Today, my Ma called up the Council to sort out voting and stuff since she has very recently become a british citizen and now holds dual US/UK citizenship. The woman she spoke to told her she needed a british passport or she couldn't vote. My mother was really, really sure this was not true as long as she had evidence of her citizenship (in this case a certificate of naturalisation). She asked three times and was told, incorrectly, three times, that she needed a passport. She finally asked to speak to the supervisor and was finally told that, okay, her certificate of naturalisation was actually acceptable instead of a passport.
She said, politely, that she understood it was an unusual situation but she thought perhaps it would be good if something could be done to make sure that the wrong information wasn't passed on again to someone else since they'd be unlikely to be as tenacious as her in asking for someone to check.
She wasn't really expecting a great response, or even for anything to really be done after she hung up, but what she absolutely was not
expecting was for the supervisor to say, "It's because we get a lot of Pakistanis and Somalis getting shirty when we tell them they're not qualified." o_O
My mom said she didn't see how giving these people wrong information would help the situation and then hung up. She's going to make a complaint about it.
Because...seriously. SERIOUSLY? It's like...admitted policy to lie to immigrant communities about their ability to exercise their civic duties should they be entitled to them? I understand that people can get shirty when they don't hear what they want; call centres are stressful, but if they get shirty when you're lying to them for blatantly racist reasons
, I'm not sure how you have anyone to blame but yourself.
Sure, a lot of the people calling up might genuinely not be entitled to vote, but if they're not, it's not like they can fake the documents they do need any easier than they can fake a british passport.
The only possible reason I can come up with that this is accepted behaviour in this office is an assumption that anyone calling from these communities is either not entitled to vote, or not entitled to information. It's a lazy, racist time-saving tactic and I dread to think how many british citizens have been disenfranchised by it. A single one is too many.
(Also, I know, I'm still being LJcraptacular at, you know, posting and stuff. Still working on it... Still waiting for twelvecolonies
to post the results of the vidding challenge so I can actually post my vid. If it's not done by the end November I'll post it anyway because dammit, it's been two months since I posted a vid and that's Not On.)