Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

That’s a word that trips easily off the tongue.

Usually we don’t really mean ‘Hate’ probably dislike would be the word we would select if we thought about it but it seems somehow stronger to say "I hate Brussel Sprouts" rather than a much more bland "I am not very fond of Brussel Sprouts". However, I do wonder if words can colour our attitudes as well as our language.

This is where my words can lead me into very dangerous areas but let’s just talk about racism. When you are young you absorb information and ideas without much thought. Between the age of ten and fifteen I was virtually instructed to hate Germans and Japanese and interestingly, even today you can find smatterings of this feelings in the British psyche.

Germans are the ones who bag the best deckchairs on continental holidays.
They tend to win football matches - it is probably because they are better at playing football rather than having some Teutonic way of cheating. In spite of knowing that Japanese are a law abiding cultured people, my attitudes towards them are based on stories of prison of war camps and a totally different race with characteristics which are alien to the culture in which I lived.

As an example, when the war in the Far East was reaching an end and the Japanese people were expecting the Allies to invade their country, men women and children were sharpening poles so they could attack the invaders and at least kill one of them before they died. When the Emperor told them that they war was over and to surrender their weapons, all resistance ended. Would we have accepted such instructions from our rulers or would the fact that we don’t deify our leaders would have meant a much more bloody occupation of our land?

How many of my attitudes towards other people were affected by the cinema? In my days of Hollywood movies, a black man was either a dangerous criminal or an ignorant servant. I know, rationally, it is nonsense but being rational doesn’t switch off those hard wired thoughts and in spite of everything they linger in some dark recess of my mind.

Is it just me or do most of us hang on to the familiar and try to avoid change?
Good Old Days
Nostalgia is a feeling where we remember or recall with affection times past. The recollections aren’t necessarily true but they are wrapped in a sort of rosy glow, probably more to do with how we think we felt rather than any sort of reality. People were all white, spoke the same language, dressed the same, had largely the same attitudes and beliefs and didn’t make us feel threatened. If I think about it we were probably more parochial than we are now. As a small boy, children from different parts of the same village were like strangers. We might occasionally shop in the next larger town but never in the next smaller town.

Do you feel you are being taken over by immigrants? 93% of people claiming welfare payments like jobseeker's allowance or disability benefits are British nationals.This does not mean that immigrants who come to the UK are "stealing" British jobs. In 2015, foreign citizens represented only 10.7% of people in total employment in the UK.

Walk round your local market. Those who are Easter European don’t stand out, unless we hear them speak.

Immigrant shopping
Those from Non EU countries are much more easily recognisable because of dress and colour. I have to admit to some negative feelings about it all but also see that my attitudes and perceptions are changing. For instance the colour of the TV newsreader isn’t the first thing I notice, in fact I am often more irritated by what I see as bias by many white presenters than their coloured colleagues.

A Cartoon from Steve which sums it all up


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