Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier. More Racist.


by Guest    
12:03 pm - February 19th 2012

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contribution by Joseph Cottrell-Boyce

I have a confession to make; when ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ first aired as a one-off documentary two years ago, I didn’t think it was that bad.

Having been acclimatised to Daily Mail Gypsies-camped-in-my-living-room-and-ate-my-babies type hate mongering, the show was in contrast, fairly gentle.

Voyeuristic and misleading no-doubt, but I was pleased to see issues affecting the community, such as evictions and discrimination, being aired to a mainstream audience. At the very least, I thought, ‘it can’t do any harm’.

How wrong I was.

Fast forward two years and MBFGW has become a cultural phenomenon; Channel Four’s highest rated programme since Big Brother, syndicated internationally and a favourite talking point of the tabloid press. The programme makers claim that the show throws ‘an overdue light on a secretive, marginalised and little-understood segment of our society’.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from increasing understanding, the incredible reach of the show has succeeding in propagated a warped depiction of Travellers in the UK, objectifying an entire ethnic group for the sake of light entertainment.

The programme focuses almost exclusively on a handful of wealthy Traveller families with a penchant for extravagant celebrations. Self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship are central to Traveller culture and some families have done very well; but the vast majority of Travellers in the UK who live below the poverty line are conspicuous by their absence from the programme.

MBFGW’s characterisation of Travellers as a wealthy care-free bunch masks the fact that 20% of Britain’s caravan-dwelling Travellers are statutorily homeless; trapped in traumatic cycles of eviction. That Gypsies and Travellers have a life expectancy 10 – 12 years below the national average.

That 18% of Gypsy and Traveller mothers have experienced the death of a child, compared with less than 1% of mothers in the settled community. That 62% of adult Gypsies and Travellers are illiterate and 25% of Gypsy and Traveller children in Britain are not enrolled in education.

That a staggering 4% of the adult male prison estate is comprised of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma prisoners, many of whom have graduated from the care system. These statistics paint a grim picture of the Traveller experience in Britain; one that is a million miles from the high jinks of MBFGW.

The programmes producers claim that they merely ‘film what they see’ but this is clearly disingenuous, neglecting the power which they wield in deciding what makes the final cut. Of course commercial television is going to focus on the bizarre and titillating to secure an audience, and Travellers are not the first group to be exploited via the medium of reality TV.

But there is something particularly distasteful about adding to the already bulging cannon of stereotypes and slurs which the Travelling community has to endure. While it may ‘cast a light’ on some frilly dresses and mammoth cakes, the programme does very little to illuminate the myriad disadvantages and injustices which the community endures.


Joe Cottrell-Boyce is a Policy Officer at the ICB’s Traveller’s Project

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Reader comments


Surely the battle must start by persuading the community itself not to take part?

So your argument is that travellers aren’t rich but are in fact a bunch of people extremely prone to crime, who neglecting their children and to refusing to put them through school? That if people could see this picture they’d have a more positive view?

3. the a&e charge nurse

“The programmes producers claim that they merely ‘film what they see’ – then they must be wearing the kind of blinkers arkle would have been proud off.
http://i.istockimg.com/file_thumbview_approve/2210446/2/stock-photo-2210446-horse-with-blinkers.jpg

“20% of Britain’s caravan-dwelling Travellers are statutorily homeless”

Good God, that’s amazing. People who live in caravans don’t have houses? Who would have thought it?

Tim (#5): People *legally* living in caravans are not counted as homeless.

What’s the definition of “statutorily homeless”?

Crisis says “Statutory homeless: Households that have been found to be eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and falling within a priority need group and thus owed a main homelessness duty by a local housing authority.. In 2006-07, 73,360 households were accepted as statutory homeless in England. Local Authorities made 159,330 decisions on homelessness applications.”

What they don’t say is that the families will still be living under a roof. Just that the house doesn’t meet the statutory requirements. It could be the ratio of children to bedrooms, it could be the house is classified as uninhabitable, it could be that they are living with friends or family, or that their accomodation is temporary, or that they are living in a caravan. The number who actually literally homeless and forced to sleep on the street is pretty close to zero.

@2 Symptoms of poverty are symptoms of poverty.

John (#2):

BFGW already depicts them as such, which is probably among the reasons you think the article said Gypsies are “extremely prone to crime” when the article said nothing of the sort. It said 4% of the prison population are Gypsies, which is not the same thing; anywhere in the world economically worse-off minorities are over-represented in prison systems.

The programme additionally portrays them as people who rolling in dodgily acquired wealth, which even a quick look at the life expectancy statistics would clearly suggest the vast majority are not.

9. Dick the Prick

Oh do give it a rest. This screams of faux concern for something which really doesn’t need any more attention than it’s getting. We used to hang around with gypsy kids when we were younger and bez about on the bmx track they made and a bunch of more resourceful people don’t exist. Bare knuckle fighting, money laundering, drug dealing, car theft, copper and lead stealing, benefit fraud and God alone knows what else are all fine because the mums and grand mothers run the show. Just leave out the drivelous sentiment, they know exactly what their doing.

Well said John. if the programme was about black ppl that showed nothing but partying, crime, drugs, gangs, rapping, unemployment, absent fathers and racial discrimination black ppl wld b up in arms re the negative and representative portrayal.

Joe- is this the type of show you hoped for?

MBFGW may not be an accurate representation of everyday life for travellers, but at least it is trying to show them within in a posiive light, rather than the usual criminalisation and demonisation.

Joe – , whilst your comments I am sure come from sincere place, unfortunately it is the usual sentiments of those who would prefer to propagate the victim culture of highlight the problems and stereotypes in order to secure more funding for their pet projects or even careers.

Shameful.

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 9

It’s not “faux concern”. Just because you’re bigoted about travellers doesn’t mean other people aren’t concerned about bigotry.

12. Dick the Prick

I’m not bigotted sweetheart, i’m experienced. I dare you, I double dare you – go spend a week on a site and then wax lyrical. I lived next door to a site for over 3 years and it’s THEIR CHOICE. You wanna homogenize everything into some abstract text cribbed from sociology 101 then bully for you – try taxation and see how far you get. You just don’t see the damage you do forcing people to follow your rules, to live by your precepts; racism my arse – it’s knowledge honey.

That a staggering 4% of the adult male prison estate is comprised of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma prisoners, many of whom have graduated from the care system.

Not really sure whether this statistic helps your case regarding the worthwhile nature of the gypsy heritage and lifestyle. I’m guessing not.

But anyone who accepts a FOTW documentary crew into their lives, without a veto on the resultant footage, is taking a big risk.

I am reminded of “The Scheme” in which a number of families who would normally be described in the media as “scum” allowed their lives to be filmed. After four solid weeks of crime, drug addiction and irresponsible sexual relationships, the viewer was left with the incontrovertible impression that they were, indeed, scum.

Why should this be surprising to anyone?

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 Dick the Prick

“I’m not bigotted sweetheart, i’m experienced.”

LOL. I’m not a racist, I’m a realist. I mean, I’m not a prejudiced man, but I really hate those gypos. I’m just sayin’ what everyone’s thinkin’. Stands to reason.

“I dare you, I double dare you – go spend a week on a site and then wax lyrical. I lived next door to a site for over 3 years and it’s THEIR CHOICE. You wanna homogenize everything into some abstract text cribbed from sociology 101 then bully for you – try taxation and see how far you get.”

Y’see, this is the tragedy of old-school bigots like yourself. Because your bigotry is based on personal experience, you think it’s valid and justified. No doubt if you’d been mugged three times, and on every occasion it was a black guy that did it, you’d even now be telling us about how all blacks were theiving bastards and that you believed that from *experience*, not racism.

Newsflash: you’re taking your experience of some members of a demographic and applying it to the entire group. That’s what bigotry IS.

“You just don’t see the damage you do forcing people to follow your rules, to live by your precepts; racism my arse – it’s knowledge honey.”

What rules do I follow, how am I forcing people to live by them, and what damage am I doing in the process? Answers, please.

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 pagar

“But anyone who accepts a FOTW documentary crew into their lives, without a veto on the resultant footage, is taking a big risk. ”

True, and it differs from case to case whether the person in question realises that the documentary-maker may well edit together the most sensationalist footage instead of presenting a balanced account.

Problem is, as our salt-of-the-earth gypo-basher Dick above shows, people like to tar whole groups based on the actions of a few people in the demographic. So travellers who have nothing to do with MBFGW suffer the consequences. I was reading an article recently by a traveller whose daughter had to leave school after being bullied by kids who had seen the show – they were calling her a prostitute and so on.

I’m not saying we should ban it because some idiots will use it to fuel their own prejudices, but we can question the creators’ motives and ask whether they’re acting responsibly.

So how atypical is Paddy Doherty of Irish Traveler men then?

I remember seeing him on this youtube a few years ago and I rememberd it because one of them says he was living near where I used to.

Paddy’s on the left.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQzYnbljZ9Y

As for dying younger than average. That’s usually down to an unhealthy lifestyle.
I gave up booze because I’d probably had enough over the years. If you continue with heavy drinking you die younger. Like happens in Russia.

17. Dick the Prick

@14, I really would like to live in your world where no analysis is possible without screaming racist. They choose to live by their rules outside of society and why can’t you just let them? Why do you think infant mortality is so high, because nurses treat them badly or that they don’t trust the NHS? That literacy rates are so poor because teachers are bigots or they don’t trust schools? Hell man, the police negotiate blood money compensation deals every year round here between Kurds, Iraquis and Kashmiris to prevent riots because that’s what they want. It’s not racist to be racially aware and if they want to stay out of the fray then so be it.

Try replacing ‘gypsier’ with some other comparative adjective relating to race. I don’t think it’s being sentimental to find the advertising for the programme dodgy.

Dear John,
You appear to have missed the point of the article, let me clarify something for you:
If people where exposed to the hardships that Travellers are forced to endure, they may feel more sympathetic and the Traveller community may not be stigmatised as much as they are at present

Some of the comments on this page are extraordinary in their tone and content. Don’t you ever wonder if your sticking the boot into ‘the other’ is just a little bit, well, cliched?

“I lived next door to a site for over 3 years” Just think about what your saying. You are basing a judgment on a large and diverse community on your own limited experience and expecting to pass that off as serious political comment. And your having a go at other people for ‘homogenizing’?

You do realise this is a left/progressive site don’t you? If you hate it so much then why are you here?

The level of racist crap I hear about gypsies and travellers is amazing. As a society we like to think we’re beyond this sort of racism, but this shows we aren’t. I do think programmes like this help to spread negative views of gypsies and travellers, since racists seem to refer to them frequently as “evidence” to back up their bigotry.

The anti-gypsy commenters on this post need to realise that they are morally worse than most of those they disparage.

@20,

“You are basing a judgment on a large and diverse community on your own limited experience”

At least it’s based on something relating to reality, and, be honest, if he had used anecdotal experience from his life to state that the cliches and stereotypes were completely false, I bet you wouldn’t object.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Dick the Prick

“I really would like to live in your world where no analysis is possible without screaming racist.”

Wrong! I live in a world where, if your analysis shows that something is racist, you should call it racist. Although that’s not the term I’d use here, I’m not sure this is a race issue exactly.

“They choose to live by their rules outside of society and why can’t you just let them? Why do you think infant mortality is so high, because nurses treat them badly or that they don’t trust the NHS? That literacy rates are so poor because teachers are bigots or they don’t trust schools? Hell man, the police negotiate blood money compensation deals every year round here between Kurds, Iraquis and Kashmiris to prevent riots because that’s what they want.”

Well done for completely ignoring what I said and going off on an irrelevant tangent. Let’s try again, join in if you know the words: applying details about individual members of a group to all members of that group is bigotry. So don’t whine and play the “PC gone mad” card when your bigoted comments are honestly described.

“It’s not racist to be racially aware and if they want to stay out of the fray then so be it.””

I’m not accusing you of racism on the grounds that you’re “racially aware”, though, am I? I’m accusing you of bigotry on the grounds of your sweeping generalisations.

Whether or not (or to what extent) people should be allowed to choose to “stay out of the fray” is a very interesting topic, but it’s not the one we were discussing. I assume you’re going on about it as part of your attempt to dodge the unattractive fact of your prejudices.

24. Dick the Prick

I think something seems to have been lost in translation but nevertheless, just for probably no point at all, I had a bloody good time as a kid living where I did and as my mother often reminds me, i’m bog Irish. All I said was faux concern – it just seems that people have a view of traveller lifestyles that I don’t recognize but if they want to be offended by a telly programme then fair enough, never watched it so probably best to not do TV criticism.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 representingthemambo

“And your having a go at other people for ‘homogenizing’?”

Yeah, that particular irony failure struck me as funny too.

26. Dick the Prick

@23 – not prejudice, bloody scared. I don’t know if it’s a generalisation or not but even as a kid things had a habit of happening really very quickly indeed and I was frightened quite a few times but my mum always got on with the other mums so we were safe and stuff , but it was St Mary Mead and if travellers can have their own enclaves then i’m not sure it makes a difference if it’s in Cobham or Budapest as the cultural ties that bind remain. And if I am going to be racist, I only just realised who wrote this op-ed.

@ Chaise

people like to tar whole groups based on the actions of a few people in the demographic.

Yes, you are correct that to do that is bigotry.

However if the 4% of the male prison population figure is correct, it would seem that people from this particular demographic are jailed about 20 times more often than would be statistically expected.

Now this may be due to racist policing as the OP infers, however it may also be that travellers are more prone to criminality than the rest of us. If Dick believes the latter is the case, is it not legitimate for him to be able to say so without accusations of bigotry?

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Trooper Thompson

“At least it’s based on something relating to reality”

Yes, but cognitive bias means that people can vaguely base their ideas on reality and still end up dead wrong. Normally, as in this case, it’s because they’ve failed to take into account ENOUGH reality – they’ve gained experience through anecdotal evidence and they then generalise it to a whole group.

If you’ve been mugged three times and it was a black guy every time, you might decide that black people are thieves based on the reality of your experience. That, however, does not mean that the black guy sitting next to you at the coffee shop is plotting to steal your muffin.

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 pagar

“Now this may be due to racist policing as the OP infers, however it may also be that travellers are more prone to criminality than the rest of us. If Dick believes the latter is the case, is it not legitimate for him to be able to say so without accusations of bigotry?”

Absolutely. Whatever DtP may think, I’m the last person to try to deny data by calling it bigoted. My issue is with unjustified and illogical extrapolation of data carried out to justify the extrapolator’s existing prejudices.

30. Frances_coppola

I am ever so slightly puzzled. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but….surely living in caravans is a lifestyle choice?

@8: “portrays them as people who rolling in dodgily acquired wealth, which even a quick look at the life expectancy statistics would clearly suggest the vast majority are not.”

That doesn’t make sense. I take it that you are concerned about low life expectancy. And a low life expectancy is precisely what “rolling in dodgily acquired wealth” – i.e. crime – causes.

Wealth and high life expectancy do correlate in the general population. But correlation does not imply direct causation. More specifically: wealthy people don’t live long because they are wealthy. The underlying reasons for wealth and health are the same – mostly it’s knowledge and attitudes. You live longer if you
- eat healthily (healthy food is cheap, though mostly the problem that poor people suffer from is that they eat too many calories)
- avoid smoking (which causes both loss of wealth because tobacco is not cheap and loss of health in form of life-shortening diseases)
- don’t drink too much (works much like tobacco)
- don’t get involved in criminal activity (particularly the violent kind).

Wealthy people may also have better access to medical care, but the above factors are much more significant for their impact on life expectancy. And of course there are people who are poor because of an illness that is no fault of their own. But they are exceptions. Mostly “poor health” and “little money” correlate because of intellectual poverty – bad education, lack of knowledge, and bad attitudes.

From the OP

62% of adult Gypsies and Travellers are illiterate and 25% of Gypsy and Traveller children in Britain are not enrolled in education.

Who’s fault is this, and what should be done about it?
Moving around the country and going from school to school, then leaving school early is obviously going to be detrimental to education.

representingthemambo @20

You do realise this is a left/progressive site don’t you? If you hate it so much then why are you here?

Does this mean we should just accept the OP and not ask questions that might not entirely agree with the thesis?
My main ”knowledge” of Irish Travellers comes from living here in Ireland.
When I was a delivery driver in the County Dublin area a few years ago, I would see Traveller sites every day. Many of them were in a terrible state, and became dumping sites quite quickly. On one caravan site which which had a huge pile of rubbish next to it, I’d see the children waiting outside for the school bus to come and collect them some mornings. I wondered why their parents weren’t proscecuted for the mess they’d made.

Other times a bunch of caravans would just turn up in an empty part of an industrial estate out in the west of Dublin, and within a week there were mounds of waste dumped around the area. When you are in the scrap business, there will always be the temptation not to take stuff you don’t want to the dump and pay commercial rates to get rid of it.
If no one will talk about things like that on a ”left/progressive site” then it just becomes a bit pointless.

Why do Irish Travellers die younger? The same thing happens with Maoris in New Zealand. Is it because of what they eat, smoke and drink?

@ Chaise

I’m the last person to try to deny data by calling it bigoted. My issue is with unjustified and illogical extrapolation of data carried out to justify the extrapolator’s existing prejudices.

So, you accept that if travellers are very significantly more likely to commit crimes than the general population, would you consider it to be “an illogical extrapolation of data” to be concerned if a gypsy camp site arrives at the bottom of your garden?

Would that make you a bigot?

And, to use your other analogy, is it reasonable to be more than normally concerned when approached by a group of black youths in the street, knowing, as you do, that black men are much more likely to be involved in mugging and other street crime than people of other races?

Would that make you a racist or is it just an expression of “existing prejudices”?

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 pagar

“So, you accept that if travellers are very significantly more likely to commit crimes than the general population, would you consider it to be “an illogical extrapolation of data” to be concerned if a gypsy camp site arrives at the bottom of your garden?

Would that make you a bigot?”

No, it would not.

“And, to use your other analogy, is it reasonable to be more than normally concerned when approached by a group of black youths in the street, knowing, as you do, that black men are much more likely to be involved in mugging and other street crime than people of other races?”

It’s fine. If, however, you tried to discriminate against a black individual on that logic (“he’s probably a thief, we shouldn’t hire him”) it becomes a problem.

Anti-racism is a political, moral thing. It doesn’t gel up perfectly with pattern-recognition as a survival strategy, or even probability assessments.

Find myself agreeing with you but reminded the show is call “my big fat gypsy wedding” and weddings is what we get. Interesting article tho!

“applying details about individual members of a group to all members of that group is bigotry. ”

Err, umm, no, it ain’t. From t’internet:

“Bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.”

That would be you in this conversation.

What you are describing is “collectivism”, the assignation to the group of what is true only of some individuals.

And why a good little liberal like me is anti- both bigotry and collectivism, of course.

37. Tax Obesity, Not Enterprise

“applying details about individual members of a group to all members of that group is bigotry. ”

That’s not bigotry: it’s inductive reasoning.

38. Dick the Prick

All got a bit strange. If the infant mortality stats are accurate though then perhaps it may be an idea to push some free midwifery outreach training.

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 36 Tim Worstall

AFAIK, the concept of bigotry isn’t limited to the way people feel about each other’s opinions, regardless of what a concise online dictionary may say. It’s commonly used as an umbrella term for things like racism and homophobia. In any case, I’m not interested in a semantic argument with you. You know exactly what I mean when I use the word in this context, so give over.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 37 TOBE

“That’s not bigotry: it’s inductive reasoning.”

Not mutually exclusive. See me at 34: the point I’m making is that bigotry (or prejudice or whatever Tim would prefer us to call it) is often based on inductive reasoning. Generally it’s either that, or it’s slander made up out of whole cloth like “[Hated enemy group] eats babies”.

41. So Much For Subtlety

14. Chaise Guevara

Y’see, this is the tragedy of old-school bigots like yourself. Because your bigotry is based on personal experience, you think it’s valid and justified. No doubt if you’d been mugged three times, and on every occasion it was a black guy that did it, you’d even now be telling us about how all blacks were theiving bastards and that you believed that from *experience*, not racism.

Newsflash: you’re taking your experience of some members of a demographic and applying it to the entire group. That’s what bigotry IS.

Umm, no. For it to be unacceptable, it would have to be unreasonable to apply his experience of some members of a demographic to the entire group. That would be bigotry. If it is a reasonable inference, it is hardly bigotry. It is not, I hope we agree, bigotry to assume that Africans tend to have dark skin. A young boy made this mistake recently I see. It does not take much experience of people from Africa to realise this is true. It is bigotry to assume that all young men of African origin are thieves. That is demonstrably not true and anyone who said so is doing so on the basis of limited information. It is reasonable, and true, to point out that young Black males are disproportionately responsible for a lot of crime in Britain. When Jessie Jackson said he was relieved if he heard someone walking behind him and when he turned around they turned out to be White he was not being a bigot. He was making a reasonable assumption about safety. Just as it is not bigotry to say that smoking causes cancer even if it doesn’t cause cancer in every case.

So we have hear some people with first hand experience of Travellers. Their views are uniformly unfavourable. We have an OP who has a long list of poor socio-economic outcomes. A reasonable inference of which might be that the lifestyle these people have chosen is responsible for killing a non-trivial number of their children. What have the outraged in this thread got? No first hand material at all? It looks like it. No statistics to back up their case? I have seen none. Just outrage that someone could be mean to an identifiable sub-ethnic group. That is, dare I say it, political correctness gone mad.

But perhaps everyone here is a bigot. Could you please point out to me all the happy and successful Traveller communities that are a shining light to peaceful co-existence and tolerance?

42. So Much For Subtlety

21. Chris

The level of racist crap I hear about gypsies and travellers is amazing. As a society we like to think we’re beyond this sort of racism, but this shows we aren’t. I do think programmes like this help to spread negative views of gypsies and travellers, since racists seem to refer to them frequently as “evidence” to back up their bigotry.

How is it racist? The Roma are a specific racial or at least ethnic group. With origins in India supposedly. The Travellers as a whole probably aren’t. Anyone can claim to be a traveller. Most of them are not distinguishable from the rest of the British population. The Irish Travellers are quite clearly not Roma at all but Irish people who have taken up a similar lifestyle – and are regarded as such by Roma.

So the simple solution is to cease to classify anyone but the Roma as a distinct ethnic group. After all, the Irish government does not consider the Irish Travellers as an ethnic group. They are just Irish people. Yet the British government does. A few strokes of the pen and this problem will go away. The attitudes would not change. Nor would the behaviour. But at least we could talk about it like grown ups.

The anti-gypsy commenters on this post need to realise that they are morally worse than most of those they disparage.

18% of Gypsy and Traveller mothers have lost at least one child. As compared to just 1% of the mainstream population. One way you could interpret this is that their lifestyle is killing their children. There is no need for genuine Roma to roam to be Roma. Although it would be hard to distinguish an Irish Traveller who does not travel from any other Irish person. Nor is there any need to avoid medical care facilities. The sensible policy would be to settle at least while a woman is pregnant. But it seems they don’t.

You really think that a little first hand experience, negative as it is, is worse?

Hmmmm, the original piece seems to be complaining about the way the show only illustrates non-poor Irish caravan dwellers to the viewer – I shan’t call them gypsies because they’re about as genuinely gypsy as a white man blacked up is genuinely black. On this basis, where’s the outraged whining about Made in Chelsea?

@42: “Although it would be hard to distinguish an Irish Traveller who does not travel from any other Irish person.”

Wasn’t this all there was about the Dale Farm? I.e. it was a site of travellers who do not travel, and an ethnic minority that is not ethnic in any meaningful sense.

Anti-ziganism is still socially acceptable and, rather predictably, a thread such as this has attracted the usual ‘enlightened’ comments. “I lived next to gypsies and they made my life hell” seems to be the oft-used defence. I’ve lived next to people who weren’t travellers and they made my life a misery.

Oh yes and the “if they’re called travellers, why aren’t they travelling” narrative is another. After the Police and Criminal Justice Act many councils stopped providing pitches. But am I surprised by this ignorance? No.

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 41 SMFS

Obviously a reasonable extrapolation is fine. But there a couple of other problems with the comparisons you make (“Africans tend to have dark skin” and “All young men of African origin are thieves”).

Firstly, the obvious difference between “tend to” and “all”. It’s the sweeping generalisation of the latter that makes it bigotry. And that’s where your comparisons with the traveller issue falls down. I’m not saying that travellers are not, on average, more likely to commit crimes, behave antisocially, and do other things we might consider censurable. I don’t know either way whether this is the case. What I am saying is DtP branding each and every traveller based on his anecdotal experience of a few travellers is bigotry. Which it is.

So I don’t need to show you “all the happy and successful Traveller communities that are a shining light to peaceful co-existence and tolerance”, because it’s a request based on a straw man.

The other, less important distinction between your two examples is that “criminal” is pejorative, whereas dark skin is not. If you were to change “Africans tend to have dark skin” to “All Africans have dark skin”, this would be incorrect and technically the exact same mistake as saying “All Africans are thieves”. However, you’d be unlikely to be called a bigot as it’s obviously not an insult, and in reality whether or not a statement is offensive plays a large part in whether people bother to point out an error, and certainly in whether or not they judge you as a person for making the statement.

@42: “Although it would be hard to distinguish an Irish Traveller who does not travel from any other Irish person.”

That’s just not true. It is often easy to spot the characteristics and accents of Irish Travellers. They often have a particular way of speaking.

It was evident that this film about Irish Travellers was acted by real Irish Travellers, because no actors could just acted the parts.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4427514.stm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcDe9xz_PZ8

@46. buddyhell [blockquote]many councils stopped providing pitches[/blockquote]
How odd given that my local council is trying to find an extra 20 pitches because they state they’re legally obliged to.

I’m not surprised at the current back and forth being conducted due to the spark thrown by the OP. While I agree that the programme only shows one distinct group of this community throwing around statistics regarding the other parts doesn’t help unless they’re backed up by reasoning.

If 25% of children are not enrolled in education it should be pointed out why. Are they being denied places; are they being forced to move out of areas thus denying them an education?

When you fail to provide the reasoning behind these figures people are going to suggest their own; and given the current negative stereotype no-one should be surprised if the point of the article back-fires as a result.

50. Dick the Prick

This entire thread has descended into semantic cockwaffle affording bugger all profit for the author if he was trying to crib ideas for a briefing or inititive or some such. Anyway, no doubt to be continued…..but working with cynical politicians as I do their bottom line being ‘if they don’t vote, they can fuck off’ it seems unlikely the only thing to hope for is incremental change. The infant mortality stats though are galling and we run a ‘dead children overview scrutiny panel’ (whoever thought that was a useful name needs speaking to) and i’d be checking out their conduits. Anyway, must dash, those kittens don’t drown themselves….etc etc.

@49

“This entire thread has descended into semantic cockwaffle affording bugger all profit…”

Welcome to the world of the Comment Thread. If some printouts of comment threads are all that survive a future war, we’ll be judged rather harshly.

@48

In which case your council is the exception. But under the terms of the CJ&POA local authorities are no longer obliged to provide sites.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/contents

This is the relevant section
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/80

@48

In which case your local council is the exception rather than the rule. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act repealed the duty of local authorities to provide sites fo travellers.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/80

That 18% of Gypsy and Traveller mothers have experienced the death of a child, compared with less than 1% of mothers in the settled community. That 62% of adult Gypsies and Travellers are illiterate and 25% of Gypsy and Traveller children in Britain are not enrolled in education.

I think its a disgrace that the NHS refuse to treat travellers and that their children are not allowed to go to school.

Its terrible that they also get framed for so many crimes they didn’t commit.

Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has got to be one of THE most obnoxious vile programmes on TV right now, right up there with The Only Way Is Essex, Jeremy Kyle and the God awful Eastenders!!!

56. Tax Obesity, Not Enterprise

CG @ 40:

“Not mutually exclusive.”

Indeed; but equally there is no causal or logical connection between reaching negative conclusions by reasoning inductively about nationalities or ethnic groups and being a bigot. Most British people in my experience – of all levels of educational attainment – are able to judge individuals as individuals whatever inductive conclusions they may have reached about the individual’s nationality or ethnic group.

DtP didn’t say anything in particular that I would consider bigoted; but I can see how you might have been misled by his tone.

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 54 TONE

“Indeed; but equally there is no causal or logical connection between reaching negative conclusions by reasoning inductively about nationalities or ethnic groups and being a bigot.”

No, but there IS such a connection between bigotry and misapplying trends estimated through inductive reasoning so that you claim they apply to each and every member of such a group. As I said above, that’s when trend analysis become prejudice. If your complete experience of birds as a category consists of robins, swallows and starlings, poor inductive reasoning might lead you to infer that all birds can fly.

“Most British people in my experience – of all levels of educational attainment – are able to judge individuals as individuals whatever inductive conclusions they may have reached about the individual’s nationality or ethnic group. ”

Firstly, DtP apparently isn’t.

Secondly, this doesn’t mean that said people are immune to bigotry as a result of poor inductive reasoning. We all know the one about the guy who doesn’t like blacks, but thinks the black guy who drinks down his pub is a decent bloke and an exception to the rule.

Is it not possible to discuss Irish Travellers and Romany gypsies without everything coming down to who is a bigot? It’s old ground and has been gone over many times before.

What I would like to know is how governments and local authorities should interact with this cultural group. Should there be the desire to help promote and nuture the continuence of this seperate culture, or a long term aim to ”tame” and absorb it into the mainstream?
With so many negative statistics for health, education and run-ins with the police and social services, I would have thought the latter was better.

Either not allowing your children to have ”normal” schooling is acceptable or unacceptable. Being on the road and not having proper provision for home schooling does nothing for anybody. And has to be classed as child abuse.
Unless culture overrides that.

I too am a traveller of sorts. I want to retire soon and live on the road in a camper van.
Unfortunately, impromptu free camping by the roadside is a very hit and miss afair, although a lot of people are doing it. In the US it’s known as ”boondocking”.
http://cheaprvliving.com/Boondocking.html

You have to do it whilst not being noticed. And leave no trace of your stay behind.

59. Dick the Prick

@57 – I don’t mind being called out as being a bigot if i’ve missed something or if there’s a blindspot that I wasn’t aware of but you really do come over as a teenager with very little life experience and sod all to offer in terms of fixing the problems that some of the folks have outlined above. Also, as i’ve mentioned, I come from seriously impoverished Oirish Catholic stock with years of bigotry attached to the IRA and certain Catholic organisations and individuals and for you to sound off in a petulant and supercilious esoteric fashion about something which you’ve admitted you know fuck all about just seems really very rude. It’s obviously fine on forums like this and good for you for arguing your end but i’d not really advise taking your home made idealized vision of humanity into an arena where you had to make decisions and effect change or you’ll get played like a cheap fiddle.

60. Chaise Guevara

@ 59

That’s nice. However, I do know rather a lot about things like generalising from anecdotal evidence – considerably more that you, it appears. And I’m really not bothered that you think I’m rude for calling you a bigot. Making bigoted statements is rude in itself; if you want to be treated with kid gloves, don’t act like an arse.

This isn’t a case of me being ignorant and you being well-informed. It’s a case of me appreciating the limits of my understanding and you assuming you know everything about everyone based on your personal experience of a few people.

I’ve explained the flaws in your reasoning; rather than accept that or alternatively explain why I’m wrong, you’re just repeating the same claims and demanding the same special debating rights based on ad hominem. And that too is rude and invites criticism.

CG @ 57:

“No, but there IS such a connection between bigotry and misapplying trends estimated through inductive reasoning so that you claim they apply to each and every member of such a group. ”

There is a correlation here; but the connection is neither logical or causal. Misapplying trends is neither a definition or a cause of bigotry.

“that’s when trend analysis become prejudice.”

Prejudice is not the same as bigotry. Prejudice is bias. Bigotry is holding a view or belief irrespective of reason and attaching disproportionate weight to that view or belief (Concise OED). Regrettably, we are all prone to confirmation bias, but that does not make us bigots.

“…this doesn’t mean that said people are immune to bigotry as a result of poor inductive reasoning. We all know the one about the guy who doesn’t like blacks, but thinks the black guy who drinks down his pub is a decent bloke and an exception to the rule.”

That guy’s response is prejudiced, not bigotted, and all too human. Although he has a prejudice against blacks – perhaps for good inductive reasons – he nevertheless can see the black guy in the pub as a decent bloke. His prejudice does not stop him seeing the essential humanity of the individual before him. So he’s not bigotted, for a bigot could never be persuaded that any black could be a decent bloke.

Damon @ 58:

“What I would like to know is how governments and local authorities should interact with this cultural group. Should there be the desire to help promote and nuture the continuence of this seperate culture, or a long term aim to ”tame” and absorb it into the mainstream? With so many negative statistics for health, education and run-ins with the police and social services, I would have thought the latter was better.”

I’m happy for people to live as they want as long as they do not harm any of the rest of us. Many travellers of the eco/hippy variety cause little harm to anyone; so if they want to live in a teepee on a succession of Welsh hillsides, and don’t commit any crime or serious nuisance, then good look to them. If any travellers’ lifestyles damage their own health, the health of their children, their children’s education etc, I similarly see no reason for intervening – except to point out the errors and risks of their ways – providing they are law-abiding and their children at least go to school most of the time.

The problem is with a significant minority of travellers who behave anti-socially and are criminals. With such people, I think it would be best to try in the long term to encourage them to adopt a non-itinerant lifestyle, even though that is no guarantee that they will change their ways and cease to harm others.

62. Chaise Guevara

@ 61 TONE

Oh, not you as well. Look:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bigot

Most words have more than one definition. It’s unreasonable to cling to your preferred definition and declare all others invalid, and it’s downright ridiculous to insist on interpreting my words based on definition A when you must know from context that I mean definition B.

I’m frankly unfamiliar with the use of “bigot” in the sense you cited. Every time it’s been used in my hearing, it’s been in the sense that I linked above. This is the sense I use it in.

There’s a habit among many people to demand overly narrow definitions of words and then use that to make weak attempts to point-score. In this context, there seems to be an effort to shut down debate on prejudice by refusing to comprehend any word used to describe it: declaring that you can’t be racist towards Muslims, that you’re only homophobic if gay people scare you, and now apparently that “bigotry” refers to a zealous attitude towards your opinions and nothing else. The first is technically accurate, the second is out of date, the third is wrong. All of them are used to derail honest discussion.

I even knew one guy who used a dictionary to claim that racism was a good thing, because the definition of “racism” includes the word “prejudice” and one of the definitions of prejudice is “discerning; having excellent taste”. The tactics used by you, him, and Worstall above are deliberately unhelpful, and achieve NOTHING for your own side; bugger-all is gained from tricks used to avoid a frank discussion.

If you want to discuss my POV on this, have the courtesy to accept that I’m using the word in the meaning that is obvious from the context. All else is obfuscation.

63. the a&e charge nurse

[54] “I think its a disgrace that the NHS refuse to treat travellers” – is that true?

I know the NHS has been criticised for being a ‘soft touch’ for overseas patients seeking treatment but I have never heard the sort of claim you are making.

To begin with ALL emergency care in the NHS is free irrespective of whether or not the patient is an EU citizen – are you referring to travellers from outside of the EU who may be seeking health services?

According to the ‘Primary care service framework: Gypsy & Traveller communities’ (2009) there are 7 groups of Gypsies & Travellers living in the UK. The largest group in England, possibly comprising half of all Gypsies & Travellers, is Romany Gypsies. There are no firm national data on the numbers of Gypsies & Travellers living in the UK, mainly because the 2001 Census did not identify Gypsies and Travellers as an ethnic category. This may change in 2011, as a code for Gypsies & Travellers may be included. There are estimates, however, ranging from 120,000 to 300,000 people.

Many Gypsies and Travellers have lived in the UK for centuries (though some Roma Communities have arrived more recently, many in the last 20 years) and therefore have a right to NHS services. PCTs are reminded that entitlement to NHS care in the UK is based on residency, rather than having a permanent postal address: as such, Gypsy and Traveller communities have the same rights of access to NHS services as any other citizen. PCTs with Gypsy and Traveller communities should consider including cultural awareness training as part of their regular mandatory training for all new and existing staff. This should be geared towards conveying what it is actually like to be a Gypsy or Traveller, including their enduring legacy of discrimination and disadvantage, their culture, family life, health needs and so on.
http://www.pcc.nhs.uk/uploads/primary_care_service_frameworks/2009/ehrg_gypsies_and_travellers_pcsf_190509.pdf

@ Chaise

Pagar said

So, you accept that if travellers are very significantly more likely to commit crimes than the general population, would you consider it to be “an illogical extrapolation of data” to be concerned if a gypsy camp site arrives at the bottom of your garden?

Would that make you a bigot?

Chaise said

No, it would not.

So, we are agreed that it is not bigoted to be concerned if travellers move in next to you and yet we are also agreed that it is bigoted to make assumptions about individuals based on collective characteristics.

So where is the line and who draws it?

After all, we don’t know our new neighbours as individuals, our uneasiness is merely founded in “a logical extrapolation of data” but that mechanism is no different, in principle, to the mindset of the person you would say is a bigot.

They would argue their extrapolation of the data is logical- otherwise they would not believe in the result. So, I think, on that basis, you should apologise to Dick for calling him a bigot.

You can call him a prick, if that helps.

65. Chaise Guevara

@ 64 pagar

The line is drawn when you start pushing your concerns onto other people. I admit it can get blurry at the interface, but there’s a difference between someone who keeps a closer eye on their wallet when a black guy’s around, and someone who refuses to employ a black guy because he thinks he’s a thief. Even if they both make that assumption for the same reason.

The fact that the interface is blurry (20 years ago, would it be bad to target anti-AIDs adverts at gay men?) does not mean that it’s unreasonable to call people out in clear cases of bigotry. So no, I’m not going to apologise to a bigot for calling him a bigot.

Incidentally, where does this idea come from that it’s OK for bigots to spout their prejudices, but that anyone who calls them on it is being a big meanie and should be very sorry?

66. Dick the Prick

@65 – well, that’s up to you. If you think i’m a bigot then that’s fine, I guess it’s better than racist so i’m up on the evening but, hell man, all I was saying was that it ain’t that easy as walking in and chucking money about and planning for when it’s gonna be fixed. I guess if i’m generalizing from ‘anecdotal information’ as you nicely put it, i’d say they were a proud people and to offer charity has to be codified and respectful otherwise it could seem that they’re just about to get fucked again by a guy with a different uniform like every other officious twonk that they’ve come into contact with since day 1. But…what do I know? I’m just making this shit up.

67. Dick the Prick

@63 – no, he was taking the piss – inverse reasoning sort of. The NHS is fine for travellers, it’s fine. Schools – maybe not so much but ffs that’s a separate can of worms.

there’s a difference between someone who keeps a closer eye on their wallet when a black guy’s around, and someone who refuses to employ a black guy because he thinks he’s a thief.

Is there?

Is there really?

Have to say I don’t do either but, hey, I’m not a bigot……

69. Chaise Guevara

@ 66

FWIW, I agree with you that throwing money at problem caused by cultural divides is not likely to work.

CG @ 62:

I’m not clinging to my own definition and I’m happy to use yours for the purposes of argument; but I think the OED trumps any other dictionary of British English.

Anyway, if we define a bigot as “one who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ”, your guy who doesn’t like blacks but thinks the black guy who drinks down his pub is a decent bloke is not a bigot. He’s biased against blacks, but there’s no evidence in the scenario that he’s intolerant of those who aren’t so biased and when he meets a decent black guy he accepts him as another human being.

Like many people on both the left and the right, it seems you have come to believe your own hyperbole. In this case, that all racial or sexual discrimination/prejudices/biases etc are to be classed as bigotry. In so doing you make it harder to make judgements of degree while also impoverishing our language.

71. Chaise Guevara

@ 68 pagar

“Is there?

Is there really?”

Course there is. Morality is about actions, not instincts. What’s worse: see a car, think “Oh, I’d love to steal that” but don’t, or, see a car and steal it? You can do what you like inside your own head; as long as your actions don’t affect other people, all’s jake as far as I’m concerned.

“Have to say I don’t do either but, hey, I’m not a bigot……”

What’s your point?

72. Dick the Prick

I guess this has been a prelude to the Balkanisation of Britain – soon we’re gonna be regional!! I’m getting too old for this shit. The Whig vs the Tory, the liberal vs the statist; how many times over the centuries has this exact conversation taken place? I dunno – identity politics and polite conversation have never been my strong point but Travellers can handle themselves and i’m still freaking out that Northern Ireland ain’t fixed yet but, hey, glad to be wrong. To a certain part of the establishment Travellers may pose a political and terrorist threat but considering my grandfather was he who was, I kinda see enemies a damn sight further away from any site that exists. They know what they’re up to and taking liberties has to be slapped down but Irish Nationalism is a damn sight more important than planning laws and every damn civilized family treats terrorism with contempt. However, if some one needs a beating then so be it. I like being an Irish Catholic and I like hanging about with Irish Catholics but fucking hell – if the boys are drinking industrial whisky then they know they have to stay away from the girls – simple as. No Blacks, No dogs, No Irish.

What’s your point?

My point is that if you keep a closer eye on your wallet when you are in the company of black people I’d say that was an illogical extrapolation of data. And therefore you are….

But that’s my line. You have to draw your own.

My point is that criticising others for where they draw their line comes across as smug and impertinent.

74. Chaise Guevara

@ 73 pagar

“My point is that if you keep a closer eye on your wallet when you are in the company of black people I’d say that was an illogical extrapolation of data. And therefore you are….”

Sure. In fact, I’m phrasing myself badly. It’s not that the guy keeping a close eye on his wallet isn’t a bigot; it’s that his bigotry is harmless and something I wouldn’t condemn him for (although I’d try to dissuade him were I aware of his opinion).

“But that’s my line. You have to draw your own.

My point is that criticising others for where they draw their line comes across as smug and impertinent.”

Do you smugly and impertinently draw the line before paki-bashing, or do you smile benevolently upon paki-bashers? And do you want to be accused of the same the next time you draw a line on a moral issue? C’mon, Pagar, you’re smarter than this. There are very few issues that don’t have shades of grey and difficult middle ground. Just because a moral issue blurs in the middle doesn’t mean we have to give the whole thing up as a lost cause on either side.

75. Chaise Guevara

@ TONE

“I’m not clinging to my own definition and I’m happy to use yours for the purposes of argument; but I think the OED trumps any other dictionary of British English. ”

Language is about usage, not who’s-got-the-oldest-dictionary Top Trumps. Dictionaries don’t actually have copyright or authority over how we speak, not even the OED.

(Also, the pedant in me is forcing me to turn hypocrite and point out you haven’t got the OED. You’ve got the Concise OED, which by nature leaves stuff out.)

“Anyway, if we define a bigot as “one who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ”, your guy who doesn’t like blacks but thinks the black guy who drinks down his pub is a decent bloke is not a bigot. He’s biased against blacks, but there’s no evidence in the scenario that he’s intolerant of those who aren’t so biased and when he meets a decent black guy he accepts him as another human being.”

You’re still using your definition: bias about opinions (“those who aren’t so biased”) rather than about groups. The moment you said he was biased about blacks you admitted he was a bigot by my definition, assuming you ARE happy to let me use my definition.

“Like many people on both the left and the right, it seems you have come to believe your own hyperbole. In this case, that all racial or sexual discrimination/prejudices/biases etc are to be classed as bigotry. In so doing you make it harder to make judgements of degree…”

Not at all. “Bigot” isn’t a hyperbolic word. There are plenty of really nice people who also happen to be bigots, it’s not like I’m calling someone “monster” or “vermin”. You can still make judgements of degree.

“…while also impoverishing our language.”

Sorry, I don’t buy into linguistic prescritivism. The fact that you don’t like a particular usage of a particular word does not mean our language is being impoverished, it just means that you don’t like it. I get annoyed by uses of language I dislike (you’re talking to someone who refuses to spell “all right” as one word here), but I don’t pretend that linguistic value, if such a thing exists, is defined by my personal prejudices.

No doubt people were once horrified that nobody bothered capping up important nouns like Honour and Virtue these days. We don’t seem to be any the worse off for this change. And even if your definition of “bigot” is older than mine (seems likely given that it’s the OED’s preferred version), I suspect you’re fighting a losing battle against common usage in this case.

@ Chaise

It’s not that the guy keeping a close eye on his wallet isn’t a bigot; it’s that his bigotry is harmless and something I wouldn’t condemn him for

And yet you’re perfectly prepared to condemn Dick, who has personal experience of travellers and formulates that experience into a perfectly coherent viewpoint that is backed up by the statistics in the OP.

By brandishing your bigot card you unfairly try to trash his opinion and cut him out of the debate.

Pretty shameful, really.

I’ve had it explained to me by a pal who is a social scientist that Travellers are a group of people who used to make their living travelling around rural areas carrying out essential tasks at certain times of the year, most notably helping with harvesting, and at other times engaging in crafts, such as repairing household goods, and so on. This specific economic role in society led to their having a specific way of life, with all the ensuing cultural manifestations.

What has happened, so he says, is that the basis for this life-style has gone. Farming is mechanised, household goods aren’t repairable. Having evolved as a discrete social grouping, but having lost their specific social role, Travellers now — if they are not to disappear by assimilating into the broader society — have to emphasise what differentiates them from everyone else.

In short, if they were to live here and there in houses, rather than together on sites, they would within a relatively short time start to mix with surrounding people, form friendships and relationships with them. The tight, exclusivist frame of thought would start to change. And within a couple of generations, there might be no more Travellers as a discrete group, just memories of a different lifestyle that granny used to have.

This sounds plausible to me. I’m sure that it has happened to other discrete groups of people with a specific social role that has been rendered obsolete by broad social change.

78. Chaise Guevara

@ 76 pagar

“And yet you’re perfectly prepared to condemn Dick, who has personal experience of travellers and formulates that experience into a perfectly coherent viewpoint that is backed up by the statistics in the OP. ”

Learn how to use statistics before talking about them. Here’s a hint: “group A tend to do X” =/= “group A all do X”.

“By brandishing your bigot card you unfairly try to trash his opinion and cut him out of the debate.”

How the fuck am I cutting him out of the debate? It’s not like I just shouted “bigot!” and ran away; I’m actively explaining why I think he’s wrong, in rationalist terms. I’m debating him.

“Pretty shameful, really.”

Blah blah whatever. I see you don’t want to answer my question about why it is that acting like a bigot is fine, but calling someone on this behaviour is horrid. Actually, you’ve ignored nearly all of my post in favour of just repeating the same shit like a stuck record. Pretty shameful, really.

79. the a&e charge nurse

CG @

“The moment you said he was biased about blacks you admitted he was a bigot by my definition”

But your definition of a bigot is: “one who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ”. So I’m not using your definition, am I? There is no mention of bias in your definition; and, more importantly, there is no intolerance of others in the pub scenario.

So, clearly, you are the one who is engaged in linguistic precriptivism. You want to label the guy in the pub scenario a bigot, and you are prepared to change your definition of bigot to achieve this.

Moreover, if your usage of bigot can’t adequately distinguish someone who has a mild bias or prejudice from (say) someone who wants all blacks shipped back to Africa and the West Indies, then you are impoverishing the language slightly – and seriously if your usage becomes established. This is not a matter of what I like or don’t like: it is an objective fact, which dictionaries like the OED record with historical examples.

By the way, words like bigot, monster or vermin are not hyperbolic: only usages are hyperbolic. Many people on here use them hyperbolically. Yet you want to define ‘bigot’ in such a way as to include relatively minor examples of racial prejudice or bias. Before long, I fear, you’ll be labelling homeopathic concentrations of racism as bigotry.

“In short, if they were to live here and there in houses, rather than together on sites, they would within a relatively short time start to mix with surrounding people, form friendships and relationships with them.”

Right. They would no longer be a distinct group, because the work they used to do no longer exists and there is no reason for continuing the traveling lifestyle. In fact, the travelling lifestyle is in some ways harmful.

There are other groups of people whose distinct profession has disappeared. Like the people who used to work on Spinning Jennies are just a memory now in Britain. Like handloom weavers were made a memory by the Spinning Jennies in 1700′s. Etc.

The question is, why does the public purse need to subsidize the existence of a group of people who are used to have a profession that no longer exists? Where can I start collecting my hand-outs for my lifestyle, which I’ll declare is a FORTRAN programmer, entitled to established spending patterns?

@ Chaise

“group A tend to do X” =/= “group A all do X”.

Yes, yes. We all understand that……

It’s not like I just shouted “bigot!” and ran away; I’m actively explaining why I think he’s wrong, in rationalist terms. I’m debating him.

But it is no longer a fair debate as you have seized the rational high ground by accusing him of basing his view on bigotry. Surely you can see that?

Also the word is, in itself, a form of insult which is not helpful to constructive dialogue.

If I think you are wrong about something, is calling you a tosser going to make you more or less likely to understand my point?

I see you don’t want to answer my question about why it is that acting like a bigot is fine, but calling someone on this behaviour is horrid.

As above, the way to debate with someone who’s views you consider to be bigoted is to point out the irrational argument and back your view up with facts and sources.

“Calling someone on this behaviour is horrid” because it assumes the invalidity of his opinion without admitting the need to engage with it.

83. Chaise Guevara

@ 80 TONE

“But your definition of a bigot is: “one who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ”. So I’m not using your definition, am I? There is no mention of bias in your definition; and, more importantly, there is no intolerance of others in the pub scenario.”

You’re quite right, the Free Dictionary version doesn’t quite match the way I (and, in my experience, most people) use the word. I was concentrating on finding an example that focused on demographics rather than opinions, and thus overlooked the fact that it says “intolerance” but not “prejudice”. No matter; same dictionary includes prejudice in its definition of “bigotry”. And once again, USAGE makes language, not what Bob the dictionary editor says.

“So, clearly, you are the one who is engaged in linguistic precriptivism. You want to label the guy in the pub scenario a bigot, and you are prepared to change your definition of bigot to achieve this.”

That’s a good joke – accusing me of linguistic prescriptivism while having a go at me for using a word differently to you! I’ll have to remember that. With respect, I don’t think you know what prescriptivism is. I’m doing the opposite – descriptivism, letting usage define correctness rather than vice versa.

“Moreover, if your usage of bigot can’t adequately distinguish someone who has a mild bias or prejudice from (say) someone who wants all blacks shipped back to Africa and the West Indies, then you are impoverishing the language slightly – and seriously if your usage becomes established. ”

Of course it can. “Slight bigot”. “Utter bigot”.

“This is not a matter of what I like or don’t like: it is an objective fact, which dictionaries like the OED record with historical examples.”

No, it really is a case of you trying to stamp your preferences on a language shared by millions of people, many of whom use it differently to you. Calling your preferences “objective” moves it from the self-absorbed to the absurdist. Sorry to inform you that you are not the centre of the universe.

“By the way, words like bigot, monster or vermin are not hyperbolic: only usages are hyperbolic.”

Agreed. If I’d called DtP a monster or vermin, that would have been hyperbolic in this context, though.

“Many people on here use them hyperbolically. Yet you want to define ‘bigot’ in such a way as to include relatively minor examples of racial prejudice or bias. Before long, I fear, you’ll be labelling homeopathic concentrations of racism as bigotry.”

Already would.

You seem to think that descriptive words have to cover a narrow scope of intensity, so even if you eventually make your mind up on whether you’ll deign to accept that people use words differently to you (instead of paying lip-service to the idea and then blindly barrelling on with your “My preferences are right and anyone who disagrees is objectively wrong” nonsense), presumably “bigotry” would only apply to moderate prejudice and above (or whatever). Why on earth is this? The word “pain” can describe anything from a dull ache to absolute agony. The word “fast” could mean someone walking at 5mph or a rocket zooming at whatever speed rockets zoom at.

Words rely on *context*; arbitrarily fitting them into narrow specifications of your own devising doesn’t achieve anything except making it impossible for you to communicate with other people. On that note, I see you’ve successfully dragged the conversation away from whether prejudice towards travellers is ok, and instead bogged us down in a pointless semantic quagmire. Judging by my post @62, I must be sodding clairvoyant.

84. Chaise Guevara

@ 82 pagar

“Yes, yes. We all understand that……”

Then why are you saying that blanket statements about a group are backed up by trends?

“But it is no longer a fair debate as you have seized the rational high ground by accusing him of basing his view on bigotry. Surely you can see that?”

If the high ground is undeserved, he can demonstrate why, can’t he? Do you think I should talk on LC like I was drafting a formal letter? Again, I hope you won’t be claiming the high ground at any point on this site. I’m mighty suspicious of these strict rules of acceptable behaviour you’re suddenly applying.

“Also the word is, in itself, a form of insult which is not helpful to constructive dialogue.”

More accurately, it’s a descriptive term with negative connetations. It’s not my fault that bigots are generally viewed negatively. But go on, I’ll bite: how should I identify bigoted attitudes without using any words that could be taken as insulting? Also, how does this square with you saying it would be ok for me to call people a prick?

“If I think you are wrong about something, is calling you a tosser going to make you more or less likely to understand my point?”

“Tosser” isn’t descriptive, unless we’re arguing about masturbation, and even then their are more neutral words available.

“As above, the way to debate with someone who’s views you consider to be bigoted is to point out the irrational argument and back your view up with facts and sources. ”

Done it. Don’t think I need sources when pointing out a logical fallacy, but I DID address his argument rationally.

““Calling someone on this behaviour is horrid” because it assumes the invalidity of his opinion without admitting the need to engage with it.”

So bigots have got carte blanche to go around being arseholes, and if we call them on it we’re cruelly disrespecting their precious little opinions. Thanks, but I don’t subscribe to the idea of sanitising conversation to the point of unusability to avoid offence, nor to the idea that accurately describing something harms a debate, nor to the idea that bigots are special and deserve special treatment, an attitude that you STILL haven’t explained. Third time of asking now.

Dick said

” We used to hang around with gypsy kids when we were younger and bez about on the bmx track they made and a bunch of more resourceful people don’t exist. Bare knuckle fighting, money laundering, drug dealing, car theft, copper and lead stealing, benefit fraud and God alone knows what else are all fine because the mums and grand mothers run the show.”

Chaise said

“Just because you’re bigoted about travellers doesn’t mean other people aren’t concerned about bigotry.”

You were saying that Dick’s anecdotal evidence regarding travellers was either irrational or unworthy in some way. It was not and I believe it was his truthful account.

See A&E’s link above for some evidence.

So stop dancing on the head of a pin, admit you got this one wrong and we can all get on with the rest of our lives.

PS The reason I suggested you call him a prick is because that’s what he calls himself………….

86. Chaise Guevara

@ 85 pagar

“You were saying that Dick’s anecdotal evidence regarding travellers was either irrational or unworthy in some way. It was not and I believe it was his truthful account. ”

Jesus Christ! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with his anecdotal evidence. I’m saying that there’s a lot wrong with his EXTRAPOLATIONS FROM THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE. We’ve been talking about this for ages and suddenly you act as if you’ve got amnesia or something. Are you so desperate to “win” that you’re going to wipe the entire conversation and replace it with something else? Or are you deliberately trolling? WTF?

87. Chaise Guevara

Seriously pagar, pull any more bullshit like that and I’ll be forced to believe that you’re not actually pagar but a troll who’s nicked the screen name. I am NOT starting this conversation from square one again, I have a job and stuff.

Jesus Christ! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with his anecdotal evidence. I’m saying that there’s a lot wrong with his EXTRAPOLATIONS FROM THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE.

What extrapolations????

Has Sunny deleted a post or something???

What am I missing that demonstrates Dick’s bigotry???

I quoted the beginning of the dialogue above verbatim. (Posts 9&11).

89. Chaise Guevara

@ 88 pagar

The bit where he smears travellers as a whole based on the handful he met, obviously. Unless you think when he says “Just leave out the drivelous sentiment, they know exactly what their doing” he’s somehow under the impression that the OP was written about his childhood playmates specifically.

How the fuck have you managed not to notice me talking about extrapolation the whole bloody time I’ve been on this thread? Y’know, the main thing I’ve been arguing about since word go? It couldn’t be that you’re a troll, could it?

Unless you think when he says “Just leave out the drivelous sentiment, they know exactly what their doing” he’s somehow under the impression that the OP was written about his childhood playmates specifically.

I understood the “they” in that sentence to refer to the “mums and grand mothers” of the previous sentence. But even if he meant to extrapolate from his anecdote to infer that, in general, travellers tend to be pretty streetwise, does that make him a bigot?

However, if that is the sum total of your evidence, perhaps Dick can confirm what he intended by his use of the word (and I am sure if my interpretation is shown to be correct an apology will be forthcoming).

Incidentally, calling someone a troll is no more helpful to debate than calling them a bigot, a racist or any other gratuitous insult.

91. Chaise Guevara

@ 90 pagar

“I understood the “they” in that sentence to refer to the “mums and grand mothers” of the previous sentence.”

Oh, so the OP is about the mums and grandmothers of the people DtP knows, is it? Or if not, why attack the OP for being “drivelous” based on his experience of those mums and grandmothers?

“But even if he meant to extrapolate from his anecdote to infer that, in general, travellers tend to be pretty streetwise, does that make him a bigot?”

I’m bored of explaining the difference between describing trends and tarring whole groups. After all, you claim to understand it.

“However, if that is the sum total of your evidence, perhaps Dick can confirm what he intended by his use of the word (and I am sure if my interpretation is shown to be correct an apology will be forthcoming).”

No. His post doesn’t make internal logical sense if your interpretation is correct, so if he claims that he’s lying. I wouldn’t have said that immediately, principle of charity and all that, but he and I have spoken for a while without him saying “Oh, I didn’t mean ALL travellers”.

“Incidentally, calling someone a troll is no more helpful to debate than calling them a bigot, a racist or any other gratuitous insult.”

None of those things are inherently gratituitous insults, despite your ongoing attempt to make bigots a special category who are immune from being criticised or even identified (fourth time of asking: why do you want to do this?). But anyhoo, it’s also very unhelpful to straw man people and disregard half the conversation to make a flawed attempt at point-scoring. As is question-dodging, for that matter. Physician, heal thyself.

CG @ 83:

Let’s not get petulant and sarcastic.

“I was concentrating on finding an example that focused on demographics rather than opinions…”

I see: you were trying find a definition that fitted your preconception of what the word ‘bigot’ should mean. If that isn’t prescriptive, I don’t know what is.

“USAGE makes language, not what Bob the dictionary editor says.”

The meaning of a word is not just any or even your usage: it is the established or conventional usage. Dictionaries survey usage of words and keep an historical record of established usage. (The meaning of ‘nice’, for example, has shifted considerably since the 18thC.) The OED is the leading dictionary for British English at least: it stands to other dictionaries much as Britannica stands to Wikipedia. As the leading authority on the established usage of words in English, it’s approach is descriptive, not prescriptive.

“That’s a good joke – accusing me of linguistic prescriptivism while having a go at me for using a word differently to you! … I’m doing the opposite – descriptivism, letting usage define correctness rather than vice versa.”

I’m not having a go at you for simply using a word differently to you. (Indeed, I’m not “having a go” at you at all.) I am querying whether your usage is the established, conventional usage. Meanwhile, you seem to be making it up as you go along, first citing the less than impressive Free Dictionary and then deciding that even that does not meet your requirements. Essentially, you want your usage to be the meaning; and, again, if that is not prescriptive, I don’t know what is.

“Already would.”

Homeopathic concentrations are so dilute that they do not contain any of the original dissolved substance. So you’d label non-existent racism as bigotry?

“You seem to think that descriptive words have to cover a narrow scope of intensity…”

No, I don’t. But I get the impression that you don’t understand the difference between the denotation and connotation of a word.

“Words rely on *context*; arbitrarily fitting them into narrow specifications of your own devising doesn’t achieve anything except making it impossible for you to communicate with other people.”

This applies to you, not me. I have been using a definition that is established; you have been using your own.

“I see you’ve successfully dragged the conversation away from whether prejudice towards travellers is ok, and instead bogged us down in a pointless semantic quagmire.”

Sometimes, discussions like this have to clarify terms. Words and concepts can be very slippery.

As for the substantive point, for my part, prejudice or bias against travellers is understandable and not bigotry if the prejudiced person can relate to and judge individual travellers on their merits.

93. Chaise Guevara

@ 92 TONE

“I see: you were trying find a definition that fitted your preconception of what the word ‘bigot’ should mean. If that isn’t prescriptive, I don’t know what is.”

Then you don’t know what prescriptivism is. Sourcing a claim that a word has one of many meanings isn’t prescriptivist. What would be prescriptivist would be me claiming your version is invalid, which you’ll notice I’m not.

“The meaning of a word is not just any or even your usage: it is the established or conventional usage.”

No. I’m not sure this is what you really meant to say, but many, probably most, words have more than one meaning. So you can’t just grab the most conventional one and declare that the others don’t exist.

“Dictionaries survey usage of words and keep an historical record of established usage. (The meaning of ‘nice’, for example, has shifted considerably since the 18thC.) The OED is the leading dictionary for British English at least: it stands to other dictionaries much as Britannica stands to Wikipedia.”

You’re not citing the OED though, are you? You’re citing the Concise OED. It’s hardly surprising that a concise dictionary has less than a full cohort of definitions.

In any case, if millions of people use a word in a certain way, it’s silly to declare that usage invalid simply because a book says so, no matter how much you respect that book.

“As the leading authority on the established usage of words in English, it’s approach is descriptive, not prescriptive.”

And yet you insist on turning it into a prescriptive authority. Bit inconsistent, that.

“I’m not having a go at you for simply using a word differently to you. (Indeed, I’m not “having a go” at you at all.) I am querying whether your usage is the established, conventional usage. Meanwhile, you seem to be making it up as you go along, first citing the less than impressive Free Dictionary and then deciding that even that does not meet your requirements. Essentially, you want your usage to be the meaning; and, again, if that is not prescriptive, I don’t know what is.”

Flat-out lie. I’ve said all along that multiple meanings are valid. I have no problem with your meaning. What I object to is you equivocating between multiple meanings, pretending I meant “defensiveness about opinions” when I’ve told you I meant “prejudice towards groups”.

“Homeopathic concentrations are so dilute that they do not contain any of the original dissolved substance. So you’d label non-existent racism as bigotry?”

I assumed you meant a very small amount. No, I wouldn’t label non-existent racism as bigotry.

“No, I don’t. But I get the impression that you don’t understand the difference between the denotation and connotation of a word.”

Of course I do. Why do I suspect that you’re about to conflate “denotation” with “conventional usage” and “connotation” with “everything else”?

“This applies to you, not me. I have been using a definition that is established; you have been using your own.”

Next time read what I say before replying to it. You’re the one who’s ignoring context to deliberately avoid addressing the actual topic, if you can remember what that even is after all this semantic nonsense. So don’t throw non-sequiters at me, it’s tiresome. The above as a response to someone talking about context is hilarious. It’s precisely context that shows whether or not someone is using the most typical usage. If I described someone as a “bastard”, in most contexts you’d probably assume I was insulting them. However, were I to say “He was unable to take the throne, being a bastard”, you’d hopefully realise I meant “lovechild”. Do you get it yet?

“Sometimes, discussions like this have to clarify terms. Words and concepts can be very slippery. ”

We clarified what I meant way back when. For what feels like the last million years or so, it’s just been you whining about me not accepting your personal lexicon as gospel and trying to appoint the Concise OED as the Ultimate Arbiter of Language. So it’s pretty clear that clarification is not your goal; quite the opposite, in fact.

“As for the substantive point, for my part, prejudice or bias against travellers is understandable and not bigotry if the prejudiced person can relate to and judge individual travellers on their merits.”

My version of bigotry or yours? Because based on mine, what you said was an oxymoron. If you’re basing it on yours, you’re *still* arguing with a point I never made, never wanted to make, and have made it abundantly clear that I wasn’t making.

94. So Much For Subtlety

45. buddyhell

Anti-ziganism is still socially acceptable and, rather predictably, a thread such as this has attracted the usual ‘enlightened’ comments. “I lived next to gypsies and they made my life hell” seems to be the oft-used defence. I’ve lived next to people who weren’t travellers and they made my life a misery.

Anti-ziganism is such a nice word. Sure, you have lived next to people who have made your life hell. And you weren’t called a bigot for saying so. Just out of curiosity, do we have anyone here who has lived next to Travellers whose life has not been made a misery?

Chaise Guevara

Obviously a reasonable extrapolation is fine.

Then are people making a reasonable extrapolation? Can anyone provide a case for why the constant stories of Traveller misbehaviour do not amount to a reasonable general assumption?

I’m not saying that travellers are not, on average, more likely to commit crimes, behave antisocially, and do other things we might consider censurable. I don’t know either way whether this is the case. What I am saying is DtP branding each and every traveller based on his anecdotal experience of a few travellers is bigotry. Which it is.

I did not see him brand each and every Traveller. He did generalise. But you don’t have any data. The data that the OP provides supports his case more than the opposite. So why aren’t you willing to cut him some slack here?

So I don’t need to show you “all the happy and successful Traveller communities that are a shining light to peaceful co-existence and tolerance”, because it’s a request based on a straw man.

It isn’t. We all know young Black men who are not thieves. Does anyone know of a Traveller community that is not a problem? That has yet to be established.

The other, less important distinction between your two examples is that “criminal” is pejorative, whereas dark skin is not. If you were to change “Africans tend to have dark skin” to “All Africans have dark skin”, this would be incorrect and technically the exact same mistake as saying “All Africans are thieves”.

No it wouldn’t because pretty much all Africans do have dark skin. It is a more or less identifying mark. Some Africans are albino or are otherwise pale, but that is an exception to the rule that requires a special explanation. Unlike being a thief.

damon

That’s just not true. It is often easy to spot the characteristics and accents of Irish Travellers. They often have a particular way of speaking.

Allegedly. But then so do Sloan Rangers. Doesn’t make hating on them a hate crime does it?

95. Yeah, but am i bovered?

@94 “Does anyone know of a Traveller community that is not a problem?” Yes, the one down the road from me, about 2 miles away on the edge of Southall. I’d lived here for about 6 years before I knew it existed. No one I have spoken to has any particular view on it, good or bad. It’s thought of in much the same way that other areas are. It doesn’t seem to be associated with criminality or large, badly dressed, men engaging in harness racing on main roads. There’s a shocker, eh?

“No it wouldn’t because pretty much all Africans do have dark skin.” Really? I suppose it depends what you mean by “dark.” Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Egyptians and Libyans, who are pretty African I’d say, regard sub – saharan africans as dark skinned but not themselves. Some other well known Africans who couldn’t really be described as dark skinned include P.W. Botha, Francois Pienar and the late Ian Smith.

You seem to be incapable of arguing from any point of view which doesn’t involve an uncritical acceptance of stereotypes. What is wrong with you?

So did anyone actually watch tonight’s programme?
I saw the first half an hour. That 20 year old boxer who was engaged to the 15 year old girl was ”a bit of a lad”. When asked what he did for a living he said: ”Trees, scrap, tarmacing, that kind of thing. And a bit of other stuff to make my money” he said with a grin, after it had been mentioned that he had been in prison a few times.
He even admitted to ”a bit of robbing” I thought.
A great prospect for a son-in-law – not.

97. Chaise Guevara

@ 94

“Then are people making a reasonable extrapolation? Can anyone provide a case for why the constant stories of Traveller misbehaviour do not amount to a reasonable general assumption?”

Cos individuals ain’t groups.

“I did not see him brand each and every Traveller. He did generalise.”

In a way that brands them all. Note he’s made no attempt to clarify or retract – which, as I said to pagar above, I would have accepted on the principle of charity. No, he’s sticking to his guns and refusing to deal with the irrational nature of his beliefs because they’re based on an anecdote.

“But you don’t have any data. The data that the OP provides supports his case more than the opposite. So why aren’t you willing to cut him some slack here?”

No it doesn’t. If his case was “travellers are more inclined to commit crimes than non-travellers”, then it would. But to tar a whole group this way is an extraordinary claim that can’t be backed by vague trends. To make it even halfway believable you’d have to take a large number of randomly selected travellers, enough to be statistically significant, and then demonstrate that they are ALL guilty of the behaviour he pins on them.

“It isn’t. We all know young Black men who are not thieves. Does anyone know of a Traveller community that is not a problem? That has yet to be established.”

Is is a bloody straw man, because I never claimed that there are traveller communities that aren’t a “problem” (nicely vague wording there, BTW). Actually, it’s moving the goalposts then making a straw man out of that. So try to engage with what I actually say in future, it’s much better for all of us.

“No it wouldn’t because pretty much all Africans do have dark skin. It is a more or less identifying mark. Some Africans are albino or are otherwise pale, but that is an exception to the rule that requires a special explanation. Unlike being a thief.”

An interesting point, albeit mainly because of the way it dodges the substantive bit of my comment. True to form, of course.

Last night they showed one group of travellers giving their horses and traps a run out on a busy B road in the countryside. It’s illegal to race them on the open road, but not to trot them. The police were quickly there and one traveller man assured the police that they were just out for a trot. They may not have been racing as such, but they were overtaking each other, and at one point there was a near miss with an articulated lorry coming the other way as the two traps were side by side – and just got over in time as the lorry past blowing its horn. The travellers admitted that it was a close shave.

The police turned up again after (they said) numerous phone calls from the public about dangerous horse and trap racing on the road. The guy again insisted they were’t racing, it was just a bit of overtaking.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7SZtdpj2pc

Was it unfair of the programme makers to show that as well?
Or was that just reality TV?

99. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

“Or was that just reality TV?”

There’s such a thing as selective editing, though.

CG @ 97:

“Cos individuals ain’t groups.”

Where do you stand on the ‘problem’ of induction? Do you hold that it is irrational to infer that ‘All x’s are F’ from ‘This x is F’, ‘This x is F’, ‘This x is F’…etc, etc? If so, is there a point, in theory or practice, where you would hold that you had gathered enough instances of x’s as F to justify the inference to ‘All x’s are F’? Or is it that you have no problem with induction per se but rather hold it immoral to make this inductive inference when the x’s are a social or racial group?

Chaise Guevara

There’s such a thing as selective editing, though.

You could look at like that I suppose, but it shows that the police were right to be concerned about horses and traps being unloaded on this road before they even set off, when the guy assured them they were only out for a little trot.
What they were doing was deadly and totally reckless. The reason that the figures for acidents doing that might not be so high is that they are relatively few of them.
In itself it looks extremly dangerous. If that truck had hit one of them head on it would have been carnage.

For anyone you missed it last night, check out the charming 20 year old Brendan down at the boxing club. He’s on at 3.30 minutes in.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/big-fat-gypsy-weddings/4od#3290968

This is what he says:

I think the police hate us …. over being a Traveller.
I don’t really bother about them either. I hate the police, and they hate me, but that’s OK.
A Traveller is only doing his job and the police are chasing us.
I think that’s bang out of order.
I think we should give Travellers a chance in life. Give us a chance of doing things.

And then he tells of doing his work in trees, scrap, tarmacing ”anything like that” and then says he does his ”own little things too. To make money”.
And you have to wonder if he means the things that have been landing him in prison.
He does of course, and he’s just a wide boy laughing at the wider society, and saying it’s all about the racism of the police and the society who won’t give people like him a chance.
He even ”jokes” when asked if he’s ever worked in an office (stupid question) that ”No – I rob the office”.

102. Dick the Prick

@Pagar & Chaise – sorry, really late, no I didn’t mean the mums and grandmothers, in probability I meant the lads. The mums etc keep the lads in check but it is the lads who take the piss.

103. Russel Harland

Wind your neck in Joe, you come across as one of those people that sit watching tv eating sticky toffee pudding!!!

104. Chaise Guevara

@ 100 TONE

“Where do you stand on the ‘problem’ of induction? Do you hold that it is irrational to infer that ‘All x’s are F’ from ‘This x is F’, ‘This x is F’, ‘This x is F’…etc, etc?”

Yes, definitely.

“If so, is there a point, in theory or practice, where you would hold that you had gathered enough instances of x’s as F to justify the inference to ‘All x’s are F’?”

Like any uncertain statement of fact, it’s a probability thing. Each x you see that is F (without seeing any x’s that are non-F) raises your estimate of the odds of all x’s being F.

As far as I can see, there’s only two ways you could be certain about the statement “all x’s are F” being true. One is if you knew for a fact that you had seen every x and they were all definitely F. The other is if you defined “x” as including the quality “F”, but then it’s tautology anyway.

“Or is it that you have no problem with induction per se but rather hold it immoral to make this inductive inference when the x’s are a social or racial group?”

No – the same rules of induction apply, and applying reason is never in itself immoral. However, I’m more likely to object to a fallacious generalisation when it’s designed to smear innocent people. If someone said “all dogs have four legs”, correcting them would probably seem like needless pedantry assuming we weren’t discussing rationality, statistics and things of that kidney.

Anyone watching tonight’s show? It’s about the children’s schooling and how many of them are encouraged not to go. One father says that they don’t need anything after 12 or 13. I don’t think that anyone can say this is all biased. It looks like a fair representation of everyday reality.


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  40. Sam Mgbele

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  41. Ed Kelly

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  42. Ciarán Harkness

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  43. Paul Trembath

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  44. louise renfrew

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  45. Notenuffluv

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  46. Geoff White

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  47. Janet Graham

    "Objectifying an entire ethnic group for the sake of light entertainment." Great piece on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. http://t.co/ONslyGhM

  48. Gemma Fountain

    Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier. More Racist. | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/NWTUmIJz via @libcon

  49. Spoony Bard

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  50. Seema Nanda

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  51. Janet Graham

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  60. Chris Spyrou

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  61. Simon Collister

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  62. roser beneito

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  66. brightconnections

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/02/19/bigger-fatter-gypsier-more-racist/

  67. brightconnections

    Paul Bright
    ?008 in Germany
    Queen to Gatchina
    Medvedev=RN=Backup=Ready
    Like ·  · See Friendship · a few seconds ago · …http://t.co/OLmqot9a

  68. Violet M P Cannon

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