Yesterday, the Essex Lion.
If you missed it a lion was reported loose in North Essex. Cue massive police presence, helicopters, thermal imaging, journalism gone wild and inevitable stereotyping of Essex.
Now I’m from Essex, North Essex, not far from where the lion was purported to be, born and raised. I don’t conform to those stereotypes. Most people I know don’t conform to them. The people who do tend to be from the London overspill part of South Essex and from London overspill generally, or if you watch Channel 4’s “Come Dine With Me” everywhere. To apply those stereotypes to the rest of Essex is like applying stereotypes based on Summerhill and Ballymun to the rest of Dublin; Incorrect and deliberately offensive.
Over the last few weeks there have been a few offence taking incidents from the Irish, the Daily Telegraph incorrectly said that Katie Taylor is British, cue massive Facebook and Social media hysteria and a quite honest apology from the Daily Telegraph which did little to allay the hysteria. Daly Thompson suggested that someone who had a tattoo that spelt “Olympics” incorrectly was Irish cued similar hysteria. An Aussie journalist implied that the Irish were synonymous with drinking … again with the hysteria already.
So you stereotype the Irish or you play with the Irish stereotype and all hell breaks out, but the Irish stereotyping Essex is apparently quite alright, which seems rather hypocritical.
So I took offence, deliberately, much as the Irish did when faced with the stereotyping described above.
Needless to say it didn’t go down well.
“Get a life”
“Lighten up a bit”
“Get a sense of humour”
When it comes to stereotyping of my great County I do find it rather tedious, I tend to ignore it. Stereotyping like this is pointless and childish and comes from the same minds that give us ordinary racial, religious and other cultural stereotyping and bigotry. I reserve the right, as always, to dismiss pointless, childish, bigots. The Irish people who took this route can just be considered Stupid Micks. Those who didn’t aren’t. Can I say that?
If not, why not?
Anyway, pause for thought. If you dislike stereotyping against your own why do you think it’s okay to do it against others?
The lion got away.