wilderthan: ((Mitsuru) Angry)
[personal profile] wilderthan
The situation of the Welsh has come up several times on my journal. Without saying anything about previous arguments, etc, here is an article that I think you should read. Especially if you're English. Especially if you think the Welsh are not discriminated against.

Mocking the Welsh is the Last Permitted Bigotry.

"One class of person, though, one race, one nationality, is evidently exempt from this taboo. In England it is open-season still for Welsh-baiting. The Welsh joke flour- ishes. The Welsh language is still an object of derision. Scoundrels still ‘welsh’ upon their creditors, and to this day Lord Kinnock is calumnied as the old Welsh windbag. Who has not heard the English tourist complaining that the moment he and his family walked into a Welsh pub, ‘they all started jabbering in Welsh’?"

"The antipathy against Wales, though, is something different, because it is tinged always with contempt, and soured by incompletion. Isn’t Wales part of Britain — part of England, really? What’s this nonsense about the revival of a language — don’t they all speak English anyway, and why can’t they spell Owen Glendower like Shakespeare did? What would they be without us? What do they contribute? And listen, this will make you laugh — did you hear the one about the Welshman and the crocodile...?""

Note: Not claiming this article is objective. But it's a good viewpoint onto how the Welsh are treated. I've talked about that enough that I can't be bothered to repeat it. Suffice it to say that I grew up in England constantly being bullied for being Welsh, which was acceptable because "it was just a joke" and "it's only Wales".

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-28 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sleepflowered.livejournal.com
"The Welsh joke flour-ishes."
Is there something about the Welsh and flour that's typically joked about?

I suppose part of the difference between the feeling toward the Welsh and the feeling towards the Irish (from England that is), is that the Irish are at least regarded as being mostly "civilised". Am I sort of thinking correctly? I admit ignorance on this; the Welsh are not thought of much in this part of the world, I don't think.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-28 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
I think that's because it was an article in a magazine first and the word flourishes got broken up.

I'm not really sure about that. There's a tendency in fiction to make the Welsh the least civilised of the Britons. The Welsh are just generally considered backward and inferior, and I don't honestly understand why.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-28 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ina-noranaya.livejournal.com
That's as opposed to over here in the US, where a depressingly large number of people are unaware of Wales's existence.

The attitude of the English toward the Welsh is definitely a Conquered People Syndrome, comparable to that here toward American Indians, who, though this is no longer considered acceptable in most circles, were frequently regarded as lazy, sneaky, thieving, etc (funny how those characteristics get copy-pasted onto any despised minority). Nowadays, though, most people more or less don't think of them at all, so much have they been marginalized. I, and I imagine many other people, have never had the chance to interact with one.

Are there still jokes about the Irish and Scots? If they're less frequent, I would guess that would correlate with the higher degrees of autonomy possessed by Ireland and Scotland, and also the fact that they managed to resist English rule longer. Typically, they won't even accord full parliamentary powers to the Cynulliad. . .

On the other hand, the Welsh have had the greatest success with language revival. Go figure.

(Being a rather removed bystander, I really shouldn't have blabbed on so much. Please pardon any mistakes.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
I learnt "British" history in my school. Which was from the point of view of the English. In which the Welsh never fought the invasion, perhaps even welcomed it. Etc. It's so easy to just condition people not to care about [whatever]. You just teach them that it doesn't matter and they take it as gospel truth.

I never came across many jokes about the Irish and Scots. I suspect you're probably somewhat right, about Ireland and Scotland having greater autonomy. Scotland has laws distinct from England-and-Wales, after all. I also suspect that because I was the only non-English-but-white person in my school, the jokes simply centred around my Welshness with no need for other targets.

(I am not a fan of the whole "if you are not of this minority you can't speak about their issues" attitude. Okay, you can't know them in the intimate way that someone who encounters them constantly does, but it is still possible to know something of it. So don't worry about blabbing on about it! Outside perspectives are in fact important.)


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