For my first post here at Bock Central, I’ve chosen an odd little tale that should be right up your alley, so to speak. Ethnic relations, social gaffes, and offensive comments. Perfect.
So this is how it goes.
A friend of mine got married recently and was looking to rent a house in Limerick. So he began the generally tedious process of viewing various properties.
One particular location was a two-bedroom affair (sounds athletic, eh?) with a garden. At the end of the garden stood a granny flat, about which the estate agent has this to say:
‘It’s already rented and has its own entrance. You just share the garden.’
‘They’re Pakistanis. Now, I only mention it because some people might have a problem with that. I’m just saying.’
Awkward silence. My friend couldn’t think of a valid response. The agent had no follow up observation. So more silence followed until,
‘Aaaaand this is the kitchen…’
This story intrigued me because, although granted the agent’s statement is potentially ‘racist’ or at least politically incorrect, it also happens to be quite true. Some people do have a problem with that.
Should the agent have said nothing? Perhaps; but then he might have unknowingly subjected his Pakistani renters to a racist neighbour, who might then be furious with the agent for not pointing this out in the first place.
Should he really want to rent to a racist anyway? But wouldn’t denying the house to a racist be, in effect, a kind of discrimination? Do estate agents have the right to act as thought police?
(On a parenthetical note: I’m always confused by people who claim they are ‘just saying’ something. As opposed to what? Meaning it? Hitting you? I’m baffled.)