Montag, 24. September 2007
Anti-racist racism
"Attempting, as an American, to write about the Pakistani experience in Great Britain was an enormous undertaking that I couldn't have begun - left alone completed - without the assistance of the following individuals" writes author Elizabeth George in her acknowledgements to her thriller "Deception on his mind". Among the following individuals there is one Muslim last name combined with a Western first name.

Maybe it wasn't quite enough to ask so few people, who know something about the 'Pakistani' experience in Britain. Not only would George then maybe have chosen names, which really sounded Pakistani and not just somehow Muslim (thanks to Kyla for confirming my impression that the chosen names really did not sound 'Pakistani' at all), she would hopefully also have not reproduced all racist stereotypes in her supposedly anti-racist story.

At the end we know that the local police is racist (and the male part of it also sexist, and probably all homophob), that the local neighbourhood is racist, that our main character is a good anti-racist cop saving the 'Pakistani' child and that the 'Pakistanis' are criminals and murders. And the good cop understands at the end:

"We never thought it [the murder] could have been the means to an end having nothing to do with anything that we - as Westeners, as bloody Westeners - could possibly hope to understand."

So, now we readers also know that 'Pakistanis' are really strange and that it is the task of the good 'white' protagonists to save and understand them.

PS: If anybody needs a good example for the interedependency of racism and heteronormativity, just use this thriller (I have done so here (pdf). Everything is in there.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Montag, 30. Juli 2007
Feeling British
BBC World has conducted a poll and offers the results in an article titled: Many Asians 'do not feel British'.

One could imagine that BBC World bases its analysis on the many studies about how exclusionary processes in Britain make it difficult for Asians to feel British. And there is sufficient material for this in the article:

"More than a third agreed to get on in the UK they needed to be a "coconut", a term for somebody who is "brown on the outside but white on the inside""

"...nearly half believed white people do not treat them as British."

""Confidence with identity comes down to ability and knowing you have as many opportunities as other people," she added."

""They feel they need to fit into society and that society looks at them in a bad way," she added."

These quotes clearly show that there is a much pressure to assimilate to 'whiteness' while at the same time 'Britishness' is being refused. If one is not accepted as British then it is very difficult to feel as one.

This could be further analysed, but BBC World decides to take another line of argument:

"Half of the South Asians and nearly two-thirds of the white people interviewed agreed it was too easy for immigrants to settle in Britain."

"Three-quarters felt their culture was being diluted by living in the UK..."

And almost half of the article deals with question whether Asians really have to be coconuts.

Thus the focus is taken away from the exclusionary practices in Britain (in fact it is considered legitimate to restrict immigration further) and the guilt for not feeling British is found in the Asians themselves.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Sonntag, 17. Juni 2007
Sharia councils in Britain
The Guardian has published a differentiated and well-balanced article on the Sharia Councils in Britain. Here a short excerpt from it:

"Sharia law has not only become synonymous with brutal punishments meted out by hardline Islamic states; it has also come to be seen as a source of oppression within Muslim communities across Europe. The Qur'an has been used to justify forced marriages, honour killings and even the call to holy war by fundamentalist clerics such as Abu Hamza. But sharia also has another face. Islamic law is a code for living that governs every aspect of life, from which food is halal, to donations to the poor and the proper way to dress. The Muslims who consult the Islamic Sharia Council are not asking for permission to stone adulterous wives, or chop off the hands of thieves, but simply for day-to-day guidance on living in accordance with their faith."

Thanks to Ranji for the link.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Samstag, 2. Juni 2007
Freedom of research? reports about protests from researchers against a research initiative of the British Research Council, which wants to use the researchers in the islamophobic 'fight against terror'.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Donnerstag, 24. Mai 2007
My future bank has sent me an email:

"Your D-number (personnummer) has arrived from Oslo Folkeregister.

We are now able to open a bankaccount for you. Please bring your passport."

PS 25.05.07: I have now a D-number and a bank account. It did not take that long, did it?

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Mittwoch, 16. Mai 2007
National day
"She talks about how .. she was once told, on the national day of Norway, to "get home, you fucking Paki whore". After this last incident she never again celebrated the national day of Norway, because she respects Norwegians having the right to celebrate this day on their own."

from: Mette Andersson (2005), Urban Multi-Culture in Norway, New York, p. 227

PS 18.05.07: Now I have done my participant observation at the national day. And naturally I in particular looked for racialised persons and their inclusion into the festivities. Most of them sold ballons and food.

Everybody particpates at the national day

But there where also racialised boys marching with the drum corps and some racialised women/girls in bunad. So it was much less exclusionary than I had expected it to be.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2007
17th May
In about a week I will have the opportunity to experience the Norwegian national day. Even the university has a website in English about it and invites me on the intranet to participate:

"National Day, or the 17th of May, is a major event in Norway. It commemorates the signing of the Norwegian constitution, 17 May, 1814.

As is the tradition, University employees and students parades under the University banners. Students, employees and visiting researchers and their families are invited to join the procession! Meet up at Muséplass at 09:45. "

I will definitely observe it. It falls very well within the field of my research interests and will be good participant observation.

I already know, however, that I very much disagree with: "Bergen has another unique tradition which is very much a part of the 17th of May festivities; the drum corps. Most communities have one; some clubs are over 100 years old. Each corps has a unique rhythm, and when more than one sound together, the cacophony is certainly festive!"

Tam Tam Tam Tam Tam ....

It is a cacophony allright, but I do not consider it festive at all. It has been going on for weeks now and rather makes me aggressive.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Montag, 23. April 2007
Personal number
In order to open a bank account in Norway I need a personal number. To register a mobile phone I need a Fødselnummer. I assume both are the same. Nobody at the faculty knows how and where I can get it. But to get a residence permit I need to register at the police and maybe then I also get this much needed number.

Antrag auf Aufenthaltsgenehmigung

As a researcher from the European Union it should not be any problem to get the residence permit. But still the atmosphere in the Aliens Office worries me. I start feeling vulnerable, as if I had done something wrong, as if anything could happen to me. And this although the staff is very friendly and helpful. They talk English with me, which I do not think would happen in Germany.

Now I have submitted my papers although I was lacking an official letter from the university. That will be faxed today to the aliens office. Then I will get my residence permit. Lets see how long it will take. And then I can apply for the personal number somewhere else, I was told.

To be continued ...

PS: I need the 11-digit number also to get my permanent computer account at the university.

PPS: Today I was told at the immigration office that the residence permit was posted to me on Friday (or rather Monday). Lets see.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Samstag, 21. April 2007
I am using a lot of English these days. I only understand few words of Norwegian and can say still fewer. But everybody can speak English around here. Even those, who say they can hardly. Quite a difference to Germany, where they actually cannot speak English, if they say so. But then on television English seems to be a standard language. Not only imported products are not dubbed, yesterday I even saw a Norwegian talkshow with Kofi Annan, which was held mainly in English (with Norwegian subtitles).

Lets see whether this will lead me to reactivate the English section of this blog.

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link

Dienstag, 26. Dezember 2006
Divide Australia
"Pauline Hanson claims that 'Aboriginalism', or 'romantic primitivism', is part of the 'new class elites' agenda "to divide Australia, generate race hate and to ultimately break down Australian society"."
quoted from: R. Bohill (1997), "For the Record", in: B. Grant (ed.), Pauline Hanson - One Nation and Australian Politics, Armidale, 63.

Fascinating how Australian politician Pauline Hanson is able to turn the power structures on their head. The 'white' Australia, which negates the colonial crime and reproduces it until today, is the perfect society, in which nobody is discriminated. How can she believe in this?

0 Kommentare in: english   ... comment ... link