Saturday 2 November 2013

Pork-Pie Packing

Rod Liddle has written a characteristically funny piece for the Spectator about his experience of wearing a burka in Canterbury - and, yes, you read that correctly. 

He then proceeds to make a serious point, with relevance to the issue of BBC bias:
All these slightly embarrassing details came back to me when I watched a local BBC documentary on the programme Inside West, which is produced in Bristol but is no less a prisoner of the cringing bien-pensant London mindset than the BBC’s national output. In the edition I saw the team claimed that they had uncovered horrible Islamophobic discrimination in Bristol and linked this, in the intro, to lower levels of employment among youngish Muslim men than among youngish infidel men. What followed was, of course, arrant crap. They sent two similarly aged journos, one dressed normally, the other kitted out in Muslim hat and Muslim beard and Muslim robes, but with identically fabricated CVs, to chase a bunch of jobs and claimed that the disparity which resulted — the infidel got offered more jobs than the Muslim — was evidence of grotesque discrimination. The first job, as I remember, was working in a bar, serving alcoholic drinks. If you ran a bar and someone who seemed to be an observant and pious Muslim came in for a job, you’d have your doubts, wouldn’t you? Uh-oh, I thought, as the documentary unfurled: next it’ll be a post in a pork-pie packing plant, followed by a job as security guard at the Israeli embassy. But in fairness, the next bunch of jobs involved working in supermarkets or driving vans and the result was pretty much the same — the Muslim bloke was dealt with politely and not offered a job. The clean-cut young non-Muslim was, in most cases, hired almost on the spot. But still, but still.
You see, while some regional journo might be forgiven for believing he’s stumbled across a great story, just like Woodward and Bernstein, I think this is less a case of institutionalised Islamophobia than — as one of the Bad Racist Employers actually explained it later — a simple case of employers finding it easier to get on with the bloke who wasn’t dressed in a manner which set him apart from 97 per cent of the population. Because whether we like it or not, appearances matter in job interviews, especially interviews intended to select people who will be dealing with the general public.

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