Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I Guess He Wasn't A Bit Pasty-Faced Then?

Alex Ruffon, 13, from Goonhavern, was travelling on the bus from Newquay Tretherras School on November 8 when the driver made the offensive remark in front of other pupils.
The offensive remark ('dirty little Arab') was addressed to the boy who, it was claimed, was spitting on the floot and picking his nose. He's lucky I wasn't driving!

But, of course, their precious little (mixed race!) darling can do no wrong, and this remark is horrid, horrid racism!
The youngster's stepfather, Matthew Walsh, complained to bus operator Hopley's and said: "They told me that Alex had been badly behaved on the bus, spitting on the floor and picking his nose. She remarked that the driver's comment was not racist but an old Cornish saying, but there's nothing Cornish about it.

"I was very angry that someone acting as a spokesman for a company could be condoning racism."
Condoning it?

Yes, incredible as it sounds, the company aren't caving in and sacking the driver before delivering sacks full of cash to the aggrieved party:
Following an investigation, Cornwall Council wrote to Mr Walsh saying the driver had admitted using the phrase "dirty little Arab".

The letter said reports showed the driver had used it in the past to others, regardless of ethnicity, and was apparently ignorant of its racist connotations.

In a statement to the West Briton Cornwall Council added: "It was entirely inappropriate for the driver to use such language, both the driver and operator have received a formal warning and been instructed that use of such language will not be tolerated in the future."
Refreshing, eh?

Of course, there are those that won't let this lie, and they aren't all relations of the little hooligan either:
Dean Harvey, a member of the Cornwall Racial Equality Council said the bus company had been naive in its handling of the complaint.

"There needs to be a zero-tolerance to this sort of language. When working with the public you need to be aware, ignorance is no defence. An apology is warranted."
Awwww, diddums! Not that you are rent-seeking here, eh?

I mean, given the racial mix of the West Country, you must be pretty short of things to do in your day-to-day job. What a shame for you no one videoed it, you could have had your own small-scale #Twittermob going in no time!

Comments, as ever, are illuminating.

22 comments:

NickM said...

Actually "Street Arab" is a Victorian term for a sort of urchin so fits the behaviour perfectly.

Holmes Baker Street Irregulars are routine described as such. Especially when they annoy Mrs Hudson. This results in only their boss, Wiggins(?) being allowed upstairs.

Henry Crun said...

"dirty little arab"

Just what my dear sainted mother called me once when she caught me mas... oh never mind

Furor Teutonicus said...

"Filthy arab".

A phrase used by my Great Grandparents, when coming back from the fields full of mud from playing in the puddles in the reindeer pens.

Well know phrase, and with a long history.

Woman on a Raft said...

Cue another song the BBC don't play anymore: A-hab the A-rab

Tattyfalarr said...

Just going to squeeze in here and position myself amongst those whose mother often called them a "dirty little arab".

Always followed by her rummaging for a hankie from the bottom of her handbag (covered in fluff and a bit of decaying polo mint) which she then spat on and wiped all over my face.

Fabulous.

SteveW said...

"There needs to be a zero-tolerance to this sort of behaviour. When using public transport you need to be aware that spitting is not a part of accepted culture in this country, ignorance is no defence. An apology is warranted."

That said, sack the apology and just kick the scruiffy little bugger off the bus.

Surreptitious Evil said...

He could have been being really offensive and suggesting that Alex was a Dundee United supporter?

Angry Exile said...

With apologies to Robert Smith and The Cure:


Driving in my bus
And some kids are in the back
I'm staring down the road
Staring down the track
Staring in the mirror at some little git
I can see his open mouth
And I heard the fucker spit

Just behave
And sit down
I'm the driver
Yer dirty little arab

I can't turn and look away
Or I lose face in front of them
Staring at the floor
Staring at the phlegm
However he's punished
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing

Just behave
And sit down
I'm the driver
Yer dirty little arab

And now I hear his bloody dad
Has gone and dobbed me in
Staring at the boss
Staring at the bin
Staring at my P45
Reflected in the sheen
Of the grollie on the floor
The grollie on the floor

I'm alive
But I'm sacked
Ex bus driver
That fucking little arab

Woodsy42 said...

The story doesn't actually say what mixed race the child was. Could it not be that the child was actually dirty, little and arabic?

subrosa said...

SE stole me comment. :(

Dundee United are known country wide as the Arabs. And I've seen them worse than dirty. Clorty is the word here.

Macheath said...

As a one-time resident of Cornwall (county motto: 'English go home!'), I can confirm that the phrase is one in common use there - particularly in terms of disusting childhood habits.

In fact, the Cornish have a robust attitude to profanity and name-calling; their jokes invariably begin, 'There's this b***er, see, and 'e says to this other b***er ...' (search out Cornish stand-up Jethro for more of the same - unless you are of a nervous disposition).

I do remember a bus driver getting into trouble for referring to a passenger's 'Penryn gob' - the implication being that the inhabitants of the peninsula are so interestingly inbred as to be instantly recognizable by their distinctive facial structure.

Now that's a proper racist insult.

Chalcedon said...

I am sick and tired of all this racism nonsense and the apparent outrage a pretty innofensive remark causes.

Curmudgeon said...

Yes, a common phrase from my childhood too.

johnd2008 said...

Is it not an offence under the local Council Bye-laws to spit on a bus? Why is the child not being prosecuted for the offence? I would not like to travel on a bus covered in spit whichever race it originated from.

dr cromarty said...

I guess my favoured phrases "working like a black" and "person of colour in the fuel store" are out the wincdow now, then, eh?

Given the propensity of Arabs to do a whole host of unpleasant things to each other in recent months I hardly think it an unfair comment by the poor bus driver.

I think he should have told the relevant busybodies to "Go f*** youself, my deario" or whatever the locals say down there.

Bucko said...

Who told the equality council??

(WV = MAMBO Racist to Italiano's)

dr cromarty said...

"Pasty-Faced"

Likw Cornish Pasty. I see what you did there.

Surreptitious Evil said...

I have to apologise and disagree with Subrosa.

Dundee United supporters are known as Arabs.

Dundee United are universally known as "they lost to fucking who?!!"

allcoppedout said...

Pathetic. One might use the word toe-rag thinking of a dirty bit of cloth and be branded racist as besmirching the proud nomads famed in a Barclaycard advert.

JuliaM said...

"Actually "Street Arab" is a Victorian term for a sort of urchin so fits the behaviour perfectly. "

Where would the diversity 'experts' be if they didn't have our rich culture to pick holes in?

"Cue another song the BBC don't play anymore: A-hab the A-rab"

:D

"With apologies to Robert Smith and The Cure"

/applause

"And I've seen them worse than dirty. Clorty is the word here."

Oh, I love regional terms for things! ;0

JuliaM said...

"As a one-time resident of Cornwall (county motto: 'English go home!')..."

SNORK!

"I am sick and tired of all this racism nonsense and the apparent outrage a pretty innofensive remark causes."

I've got a real humdinger coming up at 'Orphans of Liberty' in a few days...

"Likw Cornish Pasty. I see what you did there."

;)

Anonymous said...

Right. Out of interest I've just posted

"They trash our streets and leave the place a midden. Why not use a water cannon on the dirty little arabs."

using a throw away account on Comment is free.

It was posted here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/01/water-cannons-quell-fire-rioters?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

at 9.24 pm. Wonder how long it will last.