It's Safe to Insult Certain People. Apparently.
Coverage of the recent Olympics has made me realise that despite the fact that Political Correctness is widespread and pretty much ingrained in Western society, there are still 2 groups of people that we can still be patronising and rude to without any comebacks. I don’t know if this is a loophole or whether the groups aren’t deemed worthy of our protection. Oh, and before I go any further, use this at your own risk! I am not liable for any damage you receive…..
This whole thing was prompted because of a cheesy BBC slot. A reporter was asking the locals in Beijing whether they recognised certain London landmarks – Big Ben being the main one. None of the people on camera could name them. Cue the reporter looking at the camera with a wry look. Oh dear, people in China can’t recognise landmarks from a city more than 5000 miles away. Those ignorant Chinese people! But let’s flip that around. I’m relatively intelligent and know things about foreign countries. I doubt I could recognise any landmark from China apart from the Great Wall and maybe the Forbidden City. Does that make me mockable? Would anyone in China reading this be rolling about the floor in tears because the ignorant round eye doesn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of their places of interest? Or would they, and I think this is more likely, just say “OK” and forget about it? Because it doesn’t matter and I’m sure the Chinese have better things to do with their time than memorise landmarks. Unless there’s a Chinese version of Jeopardy, of course.
Secondly, and this really really annoys me, is the use of a short phrase which is employed to encompass a whole range of people. “Simple folk/people”. As in “I would love to live in a rural area among the simple folk”. This isn’t restricted to the UK and is used to describe people in small villages/towns and rural areas. Basically, using it means that those people couldn’t possibly understand the horrible pressures that traders and bankers and accountants have in the City, because life is so much easier in the country. Let’s forget that farms are going to the wall every day and that suicide rates among the farming community are on the rise because farmers are seeing their livelihoods disappear and land held in their families for generations are being sold so the family can survive. Forget the bankruptcies and having to negotiate the minefield that claiming subsidies entails. Forget the fact that abattoirs are closing regularly and new regulations mean that farmers have restrictions on transporting the animals to be slaughtered so end up with a lot of dead livestock rotting on their lands. Their lives are just so simple.
Now what I find really weird, is that if anyone was to use similar epithets about non-white people in your own country, the racism tag is brought out.Â We aren’t allowed to point out that a lot of immigrants don’t speak English (or French, or German or whichever local language in whichever country) and we can’t use euphemisms – look at the furore around describing Barack Obama as “articulate”.Â But it’s fine to insult people of a foreign country while they are still in that country and it’s fine to put down whole communities.
Now, I fully accept that this has been percolating in my brain for a while and that I’m probably blowing this up ut of all proportion.Â As I have said before, this site is mostly here for the purposes of me getting random thoughts out of my head.Â But does this not massively smack of double standards?Â Implying that Chinese people in China are ignorant is fine, but doing the same for Chinese immigrants isn’t?Â Do they become worthy of protection once they enter the borders (does this make them “one of us”?) but they’re on their own if they choose to stay in their own countries?Â Is it fine to call rural communities “simple” but not to call immigrant communities simple?Â Where do Political Correctness and racism separate?Â Am I the only one who has noticed this and do I need to lie down somewhere for a while?