I have nothing to say about this. I’m just linking it: Pakistani Immigrant in Britain says he won’t help customers who cannot speak English
This news breaks at the same time that Britain is publicly mourning the loss of reality tv star Jade Goody, who shot to fame by making a series of racist comments on her stint at Big Brother. The working class mother referred to her Indian co-star, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, as “Shilpa Poppadom,” mocked her accent, and her cooking (the smells and taste of Indian food). While many in Britain complained about her racism and some pulled advertising, Goody’s cancer diagnosis ignited a re-write in which she became a misunderstood working class freminist icon whose image was tarnished by the show’s classism and her racism was negated b/c of her own bi-racial background (tho she is white appearing and was raised by white family members in a white working class area).
Prime Minister Gordon Brown released the following public praise for her:
“She was a courageous woman both in life and death and the whole country have admired her determination to provide a bright future for her children. She will be remembered fondly by all who knew her and her family can be extremely proud of the work she has done to raise awareness of cervical cancer.” (Yahoo News)
Apparently no one told him classism does not negate racism nor does engendered suffering or the fight for women’s rights (in the case for health care and raising awareness about working class mothers) erase racism between women. Instead, Goody was a contradiction that should be all too recognizable to most feminists. She was oppressed and oppressive; she was an advocate for some women’s rights while actively denying others through her actions if not her words. The erasure of these contradictions is part of the reason we are all still left trying to combat them on the left.
Call it regular racism or another case of internalized racism, both Goody and the Postman remind us that the Brits still have miles to go before they sleep.