Saturday, September 18, 2004

Semite illiterate

It’s strange how easy it is to get wrapped up in the safety of your own social norms. The code of practice you assume everyone, by and large, follows to make a harmonious and peaceful community.

This week I’ve heard a woman talk about “The bin Laden’s in our street” referring to Asian families who have all built brick out-houses at the end of their gardens to “Keep their families in”. I’ve also heard someone talk, openly about “Those Paki asylum seekers” without any consideration that they may be going well over the edge of social acceptability (or indeed the presence of an Asian student working for us in the next room).

Last night, on a work do, we were talking about a particularly cerebral manager at work. He has a slightly nervous disposition and will never use three words when two paragraphs will do. He’s the only person I know who regularly uses “productive social discourse” to describe a conversation.

Suddenly one of the women at the table piped up “He reminds me of those Jews in films”. “Those Jews in films?” I said wanting to protest without rocking the boat “Yeah he rubs his hands like one of them Jewboys”. A quick poll around the table of those who share a more liberal mind about such things revealed that the key Jews In Films were Oscar Schindler, Mel Brookes and Jesus of Nazareth. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'll gladly add it to the list to try and find out what she was on about.


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