Monday, October 16, 2006

Pride and prejudice

Reading Robert Henderson's essay on Englishness (see previous post) set me thinking.

Henderson's essay opens with the lines ...

"Be you black or brown or yellow or Irish or Scots or Welsh or Muslim or Hindu or Jewish or Buddhist, indeed, be you anything but English and your right to enjoy a sense of cultural or racial separateness is not merely acknowledged but positively insisted upon by the liberal establishment. But if you are English, that privilege - the most fundamental of psychological and social balms, a sense of belonging, a literal "natural right" in the sense of an innate need - is energetically denied to you by the very people who make a totem of ethnic diversity."

It is odd, isn't it, that just about everyone is encouraged to be proud of what they are - except for white English heterosexual men.

In some cases it's even OK to advertise your prejudice.

You can have black police associations and associations of black lawyers - but not white police associations or associations of white lawyers.

You can have all Asian cricket or football teams which bar white people from joining, but not white only cricket teams that bar Asians from joining.

You can have gay associations and gay pride but not heterosexual associations or straight pride.

You can have women only clubs but not men only clubs - you can even have insurance companies that prejudice in favour of women but not in favour of men!

And, of course, you can have a Scottish parliament, but not an English parliament.

Everyone, it seems, is allowed to be proud and prejudiced except heterosexual white Englishmen.

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