more stories from the workplace: integration.

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Benjy

Senior Member
English - English
so at the moment i am working in two different stores, both doing the same thing. nightshift replenishment. on both shifts there are a lot of not white people (what the right word here? ethic minority people?? i am so junk with terms for grouping people :eek:).

anyhows there are two different situations that keep on arising.

1) canteen at the mk store: we have liek an ethnic monrity corner. its weird. there are two telllies, and they all group around one of them. the one that is in the corner. to my knowlege no one makes them sit there, they just do.

2) down at dunstable: a large proportion of the shift is of pakistani origin, and on the shop floor they only speak to each other in urdu. like you will be filling up an aisle with one of them, chatting away or whatever and then another will come along and just start off in urdu and complete freeze you out of the conversation.

the idea of putting this in the forum was really sparked when i read everness' thread on the britshness test thingy (too lazy to link). even as i am writing this i feel like a member of the BNP or something. truth is that on a practical level so far as i can see, multi-culturism just hasn't worked. dont get me wrong. i love tons of things about having a mixed and varied community. but thats exactly the problem. thats not what we have in england. we have a whole bunch of seperate communities all doing their own thing with nothing in common really other than the fact that they share the same space as each other.

the alienisation of large sections of the muslim community is basically what has caused the recent problems in england, not the iraq war. how am i going to defend that? dead easy. i dont agree with the war. did i blow anyone up? no. why? because i feel like i am part of england. i am english. the iraq war was a reason to attack something that huge sections of the populace obviously dont feel part of.

thoughts?
 
  • Swettenham

    Senior Member
    U.S.
    We are developing a similar situation here in the States. I welcome the diversity and harbor no expectation that all ethnic communities will conform to a previous era's idea of Americanism. At the same time, I realize that there are problems inherent in having many different "Americas" operating almost out of concert with each other. What I hope for is a kind of synthesis, out of which something new may emerge. I cannot offer all the solutions, or even a clear vision, but as an ESL teacher at least I feel I have an opportunity to play a role in facilitating some kind of synthesis, in a small way. In any case, I would like my children's generation to inherit a unified and vibrant American culture, one uniquely American, though perhaps unique in American history.

    If we want to unify our culture and encourage patriotism, we must start by improving ourselves as a nation. Many of our leaders are out-of-touch with the realities of the emerging century, though they are often the very ones who most emphasize that we live in a new, "post-9/11 world." I don't really agree that much has changed as a result of 9/11. So there are evil people who want to kill innocents— what's new about that? What perhaps is new is the kind of multicultural melee we host within our democracy, but panic about terrorism will not help us deal maturely with the great responsibility the coming generations have been entrusted with. Another interesting point is that many of the same aforementioned leaders are as out-of-touch with history as with the future. Panic, lack of foresight, and failure to learn from the past all worked together to create a hell of a mess for the people of Iraq, and are making things worse for ourselves.
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Benjy said:
    i am so junk with terms for grouping people.
    I am so junk = I am so bad ?

    Benjy said:
    1) canteen at the mk store: we have liek an ethnic monrity corner. its weird. there are two telllies, and they all group around one of them. the one that is in the corner. to my knowlege no one makes them sit there, they just do.
    Sorry, Benj, but I don't understand this paragraph.... Canteen? Tellies? They just sit in the corner?


    Benjy said:
    the alienisation of large sections of the muslim community is basically what has caused the recent problems in england, not the iraq war. how am i going to defend that? dead easy. i dont agree with the war. did i blow anyone up? no. why? because i feel like i am part of england. i am english. the iraq war was a reason to attack something that huge sections of the populace obviously dont feel part of.
    Ok, I'll comment about multi-culturalism, and try to avoid talking about the war and Muslims...

    Benjy said:
    truth is that on a practical level so far as i can see, multi-culturism just hasn't worked. dont get me wrong. i love tons of things about having a mixed and varied community. but thats exactly the problem. thats not what we have in england. we have a whole bunch of seperate communities all doing their own thing with nothing in common really other than the fact that they share the same space as each other.
    There was/is? a similar phenomena here. Someone wrote a book about it in the 90's called (something like), "Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?" Sure, we have different races, ethnicities, cultures. But, when do they ever truly interact? Pardon this naive question, but I didn't really know that England was (trying to become) becoming to ethnicly diverse. Has this only recently happened?
     

    belén

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    I can only answer your vocab questions Venus, with Ben's permission I'll do so:

    Telly = Brit for Television

    Canteen = the coffeeplace/bar/kitchen where employees can have a rest, a tea...


    Be
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    Pardon this naive question, but I didn't really know that England was (trying to become) becoming to ethnicly diverse. Has this only recently happened?
    hem.. i take it that you have never been to england then ;) there are huge numbers of immigrants living in britain who have doen much to enrich the country. mostly from ex members of the empire who have british citizenship. or people who were forcibly brought here :eek:
     

    Amityville

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Who was forcibly brought, Benjy ? (Scuse my ignorance).

    Religious and cultural questions can be divisive - the Muslim cover-up for girls in European schools for instance. The receiving country has its rules and everyone including immigrants should comply. But if the immigrant has strong religious scruples contrary to the rule....etc.
    Even in small matters a first-generation immigrant has common ground with his fellow-immigrants - they speak the same language, they may have the same problems integrating or keeping in touch with family in the home country. Maybe they have the same culturally-defined sense of humour. They are a support network for each other.
    At the same time on a personal level, there are good guys and shits of all nationalities and of course you can find your soulmate or deep affinity across boundaries or loathe someone from your own country.
    Maybe it is my bourgeois European upbringing, but I can't help but feel angry on your behalf that they froze you out, Benjy. Living in France, me and my kids always speak French between ourselves if a French person is present, even if it is an aside, because it is damn rude to speak in English, like whispering between ourselves. It is enjoyable to speak English when there isn't anyone else there, shared references, etc which it would be laborious to explain/or say in French but I feel morally obliged not to do this in (French) company and don't get the hump if I have to stand there dumb whilst French people bandy words which I can't follow, even if I suspect I might be the butt of it.
    I have the obligations of a guest and it was my own choice to come - but I am not black, my racial identity is not threatened, I am not working stacking shelves.
    Does that change the dynamics ? If simple no-strings friendliness gets frozen out, what hope is there ?
     

    astronauta

    Senior Member
    Spain. Spanish (ES, MX) English (UK, CA, US)
    I work pat-time for a corporation with offices in Canada, USA and Mexico.

    In the Canadian and the USA offices, the ones of us that speak Sapnish are forbidden (yes, we got a memo) to speak Spanish in front of Anglophones.

    But in the Mexican offices, people speak whatever they fancy. English has not been prohibited because the officers that travel there just speak English. But I cannot help but wonder if it would be like that otherwise...

    It is not uncommon to have Filippino friends that work at the health sector that have been subscribed to the same kind of policy...

    I don't mind, I only feel stupid when it's only the two of us (spanish) and we have to speak English... Feels like a show off...:rolleyes:
     

    Amityville

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Government bodies and councils should limit the use of ethnic minority languages on everything from official documents to parking meters to help to encourage immigrants to learn English, David Cameron, the Conservative leadership hopeful said yesterday....the increasing use of foreign languages such as Hindi, Bengali, and Urdu in public settings was undermining English culture.
    At a time when English was becoming the world's number one language of choice and millions of people in Pakistan and India were desperate to learn it, a "significant number of our own citizens cannot speak it," he said.
    Backlash. No time to comment now but ...
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Well, 15 years have passed I hope now everything is working better with integration at workplaces. More experience, so I would expect it is better now.
     
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