Racism charges dropped against Danish teacher

by , under Enrique

Charges have been dropped against an Odense, Denmark, head teacher who had reportedly abused a group of Muslim students in class, reports The Copenhagen Post. Far-right anti-Islam Danish People’s Party former head, Pia Kjaersgaard, described the whole affair as ”ridiculous.”

“It’s crazy that the police have to get involved in such a case,” Danish People’s Party former chairwoman Pia Kjærsgaard told Fyens Stiftstidende. “I am so affronted on the head teacher’s behalf that she has to meet at the council, and whatever else might happen, because of this nonsense apologised already. Anyone can say something wrong without thinking sometimes.”

One matter that always surprises me about anti-immigration white politicians like Kjaersgaard is how they play down  racism and discrimination. According to them, these types of social ills are “insignificant” never mind “ridiculous.”

Even so, their constant attacks and labeling of immigrants and Muslims in a negative light is always ”important” and ”sensible.”

So what happened at the Ejerslykkeskolen School in Odense and what did the teacher, Birgitte Sonsby, say? According to The Copenhagen Post, the head teacher of the school burst out saying to a group of students in class: ”I’m so bloody tired of you Muslims running the teaching lessons.”

The teacher later apologized for her outburst.

”A situation arose in the classroom and some children needed to be reprimanded,” said Sonsby. They started laughing at me and I lost control. I said some things that I deeply regret and I apologize.”

Shaib Mansoor, the father of one of the children racially reproached by Sonsby and who reported the head teacher to the police, dropped the charges after the media picked up the story and reported what happened at the school.

”I wanted to establish a debate and make people realize that there is a problem,” he said. ”It is the only way to get the attention of the politicians.”

Despite having dropped the charges, Mansoor expects Sonsby to get sacked from her job.

  1. janneelina

    The issue was certainly poorly and unprofessionally handled by the teacher, of this I think we all agree. However, I would like to know what the people of MT think about this issue in terms of criminality, racism and xenophobia.

    If there was a muslim-only group of students in the class, who repeatedly disrupted teaching, is it racist (or criminal) to address the group as “you muslims”? As a point of comparison, I don’t think that calling a group of male-only students “you boys” can be considered sexist? Is the use religious denominators racist when the context of applying them is negative? What about national or other denominators?

    Which ones of these are ok and which ones are not: “I am fed up with that group of Libyan/Danish/Finnish/American/Muslim/Catholic/Male/Female/Hetero/Homosexual students disrupting education.”?

    • JusticeDemon

      Ignoring the efforts of morally bankrupt politicians to capitalise on this incident, I feel that rather a lot depends on the details of the incident concerned. We don’t know why the head teacher claimed that some students were “ruining” lessons by allegedly disruptive behaviour, which particular lessons were affected, or what the alleged disruption specifically involved. The obvious implication of the outburst is that the disruptive behaviour in the classroom was somehow motivated by the religious identity of the students concerned, but it’s hard to see how this could be the case unless religious issues were specifically raised in the class concerned.

      One very important reason why student disciplinary sanctions are referred to head teachers outside of the classroom context is to ensure that some distance and objectivity is maintained. Evidently the head teacher in this case was unable to satisfy this requirement, and instead chose to inflame a confrontation that had already emerged elsewhere by characterising certain students as collectively disruptive because of their religion.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –One very important reason why student disciplinary sanctions are referred to head teachers outside of the classroom context is to ensure that some distance and objectivity is maintained.

      JD, thank you for giving us a comprehensive view of what happened in Denmark. I couldn’t have said it better.

      I am happy as well as more parents are taking stands and making their opinions known. It’s the only way to deal with a problem in the classroom. The roles of the teachers are important but equally important are the parents.

  2. janneelina

    Good points, and you certainly are correct in saying that we do not know exactly what really took place in the classroom.

    However, while I think that from this it should follow that each party is entitled to the benefit of doubt, you regard the existence of disruptive behaviour as only “alleged” but the implication that the behaviour was motivated by the religious identity as “obvious.”

    I find this quite surprising and somewhat ill-founded reconstruction of what is likely.

    Based on my lengthy experience on classroom behaviour (both as a student and teacher) I would consider it far less likely that there was no real disruptive behaviour by the students behind the allegations by the teacher than that there perhaps was no (intended) implication of there being a religious motivation behind the disruptiveness.

    The teacher certainly lacked finesse and chose her words poorly and I think that this event must have made her realize what implication her choice of words could be interpreted as carrying.

    However, I do not think that it is fair to consider the implication intended any more than it is fair to regard “you boys” expression’s possibly sexist implications as inteded.

    • JusticeDemon

      The allegedly disruptive behaviour occurred in the classroom, not in the head teacher’s office. We have no way of knowing its content or context. For example a fundamentalist student who expresses offence when a biology teacher refers to special creation as a primitive superstition is not thereby behaving disruptively. A home economics teacher who scoffs at traditional Jewish standards of food hygiene can expect to provoke a strong reaction from young Hasidic males of Bar Mitzvah age. An art teacher whose Moslem students defy an instruction to draw the Prophet cannot fairly describe those students as disruptive. We do not know the original cause of the reprimand, nor can we judge whether it was fair. Teachers are not immune to the temptation to abuse their authority.

      We do know from these reports that the head teacher chose to characterise these students as disruptive because of their religious identity. It does not seem unfair to hold that “you Moslems” was used to refer collectively to this group of students as representatives of a larger group. This was not the only possible collective characterisation. It could have been “you youngsters”, “you children from the sink estate”, “you kids from poor families” or many other such expressions. The chosen characterisation in this case was religious.

  3. janneelina

    Actually, we do not know that the teacher characterized the students as disruptive because of their religious identity. We only know that the teacher characterized _the Moslem students in that particular classroom_ as disruptive. This is the extent of what is undisputable. The fact remains that this characterization (of the students as disruptive) may or may not have been accurate and the teacher may or may not have used the religious characterization to refer to Moslem students in general.

    With the existing knowledge, it is fair to make conjectures that one acknowledges as conjectures, but it is unfair to present this conjectures as accurate depictions of reality and, for example, hold that the characterization was used to refer to Moslem students collectively.

    If the characterization was not religious, say, “you boys”, no one would not assume that the teacher referred to “all boys” collectively. That much is obvious. So, why does religious characterization result in the assumption of an “OBVIOUS” collective reference? I was trying to ask this – why religious characterization might be different from gender or nationality – in a very constructive manner, but you chose not to address that part of my post at all.

    • JusticeDemon

      So explain why the head teacher used a specifically religious characterisation. Was it accidental? When was the last time you referred to a group of Finns as You Lestaedians or even You Lutherans, and is it credible to suppose that such a reference could occur by accident?

      Suppose you and your friends are arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in Trafalgar Square and the police officer says “we’re tired of You Finns disturbing the peace”. Do you suppose that this expression only refers to the Finns who happened to be in Trafalgar Square at the time? If so, then how would you express this in Finnish using an expression for “tired” or “tiredness” signifying a condition that can arise from a single incident?

      I should add that the “you” in “you Moslems” is used demonstratively to establish distance between subject and object here.

  4. janneelina

    “So explain why the head teacher used a specifically religious characterisation. Was it accidental?”

    I cannot fathom how it could have been accidental and I have never suggested this. But here is one perfectly plausible explanation you requested:

    All the students (in the particular class room in question) who were being disruptive were Moslems. Additionally, all the Moslem students (in that particular class room) were being disruptive. In such case, referring to the disruptive students as “you Moslems” would have been an accurate depiction of reality (even if not wise and culturally sensitive, as I mentioned already in my first post).

    The difference between your Trafalgar Square analogue is that the police would not have known me and my friends (unlike how the teacher, who knows her students), and therefore they could not have been tired at “US Finns”, and therefore had the police used that expression, it would have had to refer to Finns collectively.

    However, the case is different had me and my friends been in Trafalgar Square every weekend for the last few months acting in such a manner that the same police officers would have had to take repeated action. In such case there could be a familiarity between “US Finns” and the police officers, so that if the police had then told us that they are getting tired at “you Finns”, it could have referred to this particular group of Finns, me and my friends, and not to Finns collectively.

    The teacher had this kind familiarity – acquired through repeated interaction – with the Moslem students in the classroom, and therefore she may have referred to these particular Moslim students as disruptive, and not Moslem students in general.

    Again, I am not saying that this would have been wise or sensitive way of handling with them, or even that this is how it actually was. I am just saying that it is unfair to claim that it obviously was not like this.

    • Mark

      Janne

      If there was a muslim-only group of students in the class, who repeatedly disrupted teaching, is it racist (or criminal) to address the group as “you muslims”? As a point of comparison, I don’t think that calling a group of male-only students “you boys” can be considered sexist? Is the use religious denominators racist when the context of applying them is negative? What about national or other denominators?

      I think that calling a group of male-only students ‘you boys’ is clearly sexist, but that it’s an acceptable level of sexism that has far fewer implications simply because ‘boys’ are typically the privileged party in the gender disparity. The fact is it can even be used with some affection, where the ‘you boys’ actually encapsulates both the sense of unruliness and wildness and also an attractiveness for those same qualities – boys will be boys, but we love them anyway, kind of thing.

      Now are you really telling me that there is a parallel with religious terms?

      “Oh, you Muslims.” cue fake smile….

      I can see Mrs Merton (aka. Caroline Aherne) all smiley with her lips pursed painfully shaking her head in counter juxtopisition to her professed endearment. Perhaps you can see the utter cynicism you would need to even suggest it was somehow a term of endearment in the same way that ‘you boys’ can be?

      For me, that kind of blows the credibility of your argument.

      The teacher had this kind familiarity – acquired through repeated interaction – with the Moslem students in the classroom, and therefore she may have referred to these particular Moslim students as disruptive, and not Moslem students in general.

      As someone who has taught extensively in classrooms too, I cannot see this being true. There is just no need to draw attention to the fact that they are Muslims unless there is some distinctly divisive thinking that informs one’s thoughts, either of the ‘us and them’ variety, or simply preconceived notions that ‘Muslims’ are somehow, as a group, more unruly or disruptive than other persons.

      What would the relevance be of drawing attention to their religious character? It cannot be simply ‘peripheral’, in that, well, they ‘happen to all be Muslim’. This clearly contradicts Relevance Theory, which is a fairly well established theory for implicit inferences. The inference is either 1) ‘I am not a Muslim, they are Muslims, they are giving me a hard time = “you Muslims”‘, or 2) ‘I think Muslims are more disruptive; they are Muslims, they are being dispruptive, this is proof of what I think = “you Muslims”‘ Both possibilities reveal high degrees of prejudicial thinking.

      Again, I am not saying that this would have been wise or sensitive way of handling with the

      I think that most bigotry can be described as unwise and insensitive, but I cannot but help thinking that you think it so in this case mostly because she got ‘caught’, and because of the professional repurcussions for her, not for any sense of the insult it might carry for the Muslims in the class or Muslims in general. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. Farang

    This case is a very alarming example of what the today’s Europe is becoming.

    In this case the actual wrong-doers were the muslim boys but yet everyone is concentrating on bashing the teacher, because of what words she used. Don’t anyone else think this is a bit absurd? In today’s Europe it’s considered worse to SAY something bad than to actually DO something bad.

    This similar behaviour is seen for example when last week Saul Schuback made the comment about child allowances. Instead of just debating him, hypocrate people are demanding him to be sacked and basically ruining the rest of his life simply because of couple of wrong words he used.

    Why is this world becoming a place like this? A place where people are judged by saying something politically incorrect?

    • JusticeDemon

      You seem to have additional information about this Danish case. Why don’t you share with us the details of whatever the boys did in the classroom that you hasten to describe as wrong-doing? Did they, for example, characterise their teacher or class mates as collectively disruptive because of their religious identity?

    • Farang

      They caused disturbance in the class. That is already mentioned in the article.

    • JusticeDemon

      They caused disturbance in the class. That is already mentioned in the article.

      A sneeze causes disturbance.

      The only fact that we have from this report is that the head teacher chose to characterise a group of students as persistently disruptive because of their religion.

      Suppose I now claim that you have persistently broken your promises here because of your religion. Would that be fair to you or to the religion in question?

    • Farang

      A sneeze causes disturbance.
      The only fact that we have from this report is that the head teacher chose to characterise a group of students as persistently disruptive because of their religion.

      Unbelievable 😀 The ONLY person in the world who knows whether or not it was BECAUSE of the religion, is the teacher. Not you, not me.

      Your and Mark’s biased interpretations are quite interesting:
      About the teacher: Out of all possible scenarios, you assume the worst
      About the muslim kids: Out of all possible scenarios, you assume the less possible disturbance.
      How do you explain this? Could it be because of your own predujices? Since the kids were muslims, you think that the most propable scenario is that they are innocent. But the teacher must be as bad as possible.

      Suppose I now claim that you have persistently broken your promises here because of your religion. Would that be fair to you or to the religion in question?

      That would be quite absurd claim. Mostly because I don’t belong to any religious tribe 🙂 And secondly, I would expect some kind of explanation why a religion would be the cause. That would be interesting to hear 😀

    • Mark

      Farang

      How do you explain this? Could it be because of your own predujices? Since the kids were muslims, you think that the most propable scenario is that they are innocent. But the teacher must be as bad as possible.

      Back to the same old stupid tactic of calling those that condemn or point out racism the racists, eh tp1?

      This has nothing to do with whether the kids involved were misbehaving or not. It’s completely irrelevant. There is just no reason to mention their religion. NONE. NONE. NONE. And choosing to mention their religion reflects a degree of prejudice on the part of the head teacher.

      That’s it, in a nutshell. Nothing changes that basic fact. The only uncertainty lies in the exact form of prejudice and its extent.

  6. janneelina

    I sincerely do think that the teacher should have chosen her words differently, not because of the repercussions or some career considerations, but because it was hurtful to the students. I only think that you are also being unfair by deeming the teacher’s choice of words and the implications it carries “obviously intended.”

    I think you should not do this because a) I have indicated that it is not logically nor linguistically sound assessment to regard the collective implication of her expression as necessarily present or derivable from the choice of words and, more importantly, b) you should allow her (as a member of the autochthonous population) the benefit of doubt as benefit of doubt is what you (rightly) require of the native Finns when discusing transgressions where there is an immigrant party involved.

    By the way, you might want to reconsider the way you use the expression sexist outside academic or theoretical contexts. “Sexist” in my parlance and in anyone else’s I’ve ever known, means “unacceptably sexist.” Just like some comments can be acceptably racialist, they can never be acceptably racist.

    • Mark

      Janne

      a) I have indicated that it is not logically nor linguistically sound assessment to regard the collective implication of her expression as necessarily present or derivable from the choice of words and, more importantly,

      Indicated is not the same as demonstrated, clearly. In fact you have not offered a single shred of ‘linguistic assessment’ Janne, so stop fooling yourself, or stop being lazy in writing only the wrapping on your argument and not the substance. In fact, your suggestion that linguistically the statement ‘you Muslims’ is akin to ‘you boys’ is clearly false.

      b) you should allow her (as a member of the autochthonous population) the benefit of doubt

      You mean suspend all critical judgement? Get outta here!

      “unacceptably sexist

      Get over yourself, Janne. The time when sexism is unacceptable in all its forms is the time when you can lecture me for pointing out the obvious, that some kinds of sexism are more accepted in society than others.

  7. janneelina

    “Both possibilities reveal high degrees of prejudicial thinking.”

    Wrong. The first scenario may or may not reveal prejudicial thinking. Nothing there NECESSITATES the presence of a CAUSAL link – that it would be BECAUSE they are Muslims that they are disruptive. This is your interpretation of the intention to which you are perfectly entitled, but this meaning is not something that must be derived from the expression itself using objective, linguistic criteria.

    Simply put, the sentence itself leaves to option to interpret the causal link as being there, or interpret the causal link as not being there. Both are possibilities that are present. The latter case means that the sentence may have been uttered without any level of prejudicial thinking. It does make the audience at least wonder if the case is former and prejudicial thinking is present, which is why I do not think it was a good thing to say.

    But you are too quick to judge the teacher’s intentions. You simply do not have the access to the kind of information with which you could plausibly assess her intention. Besides, I think that this case is reprehensible enough even without establishing the teacher’s intention as racist, so I cannot fathom why you need to focus on the teacher’s persona by defending this unsound assessment of her intention. I have proved that it is a) not relevant and b) not possible to know.

    Leave it at that.

    • JusticeDemon

      janneelina

      Amazing! You can see inside the mind of a Danish head teacher and assure us of her honourable intentions. Quite why you think that private mental phenomena are in any way relevant to the meaning of the reported outburst is not clear, but perhaps that’s because I do not share your privileged access to the minds of others.

      I’m sure she had exactly that bend-over-backwards-to-explain-away-the-obvious-prejudice justification in mind. That’s why she apologised instantly when her language was challenged, because defence of a faux pas based on chapter VII of Alice in Wonderland butters no parsnips.

      Your rationalisation tells us a great deal about you, though. Especially that nonsense about causal links. Would that be a matter of physics or chemistry? The 1970s pro-smoking lobby comes to mind immediately.

    • Mark

      This is your interpretation of the intention to which you are perfectly entitled, but this meaning is not something that must be derived from the expression itself using objective, linguistic criteria.

      No, this is my correct interpretation of the operation of the Relevance Theory for implicature (implied inference). You might have a slightly better than average lexicon, but that does not make up for a lack of analysis.

      Your analysis has no credibility. ‘You Muslims’ cannot be interpreted as ‘endearment’ or as anything other than demeaning in this context. Anything you or anyone says is just fluff to defend an obvious bigot.

      the sentence itself leaves to option to interpret the causal link as being there, or interpret the causal link as not being there.

      Bollocks! Utter bollocks.

      I have proved that it is a) not relevant and b) not possible to know.

      Then you clearly do not know what ‘proof’ is.

  8. janneelina

    “Amazing! You can see inside the mind of a Danish head teacher and assure us of her honourable intentions.”

    I have consistently and repeatedly been saying that we do NOT know her intentions, and that they cannot be derived from the only single sentence we know she said, because the wording leaves room multiple correct interpretations. This is why you should not make assessments concerning the teacher’s personal intentions with the amount of information we have.

    It was you, not me, who made these assessments about her intentions being bigoted etc. Then again, you also seem to think that you already know much about me based on “my rationalisations.” And I thought you at MT of all people would not be quick to judge.

    “Bollocks! Utter bollocks.”

    Yes, that’s very mature. If this is how you have been “spreading acceptance and respect since 2007” you are doing a really good job. Enjoy your forum.

  9. Mark

    Janne

    Yes, that’s very mature.

    It’s not immature, it’s called slang.

    bollocks [ˈbɒləks], ballocks US, bollix [ˈbɒlɪks] Slang
    pl n
    1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Anatomy) another word for testicles
    2. nonsense; rubbish

    It’s also about being realistic and not about trying to use fancy words to twist what is, to your average person, an absolutely obvious and derogatory statement.

    I’m not surprised you don’t like plain language, because for you, the phrase ‘you Muslims’ seems to be terribly vague, while for the rest of us, it’s an obvious put down.

  10. Farang

    There is just no reason to mention their religion. NONE. NONE. NONE. And choosing to mention their religion reflects a degree of prejudice on the part of the head teacher.

    Why do you see religion as such a taboo? I think it’s very dangerous ideology if religion is not allowed to be mentioned.

    Why is religion such an attribute that it can’t be mentioned? What is so shameful in religion?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why do you see religion as such a taboo? I think it’s very dangerous ideology if religion is not allowed to be mentioned.

      Why do you try to change the subject? This has nothing to do with making religion a taboo or in not allowing religion to be mentioned.

      This was about using religion to put people down. That’s it. How you can try to pull the wool over people’s eyes and pretend it was something else is beyond me. It’s really simple, two words, ‘you Muslims’, said in a moment of frustration and representing a preconceived prejudice that their religion somehow evokes a negative behaviour that was responsible for their classroom behaviour.

      It’s classic bigotry Farang, feck all to do with making religion a taboo.

  11. Farang

    This was about using religion to put people down. That’s it.

    No it wasn’t. The people were put down because they were being disruptive.

    Actually, if someone makes the interpretation that the religion was used to put people down, then that person is making himself the claim that being muslim correlates with being disruptive.

    So, it’s actually you who are connecting muslims with being disruptive. Do you somehow deep inside think that muslims are more likely to be disruptive but you don’t want that to be said out loud because it’s politically incorrect?

    I don’t think that they were disruptive BECAUSE they were muslims, and most propably neither did the teacher. She mentioned muslims ONLY because they were muslims, nothing else. If anything else is claimed, then it’s the prejudices of that person making the claim speaking.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No it wasn’t. The people were put down because they were being disruptive.

      That is simply not true. Religion was used as a put down. The reason or the justification might have been their disruptiveness, but there can be no argument that religion was used as a put down. Anyone with any common sense or rationality about them would not argue that point. The fact that you still refuse to accept that this is an issue simply reflects how far fascists will go in twisting everyday reality to HIDE the obvious effects of prejudice.

      Actually, if someone makes the interpretation that the religion was used to put people down, then that person is making himself the claim that being muslim correlates with being disruptive.

      Again, this is simply not true. Connecting the disruptiveness with the religious identity of these people is exactly what it is, connecting religious identity to behaviour. This is what the words ‘you Muslims’ means when said in anger.

      So, it’s actually you who are connecting muslims with being disruptive

      Absolute rubbish. The teacher is the person that has mentioned the children being disruptive as a justification for using the words ‘you Muslims’, which rather than offer a reasonable explanation for being annoyed only reinforces the point that she responded to that behaviour by attaching it to religious identities.

      I don’t think that they were disruptive BECAUSE they were muslims, and most propably neither did the teacher.

      You cannot speak for the teacher. However her words certainly provide us with an opportunity to decide what she thinks, and her words are hardly ambiguous. Their religious identity is totally irrelevant to the fact they are being disruptive and should not be mentioned.

      She mentioned muslims ONLY because they were muslims, nothing else

      So, I’m surprised therefore that she didn’t also mention several other ‘irrelevant facts’, like “teenage bipedal primate Muslims’. I mean, that’s your point isn’t it, that people just happen to put useless information into sentences to ‘fill them out’? This clearly contradicts what everyone knows to be common sense, and what linguists know to be Relevance Theory, which is the relevant linguistic framework for understanding implied inferences.

      If anything else is claimed, then it’s the prejudices of that person making the claim speaking.

      No, that’s just your fucking ignorance and refusal to accept that somebody has made a clearly bigoted remark. It appears that you have been totally brainwashed tp1. I mean, it’s fucking scary the lengths that you are now going to whitewash obvious prejudice.

  12. Farang

    Absolute rubbish. The teacher is the person that has mentioned the children being disruptive as a justification for using the words ‘you Muslims’, which rather than offer a reasonable explanation for being annoyed only reinforces the point that she responded to that behaviour by attaching it to religious identities.

    Now you are running in circles 😀

    First you claimed that the teached claimed that they were disruptive because they are muslims.
    Now you claim that teacher called them muslims because they were disruptive.

    To me that is enough proof that you created the accusation out of thin air.

    • Mark

      Farang

      First you claimed that the teached claimed that they were disruptive because they are muslims.
      Now you claim that teacher called them muslims because they were disruptive.

      I think you’ll find if you properly analyse that, that it means essentially the same thing.

      1) they were disruptive because they were Muslims
      2) because they were Muslims they were disruptive

      And strictly speaking, the teacher didn’t call them Muslims because they were dispruptive, in the sense that ‘disruptive people are Muslims’, but rather because the teacher associated Muslims with being disruptive. That’s a subtle distinction that I doubt you will understand.

      I created the accusation out of thin air? Farang, the teacher said the words ‘you Muslims’ in anger and frustration. There is nothing pulled out of thin air!

  13. Farang

    So, I’m surprised therefore that she didn’t also mention several other ‘irrelevant facts’, like “teenage bipedal primate Muslims’. I mean, that’s your point isn’t it, that people just happen to put useless information into sentences to ‘fill them out’? This clearly contradicts what everyone knows to be common sense, and what linguists know to be Relevance Theory, which is the relevant linguistic framework for understanding implied inferences.

    It was not irrelevant fact. If they were the only muslims in the class then it is absolutely good word to categorize them.

    Teenage would not be a good word to use, because propably all the people in the class were teenagers, therefore differentiating someone as teenager makes no sense.

    For example if there were let’s say 5 nazis in the class and they all were being disruptive, it would be totally correct to categorize them as “you nazis”. Totally equivalent with this muslim case.

    • Mark

      Farang

      It was not irrelevant fact. If they were the only muslims in the class then it is absolutely good word to categorize them.

      No, it is not. This is prejudice, Farang. It’s a bit like saying that a number of Finns appeared in court in Thailand accused of child sex abuse and the press there saying ‘you Finns’. This implies that there is something about being Finnish that equates to ‘child abuse’, and clearly that would be insulting to Finns and indeed, would be prejudice against Finns.

      Totally equivalent with this muslim case.

      No, you have convinced me at all that Muslim is a relevant or necessary way to refer to these kids being disruptive in class. It just is no big surprise that kids can be disruptive, or that a gang of kids who are friends can be disruptive as a group, but the fact that they are Muslims should be seen by the teacher as irrelevant, even if superficially it is something they have in common. Teachers should be above prejudice.

      So why do you think she apoligised?

  14. Farang

    No, you have convinced me at all that Muslim is a relevant or necessary way to refer to these kids being disruptive in class.

    Now you are taking shortcuts again. No, it was not necessary but it was relevant. If something is not necessary, it doesn’t mean that in can’t be done.

    So why do you think she apoligised?

    Same reason why everybody is apologizing nowadays: PUBLIC PRESSURE

    Nobody actually mean anything with those apologies. It’s just the sick sensitivity problems people are having today, that they get somekind of sick satisfaction when someone apologises.

    Apology never means anything if someone needs to request that apology. That makes the person requesting the apology quite stupid. If a person actually is sorry about something he/she will apologise without request.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Same reason why everybody is apologizing nowadays: PUBLIC PRESSURE

      I don’t think that rings true. I think a teacher who believed they had done nothing wrong would not apologise to make other people happy. What would the point of it be? It would totally contradict her principles. Imagine if this was you, and you felt that you should be free to make these kinds of references to people’s religious identities, and knowing that if you made a public apology, that that would actually work against that freedom that you believed, would you still apologise? I really doubt it.

      She apologised because she realised it was wrong. She was not asked to apologise, from what I understand. She said “I said some things that I deeply regret”.

      I think we all agree that when students laugh at a teacher that is trying to reprimand them that that is humiliating, but allowing that to feed her own bigotry is a moral failure, a failure you seem not to grasp at all, Farang.

  15. Farang

    I created the accusation out of thin air? Farang, the teacher said the words ‘you Muslims’ in anger and frustration. There is nothing pulled out of thin air!

    Oh my God, someone said “muslim”. You make muslim sound like a swearword.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Oh my God, someone said “muslim”. You make muslim sound like a swearword.

      Farang, she said “I’m so tired of you Muslims ruining the teaching lessons”. In fact, the parents body, led by a white Dane I’m sure, also backed her up saying that the minority students “didn’t have the standards and values to succeed in a Normal Danish school”. Ironic, but he actually starts his comment with “We are not racists but…”.

      Now if that isn’t bigotry, I don’t know what is. Do you really think that the minority students were the only students in Denmark to ever laugh at a teacher or give cheek? Do you think that it is only minority students that are capable of disrupting a class? Clearly not. The prejudice comes because they were Muslims, and all that was required to feed the bigotry was the fact that they were disruptive and Muslim, and suddenly, it makes it all okay to go after their religious or ethnic identity, as if that was the cause. It’s this 2 + 2 = 20 that is so questionable.

      Muslim is not a swearword, but used in the way the woman used it, it sure as hell sounded like one. Now you can blame me for parsing the sentence in a way that is different to you, for imagining the insult only to be in my head, but if that were true, then I’m pretty sure she would not have apologised and she would not have been reprimanded. People do not do that kind of thing, not for political correctness. On the contrary, people stand by their principles.

      The problem is that you don’t even see the need for her to apologise. That is because you think it’s okay to draw attention to a person’s religious identity when you discover anything negative about that person and to make it somehow something to do with their religion. Otherwise, why mention it?

      Come Farang, tell me why she needed to mention the fact that they were Muslim? Why not ‘you boys’, or ‘you kids’? Why did she register the fact they were Muslims unless she had the idea that she identified their unruly behaviour with their ethnic and religious identity?

  16. Farang

    Farang, she said “I’m so tired of you Muslims ruining the teaching lessons”. In fact, the parents body, led by a white Dane I’m sure, also backed her up saying that the minority students “didn’t have the standards and values to succeed in a Normal Danish school”. Ironic, but he actually starts his comment with “We are not racists but…”.

    Well, if that is the truth, then why can’t it be said out loud? Why do you want to cencor facts? If some people are less capable than others, the problem won’t be fixed by itself if it’s swept under carpet. We can’t deny facts only because someone might get mentally hurt by them. First step to correct a problems is to acknowledge it.

    Now, if you want group X to be equal with everyone else, you must first acknowledge the reasons why they are not equal. After that you can start fix the situation. And the end result will be that the group X is finally equal, so everyone wins. Also you.

    Why is it so that muslims are so sensitive if they are categorized about being muslim? Are they somehow ashamed of being muslims? This is the reason I don’t get this whole problem. If I was in similar situation and I was called “you atheists” I would not be hurt by it. Why? Because I’m proud of being atheist. Only people who are ashamed for themselves feel bad about something like that.

    • Mark

      Well, if that is the truth, then why can’t it be said out loud?

      What do you mean its true, that they are Muslims or that their Muslim identity has something to do with the fact they are disruptive?

      We can’t deny facts only because someone might get mentally hurt by them.

      Actually the problem is turning lies into ‘facts’ on the basis of selective use of the evidence. I.e. that people assume immigrants are somehow inferior and then taking any kind of negative behaviour as evidence of this. These are exactly the kinds of ‘facts’ that we don’t need. And yes, they do hurt people. It’s called discrimation and the harms that come from it cover the whole spectrum of human abuse.

      Why is it so that muslims are so sensitive if they are categorized about being muslim?

      So now it’s the ‘victims’ fault for being too sensitive? Typical attitude of a perpetrator, Farang.

      Are they somehow ashamed of being muslims?

      Who is ‘they’?

      If I was in similar situation and I was called “you atheists” I would not be hurt by it.

      Bullshit. You would be totally confused by such a statement. The fact that you do not understand what is clearly prejudice basically disqualifies you from speaking about this topic. I mean, would you ask someone to do brain surgery if they clearly didn’t understand how a brain functioned? Would you ask someone who knew nothing about mental illness to prescribe the treatment for schitzophrenia?

  17. Farang

    I don’t think that rings true. I think a teacher who believed they had done nothing wrong would not apologise to make other people happy.

    Yes she would, if the other option is to lose her job. Think!

    • Mark

      Farang

      Yes she would, if the other option is to lose her job. Think!

      Ï disagree. I think most people would be prepared to lose their job if they were being publicly asked to apologise for something that they fundamentally thought was wrong, or in this case, to apologise for something they thought was perfectly acceptable. I think your judgment of people in this situation is fundamentally flawed, and your view of the power of ‘political correctness’ in making people go against their fundamental principles is likewise completely skewed. Clearly you want to think that it was PC because you don’t want to accept that she did anything wrong.

      This argument about ‘telling the truth’ and whether this can ever be bigoted has been had on here before. The example is a German applying for a teaching position who is told by the interviewer ‘The Germans killed six million Jews’. This is purely a statement of fact, but in the context of a job interview in the 21st Century, it is a totally inappropriate and bigoted statement. The same is pretty much true in this case.

  18. Farang

    Bullshit. You would be totally confused by such a statement. The fact that you do not understand what is clearly prejudice basically disqualifies you from speaking about this topic.

    This is interesting part of your style of discussion. You claim to know how someone feels of thinks better than the person himself 😀

    It’s propably because you are jealous becouse there are strong persons like me, who can handle that kind of trivial situations without any problems. It’s just hard for you to accept that some people manage situations which you can’t.

    • Mark

      Farang

      This is interesting part of your style of discussion. You claim to know how someone feels of thinks better than the person himself

      On the contrary, I merely make a judgement about the credibility of your statement. We are not gullible minions here on Migrant Tales and when you suggest that a headteacher is perfectly likely to refer to a bunch of misbehaving students as ‘you Atheists’, you stretch that credibility way beyond any sense of reality. That you claim you would not be surprised by such a statement is plain old bullshit.

      I hardly think it’s got anything to do with ‘being strong’ that you would tolerate prejudice. In fact, I would suggest it is a stronger person that chooses to stand up to bigots.

      You didn’t deal with my key point though, which is that you basically disqualify yourself from the debate by illustrating clearly that you do not understand what prejudice is. How can someone who doesn’t understand prejudice claim to know how to solve it?

  19. Farang

    That you claim you would not be surprised by such a statement is plain old bullshit.

    Why would I be surprised by something I consider normal way of talking? Again you claim to know better than me how I feel 🙂

    I have some muslim clients. I met them once at the gym during ramadan and asked them “How do you muslims have the energy to exercise if you can’t eat or drink?”. They were not offended, because they were normal people, not some over sensitive weak images of people who are ashamed of being what they are.

    And they gave me a good answer also 🙂

    • Mark

      Why would I be surprised by something I consider normal way of talking?

      It’s normal to refer to a group of people as ‘you atheists’, especially when religion is NOT the topic of the conversation?? Get real, Farang.

      I have some muslim clients. I met them once at the gym during ramadan and asked them “How do you muslims have the energy to exercise if you can’t eat or drink?”. They were not offended, because they were normal people, not some over sensitive weak images of people who are ashamed of being what they are.

      Context is everything, though I would say your tone is rather condascending. There is nothing particularly negative in your use of ‘you Muslims’, and clearly their Muslim religion is relevant to the topic you were discussing, which is their religious fasting.

      That is a completely different context to the one in the school, where the kids were being disruptive – not discussing religious customs, Farang.

      I guess that you think that because you found two sentences with ‘you Muslims’ in it, that you can pretend that the meanings MUST be the same in both situations. What kind of moron are you Farang?

      And why do you insist that people that are offended by bigoted statements are weak? Do you think that women who don’t fight back against domestic violence are weak too? Since when is it the job of the victim to have to use their ‘strength’ to either gain revenge or to ‘execute justice’? That is why we have a justice system, so the responsibility for justice does not fall on the victims, who in many cases would not be capable of exacting justice.

  20. Farang

    You didn’t deal with my key point though, which is that you basically disqualify yourself from the debate by illustrating clearly that you do not understand what prejudice is. How can someone who doesn’t understand prejudice claim to know how to solve it?

    Actually I know, but you don’t. You seem to think that if someone refers someone as muslims, that is immediately prejudice. That is total nonsense.

    Prejudice means that you make an opinion of the person based on the group he belongs, instead of getting to know that person at all.

    I give an example that maybe even you understand:

    If the teacher would have thought that the persons are disruptive because they are muslims, that would have been prejudice.

    But now the disruptive behaviour was already experienced, therefore it was not prejudice.

    If black man walks towards me and I THINK he must be violent, that is prejudice. But if black man hits me and then I KNOW he is violent, that is not prejudice. That is experience.

    You seem to confuse experience and prejudice and think that all negative experiences about muslims are just prejudice. You are so wrong here.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Actually I know, but you don’t. You seem to think that if someone refers someone as muslims, that is immediately prejudice. That is total nonsense.

      That’s a straw man and obviously not true. I have not said that it is ‘immediately prejudice’. In fact I have made it quite clear that it is the context that establishes the meaning of the words ‘you Muslims’.

      Prejudice means that you make an opinion of the person based on the group he belongs, instead of getting to know that person at all.

      🙂 That leaves the door open nicely for ‘getting to know the person’, and then deciding that they indeed conform to your prejudicial stereotype, and that would be okay, because you got to know that person and your opinion is now based on ‘fact’? Okay, maybe you don’t mean this, but it’s a useful point to make and you are free to agree with or not.

      In the case of the teacher, the teacher appears to have made the judgement that their disruptiveness had something to do with the fact that they belonged to the group called Muslims. ‘I’m so tired of you Muslims ruining the teaching lessons’. She has identified the group with the behaviour. That is simply unacceptable in any situation, but especially not by a head teacher trying to repriment unruly students. ‘You Muslims’ is here used collectively, in a way that is clearly referring to their group identity and directly associating it with negative behaviour. It’s just not acceptable.

      If the teacher would have thought that the persons are disruptive because they are muslims, that would have been prejudice.

      This is not the only possibility. Simply referring to a group identity in the context of negative behaviour, with little or no discussion of ‘causality’ can also be prejudice, as it reinforces a negative association.

      You seem to confuse experience and prejudice and think that all negative experiences about muslims are just prejudice. You are so wrong here.

      More mental gymnastics, and more attempts to ascribe absolutist positions to me. If you continue to misrepresent my ideas like this, then I’m not surprised that you continue to believe I am so ‘wrong’. In the end though you are merely discussing with yourself and not really discussing with me.

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