Racism. It’s a word we hear that immediately plants images in our heads: 1960’s America, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, or the killing of six million Jews in Nazi Germany. For most of us, the word seems almost archaic. We believe that racism is something that no longer exists in a progressive society – one that’s open to change, freedom and respect. For many years, I have been one of the sheep that followed the crowd, believing foolishly that racism was dead and gone. It isn’t.
I recently stumbled upon a video on youtube. It was entitled “Racist Woman on Tram”, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. Within a split second, my entire perception of society and the Western world were changed forever. Some of the things that this woman, Emma West, said, were quite frankly, disgusting. For two minutes and twenty-five seconds, she is recorded on a phone, proclaiming that everyone on the tram is black, and ranting about how much of a problem for her this is.
A few people stand up to this woman, and ask her to stop shouting. There are children on the tram, and they don’t want them to be exposed to such vulgar language. But Emma is having none of it. She is determined that she must get her point across – that foreign people are corrupting her beloved Britain.
I saw this video, and I consoled myself easily. I was sure that this was an example of perhaps one in a million people, who unfortunately are racist. Yet again, I was wrong. The comments on the video, and the update videos about her subsequent arrest, made me feel sick to the core. Take this comment, for example, which was posted on this video:
The tragic thing is EVERYTHING Emma West said is totally TRUE! Furthermore, that vile greasy diseased primitive n****r bitch standing looks like she has just arrived illegally from some third world jungle together with that violent looking ape animal n****r dealing drugs behind her– hopefully the authorities will investigate these illegal immigrants that swarm like flies around shit and DEPORT ALL THE IMMIGRANTS BACK TO THE INFESTED CESSPITS THEY CAME FROM!
But that wasn’t the only one. Many people believed that it was this woman’s right to express her opinion, and that political correctness has gone to silly extremes when people can’t even say what is clearly true. I was shocked at this point, when it dawned on me: Emma West was only one of many people in Britain who believe that black people are to blame for everything. Does that ideology remind you of anything? Nazi Germany, perhaps? Hitler and his party believed that Jewish people had brought Germany down, and there was only one solution, which was aptly named The Final Solution.
But this blatant racism really got me thinking. Are you racist? Racism really covers a lot broader a scale than we believe it does. In my opinion, the racism that was expressed on this tram was the kind that we all know about: the racism towards people of a different colour or race because of their colour. For example, in Ireland, each and every day, it is acceptable to make observations about the travelling community. People like to make observations like, they don’t work, they have no respect, their children don’t get an education, they’re a disgrace, they’re only a bunch of knackers/tinkers.
What’s the difference between this and what happened on that tram? There really is no difference. In both cases, it involves people deliberately showing disrespect towards an ethnic minority because their customs and traditions are different to ours.
Also, in Ireland everyday, claims are made about people from other countries. They all came over here and took our jobs and now they’re taking our social welfare too, is a common thing to hear. Yet what these people refuse to acknowledge is that in Ireland, up until we were struck by recession, jobs like working in shops, hotels etc. just weren’t good enough for us. Our population wasn’t big enough to fill the jobs that were needed. But now that the going has gotten tough, we seem to think that we can just say “Hey guys, thanks for coming and working here and building a life for yourself for the last ten years, but off you trot now back to your own country”. Why is that deemed acceptable?
On this tram that features in the video, I am sure that there were foreign people who were there causing trouble and living there illegally. However I’m sure that the amount of people who were there working, and trying to make lives for themselves away from war stricken and corrupt countries far outweighed trouble makers.
In short, it’s time we stood up to racism. Racism towards the travelling community and the foreign people of the Western world needs to stop; “A Change is Gonna Come”, as Sam Cooke once sang about. I hope that one day, his words can be used in the past tense.