I WAS disgusted to read the xenophobic diatribe published in The Herald on April 26. Once again Gaelic is the subject of demonisation and cultural profiling masquerading as journalism. As a Gaelic-speaker, the hatred towards me and my community exhibited in the piece was felt even more keenly, given that I had written extensively a mere 24 hours previously, for Bella Caledonia, about how such journalism is becoming more and more indicative of a growing hatred towards our language and community, and worse still foments it.

Brian Beacom’s article stank of a prejudice that would best befit a far-right manifesto, should it have been targeted at any other minority.

I am sick of reading that Gaelic is a waste of money and the new Gaelic dictionary is a case in point. As far as academic projects go, this is value for money and the funding piecemeal. The project will support a number of Gaelic-speaking employees in making a livelihood through the language, and the completed volume will have an unprecedented legacy, and be used by speakers and writers of the language for years to come. To deny the worth of this project is utterly mean-spirited and myopic.

This is not my main complaint, however. I’ll save that for the rhetoric which sought to lay blame for division within Scottish society at the door of a linguistic and cultural minority who have constantly and repeatedly been the butt of ridicule, censure and institutionalised prejudice for centuries. Not only this, but it took clean aim at Gaelic-speaking children and their families, who are exercising their legal right to Gaelic-medium education not just in Glasgow, but in Portree and across Scotland. The targeting of children in this way is unacceptable and must be countered vehemently.

Should The Herald or any other paper report on initiatives to support and encourage other minorities such as the BME or LGBT communities, it would shy away from any such prejudicial language. Yet The Herald gave Beacom carte blanche to harvest from a plethora negative and harmful cultural stereotypes – Brigadoon, Angus Òg – to lambast not only pro-Gaelic initiatives, but Gaelic speakers.

Beacom is labouring under the misapprehension that it is acceptable to treat one minority with such contempt whilst society, and the press, condemn intolerance towards others. It is the height of hypocrisy.

He went on to reduce an entire language and culture to a “middle-class” hobby, confined to the Central Belt. This hogwash is complete misinformation and fake news, as the 2011 census demonstrated that Gaelic is spoken the length and breadth of Scotland, in all our communities, regardless of age, sex, race or social class. More research is needed when it comes to the reporting of Gaelic in all of our papers. Is the problem here incompetence, or just bone idleness?

Any support for these initiatives is hard-won and long before time. They are the result of decades of campaigning from Gaelic-speaking taxpayers. They are simply responses to those taxpayers’ legitimate demands.

The Gaelic Language Act of 2005 states that our longest-established native language holds equal respect with English and Scots in this country. Gutter journalism does not uphold that legislation. It undermines the very equality and respect it is designed to safeguard. Unequivocally, this must cease.

Beacom was correct to anticipate a response countering his “racial” hatred and contravention of human rights to speak our languages. The time has come to call out this rhetoric for the xenophobia that it is. To call out across Scotland for it to finally, once and for all, come to an end.

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir