CATENGESP


ON DRAFT

(06/07/2009)

Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès

On common quasi-racial anti-Catalan prejudices.

CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE

Whenever the African-American jazz drummer Art Blakey sensed any (racial) prejudice heading his way, he would say he could 'feel a draft'. It'd be silly to equate the bigotry experienced by black people in white-majority nations with what happens to Catalans here; but surely an old friend, Jaume, must have felt some kind of a draft when a fellow guest he was chatting with at a wedding in Madrid told him, without a speck of irony, 'For a Catalan, you're a really friendly guy!'. Not being Catalan myself, I have only felt such drafts vicariously: as when the English owner of a (failing) Barcelona production company assured me TV3 boycotted everyone who didn't have a Catalan surname (this was in the '80s, when, among other foreign employees, an Italian was the head of graphic design at TV3); or the Argentinian woman who was convinced that Catalan bosses were (without exception) far worse than Spanish ones. Such minor gusts are as nothing, of course, when compared to the hateful gales of yesteryear, when centralists such as the Castilian novelist Pío Baroja or the Francoist apologist Antonio Luis de Vega vented their chronic anti-semitism – there being no real Jews to hand – on the Catalans, whom they regarded as 'markedly Semitic' (Baroja, 1907) and 'agents of a Zionist plot to rule the world' (de Vega, 1938). Milder though the winds of intolerance now are, one loathed Catalan stereotype still gets the goat of certain expats: that legendary bloodyminded Catalan who insists on speaking his local lingo even to people who don't understand it. Recently, there has been an updated take on this nameless phenomenon: a mysteriously unlocatable Catalan police station in which people are refused help unless they speak Catalan. So, apparently, that earlier bloody-minded Catalan has now joined the Mossos d'Esquadra. If you run into this linguistic miscreant, do let me know: I'd love to meet him in the flesh, after all these years.















- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -