Battlepanda: When is racism OK?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, October 28, 2005

When is racism OK?

I don't think I've had a chance to mention on this blog what a terrible time I've had with unreliable and incompetant builders and contractors in London. With so many cowboys out there and so much that needs fixing, what's the answer?

"Ukranians," pronounced my (Iranian) doctor. "They are the best. Not lazy. They would work through lunch. They don't eat, they just smoke a lot of cigarettes" Others swears by Hungarians or Poles. "But don't trust the chinese guys to do anything but rip up carpet", my (Chinese, of course) aunt sniffed "they're cheap but they do shoddy work." Angelica-the-landlady is taking notes. Angelica-the-liberal is feeling kind of queasy. I mean, before getting a quote should I casually inquire, "Oh by
the way, are you an Ukranian? You know, the kind that runs on cigarettes?" Are Czechoslovakians and Moldovians just as good?

I kind of justify this kind of racial profiling to myself by arguing that, since they
involve recent immigrants, they are more about the socioeconomic conditions and building practices of the said immigrant's erstwhile homes, rather than implying anything intrinsic and unchangeable about one race/culture producing more competent builders than another. Nor are this attitude limited to Europe. My friend Matt reports that: "My bastard Satan roofer swore by Mexicans. "They come to this country, work sixteen hours a day, live on chicken and rice, then go home to their own country after a few years and live like kings. I'd go out of business if I hired Americans." But wait! Isn't the stereotype that Mexicans are supposed to be lazy? Now I'm totally confused.