Is discrimination so bad?

June 29th, 2008


I have always thought the Northern Europeans were a fairly sensible lot and if asked for an impression (no, I’m not going to break into the “Swedish Chef” from The Muppet Show), I would say that they are less prone to political correctness than the Irish and (in particular) the British seem to be.

However, I have just read an article on the BBC website, which tells the story of a school in Sweden which has complained to the Swedish Parliament about an eight year old boy because he invited all but two of his class mates to his birthday party.

According to the article, the school said that “if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination”.

No discrimination? None at all?

The etymology of the verb “to discriminate” is that it comes from the Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare, from discrimin-, discrimen distinction, from discernere to distinguish between.

And before any smart-arse points out that they would have said it in Swedish rather than English, the  Swedish for “discriminate” is “diskriminera”, so the etymology is the same.

There are several related but subtly different definitions. Let us discriminate and choose the meaning that most closely fits the circumstances described in the article:

“to make a difference in treatment or favour on a basis other than individual merit”

The child invited everyone in the class but two. That certainly sounds like discrimination as defined above.

And what is so wrong with that?

There is no hint in the article that the two uninvited children were of a different colour, gender, religion, number of heads, language,  football team or anything else that might normally be associated with unfair discrimination.

There’s a key word in that last sentence: unfair.

Apparently the school said there should be “no discrimination”. Not that there should be no unfair discrimination. No discrimination. None at all.

What utter crap.

The article goes on to paraphrase the offending boy’s father, who supposedly said that “the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.”

So, I’m not inviting you to my party because you think I’m a bollix and and I’m not inviting you over there because I  think you’re a bollix*.

Is not wanting someone at your party because you think he’s a bollix discrimination? It certainly is.

Is it unfair discrimination? Absolutely not. It’s nothing more than inviting only your friends.

I hate it when words get hijacked by the politically correct. And yes, Brother Francis who used to beat us with a cane for making spelling mistakes in primary school and who told us that it is wrong to hate, I do mean hate.

So if you are politically correct, you can fuck off.

As for the Swedes, why the hell didn’t the school head not discriminate against that teacher for being a gobshite*? Why the hell did the Parliament not tell the school to piss off and stop annoying them? Sweden must be a brilliant place to live if that’s all they have to worry about.

I wonder if that school in Lund, ever gives gold stars to children who do particularly well in class. Discrimination? Surely not!

For the benefit of the Swedes, here is a list of valid reasons for discriminating against someone:

  • They fart like a cowboy
  • They regularly punch you in the face
  • They chain smoke and you are asthmatic
  • They only listen to Country music
  • They wear counterfeit designer gear ^
  • They sell drugs
  • They are bollixes
  • They think you are a bollix

* If you are not Irish and you wish to gain a greater understanding of the usage of these terms, please refer to Introduction to Dublinese #1.

^ And no, not because that makes them cheap… because that means they are breaking the law. Ha!

8 Responses to “Is discrimination so bad?”

  1. Geri Atricon 01 Jul 2008 at

    Now that was a rant! Is that what ‘they’ mean when they say ‘your Irish is up’? Hope that’s not a discriminatory comment (!). Wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of your ire (get it? ‘ire’ teehee..) Er..I’ll be off then..

  2. Declan Chellaron 01 Jul 2008 at

    Your puns are almost as awful as mine, Geri!

    When I lived in England, I heard the phrase “Don’t throw a Paddy”, which meant, “Don’t get vociferously upset”… the idea being that Irish people are (supposedly) famous for having a short temper.
    Sometimes people would say it and then get embarrassed and apologise, because they didn’t actually mean anything racist by it.
    I have been quite calm, I think… out of 282 posts, only 29 are rants!

  3. Geri Atricon 01 Jul 2008 at

    Yes 29 rants out of 282 is quite calm! By the way, congrats to Spain on beating the Germans 1-0! (That’s not racist/discrimination is it?). They deserved their win.

  4. Declan Chellaron 01 Jul 2008 at

    I’m sure it’s discrimination, though not racist at all. :)

    In any case, I didn’t watch the match. I never was one for watching overpaid men chase a pìg’s bladder around.

    I knew Spain had won from the shouting and the fireworks though. :)

  5. wychwoodon 02 Jul 2008 at

    Firstly, I love the Swedish chef – an exercise in discrimination I am proud to share. Check out his Turtle Soup clip.

    Secondly, I’ve noticed that most people don’t like other people being discriminating even while they themselves are being so very very selective about what their delicate selves do and don’t desire. I am of course, necessarily excluding those who discriminate on the grounds of imminent death and swelling up from too much exposure to peanuts, mouldy dust or, say, stupidity.

    This little problem is not local to the Swedes – in the UK awhile ago a 14 year old girl was fingerprinted and jailed for a short time for – wait, you’ll love this – not wanting to sit with Asian speaking students because she couldn’t understand their language. Instead of putting her in another group, her zombified teacher called her a racist and rushed for the police. The police zombies, instead of gazing at the teacher in open-mouthed disbelief, promptly arrested the girl.

    This sort of thing is all over the EU and has crept into the rest of the world. Not being mean is one thing, but this over-compensating stuff is going to bite us in the ass.

    (Can I say “ass” on this blog, Mr. Nobby, or would you prefer the more subtle “derriere?
    I would not wish to offend the sensibilities of readers and am happy to use either word, though the former is part of the local idiom I currently use. I await your verdict and will not enter into further correspondence once it is made.)

  6. Declan Chellaron 02 Jul 2008 at

    Sensibilities of my readers?

    Readers who have sensibilities shouldn’t be here!

  7. Geri Atricon 03 Jul 2008 at

    I sometimes wonder where the line is between Political Correctness and being Muzzled – and Speaking your Mind (and clearing the air) and being downright Derogatory – but one thing is clear, being able to air our minds to each other on blogs like this without ‘men with guns’ pounding on the door and arresting us, and/or our governments shutting down our internet connections, is surely progress in the right direction towards a better understanding of each other(?).

    P.S. Just for clarity to anyone reading this, this is a subjective observation and not a jibe at anyone in particular! (Hmm – now I’m annoyed with myself for feeling the need to add that?!) Seems we’ve all got our ‘dukes’ up in one way or another.

  8. Declan Chellaron 03 Jul 2008 at

    In my last job I was well known for using Irish punctuation (what the British call “swearing” for some odd reason) and I was also known for speaking my mind, but I was never known for swearing at people.
    I know a man who never swears but loses his temper with people quite easily. Yet he disapproves of my swearing.
    Odd that.

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