I know this is treading very old ground and it has been covered a thousand times by thousands of people, but I feel I must for cathartic purposes repeat it: ‘Paki’ is not the same as ‘Brit’ – not even remotely.
I’ll try and explain why.
Firstly, we don’t go around calling people ‘Brits’ or ‘Yanks’ or ‘Poles’ unless we definitely know they happen to be from that country – and of course, they have to be from a different country to the one we were born in, otherwise the term of ‘endearment’ doesn’t work. If you are the sort of person that does call an American colleague a ‘Yank’ all the time I’m sure everyone around you thinks you’re a completely unwitty arsehole, and they’re right. I would probably guess that the only reason for indiscriminately calling a person a ‘Paki’ is the fact that the person on the receiving end of this ‘jolly term of endearment’ has brown skin. Of course this person could be from any number of places and is just as likely to not be from Pakistan. When the person is white people are reluctant to shout out ‘Brit’ or ‘Yank’ because they don’t know where they hell they are from; when the person has brown skin they shout out ‘Paki’ because they don’t give a shit where they are from – they’re assumed to be all the same, so one term suits all.
Let’s for a moment take the argument at face value: ‘Paki is simply short for someone from Pakistan’. So, presumably, if they person on the end of the term is from Pakistan, they should not be offended, but what about the brown skinned people who are not from Pakistan, should they be offended? I would assume that a Welsh person in America would be pissed of if they were called English, because they’re not. I know for a fact that Australians dislike being labelled New Zealanders and vice versa, and that if you ever mistake a Canadian accent for American, then both parties are likely to hate you. I think the reason is that we all have a sense of identity, and even if we treat this arbitrarily and have no patriotic fervour I think we can all get pissed off if we are instantly judged to be from somewhere when we’re not. It seems to be simple rudeness: we wouldn’t presume to make other judgements about strangers, so why blurt out an assumed nationality?
I don’t seem to ever recall hearing someone in conversation saying: ‘You know that Bangladeshi over the road, he’s just bought a new car’. However, I do seem to recall numerous occasions where I’ve heard what ‘Pakis’ have been up to. Perhaps everyone only knows brown people that happen to be from Pakistan. Perhaps people from other nationalities (only brown people mind, we’ll continue to assume a white person could be from anywhere and find out through conversation) should display clear signs around them showing their nationality and how you shorten it into an affectionate bit of slang for them. If you are from Bangladesh, please have this clearly stated around your neck so anyone wishing to shout at you can do so using your correct nationality – you should consider phonetic spelling to make things easier.
Perhaps then, no-one could ever get offended because they’re only being referred to by nationality. I mean sure, this is pretty dehumanising, and anyone who constantly refers to someone purely by using their nationality is clearly a complete asshole, but what the hell, it’s surely better than us having our freedoms eroded by the ‘PC brigade’ isn’t it. In fact, if correctly labelling someone by national slang is completely PC, then surely the PC Brigade should be on the streets issuing labels to foreign-looking people to make sure we all call out only PC comments?
What if though, the foreign-looking person is actually British? I mean, thanks to poor labelling these people are sometimes wrongly identified as ‘Pakis’, imagine that, we insult our own national brothers by mistake, it’s almost as if just assuming that anyone foreign-looking is a Paki is a really dumb thing to do.
Secondly, unless you tend to prefix ‘Brit’ with ‘fucking’ then the two terms really aren’t comparable.
Finally, racism can occur when using nationalities because when prefixed by an insult or a generalisation the term becomes a racial judgement. If you say: ‘I’m sick to death of all those fucking Poles coming over here and nicking our jobs.’ Then you are being racist, because you are hating an entire nation based on something you believe to be happening – something which isn’t illegal even if it was happening. Furthermore, it is often more racist because it isn’t accurate, you could really be referring to Eastern Europeans in general, but you single out Poles because you just might have met one.
I might refer someone who uses the phrase ‘Paki’ as ‘good’ or I could use the equal phrase ‘Cunt’. It is my understanding that both are a four letter word that are designed to describe a personality, why should I give a fuck about the connotations? If I did, it would be PC gone mad.
Jema, and all 1234* of you that voted it green, are cunts – fucking stupid ones.
* Making it the highest rated comment under the article.