SSi Forum

'Modern Wales is multicultural and belongs to everyone'


#41

Maybe its just a good example of someone prepared to try to learn and to integrate.


#42

Ah, now that’s interesting, because while an ‘oh, look - a black man is capable of learning Welsh too!’ story would make me cringe, this one didn’t. Probably because the doctor involved came to my attention via this item: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-37296678, which is specifically about whether immigrants to Wales have enough opportunity to learn Welsh (not whether they’re willing or able to).

That’s a very relevant and important issue, because it’s become a bit of a national sport in the UK to have a go at ‘all these immigrants who refuse to speak English’ (and it always has been about English when I’ve heard it). Though in reality, in the experiences of the people I know who work with ‘all these immigrants’ (in England, I’m not sure what the situation is in Wales), there’s a massive shortage of ESOL, or EAL courses (or whatever it is they’re calling English courses for people who aren’t first language speakers this week). People who migrate to Britain generally want to speak English - they’d be daft not to, and a large proportion of them already do (and often several other languages as well).

So when I saw this article about whether there’s enough opportunity for migrants to Wales to learn Welsh, I thought it was a timely piece, positive and nicely presented.

Of course, you’re right that there’s a good chance that some people have seen this guy as a bit of a novelty, and he laughs a lot, which people find unthreatening (that’s not a criticism of him, btw, I like a laugh, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy), so I expect clips of him have been banded about a fair bit. But people probably also see it as a welcome and much-needed positive story about migrants that they’d like to share.

It’s never simple, is it? There are lots of things going on at the same time, and sometimes the original story gets lost or diluted and you’re just left with clips of a man from Barbados speaking Welsh with no context at all.


#43

Yes, that is a nice article. Maybe I was a bit oversensitised last night after this thread yesterday. I’m sure I’ve seen clips of that guy before though - tend to notice how he keeps popping up. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy though, charwae teg iddo!

(Now I really mustn’t check the forum all afternoon, have work to do! :slight_smile: )


#44

Your link goes to the entire timeline - I think this is the individual post you mean:


#45

Exactly. I have huge misgivings about the structures, politics and economics of the apparatus of the EU. Yet I voted remain, simply because I have even less trust in the Westminster government to sort anything out properly, especially such a thing as leaving the EU particularly with no plan apart from reacting to events.
It’s just so, well, odd isn’t it. I grew up with this idea of Britishness (maybe this was merely our family) being about openness and freedom and not forcing anyone to do anything, if there was such a thing as ‘British values’ and forget about British history for the now. This sense of Britishness is about not conforming. This sense of Britishness would refuse to speak English for a “citizenship test” that forced people into the language. To me anyone who passes the UK citizenship test cannot by definition be British, which is so so stupid. why should migrants pass a test every native British person should fail? This new Brexiteer thing (meaning not the sensible people who voted for Brexit) just seems such a radical change in cultural values to me.
I also fail the Tebbit test, for precisely this reason (and that Wales is forgotten about in the England [and Wales] cricket team, so have always rooted for the W Indies). I do wonder if this is just a Welsh attitude? my many English friends are probably far far from typical


#46

Hope you don’t mind, but I’m nicking this for my coursework - giving a presentation on Privilege next week (eek!) and the blindness metaphor is perfect. Thank you.


#47

I disagree that it’s a non-story. Whilst we were on bootcamp everybody we met were so so impressed that, not only were we learning Welsh, but we were a group that included someone from Australia, Germany, Slovenia, and Holland. We also had a non-caucasian, and that was less of a talking point. It was not their race, it was their country of origin that amazed them. I have had people comment positively on the fact that I come from Plymouth and am learning Welsh. Being from Plymouth is very rarely remarkable! It becomes more so when you learn Welsh.

The story here is that someone from abroad has made the effort to become eitha rhugl in a language they do not need in the eyes of so many.


#48

Hah! I attended Glantaf. It was over ten years ago, so I doubt I’d recognise many current staff. I hope the Glantaf-Plasmawr rivalry is still going :wink:


#49

Back when I was in primary school in Cardiff (ooh, must be fifteen years back) I read an English-language book called ‘The Last Welsh Summer’. It was about a black Welsh girl, and it was about how her identity as a Welsh girl was constantly being challenged by her peers because she was black. It’s stayed with me because it was a vision of Welsh identity I hadn’t come across in literature before (or since, for that matter).


#50

Watching him on Ward Plant today is inspirational. He’s using the language of his patients, mistakes and all. It’s fantastic!

After watching him I will use my Welsh more and more at work.


#51

watched it as well and what a role model and I wasn’t thinking, welsh culture, welsh language or anything multicultural etc, just a role model in general.


#52

Britain has been multicultural arguably since the ice ages…and Wales has been multicultural for a millenia at least…just look at all the dialects and different customs in parts of Cymru for example!


#53

It helps keep the forum a friendly place if we all practise the (not always easy) skill of referring to ideas rather than people - so, for example:

‘The idea that multiculturalism is a post-WW2 phenomenon doesn’t take account of the wide range of cultures blended here over the previous 1000 years and more’

is easier for people to engage with than comments about ‘people ignorant of history’ or ‘cultural snobs’ which is a bit like an insult in advance for anyone who wants to query your points.


#54

I fancied reading that, but sadly can’t find it online. Shame!


#55

Apologies Ive removed the opinion.

Ive never thought being ignorant is a necessarily bad thing…in my science work we regularly admit we are terribly terribly ignorant of the existence we live in.

Also I apologise about using the term “cultural snob” - a more inapt thing to say…Ive just met quite a lot of people who sneer down on the established multiculturalism here (so Ive got too emotional there)… I used too harsh a phrase maybe…

However I do respect their right to feel that, just pointing out its there.“this culture inherently better” mindset is a bit close minded when you do not see the full picture (imho)


#56

I was writing a response about multiculturalism and Vikings and the like, but since you’ve removed your original post, I won’t quote it. Probably just as well, it was far too long and I was going off on a tangent. But yes! I agree, Wales is and always has been multicultural. Everywhere has. That’s the thing about culture, isn’t it? Everyone has it, and cultures have been clashing and mixing and mingling and birthing new cultures for ever.

At the risk of getting all wordy and semantic, your comment highlights the important distinction between ‘multicultural’ and ‘multiracial’. They’re very different things, and ‘equality’ is something else again. It’s complicated by the fact that ‘race’ isn’t actually a real thing with scientific basis, so it’s difficult to define exactly who we’re talking about, and yet we’ve constructed a society which works to exclude and oppress certain groups along lines of colour, ethnicity and country of origin in very real (and complex) ways.

By the way, black people have been in Wales and the UK for a heck of a long time as well, and we were knocking about here since at least Roman times, and we’re very much a part of Wales and Welshness, so the point goes beyond Vikings - multiculturalism and diversity are nothing very new (though the scale of it is a post WW2 phenomenon). My concern here is how we avoid narrow definitions of what Welsh culture and ‘Welshness’ is, and keep it alive without excluding people who could develop it and grow it and… well, keep it alive. And how the promotion and protection of the Welsh language buys into that and includes everyone in Wales.


#57

Diolch, Brynle… :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree ignorance (and our recognition of it in ourselves!) is very important - easier for people to call themselves ignorant than to hear it from others, though…:wink:

I think you’re absolutely right that one of the key problems with arguments against ‘multiculturalism’ is how hard it is to find any legitimate examples of monoculturalism at anything resembling the level of a nation state.


#58

Its a great topic to raise, I just got emotionally triggerred sorry hides :smiley:


#59

Hei Isata indeed…Cardiff has the oldest “black” community in Britain…and one of the oldest in Europe…from the 1600s

I feel the issue in Wales, is that not enough culture is being produced…most culture I see made here to me is admittedly more “global English with no Welsh influence”…and I am not talking about Manic street preachers or Stereophonics…they are very of their valley region - very influenced locally…with a cross over with global rock :slight_smile:


#60

(first things first, I haven’t had time to read all the above comments so sorry if this has been mentioned already!)

I watched an interesting programme on iPlayer (s4c) about religion in Wales. It touches on multiculturalism and ‘Welshness’. The presenter found Welsh speakers in most of the religious communities he spoke to if I recall correctly. I remember the two Muslim girls he interviewed (they went to my other half’s (Welsh language) school in Cardiff) talking about how they feel equally Muslim and Welsh.

It was called Cymru: Dal i gredu?, more information here (http://www.s4c.cymru/caban/?p=11952&lang=en) but I can’t find it on iPlayer any more.