Friday, January 15, 2010

I am soooo sick of this one!

Okay, so this one was just basically a bomb waiting to go off: I have been wondering recently about various (sort of and former) friends who live where they do because its safely "white." They tell me that they think their preferred neighbourhood  has good schools, where their kids "learn the national ethos", but frankly when I look at the Ofsted figures, these are the schools that do poorly for one key factor: diversity (read slowly: "good" Home county schools are "great because they are predominantly white").

And then it makes me question why we were ever "friends" at all? Was I their token "race" justification or proof against racism?

Its a bit worrying when you start wondering how racist your friends and lovers really are; and if they have been using you as their token for proving their non-racist credentials:  Kills all respect and affection, I promise you!

But the reason the proverbial cup runneth over tonight of all nights (is that WAAAY too many references pulled together in way too few words or its just me being too bookish?), is getting to the Times page and seeing the ultimate F&CKing cliche! Sigh! Really? Are we f*cking done?

How often do you see me - the brown Indian woman, and no apologies for the language - declaring that there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with white people because they think that Haiti's earthquake happened because Haitians made a pact with the devil? When do I expand that one statement to the general populace? But I guess that measured thinking is the requirement only of the "other" and the marginalised!

And when do we - as in the brown people - start using a single dumb statement as a point of explaining how stupid, prejudiced, backward, illiterate, prejudiced, white people were?
See my point? Generalisations are dumb! And prejudiced! And based on a lack of understanding. 

So when I see a headline talking of: "Millions Rush to Cleanse in Filthy Ganges" I want to scream! I want to point out to these little white/middle-class (and yes, believe me, few people who are not either/or get employed or consulted at the Times) insular shits that they need to get over themselves!

That poor brown people like me who think nothing of bathing in a "filthy river" think that "their" reverence for the queen and the royal family is just as  if not more idiotic! Hell, bathing in that filthy river gets me benefits post-mortem but you lot bow to a some human who is supposed to be greater than all others in the land WHY?  So WHY do modern, post-Enlightenment, educated, humans bow and courtesy to these "royals"? Frankly, I will bathe in that filthy river a million times before bowing/courtesying before a pathetic human who has no worth beyond their birth! And PLEASE tell me HOW the Brits can justify that reverence for the monarchy as any more rational and logical than the Hindu partaking of the Mahakumbh (and we are not even getting to religion here!)

One good reason I have always thought for never giving birth to a child on UK soil is that the top post in this country is hereditary! I mean WHAT sort of a loser accepts that as part of human development?  And as a life-long republican, I can't see the point of ever raising a child with that sort of absurd limitation.    But  of course, as the apparently enlightened Brit journo will tell you: certain kinds of "royalty" are okay: funny how the British press is quite happy to talk of their own and other European royalty in laudatory terms but of course anything nonwhite is "oppressive," "backward", etc, etc.  

So yeah, I am sick of this one!

I am SICK of getting the bloody colonial British take on India (and much of the world) over and over again.   And worse still: you know the Brit press's favourite "uncle Tom yes-life-is-so-great-out-here-coz-we-have-no-clue" British Asian take?  Get OVER it: most second and third generation British-Asians (immigrants in general) are people who have no clue about India or the general subcontinent! They don['t speak the language, don't know the traditions or history or literature. Their parents were often illiterate when they got to Britian/USA and hardly in position to talk of their "culture." The first city they often saw was not Delhi or Lahore or Dhaka but London or Manchester.  Its like having a random American be an "authority" on Britain simply because somewhere two or three generations ago, their parentage was Welsh or Scottish or English (funny just how much fun the Brits make of the Americans looking for their heritage but then have no qualms turning the lens the other way). 

Point being, this is not just about cultures as in east or west but also urban vs rural. I find a 3rd generation British-Asian from the midlands is more backward/conservative than a first generation Indian villager who went from a home without electricity to working for NASA in six years (thats IIT graduates for you!).  But that is the point for a different post.

It is the embedded, intrinsic colonial conceit that pisses me off. And I am not quite sure what it would take for the people who peddle it constantly to realise that the empire is over. And frankly such retrogressive headlines don't do any good: the balance of power is shifting. Grow up and deal with it!!!!!

PS: Not particularly erudite, I have to say, but this has been written at the spur of the moment and I am furious (not unusual). I try to not blog when I am angry, but today, I make an exception.


  1. Ok, first of all I will say that I am British and I will proudly say that. I'm of Indian origin and am first generation, as my mother and her family came here in the 1950s when she was still a child.

    I don't consider my mother, or myself to be a loser for having accepted being raised in this country - even though for my 29 years I have always lived in the poorest neighbourhoods in this country (not by choice!). In fact I think this country can be proud of many of its achievements in modern times, in its general acceptance and tolerance to the many immigrants who settled here in the mid-20th century. Open debate, expression and opinion are other achievements that can be confidently taken for granted because we have them already - thank god I was born British.

    The article in the Times that you refer to, although not very insightful or interesting in my opinion, merely states a fact that the river is dirty and goes on to talk about other facts. The headline is typical of media in "the west" and more and more typical of the east, in that it uses attention grabbing tactics. I don't favour that, but I'm just stating that this is not just a bloody British thing and I don't think it warrants the generalisations about Brits that you make in this entry - you yourself pointed out that generalisations are dumb.

    You also mention that your friends (sort of and former) send their kids to good home county schools because they are predominantly white and question whether they're racists? Well, let me be the one to break it to you, that it isn't just white people who try and get their kids into these good, predominantly white schools. I know Asian parents who also try to do the same. Actually some go further and move into areas that are predominantly white in order to increase the chance of their kids getting into these schools! Any normal parent would naturally want the best for their kids. Why do predominantly white schools in these home counties do well? I don't know, but it would be a good one to investigate huh?

    How can we look for solutions? How do we break barriers, assumptions and generalisations? And learn from proven examples? Look around Great Britain a little deeper and there is more than meets the eye.

  2. Mr. Singh:
    Thank you for the comment.

    You seem to have missed the sarcasm in that list of generalisations I made about the British. Just as those are ridiculous, so are generalisations about India.

    I am not running down your immigrant experience but the fact that British media uses Brit-Asians with little knowledge and understanding of India to comment on India requires you to nothing more than look through the major publications and channels. And most of the Brit-Asian journalists simply channel the exact version of "exotic/backward/strange" India that white imperial Britain has touted since 1835.
    I have a lot of Brit-Asian friends who speak Indian languages, take pride in their heritage and actually take the trouble to learn about and understand India. Having lived in the UK, I have to say, those are a very small minority.
    Finally, the white enclave schools in the Home counties bit? Thats not a personal observation. You just need to see Ofsted figures.
    Best wishes. And please do visit again.

  3. Pact with the devil?
    Thats the most funniest thing.

  4. Hello H: Unfortunately, a comment made on national US television by Pat Robertson about how the earthquake in Haiti was a result of the Haitians making a pact with the devil in order to get independence from the French! And yes, no mention of the fact that under the French, Haiti had the highest mortality rate amongst the slaves because the French slaveowners were so brutal (but they were all white Christians and thus doing god's work, I guess).