I often receive forwarded emails which end up being instantaneously deleted the second I can judge the tone of the subject and know that I will disagree with the contents. However, there was one sitting in my inbox yesterday, still bold and unread. I opened it.
I’m pretty cool about a lot of stuff, but this email really got to me, entitled “British Wish List”. I won’t relay the entire email here as I don’t want to be seen as supporting it in any way. I replied to the sender (actually, replied to all, because I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks it inappropriate) asking them to stop forwarding racist emails. I was promptly responded to with “I think this is what 90% of the ENGLISH/WELSH/SCOTTISH population agree with!!”, and another informing me it was what the ‘majority’ of British people thought, and therefore, assumed I was not British. I tossed and turned last night, furious at the response, as what they didn’t realise is that they were talking about me and most of the people I knew in the UK.
I did a quick poll of the Brits around me (luckily my reading of this coincided with the English vs. Wales Six Nations game) and found that 0% of those around me agreed with the contents, 100% were shocked. Now I admit that my quick poll was biased as we’re no longer in Britain, but most of us have only left recently.
So I want to know, are you the 10%?
Do you agree that Dual Citizenship should be “Abolished (you’re either British or something else. If you’re something else, be a visitor then leave when your visa runs out.)”? This one struck a chord with me. Yes, as you can tell from my blog, I am a Kiwi. But I’m also a Brit. That means I am a citizen of both countries. This email is telling me I need to make a choice, that I need to give up my right to either the country I was born in, or the country I grew up in. If you don’t think they are talking about me because either New Zealand doesn’t count, or because I’m “white”, then that just screams racism and discrimination. I am a dual citizen. I hold two passports. And I will not give either one up without a fight. How many Brits have dual citizenship?! I haven’t found the statistic, so if anyone can tell me please do. I’m happy to guess that it’s a pretty sizeable chunk.
If you believe that people have the right to hold dual or multiple citizenship, congratulations, you’re in the 10%.
“Language: English, Welsh, Scottish only.” Well, sorry folks, if you did languages in school you better be careful when uttering “merci”. Ban other languages! English in England only! Sure, that’s fine if you plan on never leaving the country, but what about all of the cultural exchanges you might miss out on? Guess there will be no more sushi, no more tandoori, and forget all about Pad Thai. Start thinking of English names instead.
Do you think that a variety of cultures and languages should be embraced? Welcome to the 10%.
If you think it’s appropriate to call other cultures derogatory names [that would probably get you in legal or disciplinary trouble if used to someone’s face] based on their traditional clothing (I’ll let you figure out what the exact word used in the email may have been), stick to the 90%, the 10% don’t want you.
The email went on along a similar point (Brits good, all others bad), but I won’t go into the rest here.
I want the 10% to stand with me. To shout “no, it’s not right!”. I want the 10% to have a voice, to shut the small mindedness of the 90% down, and stand alongside each other regardless of your citizenship, language or colour, and show them that they are not the 90%, they are not the majority, and that the 10% is stronger.
Currently living in a country where I am not a citizen, I do not know the language, and I do not wear the same clothing, I would be horrified if I was treated the way the email suggested. I’m pretty sure the forwarder of the email would not support me being discriminated against just because I am white, I sometimes show my arms, I only speak English, and my visa is only for a year.
It’s tough to get into the UK, there are rules and regulations in place. If the government approve someone to stay based on their skills and qualifications, who are you, as the 90%, to tell them they have no right? To be sponsored the employer has to prove there is no one in the EU that can fill the vacancy.
It is not your place to tell people who they can and can’t be. To tell them what language they can speak. To judge how they dress. Look inside yourself and question why you think that way. What are you scared of? And once you’ve put all that aside, step across, the 10% would be happy to have you.