stand against racism! Members of my own family are getting the bug big-time. My mother's currently terrified of Poles and Arabs, and has been saying some truly shocking things about them!