The Guardian (15.9.2007) reports on supermodels mounting a demonstration with the claim that racism has reached its highest point since the sixties.
There is a smugness in society that we have gone through a period of “multiculturism” (the acceptable term for the more radical antiracist movement) and have come out on top. If you’ve been on the receiving end of racism you may not see it that way.
Black people I’ve spoken to recently seem to have taken an air of resignation that discrimination is an inbuilt feature of existence. Just at a time we’re looking at 200 years since abolition, the result has been the view that that was then. Don’t blame the current generation for what happened a long time ago. If you consider the story about the supermodels it looks as if the consequences haven’t gone away at all.
My apology and challenge on behalf of Birmingham has fallen on deaf ears. Only the Stirrer took notice, but the responses were dominated by a very racist contributor called “headless chicken” I think.
A young man was telling me this week about his experiences at school in Chelmsley Wood where, unlike other parts of Birmingham, there are few black pupils. Their daily struggle for survival has left its mark, but in his case remarkably bitterness has dissolved into a more philosophical approach coupled with a determination to look at the history which was so conspicuously absence from his education experience. He told me that the appearance of Lenny Henry in the early days with his take off of a Rastafarian character added to their misery when it gave further ammunition to the white l lads to taunt them. No folks racism didn’t melt away, it’s renewed itself again and is alive and sick.