Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Hey Ho

There are downsides to living in the country
It has to be said from time to time.
My main bug-bares are ( and in no particular order-as they say on TV)

1. You have to drive fairly long distances to do anything
2. There is now where locally that sells good greetings cards
3. Very few places sell proper coffee
4. Casual racism

Now I throw the last one in for some dramatic effect, but unfortunately, I must say it is a true statement.
Of course, I am talking in generalities here. Racism flourishes anywhere and everywhere. But generally speaking, I have noticed more racist comments, and certainly a noticeable lack of broad-mindedness about race here in Wales than I ever experienced in South Yorkshire.

I discussed this at work the other night, for it is in work where I think I notice this the most, and the debate that followed was an interesting one given the demographic of the staff on duty and the patients being looked after was predominately  white and " working class".

Of course we don't have the cultural melting pot that the great Northern Cities are famous for, indeed black faces in the coastal towns here in Wales are still a fairly rare sight even in 2012  and I am reminded here of something that happened to me several years ago, which perhaps underlines the noticeable lack of exposure, some communities still have when that much used catch phrase "multiculturalism" is used.

I was in a car on the A55 late at night.
( for those that don't know the A55 is the only duel carriageway of note here in North Wales) 
As we approached the turn off for the coast, out of the pitch black, we spied a broken down car on the hard shoulder.
Perched on a grassy bank, next to their car was a group of middle aged Asian ladies, who were all decked out in a whole array of multicoloured saris, and so surprised were we to see this unexpected sight, we sailed right passed them.
I turned to the driver and suggested that we should have offered them some help
But I was immediately faced with a worried look and the comment of " I don't think so"
"we better not" my companion then added
 "It might be a trap!"


Off to watch the Olympic Torch pass by a little later.... will post a few photos later if I can


  1. I might well have been a trap - they might all have been spinsters.

    We in England are casually racist on a daily basis, but the racism is directed toward the Welsh, so it doesn't really count.

  2. I agree that in South Yorkshire there is little overt racism but if a busload of Welsh sheep farmers broke down here there'd be a race riot.

  3. Racism like any form of bigotry is definitely on the upswing in Oz.

  4. perhaps Al you have hit the nail on the head... perhaps it is the "subtle" rise of racism in it's many guises that I am noticing now?

  5. Hi John - if you have read my blog you will know I am Welsh. There is definitely a casual racism in Wales where things are said without deliberate thought to being derogatory but worryingly they are said out of entrenched habit. There is also a definite fear of all peoples not white and speaking with a Welsh accent! Lily.

  6. lily , you are right... and I agree there is casual and unthinking comments in all areas of this land not just in wales...

  7. Racism is one of those problems which goes around in a circle -- we don't want to be singled out or suffer prejudice because of the colour of our skin or our sexuality. But because we are, we seek shelter from this by seeking out communities or clubs or bars that put us in that comfort zone. In America it was on the news not so long ago that whites are now officially in the minority. What is bizarre about this statistic is that the majority is 'non-white' and really a mixture of cultures with darker skins.

  8. When I lived near Liverpool nearly everyone around was white but in the school where I taught, there was one mixed race family and the three boys reflected this in skin colour to different degrees. The youngest had a 'white' friend whose skin, hair and eye colour was identical to his, yet only he was a target of some racial abuse at the age of 7. His two brothers never seemed to have any problems.

  9. A trap????? Laughing here, although it's really not funny.

    I live in a small town, too, and I agree there's a lot of racism, some of it not even casual. Part of it, I think, is a lack of exposure to other people of different nationalities. I mean, sure, you see the colours of the rainbow on TV but it's not the same as seeing a constant sea of white faces on the main street.

    I was fishing with "friends" once a while back and she was just terrible, using all kinds of rascist remarks without even realizing she was doing anything wrong. I finally got mad and told her the 'n-word' was absolutely not acceptable in modern society and she got huffy. Friends like that I can do without.

  10. Anonymous11:23 am

    I don't know whether that's racism or common sense. You don't stop to help anyone anymore no matter what their ethnic background...you just call for help for them on your cel phone and keep on going. If it's on one of our busier highways, you could get killed by traffic just getting out of your car and if it's in a much less travelled area "it could be a trap". I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.

  11. O Boy, I was at school in Bangor (N.Wales) in 1978 . . . I'm English. Every morning I had my head spat on from the upper floor windows, amongst other things.
    At the hospital in Bangor it was even worse; I gave birth there at 15 and was spoke to in Welsh, otherwise ignored. Nice.
    I just don't understand racism at all.
    Ah well, such is life. I hope you're not working on Friday for your Birthday.

  12. It's all around us, I don't think this mess will ever be over. People are always going to see people that are unlike themselves as something wrong, whether it be race, religion, or even location.

    Being both a Yankee and a non-Baptist in a Southern town can get you shunned.

  13. Great post and tactfully written too!
    I wonder if we're ever going to be done with racism or any kind of discrimination.
    And it's in every race, every nation, every tribe.
    And there is also discrimination within one group. The moment you don't follow the rules of the majority in your group, you will be discriminated in some sort of way.

  14. It shall sadly always be with us to some degree. We can only hope we are not the leaders of it nor the followers.

  15. I find it odd that a person I know bangs on about immigrants all the time. Hubby and I are immigrants, we speak with English accents, and culturally we are different from those around us.. but this person doesn't mean us. Why? Because we are white.
    Jane x

  16. Sad.

    To some degree, the desire to be with others that are similar to one's self is a natural thing. I even see it with the sheep that I raise! Lambs of a color tend to stick together more so than with lambs of another color. The same can be said of the adult sheep.

    That being said, I did NOT notice lambs of one color ganging up or fighting with lambs of another color. That bit of reaction to difference seems to be a more HUMAN trait....


  17. In a recent HONY (Humans of New York) Facebook post an African American woman said she didn't mind a white person moving into the neighborhood. To quote loosely, They're like the Indians. They come in peace, they bring whole food markets and the police don't break up block parties as often.

    Change from the bottom up.

  18. It's there wherever you are...just less or more obvious...mind you those saris can be pretty outrageously bright, so perhaps it was just a fashion comment..

  19. Sometimes, I think we (humans) just like to hate. If not colour, something else. Whatever is different, whatever makes us feel better, and more superior, about ourselves.

    It's strange, but I never even noticed colour as a kid. Canada was great for growing up that way, in the 80's. Then we moved back to England - Bradford! (I was 12) and WHAM. The racial problems were shocking to me. On both sides of the coin. It just keeps feeding itself.

  20. The only racism here is towards Parisians. I see nothing wrong with that.

  21. Anonymous4:01 pm

    imagine the looks we all get when I'm out with the family...3 white adult persons, 1 little person with albinism (who's actually black) and 1 little black person! there's lots of staring...lots of double takes...and whispered comments!

    racism is alive and well in west central Florida...but worse in south central Virginia!

  22. Racism is systemic in 'western world' culture.
    It is very much alive here in Nova Scotia as it is all over North America.
    I feel it is a 'learned' behavior/reaction as well as one that shows a lack of education....and I mean a well-rounded education. I know a lot of people who are supposedly well-education and are racist/bigots.
    Gay people have a sense of what it is to be at the mercy of bigoted people.

  23. you get it everywhere.... a discussion in a fishing shop recently about weather was quickly terminated by an old bloke suggesting it would be good if immigrants melted in the rain!! I just walked out!

  24. In the Detroit metropolitan area, there is a huge divide between races or breeds as I call them. Not just between black and white either. Quite honestly, I can't tell the difference in most and don't care. But it's bad enough that we have whole neighborhoods that don't welcome people from "other countries" even though all of them have been Americans for generations.

  25. Anonymous2:25 pm

    Casual racism. Nice term for it. We have the same thing here in Idaho, I think mostly due to lack of exposure. There are a number of factors including geography that still work to keep the state more isolated than many. It's a whole lot better here than it was when we arrived seventeen years ago though. Back then I went into a paint store down the street and the owner openly talked about being a proud member of the John Birch Society (similar to the Ku Klux Klan.) I felt like I'd just walked into the movie Deliverance!


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