Anorak News | Mitcham landlord seeks tenant “not from India, Africa or Pakistan”: racism in action

Mitcham landlord seeks tenant “not from India, Africa or Pakistan”: racism in action

by | 1st, September 2012

THE advert in the window of Bineet Newsagent’s on Upper Green East, Mitcham, advertises a room for rent. The offer is open to anyone who is not from “India, Pakistan, Africa and Etc.” The room is only available to “clean” East Europeans who are “hard working”.So says the advert in the window of a shop owned by Asians. Business is business – the advert pulls in £1 for a one week display. The shop’s owners are not bothered by it.

The local newspaper says it called the advertiser, who told them:

“It is not racist. We want to live with other eastern European people and I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If you don’t like it, don’t call me, it’s simple. I’ve seen many other ads like this so it’s normal.”

The paper then finds a Mr Iyabode Animashaun, 64, who lives in Mitcham. He says: “It’s appalling. I find it offensive.”

Some of the comments on the paper’s site are more illuminating than the ad:

because you need to be so narrow minded to publish such a pointless and provocative article.
This is not racism !
It says “a room for a working East European couple”.
It does not “banned” Indian, Pakistan and African only !!!!!
It also specified that unemployed and students should not apply.
Then people are reading in between the lines again.
And what if a landlord is being selective ? It is his property after all !
It could also say :
No Pregnant woman.
No children.
No pets.
No bicycle.
No cheque payments.
No musicians.
No smokers.
No alteration to decoration……….

Another adds:

There are adverts in shops in Sutton that specify that they only want people who speak certain languages but this has not been in the guardian???? Is it not up to the person who owns the property who they rent it to not a matter for the police to govern tenancies/rental agreements/adverts

Is it worthy of debate? There is so little public racism in society that an advert banning Indians “etc.” stands out, challenging our national morality as anti-racists united by a cause. The East Europeans who posted the advert are not with the programme that turns every opinion into a racist act. The advert looks like prejudice, a preference, irrational or not, for one group over another. But the State wants us to be bound by anti-racism. So, the police get involved:

Police confirmed such an advertisement could fall foul of legislation under the Public Order Act if its content causes harassment, alarm or distress and said they would follow-up on the report.

The advert is far removed from the institutionalised racism that barred and sought to criminalise immigrants between the 1950s and 1980s. But it an cause distress. The Macpherson report that followed the botched investagion into the murder of Stephen Lawrence redefined racism:

[Racism] can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

You can be guilty of racism without being a racist. How’s that for progress? Anyone want to explain that to the East Europeans..?

Posted: 1st, September 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink