Not Funny

Notes From Scotland

I arrived in Scotland this month for an open-ended visit, checking into business opportunities, looking for creative inspiration, and taking the chance to stretch my legs in the hills. I’ll be posting along the way… Most of the past weeks have been a bit of a happy jumble, but as my regular readers know, there’s nothing like a bit of racism to trigger my ability to formulate it all into a bloggish rant.

21 August:
Wow, it’s really different living in a country where English is the native language. I met my first out-of-the-closet racist at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival yesterday, and understood EVERY word he said. This was, of course, just before he ruined an otherwise wonderful show (check out Luke Toulson, he’s really very funny and sweet) for the rest of us by heckling the comedian over UKIP jokes. Oh yes, I’m aware I’m a newcomer, and uninformed about a lot of things going on here, but some things are the same wherever you go.  And racists are everywhere.

Yes, I’m sure things were better in the good ol’ days, Mr. Charming, before all those uppity immigrants stopped being servants and started being your neighbors. It’s funny, being a so-called ‘white’ person sometimes: bigots will assume you’re on their side, simply because of the color of your skin, and tell you all kinds of things. I really hate it, when people assume things about me based on my skin color, don’t you? He was a bit taken aback when I told him I was an immigrant too.  It was interesting to see that the look on his face was the same as when I used this reply on Dutch racists too. Hmmm, I’ll never be able to pull this trick off in the U.S., will I? “Well, take this, you bigot – I’m a repatriate!” just doesn’t have the same punch.

Does it strike anyone else as being ironic that so many of the people crying about the ‘influx’ of immigrants into their countries (although Mr. Asscher (NL) is aiming his shots East these days, they are merely a retread of shots he and his ilk have taken South and over the water before) are living in former colonial nations which have actually invaded and occupied the homes of many of these immigrants in the past? Are the ‘sins of the fathers’ coming home to roost in Western Europe? It was particularly interesting to hear a man working for a British MP complain  so openly about immigrants, since they are, after all, part of his boss’s constituency.  Way to win votes, mister!  But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Yes, Mr. Charming UK unintentionally told me quite a lot about himself in his brief attempt at flirtation, before he noticed I wasn’t laughing at his heckles.

Aside: Personally, I wish more Mexican immigrants would come to Edinburgh, so that that thing I bought yesterday, called a Tex-Mex wrap, would’ve actually tasted a little more Mex. Or Tex, for that matter.

And it’s all so stupid really. Immigrants have BUILT many of the nations whose leaders continually use immigrants as the economic buggy-boo today. They’re stealing our jobs (oh yes, ‘real’ Americans want to pick tomatoes in 90 degree heat, without job security or insurance), our culture (try asking a Dutch person what their culture is? What being Dutch means.  Maxima tried, and look at the answer she got), and they’ve ruined the Midlands… oh, well, I’ll have to wait for someone from the Midlands to tell me how other men’s wives and daughters wearing headscarves have ruined their neighborhoods. Or no, I don’t think I’ll wait around for that lecture, after all.

Good lord, people – get a grip. And learn a little history, so our politicians – including your own MP – can’t manipulate you so easily. Immigration happens.  It’s always happened.  Masses of it.  Amsterdam wouldn’t exist today without it, and Britain wouldn’t be Britain without it.  And the U.S. wouldn’t… oh well, that’s another discussion entirely, isn’t it, whisper my native ancestors. Suffice it to say it wouldn’t exist in its present form.  Jeez, you literally wouldn’t exist without it. Oh, and by the way, lots of women wear headscarves, and have throughout history, from many different religions, including so-called ‘western’ ones.  Get a frigging grip.

And for some of you: don’t make this about the difference between legal or illegal. I’m not going there, because that’s not what this rant is about. It’s about xenophobia and fear and ignorance. Because all those things are being played out all around us, whether the immigrant is legal or not. And if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit it. Think of all the allochtonen in NL: most of the ones suffering racism every day are born and bred legal Dutch citizens. Same with the young men getting ‘profiled’ everyday in America. Or the brown ones getting stopped and asked for I.D. in Arizona. I’m a little new here, to have concrete examples other than the red faced charmer yesterday, but I have one thing to say to him:

As I’m looking this country over, trying to decide where to locate my new business, you’ve just helped me cross the Midlands off the list of potential sites. It’s not the immigrants keeping new business and jobs away from the Midlands… it’s you. And that show your MP is doing today, making fun of the EU?  I won’t be there either.  Because this immigrant ticket buyer was a little put off by your sales effort. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Now, back to listening to a few really bad, and some really good, comedians – in all shapes, sizes and colors – at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Because, after all, laughter is the best medicine for a blogger’s cranky mood.  Isn’t it?

Image

Johannes Vermeer (NL)
Girl with a Pearl Earring …and a headscarf

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