If you have a racist friend
Now is the time, now is the time
For your friendship to end
Be it your sister, be it your brother
Be it your cousin, or your uncle, or your lover
Be it your best friend, or any other
Is it your husband, or your father, or your mother
Either change their views
Or change your friends
So say The Specials. Wives, children, aunts and grandparents should really be added to the list.
Yes, lads, I've followed this throughout my life. I've never knowingly had a racist friend. But are family really friends? Isn't it a fact that you can choose your friends but not your family or your workmates. And just how racist is racist? Because most of the people I know are racist to differing degrees. And how the fuck am I supposed to change their views?
"So I phoned the number and I was put through to India. I had to ask him to speak slowly, couldn't understand what he was saying. Finally got the answer then he asks me is there anything else he can help me with..."
"Yeah. You can learn bloody English for a start."
And these are people I like. I wouldn't call them friends but I find it very difficult to make friends. Even more difficult to meet women in the past, as soon as they uttered the words "Paki shop" that's it for me, I'm afraid. Whatever slight interest I had just disappeared. And then there's family. Ah, family...
My grandparents had a black dog they called Nigger. That was many years ago, before I was born so they had an excuse.
As did my grandad when he always used to say that Britain would one day be "overrun by Pakis" as "they breed like rabbits." He had the excuse that he was born in the 19th century.
My so-called socialist dad used to say, when angry about some bastard big businessman, "Hitler was right about the Jews." But my dad had the excuse that he was born before the Second World War.
And it continues. There are the conversations I have where I am asked questions which always start off, "But don't you think that THEY...?"
There are the "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD" conversations..."You used to have a golliwog, Geoff. You had one of those Robertson jam badges."
Yes. How old was I? Did I ASK for a golliwog? Yes, I probably did, but I didn't know any better. What's your excuse? Ah, you were born before the War!
But I don't speak out. I keep quiet amongst my groups of all-white people (yes, all-white because that's the way it's been for me for the past 20 years, don't tell me we're an integrated nation).
One day, though I did speak out. Pathetically.
He'd been to Australia on holiday and loved it. "Met some lovely people. But you know what? They've got our problem over there, too. There are less immigrants over there but immigration is becoming a worry." (By which I assumed he meant non-white immigration).
IMMIGRATION? AUSTRALIA? DID HE KNOW WHAT THE WHITE BRITISH ESTABLISHMENT SCUM DID TO THE NATIVE ABORIGINES?
Of course I said nothing of the sort. I just went very red and said I couldn't listen to this rubbish anymore and I stormed out into the kitchen. I didn't even pick up a knife.
I can't do it, Specials. I can't spend my life arguing.
Still, I can get on my anonymous soapbox, can't I?
Some book reviews
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