Ryanair withdraws controversial test that earned it accusations of racism

a after a week Controversy after accusations of racism dumped on RyanairThe Irish airline considered the matter to be settled Withdraw the form in Afrikaans Who made the passengers fill up South African passport for prove their nationality. In the words of Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, and as he collected BBC“It doesn’t mean anything.”

Ryanair has been criticized and accused of racism for choosing a language with a strong historical burden. (Photo: AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

The test that has sparked a lot of controversy is a measure imposed by the company in an attempt to get its passengers with South African passports to prove their nationality after the discovery Increase in fake passports. for the questionnaire, Choose Afrikaans as the languagecommitment to racism. Hence the controversy and accusations of racism.

When the test was introduced a week ago, the company explained in a statement that it was a “simple questionnaire” in Afrikaans and that those who They can’t fill it out, they won’t be allowed to travel with their compensation Ticket money. In this statement, they linked this action to the “high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports”, but at no point explained why this language was chosen and not another.

Reactions against this were immediate. The UK High Commissioner in Pretoria made clear via social media that this was not a requirement of his and many governments. South African citizens They took the same route Ryanair accused of racism.

interview by The New York TimesSihawukele Ngubane, Professor of Linguistics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), explained that The Afrikaans language appeared with the Dutch settlers in the seventeenth century. Later, In the 20th century, j . became the official languageNext to the English language.

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Ngobani noted that in addition to evaluating South Africans through their knowledge of Afrikaans is unfair, there are Who associates this language with the oppressor?. He stressed that “this indication is still there.” Hence the accusations of racism against Ryanair. according to The New York TimesToday, South Africa has 11 national languages. The most prevalent are Zulu (23% of families), followed by Zulu (16%) and Afrikaans (13%).

As for the questions, it had to do with who the president of South Africa is, the country’s phone code, the national colors and the name of the three languages ​​of the country, for example. O’LearyIn his statement to the media after withdrawing the form, he did not explain the reason for choosing that language over others. He said that the questions were “simple” and that they “have no difficulty in completing it. But We didn’t think it was appropriate either.. So we finished the Afrikaans test, because it makes no sense.”

on the video | Accusations of racism against Ryanair for testing Afrikaans for South African travelers

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