Asalaam Alaikum/Hi all
I was helping a client with a benefit appeal a few days ago and at the end of the appointment she turns rounds and says I have another question totally unrelated to this. So I was expecting to be asked about some other problem she may have.
The question was, ‘Are you English?’
In all honesty that question is beginning to do my head in. What does it matter if I am English, British, Pakistani, Indian, Polish or even an alien from outer space. I am helping you. Will it make a difference if I am not English? Will it make a difference that I am Muslim (yes the dreaded M word – had a rant about that on twitter the other day too!)
I know she did not mean anything by it but the question has recently begun to annoy me. I had initially spoken to her on the phone to make the appointment. So I think she was just surprised when she saw me as my spoken English is very good and her comment was you would never have been able to tell on the phone.
Ummmm tell what??! Considering that I am actually British, tell what?? That I have brown skin?? That I wear traditional pakistani clothes to work? (Shalwar Kameez). Just because I am brown and do not wear western clothes does not mean I cannot speak English very well.
Having said that it is not the first time clients have commented on how good my spoken English is. But I wish they wouldn’t. They wouldn’t say it to one of my ‘white’ colleagues now would they?
However, having said that, one of my ‘brown’ friends used to say I sounded posh on the phone!!
I also have been likened to a coconut. Have never known whether to be offended by that or not………
For those not familiar with the term: Coconut= Brown on the outside and white on the inside