The town I live in now is very different from the town I lived in for most of my life. Rotherham where I grew up and lived until earlier this year is a diverse and multicultural town. I hated my town growing up but not for that reason. Rotherham has many faults; a high unemployment rate means that it rivals some cities for its quantities of homeless people, unemployed teenagers turning their lives to that of thugs and trouble causers and large amounts of people reliant on alcohol or drugs. Those people like to call this type of behaviour which mostly includes spending the day in the pub ‘a community’. Not only a community but a town which they can ‘own’ and ‘possess’ and ‘protect’ what they perceive to be a threat.
Growing up I didn’t really know anything about racism. I think that may have been something to do with going to school outside of Rotherham and said school at the time was not what would be described as multicultural. I can count on one hand the amount of people who attended school at the same time as me who were not ‘white British’. However the few people of different ethnicities at my school were not as far as I was aware ever treated any differently.
Things changed around the time of me being 16 years old. My first (and only) racial altercation occurred when an ex-boyfriend racially abused a group of teenage Pakistani boys outside meadowhall shopping centre and they attacked him and me calling me a ‘white bitch’ despite me being not only an innocent bystander but actually taking the side of the group and berating my then boyfriend for his racism which had shocked and alarmed me. I could easily at that time have turned this incident to one that encouraged hate at the unfairness of being attacked when I had done nothing and had tried to offer defence. I was young and immature and didn’t know much at the time but I began to see a different perspective on things, to see how this racial hatred that the then boyfriend expressed had no grounds other than that they were the beliefs of his father before him and his grandfather before that. Although I don’t like to think back to the time spent in that horrible relationship but I feel I needed to give this example in order to demonstrate how even when an incident like this happened I didn’t choose to give myself over to hate and racism.
My second incident which wasn’t really an altercation happened when I worked as a receptionist for an immigration solicitors and an Asian man came in and refused to speak to me or even deal with me because as he said ‘I don’t want to speak to a white girl’.
Let me now look at the amount of occasions white men have treated me as inferior not because of the colour of my skin but because of my gender. The numerous occasions where I have been told I can’t do something or cannot speak my mind because I don’t have a penis hanging between my legs. Again I don’t presume that all white men are sexist pigs because of the select few who spout patriarchal bullshit any more than I would presume that all Asian men are racist towards white women because one refused to deal with me.
What has brought this on you might wonder? Why would I choose now nearly 10 years after that first incident to reflect on past events and my views on racism?
Rotherham has been the reason for my reflections. Despite moving from the town the world of Facebook allows me to keep in touch with the goings on and following this pasts weeks events I am very close to only being able to express disappointment and disgust. Luckily I have been able to pull some faith back round from some of my lovely friends who posted inspiring videos and photographs of them preaching love and unity instead of hate.
It would be easy at this point to break into a rant about my extremely strong feelings on the subject but I’d literally go on forever! So here’s a little summary of what’s been going on:
- The child sexual exploitation scandal was exposed in Rotherham. Authorities including the police and council were revealed to have buried it by refusing to accept it was happening and act effectively against it. It was brought out in the 2014 report that over 1,400 girls aged 12 and upwards had been abused including torture, rape, abduction and sex trafficking. It was revealed that this abuse had mainly been carried out by British-Pakistani men.
- Members of the British-Pakistani community expressed disapproval of the abuse and the cover up as they did not want to encourage racism. Several resignations were made on both the council and police force. Books were published by victims of the exploitation and independent investigations leading to several arrests.
- Trouble began brewing in the town with the EDL (English Defence League) and Britain First groups descending on Rotherham. Both of these groups march under the flags of St George and the Union Jack. Videos I have seen of them show aggressive marches, racist chants and singing and men who are dressed in tracksuits and covered in tattoos. Around every 1-2 months they drop in on the town and trouble ensues. There is NEVER a peaceful protest no matter the promises and tax payer’s money goes into paying for the floods of police who have to come into the town in force and deal with the riots and violence. Google English Defence League Rotherham and you get the following headlines:
- ‘police and council move to ban Rotherham abuse protests’
- EDL supporters attack police during Rotherham sex abuse protest
And Britain first?
- Petition calls for Britain First to cancel latest Rotherham march
- Campaigners called for far right march to be cancelled after pensioner dies in Rotherham
- In august a pensioner Mr Ahmed (81 years old) was murdered in a racial attack the latest of violent attacks against Muslims in Rotherham. Two men of white British descent were arrested for the attack. Mr Ahmed is described as a ‘gentle grandfather’.
- On the 5th September a peaceful anti-facist march was held in Rotherham in which over 400 people attended. Videos were released of a gang of Asian men seemingly attacking white men outside a pub on one of the main streets. On closer inspection of the video however it is easily seen that the majority of the men were observing or trying to get away from the situation but unable to get away due to a police barrier. It was revealed then by people in attendance that the riot was brought on by the white British men outside the pub who were racially abusing and throwing missiles at 2 14 year old Asian boys. When the peaceful protest made its way down Wellgate on their way home they too were attacked and the videos were taken during the retaliation. Videos of Britain First protester making racist speeches and rioting surprisingly enough did not circulate in the quite the same way.
I have tried to keep the summary brief but still inputted with facts that people seem to refuse to accept. It doesn’t matter how many times those of us with half a brain try to show how things really are, the bleating sheep continue to don their rose tinted glasses and put the blame for everything that goes wrong in Rotherham on people who have a different skin colour to them. So in conclusion to my post/mini rant I pose a few questions to those of you who THINK you know what you’re talking about…
When you state that people of different ethnic origins are stealing jobs from white British people can you elaborate on that? The Asian doctor at the hospital who treated you or a family member, did he steal that job from you with your medical degree and your high prospects? The West Indian lady who owns the grocery store stole your dream job of opening your own store on the corner of your local high street and the Polish immigrants who work long shifts in terrible conditions in factories for poor wages I suppose that was the job you wanted and had stolen from you too?
Is the death of an 81 year old pensioner, someone’s father, brother, uncle, grandfather, elderly and unable to defend himself retribution for exploitation of children. Does it make those men heroes or better people for killing an old man than the people who exploited young girls?
Does it make you feel intelligent to be unable to form an opinion of your own and refuse to see the facts? To repeat and bleat like a sheep with an echo the things you choose to believe without listening to the facts and refusing to accept what is right. Would you not feel better if you had something to stand up for? Some way to support your fellow man and come together as a community and decide which of these pictures demonstrate peaceful protest and a community coming together.