A delicate subject today treated with my usual blend of bloody-mindedness and tongue in cheek.
Oh dear – see, even the word and there are people bristling and trying to decide if they should read on or not. So before I lose half my readership, let me say, out and proud:
I’M AN IMMIGRANT (I live in a foreign country)
OK? And that is part of the problem. Most of the people I know who get all hot and bothered about racism are natives of the land in which they live. They aren’t immigrants. They get upset and angry with people on OUR behalf. That’s very kind.
While I would like to thank them, I have some news: we really are capable of telling the difference between an insult and a bit of good-natured joshing. When we find ourselves on the end of the first, we stick up for ourselves and anyway, there are a lot of things I would prefer to be called other than a “humourless bitch”.
Verily I say unto thee, when someone is joshing me, I know it and I come back with something equally funny, trite, vulgar etc. I can shock people by telling them I can fart the Marseillaise and ask if they can do the same, because that is what makes a true French person.
If someone is being unpleasant, I adopt Ali G’s phrase and say, completely dead-pan “Is it because I is black or Muslim?” That’s when they realise that if I were black or Muslim and said my nationality was French, they wouldn’t question it, no matter how ear-splitting my accent or grammatical mistakes.
I take the piss out of myself – I have just ordered new stickers for my ex La Poste van with warnings saying “Danger – Celtic Lady Driver” and pictures of the Saltire and bagpipes – now THAT is racist and sexist at the same time – I win, I win!!!
It also seems to be a rather Brit / USA concept. Nobody here has ever said – hey don’t pick on her, that’s racism. I’m here, I’m expected to be able to cope. There are some quarters where I’d get off lighter for saying I was from Brixton or Handsworth than being “proper French”.
Some “racist” jokes are hilarious. Sometimes just the odd word can betray a mindset that is very upsetting but, for your own peace of mind, let us sort that out for ourselves eh?