Thursday, November 13, 2008

Does not compute...

The following is a true account of a conversation I had a few years ago. I was in the middle of writing my PhD thesis, and was procrastinating by having coffee with a postdoc from the neighbouring lab. I'd always got on fairly well with "Dr X", although others found her difficult, so her attitude took me completely by surprise.

Me: "How's the job search going?"
Dr X: "Great! I have two offers! Norwich and Brighton!"
Me: "Congratulations, that's great! Which one are you going to take?"
Dr X: "Well, I'm not sure yet. I visited Norwich a few years ago, and it's just really really white, you know? I've found that places like that tend to be kinda racist. I think I might be happier somewhere with a bigger Asian population." (Dr X is a born and bred British citizen whose parents immigrated from Pakistan).
Me: "So, Brighton then?"
Dr X: "Well I'm not sure. It's a nice town, but it's full of poofs".
My first instinct was to laugh - I was sure she was joking. But not only was she most definitely not joking, she didn't even understand why I laughed, or why my amusement gave way to disgust when I realised she was serious.

My reaction to Dr X mirrored how I responded to the passing in California of Proposition 8 - a ban on gay marriage, carried largely by yes votes from visible minorities. How can a person who has been subject to prejudice and discrimination their whole lives, discriminate in turn against others? It seriously does not make ANY sense to me. As a gay Californian said in the linked article, "people do not equate one civil rights struggle with another."

Dr. A had a post on Tuesday that encourages Americans - gay and straight - to come out on Saturday to "Fight the H8". A weekend trip over the border to participate is almost certainly impossible for me, but if you're in the US, please do check out Dr. A's link.

I promise that my next post will mark a return to the usual silliness.

6 comments:

  1. I have been wondering the same thing, and it just doesn't make sense.

    P.S. Your link to Dr.A is broken.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up, link is now fixed.

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  3. its because many of those ethnic groups have strong religous / family leaning which teach them that homosexuality is wrong. Unfortunate but true.

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  4. Figures... I really wish people would keep their religion to themselves and not seek to impose their own restrictive beliefs on others.

    Like I read somewhere recently - you don't like gay marriage? Don't have one! Ditto abortion, birth control, etc etc etc.

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  5. LOL... British slang for a gay man.

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