By Robyn Rosen
July 28, 2010
Today’s Independent hosts a shocking comment piece by Christina Patterson.
The first 300 words or so describe some examples of where Ms Patterson feels she should teach her Stamford Hill neighbours “some manners”.
Her description that they wear “funny suits” and “insist on wearing their hair in ringlets (if they’re male) or covered up by wigs (if they're female)” should set off alarm bells.
You see Ms Patterson doesn’t like it that the Jews in her neighbourhood talk on their mobile phones while driving or push “double-decker pushchairs and vast armies of children”.
And all this narrow-minded, ill-informed ranting nonsense before we even reach the crux of her piece, which low and behold is about female circumcision. What the two things have in common still eludes me.
To suggest that an Orthodox boy who does not want to touch a woman on a bus is similar to parents sending their children to Africa to mutilate them and her simplistic attitude that bad manners are down to religion or ethnicity is preposterous and quite frankly irresponsible.
If she spent less time “assuming” and more time learning, she would realise that the young boy has never been taught that a woman is “dirty or dangerous or dripping with menstrual blood” and that the real lessons in faith schools are a lot more than teaching about “special gadgets to switch on the lights on a Saturday”.
I would say it is Ms Patterson who needs to be taught some manners, about respect, tolerance and understanding of other cultures. I’m not surprised her neighbours have treated her the way she describes. After having read her views, I would do the same.