Here in the United States, making hiring decisions based on race common but technically illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the United Kingdom, they appear proud of the British Navy’s “century-old custom of having Chinese servants on warships,” and hate that it’s coming to an end.
You may expect this “custom” to be ending because the phrase “Chinese servants on warships” sounds like real old testament 19th-century racism, but that’s not the case. No, the Royal Navy is only ending the practice out of fears that laundry workers could hand military secrets to Beijing.
Those military secrets, according to the Telegraph, revolve around a collaborative effort between the U.S., UK, and Australian governments to produce more nuclear submarines to patrol the Pacific — an ocean famed for its proximity to the United Kingdom:
The move comes after Ken McCallum, the head of MI5 said China is trying to steal nuclear secrets from the UK and it was “high priority” for China to disrupt the UK, US and Australian partnership to build a new fleet of nuclear submarines.
However since the deal was announced, China’s spy agencies have tried to infiltrate the project and steal its secrets, Mr McCallum said.
Briefing journalists at a security summit in California last week, Mr McCallum said he could not disclose “specific” details of China’s attempts to hack into the project.
If you held some hope that the “security risk” thing was just a convenient way to end a blatantly racist practice, you’d be wrong. While the Royal Navy will stop employing — again, their wording — “Chinese servants,” the organization isn’t stopping race-based hiring altogether — it’s simply changing the race it hires for laundry. Now, those workers will come from Nepal.
This is one of those news stories that’s unfathomable in the year of our lord 2023, and yet here it is. Ending race-based hiring this late in the game would be absurd, but to simply swap out the race you’re hiringis mindboggling. Is the UK okay? What is happeningover there?