Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maybe it’s the inbreeding

An article written by fellow blogger The Other Side of Sixty has been resonating with me for the last few days. In the piece entitled “Those Bloody Foreigners, Illegals and Aliens” the Wild Web Woman (I know it’s supposed to be “wise”) recounts a conversation she had with an acquaintance that was just dripping with racism. She wisely walked away.

I had almost forgotten it until I read a letter-to-the-editor in a magazine criticizing Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenny for not doing more to keep immigrants out of the country thereby preserving a dwindling number of jobs for those of us already here. Good thing that the indigenous people (Beothuks & Mi'kmaq) didn’t think that way several hundred years ago or my ancestors might have drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. The letter writer wouldn’t be bright enough to understand that.

Then, as if to prove there are no limits to stupidity, a 32-year old woman in England thinks it’s ok to make online jokes about shooting immigrants. That landed Emma Sayle a visit from the police who interviewed her about the posting on Facebook. Sayle posted a message on the social networking site that read: “Just had a two-hour shooting lesson. She will now be using this skill on the top of East London high rises to help with the UK's illegal immigrant problem.”

Another Facebook member called the cops but Sayle said the complaint was 'pathetic' and “created by someone who's obviously got a grudge”. She apparently knows a fair bit about pathetic. Days later Sayle wrote: “Just had a call from the [cops] demanding I go in as someone has reported me for apparently making racist comments... hahaha... using my new found gun skills to control the UK's illegal immigrant population is not what I call racist.” She apparently sees nothing wrong with her comments which makes me wonder if perhaps she needs her medication changed.

Red-necked racism is certainly not limited to any one geographic area – think Hindus vs. Sikhs in India, blacks vs. whites in the southern USA, Christians vs. Muslims in Egypt – the list goes on and on. I’m always amazed at the layers on top of the townie vs. baymen thing here in Newfoundland. Sometimes you don’t have to scratch down very far to discover an uncomfortable undertone.

The problem is when we let someone get away with it. When we don’t tell them that it’s wrong to say such things. I remember thirty years ago in Ottawa working with a newly arrived refugee population … some of them were being treated like shit by other immigrants who had gotten there a little earlier and had set up businesses, etc. In one case, the immigrant owner of a jewellery shop just around the corner from where we lived had blatantly ripped off one of the refugees and told the refugee to get lost when he complained. When I walked into the store with the refugee, the owner’s tone changed very quickly once he recognized me as a customer and became completely apologetic. I was able to get the issue quickly resolved and then bluntly told the owner to shove his business up his ass because of the way he treated others and walked out. We have to call them on it; otherwise, they will assume our silence is agreement.

One final point, about ten years an Oxford University geneticist published the Seven Daughters of Eve which detailed the relationship between Europeans and Indo-Europeans. Bryan Sykes studied mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mothers to their children and is carried forward only through unbroken female descent. He found that Europeans and Indo-Europeans trace their mitochondrial lines back to seven women who lived ten thousand to forty-five thousand years ago.

Maybe it’s the inbreeding that makes us so stupid sometimes.


Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for the mention VP!

I have thought about this woman too and considered how dense she was not to pick up on the questioning I confronted her with.

The following day I had an email from a long time friend littered with the most horrible racist/emigrant/refugee jokes. After my email back, I had an apology from him but I wonder did the rest on his list object too or just chuckle along.

It makes me quite ill, actually.

do these poeple forget where we all came from?


ViewPoint2010 said...

The reality is they just don't get it. Guess all we can do is conquer one hill at a time. Tks.