As I progress through my training, I’m starting to become more aware of the sociological paradigm in which I, and all health professionals are practicing. Some of the things I’m seeing disturb me.
As with my previous posts, the content of this one is informed by subjects that are becoming increasingly common in the media. In this instance it seems to be xenophobia.
More and more often the media brings shocking behaviour of some of our fellow countrymen to our attention.
‘You’re coming here and pleading poverty while we’re paying taxes’: Shocking rant of woman against foreign students in hospital waiting room caught on mobile
Tube racist whose champagne-fuelled tirade was viewed by thousands on YouTube is sentenced to five months in prison
Croydon-to-Wimbledon racist tram rant accused in court
Now don’t think me naive enough to believe that the UK was a paragon of racial and societal harmony before Youtube, but I’ve most definitely noticed these kind of incidents appearing more commonly in the media. This links me into what a few of my non-UK friends have been saying recently.
What is it with the foreigner bashing lately? Wish people would check their info before reposting stuff. There are good and bad people of every nationality, why tar everyone with the same brush and spread hate?
Other friends have related how they’re feeling conspicuous by their accents and how the over arching theme seems to be: Bloody foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs!!!
My friend points out rather perceptively;
I’m thinking of all the people doing jobs a lot of British people would not do, cleaning, factory jobs etc. and are still treated like second class humans.
I personally think it’s an extension of the narrative being purveyed by the Tories, strivers and scroungers and all the current poor bashing spewing forth from the Tory half of the government. As has been pointed out, a lot of British people are lazy and don’t want to get off benefits, yet they see the government vilifying them and want to find their own scapegoat so they go after foreign people who are actually contributing to the economy.
This is very disturbing because it reminds me of the vilification of out groups in the 1930’s (I’ll leave the argumentum ad Hitlerum there). The difference I can see is that the government aren’t specifically naming names, but yet are instigating this with their poisonous rhetoric and taking of benefits from the poor and redistributing that in the form of tax relief for the rich (50p tax band, not pursuing corporations for tax avoidance and not closing loopholes fast enough). We’re not an equitable society, when people have to choose between food and heating it should scream out to any reasonable human being that we should look at ourselves. We have the money to disregard billions of corporation tax, yet are clawing money from the poorest in society?
It’s frankly sickening.
In my city, all of the CAMHS consultants and a substantial chunk of the junior doctors are from overseas, usually India. Those who complain about foreigners would do well to remember that the NHS would fall apart without help from clinicians who’ve come to the UK.
Britain, with a long term history of invasion, making us an amalgamation of foreigners. A nation, or group of countries which became powerful and rich at the expense of 100’s of countries and millions of people: some of those people are now being called foreigners. Hell mend us.
This posting is actually a pretty good example of the intolerance the writer rails against. Firstly they cite a number of rants caught on the internet, and attribute these views to all people who disagree with them. They also imply that these views are held by, I will be specific, the English people. They then say that if anyone disagrees with them that they are as bad as the national socialists of Hitlerian Germany. They are aware of the internet paradigm that any heated exchange on the internet, (or in fact in person) comes to an end when the one party accuses the other of being worse than Hitler. They have communicated their intention of not wishing to engage in discussion by electing to make the argumentum ad Hitlerum immediately. They then link this subject to the Conservative party – and imply at one and the same time that all Conservatives are rascists and all Conservatives avoid taxes. Well I am a Conservative and I am neither rescist or avoid taxation.
Is it only from the right that a reasonable, politically neutral, working class white person might form a negative view of immigrants, or as I would prefer to say the numerous ethnic groups who live in this country? If you examine the written views of the Liberal left you might also form a negative view of ethnic groups that live in this country. The liberal and not so liberal left tells us that people from ethnic minorities have been discriminated against because they are disproportionately unemployed, or are in prison, or in receipt of psychiatric care, or in local authority child care. It is rare for the left leaning media to portay black and other ethnic minorities in any other way.
This posting contains the usual statement, that ethnic minorities are doing the work that ‘natives’ will not do. Given there are about 2.5 milliuon natives and other ethnic groups unemployed, this blogger appears to be saying that I, if I was to be unemployed I am too lazy or too arrogant to do ‘menial’ work. I do not think either of the main political parties are hostile to immigrants, the Conservative Party was led by the son of immigrants, namely Howard up to 2005, the Labour Party currently is, as this is the status of the Millibands.
Zarathustra has, I am sure accidentally, made the point, that I made on my social work course in the 1980’s, namely not all immigrants do ‘menial’ work; I do not consider NHS consultants, many of whom come from numerous ethnic minorities, are low paid. I do however think that all citizens of a country that has 2.5 million unemployed have a right to both discuss and also to have a policy on what is reasonable immigration – Germany does, France does, Sweden does, Norway does. What I can say is that outside of the internet, in a town which has about 30 ethnic minority groups, where there is considerable friction, ill feeling and resentment about resources, I have personally observed two incidents of this sort since 1971. I do not think you should take what you read on the internet as a norm. I note you are unable to claim that any of your ‘immigrant’ sources claim to have been personally treated in this way.
Right, there is quite a lot in your reply so let me break down the points I think you’ve raised actually in reply to my post. First of all;
No, quite simply; this is a straw man of my point. It does not follow nor was implied “These people I disagree with are racist, therefore all people I disagree with are racist”. That is an absurd distortion of my point.
I’m not naïve, people from every part of the union hold anti-immigration views. If you actually look at data collected, more Welsh people think that cultural life is undermined by immigration than the English. The data also shows that the picture is very mixed even across England. Racism is not the exclusive domain of the English or any other member of the union, nor was that the implication of what I wrote. I didn’t mention any specific member of the union.
If you read my post, whereas I was referencing 1930’s Germany, I didn’t mention Hitler, the NSDAP, or any party members. I was actually making reference to the milieu of the time.
That was my point, I was not mentioning Hitler aside from the argumentum ad Hitlerum because it is distracting to the point that I am trying to make.
Again, another straw man. Just because I suggest a link with Conservative policy and my perception of increased racism it does not follow that I think all conservatives are racists. Similarly with tax, my assertion that the Tories aren’t doing enough to ensure tax receipts does not mean I believe that all Tories are tax avoiders.
The rest of you comment is predominantly your own opinions, but I will address one more comment;
I am very sorry to hear that your friends suffer racism on such a regular basis. However you did not quote an example of direct personal racicism, but rather how they felt among us, and what they read in the papers. In my experience English culture is far more tolerant,( and here tolerance is not as it has been made out to be, a dirty word – tolerance is critical to a functioning democracy), than any other, of people who look differently, or speak differently. As your friends point out, particularly if you go to London, you may find it very difficult to find someone who is obviously English, not only in the ‘low paid’ jobs, but also as the customers in the restuarants, the in the arty west End, or indeed the commercial City. I am reasonably sure that everbody feels an outsider in central london, but it is feeling not a reality. You would have exactly the same feeling in a pub in North wales, and more or less any part of France; oh and by the way if your English in much of Scotland. The other thing that your friends object to is newspapers criticising immigrants. Well there is a simple solution to that isn’t there – let us, to produce what you would call a ‘straw man’, simply stop those papers having free speach.
I accept that the your juxtapopsition of 1930’s Germany, 21st Century Britain and the Conservative party was not an attempt to link the three subjects in the mind of the reader.Let me do the same. Ed Milliband is a great leader of the Labour Party. Superinjunctions are not a good thing. Just as a point of history the German ‘squeezed middle’ in the 1930’s did not have a choice between National Socialism and liberal democracy, they had a choice between National Socialists and the KDP. Both parties were open conspiracies against the state, both massively increased their representation in the reichstag in 1933, and both had organised para-military forces which engaged in street violence on a massive scale. The choice for the ‘squeezed middle’ was which of these not very pleasant alternatives was likely to resolve their economic crisis. As most of the survivors of the KDP went on to found the East German state – a model of democracy if ever there was one, they were going to end up with a ruthless dictator whatever they did.
You ignored my point about the liberal left. it is not only the right who portray immigrants negatively, the left does as well. The difference is that the left exonerate themselves by continuously portraying immigrants as victims of the nasty natives. The left’s message is self contradictory, (note however not contrary), namely that immigrants bring so much to this country, it is much wealthier because of them, oh but by the way a lot of them are unemployed, are on benefits or are in psychiatric units, or in prison. On several occassions when I have pointed out to the politically correct that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of successful people who have immigrated to this country in the last fifthy years, you are told you are rascist!
There are two groups of people who are concerned about immigration; namely the white working class, who normally vote Labour, but have sometimes voted for the BNP as a protest and who may vote UKIP in the future; and interestingly the ‘established’ immigrant community, mainly the Asian immigrant community. Why Labour suddenly decided to ‘get tough’ on immigration just before 2010 election, was that it is part of its core vote.The Asian community, (which has until recently been overwhelmingly Labour supporting, but some of which may vote for Respect or other parties at the next general election), feels most threatened by the immigration from eastern Europe. Many of this group are saying exactly the same things about ‘immigrants’ as was said of them thirty or forty years ago.