Saturday, June 12, 2010

BP Gulf Oil Disaster – and Inevitable Ethnic Hatreds

(Almost) everyone on this planet uses petroleum and its byproducts. Plastic can be found in tiny, remote villagers. We're all culpable for the destruction that petroleum use causes, from dirty air to the Gulf Oil catastrophe.

But humans are very good at scapegoating ethnicities – "WE didn't do it! THEY did it!" – and some are scapegoating Brits, and Brits are lashing back.

Greenpeace has asked for redesigns of the BP logo. Several suggested designs locate the problem in Britishness. One suggested sign is a skull and crossbones with the caption "British poison." Another: "British Polluters." Oh, please. Only British people use petroleum? And Greenpeace's ships run on lemonade and moonbeams?

June 11's New York Times' front page featured this headline: "U.S. Fury at BP Stirs Backlash Among British." "Britons are irked" at Obama referring to BP as BRITISH Petroleum. The company dropped the word "British" in favor of the initials "BP" years ago.

Lord Tebbit condemned America's "crude, bigoted, xenophobic, display of partisan, political, presidential petulance against a multinational company."

"Many Britons are upset at …American anger" and "language that demonizes Britain."

So they are demonizing Americans in response, as did a representational internet post: "The rest of the world is fed up with the parasitic attitude of the US…I used to be a supporter of the US, but not any more. You want the oil? You clean up the mess."

Folks, THEY did not do it.

WE did.

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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