Camp catatonia already advised its visitors, especially those who enter Germany via Frankfurt airport, to behave typically – behavior untypical for their visible (?) ethnic origin might get them into trouble, as culturally well-informed immigration officers might suspect them to be illegal immigrants. Now recent events in the U.K. suggest new opportunities for ethnicity-based employment.
Mazher Mahmood is an investigative journalist at News of the World, a British tabloid. Occasionally, Mr. Mahmood puts on his sheikh attire and poses as of Arab royalty in order to get “minor television celebrities or aristocrats to sell him drugs while he films them with a video-camera”.
A practice not unusual in British tabloid journalism. More importantly, a practice that works, as “most people seem to consider it perfectly normal for an Arab sheikh to demand drugs or prostitutes from them”.
Lately, Mr. Mahmood has turned to employing his fake Arab royalty to expose true British royalty, meeting up with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who promptly delivered a few disparaging statements about her fellow royals as well as the Blairs. Mr. Mahmood’s employers, of course, claim that such strategies serve public interest.
But apart from all that, Mr. Mahmood’s tactics clearly suggest new employment opportunities for the ethnically obvious. One wonders whether Austrian police ever thought along these lines. Given that resident black Africans have the image of being drug dealers anyway, why not employ them as undercover agents in drug cases? Why not employ moustached Polish men, said to come to Austria in hordes for illegal work, as undercover agents to fight illicit construction activities?
In the long run, such strategies might even assist in combatting problematic ethnic stereotypes. In a few years time, Austrians will not think “oh, a drug dealer” when a black African enters a restaurant. Rather, they will assume him to be an undercover agent and quickly leave the establishment. To avoid getting caught.