I have been talking about these issues several times now, but still, I find it astonishing when smart people read a clearly aggressively xenophobic article like this one and find themselves nodding in time to the beat which is so obviously wrong in so many respects. The first sentence should ring several alarm bells
It seems too lunatic to be true. But here a hair salon boss reveals how she was driven to the brink of ruin – and forced to pay £4,000 for ‘hurt feelings’ – after refusing to hire a Muslim stylist who wouldn’t show her hair at work
It hits all the right buttons for its clientele. How the hairdresser is introduced, how the issue is both played up and played down, in all the right ways. It’s nauseating, right there.
And the smart people all readily jump to the flimsy excuse put forward by the woman, the rag that calls itself the Daily Mail and the BNP: of course, a hairdresser can’t cover her head. Bah. Has a person who agrees with this article never asked him- or herself, whether the scarf is just a marker of something alien and is not accepted because it represents, in a way, The Other? I know many, many bald hairdressers. I wonder if a white, plainly ‘British’ person, who wanted to wear a scarf for whatever cooky reason, would have similar problems? But the ugliness resides deeper.
Funny that even that hateful article cannot hide what, in many countries, is part of an ugly truth:
But, speaking last year, she admitted she had attended 25 interviews for hairdressing jobs without success.
But Sarah, she told the tribunal, had upset her the most.
She said: ‘I felt so down and got so depressed. I thought: “If I am not going to defend myself, who is?” Hairdressing has been what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was at high school.
No deconstructive reading necessary here, just openness, really. A certain anglocentric mindset might overlook it, but the situation described here is a common problem for Muslims and colored immigrants all over Europe. They have a tough time getting jobs. The job market has become selective, weeding out non-whites, people living in the wrong neighborhoods, ‘wrong’ unfailingly meaning an identification with an unwanted ethnic group. It’s become difficult to get a credit with a mainstream bank, CV’s are often rejected just because of the photograph. In France this situation has lead to the uprisings in the banlieues of Paris in 2005.
In other countries, too, Muslims are driven to the margins, to create their own networks to support those who are not supported elsewhere. These networks, then, appear to alienate a good portion of, for instance, the British electorate, making the situation worse and the networks more necessary. It’s a horrible situation and by making arrogant “ah what’s she complaining aboot” comments about it, comments that smack heavily of cynicism, no-one’s helping anyone.
So what is she complaining about? This hairdresser-in-the-making has had many rejections, and, as this article in the Guardian correctly points out, the reason why the poor white woman was sued, has had more to do with her honesty than with her being an exceptionally racist person. Probably more than 70% of those rejecting the girl share the hairdresser’s opinion, as I explained above.
Is that a reason not to sue? They’re all bastards, sue all or none? That’s daft, no? But, read the article again, the constant discrimination may have weakened the girl’s resolve, but being explicitly rejected because of her belief (and let’s not mince words here, please) has humiliated her. Would the hairdresser have been sued if she’d lied? Probably not. Should she have been sued? Yes. So why is it any argument to persist in saying that all this case ‘teaches’ us is to be dishonest? Do I hear a trace of a scornful Republican hizz “zzzzz it’s all that political correctness mumbo jumbo” here? Why would someone smart say that? I don’t know. It’s too lunatic to be true.