"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Redbridge Council Accused of Racism

An East London council has become embroiled in a row about racism after the term 'Pakistani' found itself abbreviated to 'Paki' in a spreadsheet about the origins of school pupils in the borough. The explanation of human error was not enough, and a subsequent investigation found that there was more than enough room to spell out the word 'Pakistani' (and I'm sure we all feel much better now - I will sleep easier tonight, certainly).

Some are now claiming that this reveals a wider culture of racism and derogatory terms used about Pakistanis:

A Conservative-run council was forced to apologise today following the discovery of an internal document which referred to Asian schoolchildren as 'Pakis'.

Staff at Redbridge Council in East London initially blamed a computer glitch for the offensive term, claiming the word Pakistani was automatically abbreviated on a sreadsheet detailing pupil's nationalities.

An investigation later found that there was room for the ethnic label to be spelled out in full and pupils were also referred to as 'Pankistani', 'Pak' and on three occasions 'Pakis'.

Now race watchdog the Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a legal probe into the revelations, while anti-racism campaigners criticsed the use of the offensive term.

Kevin Blowe, of anti-racism organisation Newham Monitoring Project, told the
Guardian: 'The council must know that a generation of Asians in east London grew up in the Seventies with the threat of violence from ‘Paki-bashing’ and with its association with skinhead gang culture.'

He said the monitoring project had been set up in 1980 in response to the racist
murder of Asian teenager Akhtar Ali Baig in East Ham.

Mr Blowe added: 'It is almost impossible to believe that, nearly 30 years on, anyone would fail to understand how racially charged the word Paki is, or that it would ever be appropriate to use in council records, internal or not.'

The council, which has one BNP councillor, later admitted it was not an automatic abbreviation by the computer, but human error was to blame and said an investigation had been launched.

It said in a statement: 'Redbridge council fully accepts the use of this
abbreviated term is wholly unacceptable and inappropriate and would never condone
the use of such language.

'The document also contains a variety of abbreviations and spelling mistakes and
was circulated in error.

'When this was realised, those present were asked to hand in the document so they could be destroyed.

'The author of the spreadsheet apologised.'

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said: 'It is important that councils are careful to avoid the use of offensive terms.'

Is this really an acceptable use of taxpayers' money and the time of public servants?

This story highlights a common double standard in the British media; it is never the importing and settling of large numbers of completely unassimilable people that is wrong, only any reaction to it (and yes, admittedly many such reactions are very unsavoury).

The bringing of large numbers of Pakistanis to this country has been an unmitigated disaster. In parts of the country there exist veritable colonies of unintegrated hostiles, even three or four generations after the initial immigrants came, only growing and getting worse.

We never get to hear how the British people who lived, and still live, in these places feel, or the problems which some of the Pakistanis brought and caused. We are only directed to feel guilty about how thuggish members of our own kind treated these bringers of enrichment and diversity - and if any mainstream source does admit such mass migrations were a disaster for Britain, it is always the fault of the racists in one way or another.

I, for one, am sick of it.

A lot offends me, as regulars may have gathered - but nothing more than the complete denigration of my country, identity, history and culture by those who have chosen to settle here in large numbers and their enablers.

Where is my voice?

At school, part of the GCSE English curriculum was (and doubtless still is, in one form or another) was learning about 'Voices of Diversity', an anthology of poems and short stories written by ethnic minority authors.

A couple of these were written by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who grew up in east London in the Seventies and go into some detail about the culture of "Paki-bashing" described in this article.

We were all invited to share their plight; I do have some empathy, because I recognise these children and their families had not done anything wrong, per se. In many respects, those among them who suffered are too victims of the "one coffee-coloured universe" idealists who have caused so much misery here with their social engineering - by importing large numbers of culturally alien people in the first place.

The irony of this was that about 70% of the children in my class had parents who had fled London in the seventies or early eighties - because of the behaviour of some of the poor lambs we were asked to read about in these poems.

I was never directed to read a poem written by a British mother whose daughter was preyed upon by Pakistani pimps, who was raped and beaten and forced to convert to Islam, or whose son was stabbed by a Pakistani gang for being white in the wrong area.

There were no short stories describing the anguish of being old and trapped in an increasingly alien area, mosques springing up as pubs disappear, the script on the street signs unfamiliar, afraid to step out of your own front door because of the roaming gangs of 'youths'; none about what it is like to make a perfectly legitimate complaint to the council about noise or rubbish and be patronised and chastised about racism.

During one of these lessons, one child in the class told the teacher that he had shown this anthology to his parents, and they had questioned its motives; they had suffered as much as the immigrants, especially as the area began to reach 'critical mass' (whereby it becomes majority non-white and therefore the newcomers' territory) - the only difference was that their complaints were ignored.

The teacher nodded sympathetically and said that racism and different perceptions of it were still a huge problem - but this boy's parents had no idea what the immigrants had suffered.

But of course, she knew enough about these strangers to confine their grievances to the dustbin - they were only white, after all.

I recall watching a documentary about Nazi Germany's occupation of France, in which a man who had lived through it was asked what was the worse part.

He listed the obvious reasons - but said, in his opinion, the worst part was hearing your own children come home from school "spouting the lies of the conquerors".

I'll bet that child's parents, wherever they are now, have an inkling of what that is like.


eh said...

What's the world coming to when you can't call a Paki a Paki?

I, for one, am sick of it.

Better get used to it.

Faith said...

I am a Brit..and proud of it!

Is it the final "i" that upsets them..would they rather be a Pak..but then Briti wouldn't bother me.

It's the biggest piece of PC (?) madness..after all we've all got Aussies, Swedes, Poles etc. as friends and they don't get upset by their tags.

Pakistanis are the only people I can think of who get upset by the shortened version of their homeland.

WAKE UP said...

If they are so easily "...upset by the shortened version of their homeland", why the hell are they in Britain in the first place?