Friday, March 16, 2018

The Welsh (or the English)

From the Guardian, an essay on anti-Welsh bigotry by

There are myriad examples of such ignorance [in the English press] But the one that stands out to me was the widespread snooty dismissal by English journalists as made up of an anecdote about a woman in a hijab confounding a bigot by speaking Welsh on a train. None of them, clearly, had ever been to Cardiff.

Don’t get me wrong – these subtle examples don’t send Welsh people running home to their mams in tears; we are a tough people. But they do betray an attitude that, at its most extreme, amounts to xenophobia, pure and simple. And often on the part of liberal English people who would be horrified to be called racist.

Anyone with a cursory familiarity with the history of Welsh oppression will know why. It smacks of a residual colonialist insecurity at sharing an island with a minority whose language you cannot understand. But while hundreds of years ago that will have seemed threatening to the English imperialist world order, now such defensiveness just makes you look pathetic. So what if a small number of people speak Welsh? What’s it to you? Why do you care so much? Is a part of you ashamed to be monoglot, aware that to the rest of the world, it looks a bit, well, low-achieving?

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