I’m Not Being Racist But…

James Proclaims (4)

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As someone of mixed race, it is, of course, technically impossible for me to be racist.

Except that it isn’t.

For, despite being a remoaning bleeding-heart leftie, I am capable of the odd moment of prejudice. I don’t want, or mean, to do so, but I have made judgements about people based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and various other attributes that may mark them out as different to me. For the most part these judgements are innocent enough. They don’t come from a place of hate, they come from a place of ignorance, of misunderstanding, of genuine confusion.

But they are prejudices nonetheless.

And when I realise I have been guilty of making snap judgements based on accepted stereotypes, I try to learn from the experience.

Because it’s actually ok to make mistakes, even mistakes that may have unintentionally caused someone else mild offense, if as a result of that mistake we become better, more rounded, people.

Because we can’t all be like ‘The Donald’ who recently informed journalists that he was the least racist person that they’d ever interviewed.

Which is a very bold claim to make and leads me to conclude that either Mr Trump:

  1. Genuinely is a paragon of virtue when it comes to racism
  2. Is perplexingly well-informed about every single person that those particular journalists have ever interviewed and has hard evidence that each and every one of them is definitely more racist than him.
  3. A liar

It’s not for me to judge.

Closer to home there has been the shocking revelation that the leader of UKIP has a racist girlfriend.

I was shocked anyway. I didn’t realise that UKIP actually had a leader at the moment. Indeed I’m a bit surprised to discover that UKIP think they even have a purpose anymore.

But apparently they do have a leader and his name is Henry Bolton. And his girlfriend apparently said some racist things about soon-to-be-royal Meghan Markle.

Racist things which are pretty horrible truth be told.

But it’s OK because, according to Mr Bolton, some of the comments have been taken out of context.

Although when questioned about the comments on TV this morning he did concede that the most offensive ones weren’t take out of context.

They were just really offensive.

But some of the other ones were taken out of context so really we just need to get over it

And to be fair, after being shocked that UKIP still exists and that they have a leader, I wasn’t massively surprised that he would have a racist girlfriend.

No more than his wife probably was anyway.

Apparently he’s got one of those marriages where it’s OK for him to also have a girlfriend who is half his age.

And racist or not, I find I judge him a little bit for that.

Which makes me prejudiced I suppose.

I’ve got so much to learn.


 

Chocolate Face

I don’t think about my skin
Very often, although it is a colour
That has provoked a reaction in others
Both negative and at times

Patronisingly positive
Because my ethnicity might look
Like a really nice sun tan
But it isn’t a really nice sun tan.

Living in a cosmopolitan town or city
I am just another person
Of little interest
Or consequence

A far cry I suppose
From a childhood in which
I was the only brown kid in the school
And the other kids called me ‘Chocolate Face’

I don’t blame them
They were infants
And it was the eighties
When casual racism was acceptable

But to the adults who
I turned to for help
I would just say
The following advice is less than helpful
To an emotional and frightened
Five year old boy

“Call them something back”

“It could be worse – everyone likes chocolate”

“Stop telling tales”

To the kids I would, however, point out
That they got the colour wrong
I’m not the colour of chocolate
If anything I’m more the colour
Of toffee or possibly coffee

It does make me lament the state
Of the Education system
In Thatcher’s Britain
If children back then
Were unable to make
Such obvious distinctions
When it comes to colour