Racism normally catches one unawares. Ask any ethnic minority person and they will vouch for my statement. I once got on a bus when I was pregnant and an English woman called me ‘filthy’, ‘Paki’ and a whole load of other swear words. All I wanted was to sit down during my journey from A to B.
However, in the post-referendum age something changed. I wrote about how racist language became mainstreamed by politicians who scapegoated migrants for the ills of the country. It became open season on ‘others’ who were not white and English. Being white and, for example, Polish was not good enough. A week before my experience a friend’s daughter had a bottle of coke thrown at her along with the words ‘nigger’ and ‘go home’. She was born in the UK but birthright and nationality is immaterial and irrelevant as far as racism is concerned.
This experience was one of many being reported and I knew it was only a matter of time before the hand of racism pointed at me.
A few days later, one lunchtime, I decided to take a stroll and sat down on a bench overlooked by a block of flats. I heard a tapping noise and looked up in the direction of the noise. A white man was standing at a window pointing to his t-shirt which bore the Union Jack flag. It took me a few seconds to realise his intention. I looked away and the tapping started up again. I looked up again wanting to make sure that my suspicions of a racist incident being underway was the correct version of events. There was no doubt. He was pressed up against the window with the flag clearly visible despite the dirty condition of his window. The tapping went on for about 5 minutes. I got up and walked away without looking up again.
I was only thankful that my experience had been a minor one compared to ones being reported which involved violence.
That man ought to be ashamed of himself for using the national flag to prop up his warped sense of nationalism. The Union Jack is flown in all the Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is the head. To use it for racist purposes is to insult the country. Sadly, racists have an opposing view point which confuses racism for nationalism.