So, the Yazzmonster spent some time at Hay-On-Wye:
… listening to supreme intellectuals sharing their quirky insights, seeing young people passionately engaged, meeting thoughtful punters – it really did feel like one of the best weekends of my life.
Sounds delightful. Until…
That bliss was unexpectedly shattered at around 4.30 pm on Saturday.
I’d just been on a panel with two speakers discussing the web, the effects of travel and what home is. Then I went for a drink with two young black women. We found a table with a woman on her own, asked politely if we could sit there and she smilingly assented. She was in her early fifties, short, dark hair, wore smart-casual gear in neutral colours. Nothing about her seemed crazy or untoward.
Actually, there’s a significant assumption there – that what her table companion had to say was ‘crazy and untoward’ just because Yaz says so…
We were talking about university students from Pakistan, most of whom are now refused visas. In a bitter voice, the woman cut in: “Good. We don’t want them here. They are liars, forgers and scroungers.”
We stopped, shocked and silenced.
Hurrah! So that’s what it takes to shut her up…
She went on – I can only paraphrase. She claimed she was an academic at Cardiff University and they all knew this to be true. I felt outrage rising and told her I was a visiting professor at Cardiff and wondered if that is what she felt about her Muslim students. She discharged more projectile bile. They should go back and so should I. This country was not ours.
Note the ‘claimed’.
Because she couldn’t really be an academic, could she? Not and hold a differing opinion to the Yazzmonster, surely? Who knows far more about Cardiff on a part-time basis than this person who claims to work there…
Something burst out of me at this point, an accumulated sense of injustice that black and Asian people are supposed to take it, laugh it off, excuse the racism as madness or ignorance and agree that these are just small glitches in a racism- free kingdom. I reacted with reckless fury. Very un-British. And I have no regrets at all.
So, what did you do and say?
We don’t find out. Yaz is off on one:
In our times, to complain about racism is a crime.
So, you complain every day, yet no-one arrests you? Some crime! It must be on a par with jaywalking…
Many will resort to invective and chastisement after reading this column. They won’t stop me, inured as I am after experiencing both for so long.
Having seen the comments so far to your article, it’s a good job you’re able to keep your chin up, love.
Some of my best friends, including my tender husband and many mentors, are white. That can’t wipe away the upset of what happened in Hay.
*choke* Did she really use the ‘Some of my friends are…’ meme?
I could fill ten pages of evidence and data proving racial inequality still affects our chances, sense of ourselves and the innate optimism which sustains humans. Disbelievers add insult to ongoing injury. Some of them have been given positions of high authority – great dividends for denying the truth.
There is a line connecting the seemingly trivial through normalised unfairness to lethal violence. Naomi Campbell threatened to sue Cadburys for using her name in a “playful” advert for chocolate. She has just had a grovelling apology.
It isn’t just another tantrum by the black model – she knows black kids hate “chocolate” nicknames, that focus on the colour of their skins. Violet, a young, African girl I know only eats white chocolate because “brown will make me more darker“.
You should be worrying about her grammar…
Last week Simon Parker, a primary school head was sacked for racially abusing teachers and children. “Muslim fucker”, “black bitch” and “bongo-congo”were his favoured epithets.
Yes, indeed. Sacked. Rightly so. Not ‘given a position of high authority’.
Do you ever even stop to read back what you just wrote?
We don’t need an official report on advertising to know that there is “drastic under-representation” of black and Asian faces on TV. That means fewer jobs for the actors who might have earned some good cash and recognition. Meanwhile, a Business in the Community study found that no profession is devoid of racism; only 30 of the 21,600 state school heads are black or Asian; an NUS survey found that those with foreign sounding names paid a penalty when their work was marked; London Metropolitan University has almost as many black students as the whole of the elite Russell Group; only fifty professors of 14,000 are black and there have been a number of cases of police officers assaulting and intimidating innocent Muslims.
*sigh* Yes, we’re back to tokenism. That’ll solve everything, apparently.
In a boutique in London a few months back, I saw two young teens, one black and one white, thrown out by the owner: “We don’t want trash here. Go, please, now”. The black girl spoke back and was subjected to terrible racist swearing. I fled and said nothing.
Hang on, let me get this straight – a mixed couple were thrown out, and that proves racism? The fact that identity epithets were used? If the black teenager (And Yaz tells us nothing about what they were doing to be thrown out…) had been plump, and was subjected to abuse on those grounds, would the owner be ‘fattist’?
In Hay I didn’t bottle out. A time comes.
Well, that’s great, Yaz, well done.
Yet I note that nowhere in this column is there any recounting of just how she reacted, and what the result was. Nowhere at all.
Strange, eh? I mean, if she smote the fearsome dragon of racism with her +5 Tongue of Righteousness, where’s the gleeful recounting? Where’s the details of how she humbled this upstart lecturer?
It’s almost as if….
Nah! Surely not?