"Foreign Blubber"

September 29, 2017

I love living in London. It is the city of infinite possibilities, and I love everything about it, the history, the diversity of people, culture and food, the evening lights and busy streets, the perfectly manicured gardens and parks,the tube's crazy rush- I love it all. 

But, as much as London preaches "inclusion", it often practises "exclusion"

While I was having dinner last night, I overheard couple of men at the next table, discussing colleague of theirs, calling him a "stupid foreigner" and his accent a "blubber".

I really wanted to remind them, most of those "blubbering foreigners" speak several languages and their English is much better, than the local's Spanish, Polish, Chinese etc, also wanted to ask them - Since, 60% of London's executives and CEO's are foreigners, does that give them the right to discriminate against the British?

It is, sometimes, disappointing that in such diverse society, people can still be subject to discrimination and negative evaluation, simply based on their accent or language proficiency.

 

I also, laugh at accents(not in people's faces), because it is hilarious to hear the complete word and meaning transformation caused by it, but I laugh at myself too, and I do not mistake someone's incapacity to speak or pronounce fantastic English for stupidity.

I only recently learned that double negative, in fact, suggests the opposite, and I think my English is pretty decent. Like for example, I often used  :  'I am not doing nothing' , where I should say 'I am doing nothing' or 'I am not doing anything' .

Mastering a foreign language is a long process and not an easy one, and judging person's intellectual abilities by his accent or how well he speaks English, is morally unacceptable.

 

I hear all the time, comments such as - " Oh, you are Eastern European, but you speak a very good English" or  "I didn't imagine you are so smart, you are, from so and so and have an accent" .... it's, like somehow, my Country of origin or my pronunciation dictates my competence and intellectual adequacy. Mind-blowing.

 

I do understand, that not everyone, every time, can control their subconscious brain and assumptions(including me), but trying not to be ignorant and discriminate against people, should be our number one priority.

Though, it can be annoying receiving those, not very sophisticated, remarks, they are often made by, otherwise, nice people. And instead of aggravating myself further I always remember, that assumption is only human.

Our assumptions are based on experience, knowledge ,memory and imagination...in other words preconceived ideas of human behaviour in a certain environment. And when we are missing the exact knowledge of the situation, we assume. 

It has been proven by experts, that the discrimination doesn’t actually come from how people sound when they talk, but from what the listener associates with their accent.

 

If some people have only encountered, non educated Eastern Europeans with poor English command, it is only natural for them, to assume that same level, for every other Eastern European they meet. It's a subconscious assumption.  

For example, I find Spanish accent very sexy and sultry, and think every Spanish person is a hottie, but this is only an assumption, based on previous experience. I've built that idea in my head, listening to very attractive Spanish actors like Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. 

Russian are the most feared people, simply based on their accent. We associate their accents with the movies we watch about bad Russians. So every time we hear Russian accent, we imagine mafia or dangerous spies.

 

Watch Comedian Trevor Noah on Russian accent. Hilarious 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li_jSh7U9xI

 

While, we are all guilty of assuming , we should try be less ignorant about accents and pronunciation. We should listen more and speak less, and perhaps, restrict ourselves of expressing our assumptions. 

It is a form of respect approaching someone in their own language, we should admire that, not bash it.

 

 

Learn to love accents and don't forget to smile! 

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