This post has been brewing for a while ,then today I read about my friend’s experience with ignorant racism getting on a bus today in London and I could take no more! RANT WARNING…..
So my beautiful, intelligent and talented young friend of Indian origin and her equally beautiful and talented mother were getting on a bus. My friend’s mother got on but before her daughter could get on the driver slammed the door shut in her face:
“When I knocked on the door, she opened the door and abused me calling me a c*nt and an immigrant who doesn’t know London bus rules and said if I get on the bus she won’t start the bus. Then I said I won’t leave the bus and she can call the police, she then came up violently to me and started hurling abuses again and asked every passenger to leave. Then she went up to the next bus and asked the driver to not take me and my mum on board. Then she left with her bus too.”
This is totally shocking! People like that bus driver should not be allowed to represent our beloved multicultural London and work on our public services. My friend and her mum are the sweetest people! The mother, a classical singer, travels to the UK often to perform her beautiful music and my friend, her daughter, after studying in the UK is already a successful (taxpaying) businesswoman and about to open a classy restaurant (not to mention an awesome cook!). She is a Londoner as much as me!
As a recent ex-Londoner and now an immigrant myself in Mumbai (well in a week or so when my visa arrives fingers crossed!) I love that city and feel it is home as much as I feel London, a city I lived in but didn’t grow up in is also my home. Home is where you work, love and live; where you are part of society and contribute to society- for a great many people on this planet home is not where you were born and our planet and its global society is a more diverse, rich, educated and evolved place for the greater movement and mixing of people and their respective cultures!
She asked the question if Brexit could be to blame for such a public display of racism. Sadly I feel she is correct to a degree. Brexit has caused a huge rise in racism (and xenophobia) which was always there brewing under the surface. Now the media coverage and right wing campaigning surrounding Brexit has given confidence to idiots- like that bus driver. We must not stand for it!
While I voted ‘IN’ I acknowledge that there are numerous left wing arguments for the UK to have voted ‘OUT’. One of the reasons I voted ‘IN’ was because I foresaw this whole fiasco – immigration being used as a scapegoat for the economic and social problems of the UK. It can’t even be called a conspiracy as it is plain for most to see. These issues outweighed the arguments to vote ‘OUT’. Unity amongst nations beyond Europe is more important to me than trade, money etc and extends beyond Europe to a global sentiment. We are all human beings and that above all else beyond race, money, religion, gender, age etc.
Thankfully the racists are actually a minority – they come to our attention more because of their bizarre actions, like religious terrorists. You don’t see people running up the road shouting “welcome to London! We love Polish supermarkets and Indian restaurants and bagel shops and reggae music and all of the wonderful culture we can call ‘British’ but has come to our shores from overseas. I see multiculturalism as an important part of ‘Britishness’ and part of our identity as Brits – something to be proud of!
Screw the media and all that it pushes and represents – screw the selfish interests of the few, the privileged and the ignorant. Screw the way only negative news is pushed and anything positive is ignored unless it involves sport or puppies or celebrities!
Back to my own personal experience, I recently had a visa denied for my partner to come to the UK to visit. I was shocked as were my parents when the UK embassy denied my partner the right to come to the UK. He was coming to meet my parents pre our marriage (due to health problems it is challenging for them to travel and he has never visited my home country), based on the fact that ‘as he was Indian (!) he was likely to stay in the UK and work illegally’. I was even more shocked when my friend’s husband was denied a visa for exactly the same reasons when he was invited to attend the birth of his first-born son. He was a mechanical engineer, married to a Brit with a stable, well paid job and home in India. He clearly has no need to stay in UK and wash pots in a restaurant kitchen for an illegal existence!
Institutional racism and xenophobia exists within the British government. How can we hope for a peaceful future when this is the case? Yet we must hope and educate our children as they are our future.