Why An Englishman Is Sorry He’s White

by Neil Bamforth

I have a friend of many years. He looks remarkably like Stan Laurel so, although is name is completely different, he has been known as ‘Stan’ ever since schooldays. Like me he has entered his sixth decade and, also like me, he has started to wonder about mortality. Unlike me, he is not trying to devise a cunning plan to avoid meeting up with The Grim Reaper. He has devised a ‘bucket list’ of things he wants to do before his inevitable demise.

At the top of his bucket list was the desire to visit every place that has his name in it.

Odd perhaps, but it is his bucket list after all.

As a result he intended to visit all the places ending in ‘Stan’. There are seven countries in this category.

Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

I cautioned him that visiting anywhere on the planet with ‘stan’ at the end of its name could be dangerous at best but he is determined.

He was startled that I knew why these countries have ‘stan’ at the end of their names. ‘Stan’ is Urdu and Persian for ‘where I stand’ or ‘place of’, making it a sensible word to have in your countries name – if you speak the lingo anyway.

He even asked me whether I might like to either accompany him, or visit him, in one of his bucket list countries as he intended to spend at least a couple of weeks in each.

He then set about costing up his adventure. Within the hour, he realized that he couldn’t afford it. He couldn’t afford to go to any of them.

Personally, I was quite relieved. Going anywhere ending in ‘stan’ these days runs the risk of you meeting The Grim Reaper somewhat prematurely if you ask me.

I then suggested alternatives.

Unfortunately his daughter overheard my alternatives and, being one of ‘the offended generation’ is now not speaking to me.

I suggested ‘Londonistan’, my old hometown of ‘Oldhamistan’, ‘Bradfordistan’, ‘Rochdaleistan’ and, for a particularly cheap stop over as he could stay at my place, ‘Hayesistan’.

His daughter accused me of being racist and Islamophobic.

It was a joke you silly moo!

There happen to be a large number of people from, or descended from, nations ending in ‘stan’ in these particular places. Actually, there are plenty of other places too. ‘Rotherhamistan’ and ‘Lutonistan’ for starters.

I double checked with my daughter, who is also part of ‘the offended generation’. She just rolled her eyes and said “Daddy!”

I explained that there was no malice in it. It was a joke based on the undeniable fact that the aforementioned places in England did have an inordinate number of people from, or descended from, countries ending in ‘stan’.

I wasn’t mocking them. I wasn’t insulting them. I wasn’t even complaining there were too many of them (which made a refreshing change I suppose). It was a JOKE.

It wasn’t a nasty joke. It wasn’t a racist joke. It wasn’t an Islamophobic joke. It was, and remains, a jokey play on an undeniable fact.

In desperation I told my Muslim neighbor about it. He laughed at my renaming of the towns. He laughed even harder at the reaction of ‘the offended generation’.

“Some people”, he said, “really need to get a life” – and no, he didn’t mean me. So there.

What are we supposed to do? Never speak? Never poke fun? Never have a laugh? Well, clearly not if we seem to be having a joke at the expense of another ethnic group.

A bucket list? I might as well just put a bucket over my head and pretend the world isn’t there anymore.

Humor apparently now falls into the category of racist.

You know that American ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham? Well, over here in Blighty, many of ‘the offended generation’ think his act is racist and Islamophobic because of his glorious creation, Achmed The Dead Terrorist.

Seriously! I don’t know about over there in America, but, over here in Blighty, it’s reaching the point when being white is enough for suspicions to be aroused that you are racist and God, (or the deity of your choice), help you if you have the nerve to actually tell a mundane joke about anybody who isn’t white and you are.

I’m so so sorry that I am white. Please forgive me. I must accept that being white is now a crime. Especially if I joke about anyone who isn’t.

Utter utter BULLSHIT.

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Posted by on May 10, 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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20 Responses to Why An Englishman Is Sorry He’s White

  1. Margaret of Leeds Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Your article started out as fun then turned into a racist diatribe, clouded by “who me?” By way of attribution I must congratulate you as you write what you know.

  2. Glenn Geist Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Where I live, in florida, there has been a large migration from the North. I don’t think it’s anything-ism to notice the fact that they bring traffic congestion, geriatric problems, clothing styles, dining preferences and very different attitudes with them – some I agree with and some I don’t. Is it offensive to joke about retirement villages, about tract houses, over 55 communities, driving styles and fashion? Can I laugh at how where the the Yankees show up we have more stores called Shoppes, more developments with silly English names spelled wrong, where last year there were alligators? You know those people like to wear socks and longs sleeve shirts! Some of them attach fake icicles to their houses where it’s 85 on Christmas morning. Northerners. Aren’t they funny? But what about these crackers down the road with their dead cars up on blocks and no front teeth?

    Humans are a sorry-ass species. All of us, you and me. You either laugh or cry and I reserve my contempt for people who act badly, who make life worse for others, not those who joke about it. Change is hard to swallow and something a bit of sugar makes the inevitable more palatable. I don’t think the humor here is ill-intentioned. I think the presupposition of malice is a growing fashion and in many cases it’s in and of itself bigotry.

    Humor a way to deal with change, whether it’s comfortable or not comfortable. Humor helps us get along, unless you’re a dour Millennial Puritan who won’t smile on a Sunday and acts like some some etiquette know- it-all from a lost era.

    • jess Reply

      May 10, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      I went with a friend of a friend to look at one of those 55 and above communities here Glenn. It was a really cool place, art classes, swimming, cooking etc and they had live music twice a week.

      • Glenn Geist Reply

        May 10, 2019 at 5:38 pm

        Pfah – I don’t want to be around people that young.

  3. Michael John Scott Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I also don’t think the post was ill-intentioned. As to humor, whether black or otherwise, it’s a significant and critical part of surviving the world. Without it, I would never have survived, emotionally, a lifetime in law enforcement.

  4. jess Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    No need for forgiveness for your whiteness it’s the forgiveness for the racist whiteness you might be in need of from time to time. Oh don’t act so fucking surprised, you know it, I know it, we all know it. You have some racist shit in there you know you do, I do also, we all do. Mine has more to do with a prejudice more than a race thing against a segment of society that are really bad drivers and I am working on that because I am a total nasty bitch about it.

    • Glenn Geist Reply

      May 10, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      But, but yes! It’s the road rodents, the truck schmucks – it’s the real problem of our time!

      • jess Reply

        May 10, 2019 at 11:15 pm

        Oh don’t get me started on them, with a certain segment of society behind the wheel. I get way over the top too upset about that. I truly am that bad about it. Mom used to get on my case about how racist I was saying really bad things. I try so hard, I just cannot seem to come out from it and it only happens when I drive, nowhere else.

        • Glenn Geist Reply

          May 11, 2019 at 8:52 am

          It also happens when you ride, but on the bike, nobody can hear me when I scream – and swear.

  5. Neil Bamforth Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Margaret of Leeds : Margaret of Leeds?? Your airs and graces are showing love 😂😂😂… Racist diatribe? I’ll include flat caps and whippets next time… Just for you x

    Well said Glenn!!!

    Michael : Laugh and the world laughs with you… Or calls you racist 😂😂😂

    Jess : You’re forgiven. I’m not Islamophobic, I just don’t like em 😜🤪

  6. Glenn Geist Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    I don’t waste time disliking any particular group. I dislike everyone with a few rare exceptions. Of course there’s nothing better than people who make it hard to dislike them.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      May 11, 2019 at 7:28 am

      LOL! We are very much alike my friend. Not sure what that says for either of us 🙂

  7. Cherries Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I agree with your last sentence * well about your thinly disguised racist comments.
    Am wondering if you’re not really who you say you are Norman/Neil or who ? You use American spellings yet call yourself an English man ? 🙄
    * ‘Utter utter BULLSHIT’

  8. Cherries Reply

    May 10, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Margaret he tries to disguise his racism as humour I don’t buy it and he doesn’t like me and resorts to insults and seems same for you.

  9. Neil Bamforth Reply

    May 11, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Cherries : I was taking the mickey out of Margaret. As in a joke? See what I mean? Humor not acceptable.

    It’s an American site you wally so spellchecker is for American spelling.

  10. Michael John Scott Reply

    May 11, 2019 at 7:22 am

    LOL! Me neither. Noisy kids 🙂

  11. Michael John Scott Reply

    May 11, 2019 at 7:24 am

    In defense of our friend Neil, I have to point out that when I edit articles prior to publication I employ a spell checker which corrects the spelling to the American version, e.g. colour to color, tyre to tire, and etc.

  12. Glenn Geist Reply

    May 11, 2019 at 9:04 am

    For at least the latter half of my life, I’ve taken racism as a personal attack. I won’t go into why – it’s complicated, but I also try not to accuse others without proof. Really it’s a facile and cheap way to win an argument, just as crying heresy or witchcraft once was. It also implies that the accuser – any accuser – is the final arbiter just as it was in Salem.

    But it’s more confusing than anything else. Here we are in a day when the far right argues that their candidate is the right race for the job, but so does the self-proclaimed Left.

    One of the many sad parts of our opinion saturated lives is that, just as you didn’t joke about clergymen or the Church in 1492, you don’t make light of any sacred subjects or today. So if I call you racist, that makes it ipso facto the truth. Are we becoming more secular or are we sanctifying our own likes and dislikes while demonizing what makes us uncomfortable?

  13. Neil Bamforth Reply

    May 11, 2019 at 9:11 am

    “while demonizing what makes us uncomfortable?”…yes Glenn. I think many are – and I include myself. I try to learn and be a better person, then some’at happens and I’m back to square one.

    Won’t stop trying though.

  14. Cherries Reply

    May 14, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Strange my English spelling of humour wasn’t spell checked on my message to Margaret!
    As for Norman/Neil calling me a ‘wally’ seems that word is the same across the pond 🙄 I’m too polite to say what I’d call him it would end with wally though.

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