Friday, May 02, 2003

I can't link to the individual post so I'll cut and paste:
A friend desribes her life in England

"The thing with being a non-white obviously immigrant people, Is that most people will already have an opinion about you, before you’ve even opened your mouth. I have been lucky, in the most part, I have experienced little racism. I imagine it depends on where you live, but in my area, most are pretty tolerant and friendly.

Racism can come from all sides. To keep out of trouble with the black kids, I’d let them believe I was half black (believable considering how curly my hair was). The Asian (South Asian) kids would speak to me in Punjabi or Urdu and I’d just nod blankly. The white kids..well I couldn’t really pass for meditteranean olive skin, because I didn’t quite have the look.

However in the last two years or so I have started to grow uneasy. Asylum Seekers, refugees, immigrants, racial riots, the rise of the BNP (British National Party- fascist, racists), September 11 th, muslim extremists. I feel like I have to be constantly on the defensive, apologetic. But I’m a British citizen like everyone else, I break no laws, I work, I pay taxes. I love Britain, it’s the only place I want to live in, I know how to live in. I have lived here all my life. I consider myself a British Arab. I should belong.

I look at the former Yugoslavia, and German history in WWII, and think, never in England! Nothing like that could ever happen here. Then I see Combat 18 stickers on the bus stop, Keep Britain White grafitti on the walls. I hear how angry people get about Asylum Seekers, and notice when they stop saying Asylum Seekers, and start saying “those people” taking our jobs, bleeding our economy. I notice the bus drivers who scowl at me when I step on the bus, and then soften alittle when I say “thank you” without a foreign accent. I walk past the back to back newspaper frontpages that show the faces of mad, crazed looking muslim fanatics.

I see all this, and I feel uneasy, and a little afraid."

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