Culture

British Souvenir Shop Accused of Racism for Calling Itself ‘Really British’

Ostwald’s London storefront and (inset) a few of his wares (Images via Facebook)
Critics say the shop’s name implies that other area stores aren’t “really” British.

A souvenir shop in London is being accused of racism on the grounds that its name, “Really British,” amounts to saying that other stores in the area aren’t “really British.”

According the Evening Standard, a local newspaper, the shopkeeper, Chris Ostwald, opened the store on November 26 and has since faced accusations of racism over its name, including one man who posted on Facebook that he was “curious as to why [Ostwald] decided to call [his] shop ‘Really British’ (besides the obvious point that [he] will sell British made goods)?”

“Like many people I live in London because of its international nature, and for me personally having a big sign on the Broadway saying ‘Really British’ makes me feel you’re implying that other local businesses in the area are therefore somehow ‘not really British,’” the post continued, according to the Standard.

First of all, this Facebook post is obviously crazy. I mean, the man kind of answered his question with the whole “besides the obvious point that [he] will sell British made goods” comment. That is the point. After all, it’s not just that he’s selling British goods, he’s selling only British goods and souvenirs, making the store — one might say — really doggone British. Not just British, but really British. What else was Ostwald supposed to call it, “Store of British Things That Does Not Diminish the British Identity of Any Other Store Because the Owner Does Value, Respect, and Accept the International Nature of Our Community Shop”? Catchy!

But the worst thing is that the outrage goes far beyond a single post. In fact, Ostwald told the Standard that complaints have “included people telling us they would boycott us” over the “racist” name. He added that these complaints were, oddly enough, coming from other British people — British people getting offended on behalf of groups of people that don’t seem at all offended themselves.

“We’ve had Greek shoppers and Pakistanis in and they love it,” he said. “They seem to be more proud of Britain than we are.”

“They are the ones that think it’s a great idea the only complaints I’ve had are from British people,” he continued.

#related#Honestly, anyone who would look at a store full of British things called “Really British” and actually think “Wait . . . what do you mean ‘really British’?” is fundamentally askew. If a guy walked up to them at work and said “I’m really tired,” they’d probably file a complaint with human resources saying that person was diminishing their own tiredness by calling himself “really tired.” It’s a very sad way for people to go about their lives.

Thankfully, Ostwald seems to realize this. He told the Standard that he plans to keep the name of the store.

“It’s about products not politics,” he said.

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