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to bring up the subject of racist emails?

(10 Posts)
em Sun 25-Sep-11 22:50:14

Recently I've had several emails forwarded to me (as one of a long line) about which I am not happy. Many of them originate in USA and come to me via a friend. Some clearly start off in this country. They are not inciting violence but seem to be meant as amusing jokes. I have never found the friend to be overtly racist and I'm sure she would be hurt if I said she was. I just feel some older people are prepared to accept 'jokes' which are in fact offensive. How would you handle this? All I do is delete them but I feel I'm being a wimp by not confronting it. All opinions/advice welcome.

Joan Sun 25-Sep-11 23:16:59

--It depends. If it is one of those 'Englishmen Irishmen Scotsmen' jokes we've heard all our lives I would continue as you are - ignore and delete them. However, if it isn't really a joke, if it is one of those misinformation emails, such as those emails 'laughingly' telling about all the benefits immigrants/other ethnic groups get that mainstream people don't, I would send it back to my friend with the actual facts. I did that once, and the friend was grateful, not cross. She was cross with the friend who had sent it to her though.

I got the true information and statistics from my MP. I sent him a copy of the email and told him it was circulating, obviously mostly untrue, and I needed true facts and stats. He not only gave them to me, but he gave me detailed info about the origin of the email (Canada), which had been adjusted to suit Australia, where I live. He said it was circulating in slightly altered forms in the UK, US and NZ, as well as Canada.

em Sun 25-Sep-11 23:26:26

Yes Joan it's the latter type. A long rambling 'poem' about people coming here from Afghanistan and reaping the benefits while laughing at the stupid Brits who provide them! I do need more precise info about benefits before I can defuse the myth but hadn't thought of approaching my MP. Food for thought, thanks.

Joan Mon 26-Sep-11 02:45:01

Well, I approached my MP because I know him - have known him for years, as I'm a Labour party member, having joined specifically to fight against a racist MP (Pauline Hanson) in 1996. Alternatively, a refugee advocacy group would have the info.
Good luck!

Nanban Mon 26-Sep-11 18:36:23

Hmmmm. There is a woman comedian I've seen recently and every word/joke is racist - because she is black that's okay apparently. If we want to separate people into groups the way to go about it for sure is to ring fence each group with no-go areas - I'm all for freedom of speech in every direction otherwise where is the line drawn - mother-in-law protection groups perhaps?

em Mon 26-Sep-11 18:50:37

Yes Nanban I too support freedom of speech but find these emails very unpleasant. My problem is really finding a tactful way of broaching the subject to a good friend who doesn't seem to see them as an issue, whereas I simply do not want to receive this rubbish and wouldn't dream of passing them on. It worries me that people can see this sort of stuff as 'just a joke'. Casual racist remarks are absorbed by children and I do feel it's unacceptable to make throwaway derogatory remarks comments about 'Paki's and Poles'.

Hattie64 Mon 26-Sep-11 19:34:28

A friend of mine receives regular emails from a friends of hers in America. A lot are abusive and racist about Obama, and generally racist and mean spirited. She always forwards them to me, as some are in a jokey fashion. I have told her I don't approve at all, and she should stop corresponding with this racist red neck.

Joan Tue 27-Sep-11 10:55:59

It never seems to go away, racism. Here in Australia it was dying out until a racist MP stirred it up again in the mid 1990s, against SE Asians and Aborigines. Now the Tory opposition uses racism, ie fear of refugees, to attack the incumbent Labour government, who are turning out to be just as racist in their attitude to refugees. Fear of the electorate is behind it all, I believe. I have complained to my MP and he accepts my arguments, but he'll have to go along with the decisions of caucus.

Why don't they realise that sometimes Governments have to be leaders not just poll followers? Refugees are not evil people - usually they are so relieved to be here that they take any old job, ensure their kids get educated, pay taxes etc etc.

expatmaggie Tue 27-Sep-11 13:18:08

if I receive anything which is not a straight forward e-mail I delete it and ask the person who sent it to me, to remove my e mail address from their group list. Many senders of these mails often do not know there is such a list in their mail programme. Probably started by the person who started them emailing in the frst place.

As to being foreign, sometimes in Germany the conversation drifts to the 'foreigners'who live here in Germany and what they do and don't do and then I stand up and prepare to leave the group or birthday party.
Then there is an outcry 'But we don't mean you' I reply that I may be fair skinned and blue eyed but I am a foreigner in Germany. I always hope that in the resulting embarrassment some will consider these things before opening their mouths in future.

Annobel Tue 27-Sep-11 13:33:14

I hope we can all stand up for our principles as well as you do, Maggie!