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Deleted by the Guardian

I have never… ever… heard a person of Pakistani or Arab origins called ‘Asian’ in the UK other than in the mainstream media. Never. Not even once.

It is a measure of how disconnected the media is from the society it ‘serves’. Come to think of it, that was precisely why I started blogging in November 2001.

– A comment by me deleted by the Guardian here. I think that is very telling.

61 comments to Deleted by the Guardian

  • Truth is rarer than unicorns

    That comments is completely tame compared to many that get passed on the Grauniad site, so yes, clearly it “touches a nerve”. And that’s great to know, because to hurt your enemies, you need to know their weak points. And this is clearly one of them.

  • They never get called Asian in other countries, either.

  • Sean McCartan

    Maybe its a generational thing. I heard the generic term ‘Asian’ a lot , growing up , and everyone knew it to mean , generally , people from Pakistan , rather than Canton or Hong Kong. What’s really interesting is that other Asian groups are not at all keen on the term , feeling it isn’t nearly precise enough

    . http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18092605

  • Jim

    I have to admit that as club cricketer you hear the term Asian a lot in describing opposition cricketers from the sub continent, predominantly ones from Pakistan, though it would encompass cricketers from all the subcontinental cricket playing nations, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In fact I’d say that Asion now means subcontinental, and other ‘asian’ races are accorded their own nation ‘He’s Chinese’, ‘He married a Filipino’, ‘She’s Japanese’ etc etc.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Among my acquaintance the more working class white people tend to say “Pakistani” to mean anyone from the Indian subcontinent. I don’t imagine this usage pleases people from India or Bangladesh who hear it, but that’s my experience. Diminishingly, the older and less politically aware among them sometimes also use the term “Paki” in a non-hostile way to describe the same ethnic group. In contrast, the younger people among the less educated people I meet would generally use “Paki” as racial insult. I do not prolong association with people who regularly use racial insults, so I can’t give much more detail than that.

    The middle class people I speak to do fairly often use “Asian” to mean anyone from the Indian subcontinent, either as a neutral shortcut or in a deliberately PC way. So my experience differs from Perry’s. Mind you, I would guess that my circle of acquaintance probably skews much more towards public sector employees, particularly teachers, than Perry’s circle of acquaintance does. It could be a career-ending move for a teacher to depart in public from PC usage.

    I don’t think I have ever spoken to anyone outside trusted friends and family about the current series of child abuse scandals of which Rotherham is just the latest, though I have read a great deal online. Online for a writer to use the term “Asian” to describe the perpetrators is declaration that the writer is on the side of political correctness. The evasion attracts hostility, as my post below said.

  • Michael Jennings

    “Asian” is a word I certainly have heard used about people from the Indian subcontinent, and I have heard people from the Indian subcontinent used it to describe themselves. In the 1990s, at least, the people who I remember doing so were diaspora Indians of Hindu or Sikh origins rather than Pakistanis or Muslims, though. At the time, it certainly did not imply anything about religion, but it did imply something about ethnic origins. It would never have been used to refer to someone of Arabic origins. (Coming from Australia – where the word “Asian” is used usually to refer to someone from East Asia – this initially seemed weird to me).

    I think this type of use is now less common than it used to be, though, possibly because the media uses the word with connotations it did not always have and it has some slightly perjorative aspects it maybe did not have before. The Hindi/Urdu derived slang word “desi” seems to have become more common – at least for self-description.

  • Michael Jennings

    When I was a child in Australia, “Paki” meant someone from Pakistan – the most common Pakistanis encountered being ones playing cricket. It was completely non-perjorative, and is consistent with the way Australians abbreviate nouns in general. (Breakfast becomes brekkie. The afternoon becomes he arvo). It may not be quite such an innocent word there today, but it is certainly much less offensive than in the UK.

  • hennesli

    I too have heard plenty of people describe Pakistanis and Indians as Asian, though personally when someone says ‘Asia’ the far east rather than the middle east comes to mind.

    I am not sure why the original comment was deleted on cif, seems pretty innocuous to me, even if false.

  • I suppose it depends on the context and environment. If you look up “Asian girls pics” on the internet, I guarantee you will not find any Indian or Pakistani photos.

  • Rob

    The irony is that by describing Pakistanis as ‘Asian’ to obfuscate and not offend them, the BBC et all have instead offended about two billion other people from that continent.

  • Rob

    Judging by the comments, the circle of True Believers is getting smaller and smaller while the “Daily Mail” ‘trolls’, as the coven desperately slander them, grow ever more numerous and bold.

  • I am not sure why the original comment was deleted on cif, seems pretty innocuous to me, even if false.

    How can it be ‘false’ when I am saying what *my* experience is? I live next door to someone from India and I have never heard him use the term to mean someone from the Indian sub-continent, but then he is a polo-playing high flyer. As Natalie says, perhaps it indicates I know very few people who are teachers or public sector, but the fact is in my City-and-Commerce circles… no one calls a person from Pakistan “Asian”, nor did they when I was growing up. They call someone from Pakistan a Pakistani.

    Asian typically means Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai… it does not mean Pakistani to most people.

  • ResidentAlien

    In urban Yorkshire in the 90s the locals referred to the immigrants from Pakistan as “Pakis” and we students and lecturers made an effort to say “Asians.” It seemed to be more accurate simply because many of the first generation immigrants were from Kashmir and did not necessarily identify as Pakistanis.

  • pst314

    So comment is not free after all?

  • George Orwell

    No, comment is free. But some comments are more free than others.

  • No, comment is free. But some comments are more free than others.

    Thread winner :-D

  • Paul Marks

    Interesting point.

    As for the Guardian.

    When a UKIP candidate explained that when he suggested that Mr “Lenny” Henry might prefer living in a majority black country he was protesting against the RACISM of Mr Henry (Mr Henry had demanded that people be employed in the entertainment industry on the basis of the colour-of-their-skin), the Guardian just reported that the UKIP candidate “repeated his racism”.

    To the Guardian (like the university crowd – who produce things like the Guardian) a black person is (by definition) incapable of racism.

    And so is an “Asian”.

    The taxpayer pays for this stuff to be taught – and the best students (the hardest working) absorb it the most.

  • Mr Ed

    The taxpayer pays for this stuff to be taught – and the best students (the hardest working) absorb it the most.

    Not in the hard sciences.

  • Ivan D

    The BBC has an appeal system. I once had a comment rejected because the editors were worried that it was potentially libellous. I asked why,they kindly explained and accepted a modified comment. I would love to read The Guardian’s reasons for rejecting this comment. Can you appeal or request clarification?

  • llamas

    In south London in the 60s and 70s, the term ‘Paki’ constituted fighting words – I guess not-surprisingly, considering the implications of the associated term ‘Paki-bashing’. I had a schoolfellow whose father was an Indian officer on a secondment, and I recall he had one or two quite-serious encounters as a result of the use of this term. He didn’t care for it at all. Funnily enough, the time that he was caught fighting about this by a master, he got off pretty lightly while his antagonist got a royal rollocking for using such a term.

    I suspect that the term ‘Asian’ in the UK as a generic for anyone from the Indian sub-continent may have its roots in the term used for those poor unfortunates of this ancestry that were expelled from Uganda by the (Muslim) dictator Idi Amin – ‘Ugandan Asians’.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    At one time, having your books banned in Boston was a way of guaranteeing publicity, and thus was sought after. How many ‘deleted by the Guardian’ comments do you need to earn brownie points in Samizdata?

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    These ‘dissenting from Guardian line’ could be called the Disguards. Perry just earned one- how many others out there?

  • Laird

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but I can’t find the word “asian” anywhere in this article, and I’ve read it through twice and then did a Word search of it. Is the link taking me to the wrong article, or did I somehow miss the word, or did Perry’s deleted comment cause the Guardian to retroactively edit the article?

  • Regional

    As mentioned before we Strayans like to brieveiate, so we refer to most people as cunts without prejudice.

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    Please excuse Reg, his first name is Dick.

  • Regional

    Nick,
    My second name is Head.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Nick (natural genius) Gray @ August 28, 2014 at 2:40 am:

    Please excuse Reg, his first name is Dick.

    Regional @ August 28, 2014 at 4:28 am:

    Nick, My second name is Head.

    Are you by any chance related to the Associate Attorney General of New Hampshire?

  • Maggie K.

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but I can’t find the word “asian” anywhere in this article, and I’ve read it through twice and then did a Word search of it. Is the link taking me to the wrong article, or did I somehow miss the word, or did Perry’s deleted comment cause the Guardian to retroactively edit the article?

    The article changed quite a bit after publishing but I doubt it was just one comment that made them change anything. I had a comment deleted too and I don;t think I’ve ever seen an article there with so many “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.” ever before on a single article.

    The Guardian Pick comment is:

    Perpetrators of abuse are members of society that come from all walks of life, all nationalities and creeds. How many members of society have known or know of a child that is being abused and do nothing about it. If you want to live in a civilised society then society has to take collective responsibility for their actions, otherwise it is just a veneer. It is the people that create and choose what kind of a society they want to be. Maybe some soul searching is in order.

    and the reply, not yet deleted, is:

    Nice try but the report has made very clear who the perpetrators were in this tragedy as well as in Oxford, Rochdale etc. We are talking about grooming gangs carrying out rape on an almost industrial scale, not individuals who may abuse other family members. It’s exactly this sort of denial which has resulted in this catastrophe.

  • Mr Ed

    Maggie K. is spot on. That Pick comment is the sort of mind-bending that socialists love. If we are collectively responsible, which we have to be apparently to be in a ‘civilised society‘, then the Queen Mother was responsible for any abuse anywhere in the UK in 2001 as much as any perpetrator.

    What this all boils down to is one of the crackpot psychoanalyst character Dr Heinz Kiosk in the Peter Simple column, shouting ‘We are all guilty‘, but that was satire, this is real life.

  • Jim

    The Peter Simple column wasn’t satire, it was an accurate prediction of the future.

  • R Dawes

    I’ve had in the back my mind for a little while now this image (“mental video?”) of a news desk anchor in the UK, who just happens to be of Chinese extraction, raising her hands and doing the scare-quotes motions with her fingers while saying “Asians” in circumstances such as these.

    How much fur would fly over that, mewonders?

    And good on her, should such a thing ever transpire. Let it be so, one day!

  • Michael Jennings

    I suspect that the term ‘Asian’ in the UK as a generic for anyone from the Indian sub-continent may have its roots in the term used for those poor unfortunates of this ancestry that were expelled from Uganda by the (Muslim) dictator Idi Amin – ‘Ugandan Asians’.
    Some, but not all, of the “diaspora Indians of Hindu or Sikh origins” that I was referring to above were such people, yes. A lot of them found the UK a fertile environment in which to prosper, thankfully.

  • Laird

    “If you want to live in a civilised society then society has to take collective responsibility for their actions.”

    If everyone is responsible then no one is responsible. This is garden-variety blame-shifting from the left. The truth is, “society” writ large isn’t responsible, the guilty individuals (both the perpetrators of the crimes and the social workers and government officials who stood by and did nothing) are responsible. But the left bears responsibility for being enablers of this sort of travesty. It you want to assign collective blame it belongs solely to the left.

  • Paul Marks

    Laird – agreed.

    Yet they refuse to take responsibility.

    Witness – the Police C. of the area (who was up to his neck in all this in his previous job) still refusing to resign.

  • Mr Ed

    I wonder if the process of Parliamentary impeachment might be revived to remove the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. It is a statutory post but why should Parliament not flex its flabby muscles and revive this ancient device?

    Oh, hang on, that would suggest that people are paid vast salaries in the public sector in order to take responsibility.

  • bloke in spain

    Re the hostility of the word Paki: The Pakistan High Commisssioner’s limo spent years trundling around London (may well do for all I know) with the registration plate PAK1

  • Mr Ed

    I thought that ‘Pakistan’ was chosen in 1947 for the new state of Greater Punjab and other bits of India nearby as it meant ‘Land of the Pure’, so that term derived from it is a term of abuse meaning ‘Pure’, and by implication, those outside it or not of it are the ‘impure’, so the term ‘Pakistan’ insults the rest of humanity as the impure.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Just repost the comment, but add something about it being a plot engineered by the Jews. Know your audience.

  • ZZMike

    This is just the most recent in the signs that Formerly Great Britain is – and has been – spiraling out of control. They are assuming the Beta (or Delta, or Omega) dog posture before the Alpha, apparently afraid to make any sort of waves.

    This is not the same Britain that fought the Germans in WW II. Montgomery, Churchill, and even Nelson would weep to see what has become of “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”.

  • I went to school in England. I never heard “Asian” to mean subcontinentals either, until that first decade of the 2000s. We had many *other* names for them, mostly not PC.

    Sometimes it was “South Asian”.

    Come to think of it, we didn’t use “Asian” much at all. Even Chinese were “Orientals”.

  • Mike H

    The Guardian is such a f-ing joke.

  • max

    PAKISTAN comes from Punjab Afghania Kashmir Iran Sindh Tukharistan Afghanistan balochistaN. A British student group (Cambridge?) with too much time on their hands came up with the name. The ‘land of the pure’ translation is pretty funny though, because ‘Paak’ is ‘pure’ in Urdu, and ‘stan’ is ‘country’ in Hindi so it takes two languages to get that translation (not that it stopped the students from doing it).

  • Mark

    Every third post has been deleted by that “newspaper.”
    Depressing to watch this once proud culture commit suicide like this. Will the real brits be able to rally and save the motherland in time? Or has that truly been bred out of the stock over there?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    max,

    because ‘Paak’ is ‘pure’ in Urdu, and ‘stan’ is ‘country’ in Hindi so it takes two languages to get that translation

    My understanding was that spoken Urdu and Hindi are just different registers of the same language, Hindustani.

  • I went to school in England. I never heard “Asian” to mean subcontinentals either, until that first decade of the 2000s. We had many *other* names for them, mostly not PC.

    Yup, same here. It is a pretty recent euphemism.

    Come to think of it, we didn’t use “Asian” much at all. Even Chinese were “Orientals”.

    Likewise.

  • William Mcgill

    ….we students and lecturers made an effort to say “Asians.”

    QED.

  • AzA

    Noticed this a long time ago too. A couple of years ago, the New York Times had an article about predatory “Asian” youths roaming the streets of Athens.

    In literally any other context, “Asian” refers to east Asians. Only in media-land does it get used that way.

    I certainly hope Athens survives the plague of marauding Korean teenagers.

  • Jeff Browne

    It extends further than using “Asians” to describe people from the sub-continent. The UK is the first and only place I’ve heard persons originating from the Caribbean called “Caribbeans” or “African-Caribbeans”. I’m originally from the Caribbean and we refer to each other as West Indians or by the specific island of origin; never as “Caribbeans”.

  • RebeccaH

    In the States, Arabs are usually referred to as Arabs or Middle Easterners, never Asians. That’s reserved for people from the Far East. Indians and Pakistanis might be called “South Asians” occasionally, but are usually referred to by their country of origin, or ethnic heritage. In painfully politically correct America, it’s bad form not to be exquisitely precise.

  • RebeccaH, in the UK the PC folks take the opposite approach. The way PC speak deals with such things is rather like that of sewerage engineers: the solution is dilution.

  • Eric Blair

    I have neighbors who are immigrants from Laos, and they refer to themselves as either Lao or Asian, depending on the situation. Love their barbeques, nothing but beer and meat.

    But I’ve seen “Asian Variety Show” on local TV that is a lot of Indian cinema musical numbers, so go figure.

  • ZZMike

    For many years, it was called “The Grauniad”, because of its many spelling errors. (Do a web search for Grauniad)

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Usually my attitude is that only n00bs whine about the mods. But even I notice how uncomfortable the Guardian is with the Rotherham story. They will barely allow any comments, have barely posted any commentary or even news on it.

  • Quite so SI, I rarely care if I get a comment deleted, but when I saw the sheer number of comments getting Deep Sixed, I sensed this was one of those ‘special moments’ and felt the need to draw attention to it, hahaha

  • widmerpool

    This is extremely surprising to me. Growing up in Peterborough and Birmingham in the 80s to early 90s in schools that were around 30% immigrant, all Indian subcontinent people were called Asians. Southeast Asians were mostly called Orientals.

  • Well I grew up in London and Dover in the 70’s and 80’s and we called Pakistanis Pakis, Chinese Chinese, Sikhs Sikh, Koreans Koreans, Japanese Japs and Indians Indians.

  • richard40

    If they must say Asian, at least narrow it by saying Asian Muslims, since I don’t know of many Asian Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and other Asians involved in this child rape mess.

  • MD

    How about “Latinos” (a popular PC replacement for Hispanics–well, at least stateside)?
    Seems to have rather… interesting origins:
    http://thefederalist.com/2014/08/29/the-making-of-latinos/

  • That’s a great article, MD – thanks.

  • […] И сейчас пресса называет насильников «азиатами», хотя никого кроме пакистанцев среди них не было. http://www.samizdata.net/2014/08/deleted-by-the-guardian/ […]

  • Julie near Chicago

    No. There were Chicanos, then there were Latinos, now there are Hispanics. It may be that there Latinos before there were Chicanos; it may be that Hispanics are becoming Latino again, although the only one I’ve heard of in the last 15 years or so is the wondrous Wise Latina who occupies a seat on the Supreme Court.

    Further deponent sayeth not, at least on the issue of persons of Central and South American and Puerto Rican issue.

    Asians. Asians?? There Arabs, persons from the Middle East or “Near East,” Turks, Israelis, Indians, Hindus, Pakistanis (occasionally), and Orientals (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, possibly Vietnamese). If you come from the ‘Stans, say, or Bangladesh, I guess you are a person without country AND without a continent.

    Or so it used to be, within 3000 miles or so of Chicago.

    Nowadays, there are lots of Asians. Nobody seems to discuss Orientals anymore at all.