Saturday, February 06, 2010

Categories of being

Yesterday in the Somerford grove clinic, a woman was trying to get an apointment for her baby. The clinic secretary was going through the registration procedure with her. She asked the woman for her race. The mother was surprised: European, I am European (she looked Mediterranean, dark, I thought she was Turkish).

"There's no European, there's "white british" "white irish" and "white other". Which one is it?"

The mother was perplexed. "We are from Spain". - So circle the "white other" suggested the NHS staff. And your husband?" "he is also European" insisted the woman. "But his race?" the mother looked across the hall, as if to examine her husband's skin colour "white...? white other?" she said with incredulity.

"And the baby?"

"the baby... but he is born here. So he is "white British"?

Yes, said the NHS.