Monthly Archives: November 2019

“I’m not racist but…”

“I’m not racist but…”.

Sorry, BUT you’re racist. Actually, scrap the ‘sorry’, you’re racist.

I heard something today. A young adult telling me that they didn’t want to go to a certain place because it was full of ****s. Whispered. Under their breath. But the p-word nonetheless. (By the way, it doesn’t make it any less racist if you whisper it).

It doesn’t make you “not racist but”. You’re racist. Just admit it.

You don’t want to go to that place in town because you’re scared you’re going to get blown up. Because it’s always full of them.

Get it right, please. You don’t want to go to that place because you’re ignorant. You don’t want to go to that place because you’re uneducated. You don’t want to go to that place because you’ve read things online or in hateful tabloids or the Daily Fail. Because you’re racist, xenophobic and prejudiced.

You said that there was ‘one of them’ with a knife in town the other day, that there were armed police. That you’re afraid of going to town because of it. I also saw a Gazette article earlier and I’m pretty sure the alleged offender was white in the photo, despite the comments that followed which said to expect an update with an Asian name.

GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT PEOPLE. Statistics prove that you’re more likely to die from food poisoning (maybe even from your own cooking!) than in a terror attack. You’re more likely to die falling from a ladder. You are even more likely to die from falling down your stairs at home or from a traffic accident. You’re also more likely to die getting out of bed.

Does that higher risk stop you from eating/travelling in a car/doing DIY/going downstairs/buying a 2-storey home/getting out of bed? By your logic, you should stay in bed all the time instead of risking your life. Sure, a terrorist attack is arguably a more shocking way to go. But the risk is tiny. In the last ten years the risk of dying in a terror attack in the UK is something like 1:11.4 million. That risk is going down too. In the late 80s it was much higher.

If you’re so worried about dying, stop doing risky stuff. Stop binge drinking until you puke every weekend. Stop smoking. Stop eating too much. Stop getting out of bed. But don’t stop going into town because you might get blown up. And absolutely don’t use those words in front of me unless you want to add another risk to your life* (I’m not violent but…).

*tongue in cheek. I don’t advocate violence in real life!

Just a strawberry milkshake

My eldest child turned five today and we had forgotten to buy the 10 (yes, 10!) AAA batteries that his new Lego train needed. The air was pretty brutal as I de-iced the car at 7:30 am to make my way to the 24-hour Tesco but needs must!

The first thing I saw when I arrived at the carpark was a man in his late thirties waking up for the day underneath an outdoor stairwell. The temperature was 1°C. I approached and asked him if he would like something from the shop. He requested a strawberry milkshake.

I walked around the store and picked up a few things, all the while trying to stop myself from crying. Perhaps it was because I was feeling emotional for my eldest’s 5th birthday, perhaps because I’ve been ill for the last couple of days, but it really hit me hard seeing that man wake up there in that cold place. I kept imaging how this whole warm world was going on directly above him. These workers and shoppers in Tesco, me included, were quite literally walking above his bed, perhaps even unaware of his existence. I thought about how perhaps once he was a five-year-old boy like my son waking up to presents from loving parents. Who knows. But I know that someone somewhere would have once cradled that baby and hoped for the best outcome for him in life. I thought about how it could be any one of us there. Most of us are only a paycheck or two away from defaulting on our rent our mortgage.

I gathered a few extra things for him alongside my batteries: a hoodie, a toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes, deodorant and, not forgetting, the strawberry milkshake.

I could barely speak to him when I handed him the bag as I didn’t want him to see I was upset for him. I cried all the way home in the car.

I’ve since sat down and done some reading. The Office of National Statistics states: “In England, since the current methodology was established in 2010, the numbers of people sleeping rough have been steadily rising across London and the rest of England […] Over the last five years, the numbers of rough sleepers identified across the whole of England have nearly doubled, from 2414 to 4,677.” An article in the BMJ states how “homeless women die on average at 43 and homeless men at 47, compared with 77 for the rest of us.”

This is the reality of the United Kingdom in 2019. No one should be living on the streets in one of the richest countries in the world. Certainly, no one should be dying on the streets. Yet here we are.

So, what is at fault here? It’s not easy to find a definitive answer. Yet, it’s safe to say that homelessness in all of its forms has increased since the Tories have been in power. It’s hardly surprising given all of the austerity measures and the lack of social housing.

I won’t be voting for them on the 12th of December. This isn’t the only reason but it’s certainly one that was brought to the forefront for me today.

Sent from Outlook