Friday, 12 November 2004

'Positive' discrimination

I was watching TV last night, or rather, flipping through the channels with a beer in one hand and the remote in another and a glazed look on my face while I vegged out after a typically crap day at work.

As usual there was nothing worth watching on, but I watched it anyway. I ended up watching half of this documentary about the prison service training new recruits. While the guy in charge was talking about the service he mentioned the issue of 'race relations' and the fact that the prison service had been accused of being 'institutionally racist'.

This confused me a little. Just how can an inanimate object or concept or organisation be racist anyway, surely the people in it have to be racist for this to be true? One of the guard officers said 'that doesn't mean the people in it are racist, but the organisation itself'. This sounds to me like what they really mean is 'there aren't enough ethnic minorities in here' when they accuse an institution of being racist. I call that fascism. So what if they don't have 'enough' ethnic minorities anyway, just how many is enough? Does it matter if they can do the job or not or are the Political Correctness Police only concerned with colour?

In the group of trainees, there was a reasonable selection of ethnicity. Granted most of them were basically Caucasian, but there were some who weren't and were perfectly suited for the job, and luckily enough for the boss, 'ethnically diverse' (he explained he had a quota to meet). What caught my attention though, was the short, fat, slow-witted Indian-mother-of-three.

This woman was pretty much too short and unfit for the job anyway, but she couldn't take orders, couldn't use her radio because she muttered and mispronounced her words and nobody could understand a damn word she was saying and she couldn't work out when to use her radio and what buttons to press. None of the prisoners took any notice of her as she was hardly authoritative and not very good at projecting herself. She was slow and forgetful, unaware, bad at handling people and bad at working in a group, etc. In short, everything a prison guard shouldn't be!

The Superior officer even said 'we couldn't discriminate against her based on height'. That just made my jaw drop. I mean, come on. What's next? We can't discriminate against aircraft pilots that are blind?

Later on, slow-witted Indian mother-of-three actually filed a complaint of bullying against one of her fellow trainees. This got the management worried, would she play the dreaded 'discrimination card'? It was seriously f***ing childish. Anyone training to lock up drug dealers, murderers and terrorists needs to have thicker skin than that. Not that her colleague did anything wrong anyway, she was just stressed out and looking for a scapegoat for her failures.

Everybody (including myself) thought she'd be kicked out but the Boss said that he didn't 'hire and fire', he just made recommendations to 'top brass' and they made the final decisions. We found out at the end of the program that there are actually 'quotas' to be met regarding ethnic minorities and the bosses main criticism of that as well as mine is that it means anyone can become a prison guard if they're the right colour. This isn't any improvement on racism, its just dumb.

There was actually only one person that could dismiss people on the spot, the ex-army self defence tutor. He said that if anyone is unfit, dangerous or basically just 'crap at this', then he'd fail them. Guess who 'just managed to pass'? Yes, slow-witted Indian mother-of-three. Unbelievable.

I just hope they don't start doing this in the Police and the Army. Maybe they do already!

So, my advice to anyone applying for a job in the civil service who's Caucasian and not qualified: on your form where it says 'ethnicity', write down 'Indian'. I'm pretty sure they can't dispute it, because that would probably be considered racist or something! This way, you stand a much better chance of getting the job, (apparantly). So what if you don't look it? Its hard to tell these days anyway, look at Michael Jackson.