Chris Moerdyk

If you're white and speak English, clap your hands

2012-09-03 07:15

Chris Moerdyk 

I watched with wry amusement, the campaign to arrest Tony Blair on his visit to South Africa last week.

For heaven's sake, did nobody notice? Tony Blair is white and he speaks English.

Which seems to be the two attributes that allow world leaders and governments to behave in a way that anyone who is not white and doesn't have English as a home language would not dare emulate.

Even politicians who are white but not English speaking cannot get away with what their anglophile counterparts do with dismissive abandon.

I am not sure whether anyone noticed that, unlike Mr Blair, the Dalai Lama who is neither white nor English speaking, did not get permission to visit South Africa in spite of never having invaded another country.

Discriminatory rules

Think about it - if an African leader, a middle-Eastern potentate or a country like North Korea had invaded another country on the basis that it might on the off-chance have weapons of mass destruction and then actually didn't, would they get away with it with the lame "oops, sorry" apology offered by George W Bush and Tony Blair?

I doubt it.

I wish that someone with more patience than me, would write a book - a compendium - of examples of all the really arrogant and dare I say, discriminatory, rules and regulations that white, English speaking governments dream up with such confident superiority.

Take this British Government example.  Right now, they insist that travellers such as South Africans who want to fly to global destinations via the UK, need to have a transit visa.

This is necessary in spite of the fact that you might just be getting off one plane and directly onto another without setting foot in England, but just being in transit for an hour or so.

But, if you happen to have a valid visa for the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you don't have to have a UK transit visa.

The advantaged

Notice something interesting? Yes, you guessed it. Those four countries happen to be governed by white people who have English as a home language.

Which by implication means that the British Government trusts the Americans, Canadians, Aussies and New Zealanders but doesn't trust the French, Germans, Belgians, Italians, Spanish and Austrians for example, in spite of their own extremely tight visa application processes. How's that for discrimination?

Look, I know I am being a little tongue in cheek here, but you have to admit, in this day and age wherever you live, if you're white and have English as a home language you are going to be treated differently and with deference. You are among the currently and previously advantaged.

By the way, if you are tempted to suggest that I am being xenophobic, please do bear in mind that I am white and that English is my home language. I am, however, not a government for which I am eternally grateful.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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