21st Century Pride And Prejudice

by Neil Bamforth

No, before you ask, I am not particularly a fan of the Jane Austin novel. There aren’t enough laughs or action in it for my tastes. Still, each to their own I suppose. I have been prompted to write the following via a conversation with a Facebook friend. One I actually know personally I should add.

Sonay used to work for the driving school I once worked with. When she kept my diary correctly, which she usually did, I called her ‘my little Turkish delight’ as she is a Turkish Cypriot by descent. On the odd occasion she messed up my diary, I would call her ‘Invader.’

This puzzled her, so I explained: Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974. Around 150,000 Greek Cypriots were displaced and lost their homes and livelihoods.

Now I am certainly no expert with regards to this and, if I did enough research, I would probably get a better ‘handle’ on it, but, generally speaking, most people seem to say ‘Turkey invaded Cyprus, therefore Turkey are the bad guys.’

They may well not be, at least entirely, but, I suspect, if the Greek Cypriots had got a lot of oil rather than lemons or oranges, or whatever they had, then I strongly suspect they would have received more assistance a la Kuwait being invaded by Iraq.

Anyway. Sonay was somewhat perplexed. Albeit she was born of Turkish Cypriot parents all these invading shenanigans were a long time ago to her.

She recently posted on Facebook that, due to ‘Brexit’, racism seemed to have become more acceptable in Britain. Sadly, she has been on the receiving end. I can well believe it too. There seem to be far more bigoted idiots out there now than I seem to recall pre-Brexit.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, it seems to me that both ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’ are very broad spectrums (or should that be spectra?). Both can be good and both can be bad. What strikes me as somewhat disappointing though, is that in the 21st Century, so many find it so hard to distinguish the good from the bad.

Pride in your country is good. Pride in your country to the exclusion of everything and everyone is bad.

Prejudice against a hostile force, for example, invading your countries dependency (a la The Falklands War) is good.

Prejudice against someone just for being Argentinian (a la The Falklands War) is bad.

I mean to say. It isn’t really rocket science is it?

I have pride and prejudice in bucket loads.

Pride in my daughter. Pride in my wife. Pride in my country. Pride in my football team (although God, or the deity of your choice knows why). Pride in my ability to drink beer like it’s going out of fashion. Well, all right, perhaps the last one’s a bit daft.

My prejudices? Christ! I’m full of them. I’m prejudiced against anyone killing animals for sport. I’m prejudiced against – well, to be honest, I could write a list way longer than your arm, or several arms come to that.

That’s the thing isn’t it? We’re all prejudiced against any number of things. It’s part of the human condition.

The thing is, most of our prejudices are based, to greater or lesser degrees, in a sort of logic. At least in our own thought processes. My prejudice against immigration, for example, is based solely on the numbers of people that have come to Britain. Where they have come from or the color of their skin is immaterial. My prejudice is that there are too many of them.

The fact that I can acknowledge I may be wrong, to me, suggests that I am open to being persuaded of alternative views. that’s what logic is really. The ability to sensibly justify your opinion whilst being open to other equally logical opinions.

Disagreeing with me is fine. I may well disagree with some of your prejudices too. We can agree to differ. Maybe we won’t. Maybe you will change to my way of thinking or I to yours.

What alarms me are the increasing number of people, at least in Blighty, who are increasingly thinking their pride is pride when, in reality, they are holding prejudices that are as far removed from logic as they can be. Yet they can’t see it. They are convinced they are right.

“Go back where you came from!” said a drunken idiot a few nights ago to a pal of mine, as he stood with me at the bar. His name is Kamawalinder Singh Sital. He is a Sikh. His parents came to Britain in 1961. He was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, England in late 1961. We were drinking a few miles away from Hounslow at the time.

Kam, being the gentle soul that he is, replied, “I’ll be getting a cab back to Hounslow later. Is that all right with you?”

The drunk looked briefly perplexed and then, fortunately, wandered off muttering to himself.

My old workmate, Sonay, the Turkish Cypriot, is in fact, British. She was born here and not in the Turkish bit of Cyprus. She has been told to ‘go back where you came from’ several times.

On one occasion she responded. “I’m just shopping in Wimbledon you know. I’ll be getting a bus back to Morden later” (Wimbledon and Morden are nearby towns. They play a bit of tennis in Wimbledon I’m led to believe).

The lady who had told her to ‘go back where she came from’, Sonay tells me, looked slightly bewildered and wandered away without further comment.

These people think that they are showing pride in their country. Pride in being British. They don’t seem to have the necessary brain power to realize that Kam and Sonay are as British as they are.

Their pride is corrupted and their prejudice verging on the bizarre. They make my prejudices seem normal by comparison – and that is saying something.

Welcome to Britain in the 21st Century.

I’m feeling more like a liberal every day!

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Posted by on February 8, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to 21st Century Pride And Prejudice

  1. Glenn Geist Reply

    February 8, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Applause!

  2. Michael John Scott Reply

    February 8, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Agree with Glenn! Applause 🙂

  3. Glenn Geist Reply

    February 8, 2019 at 11:34 am

    It’s a regular event – we’ll be out to dinner with people we don’t know well and my wife will be asked “where are you from?”
    Minnesota is the reply which leads to
    “yes, but originally”
    Originally from Minneapolis.
    “yes but where are you really from.

    Somehow I’m always the one who has to point out that “we’re all Americans here, and none of us are our ancestors.” although inwardly I’m thinking “and what part of Dimwittia are you from?”

    In ethnocentric Chicago I used to be asked all the time “what’s your nationality?” and of course I’m American and it says so on my passport and on my father’s and grandfather’s and his father too. Yet the expectation is always that I’ll say German or Polish, etc. For all our Chauvinism you’d think we’d think of ourselves as Americans.

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