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Racism

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I’m not proud to say it but i am a little racist.

I’m this way because of experiences i had trying to bring up a baby in a mostly Asian town.

So before I moved to Rochdale and had my son, i wouldn’t have thought of myself as racist. I grew up in a white town and was a teen before the first non white family moved in. I didn’t have feelings one way or another about race. how could I as I didn’t have any experience to basis any opinions on.

So fast forward a few years I’m twenty one heavily pregnant and living in Rochdale. Muslims past my house to go to mosque, and there where times when gangs of teens heading there threw comments my way. “Slut. Whore. you should give your baby to a proper family.” just some of the things said.

I was twenty one and in a committed relationship. we’d been together nearly three years when we moved to Rochdale, and been engaged for two.

I mostly ignored the comments thrown my way. I had bigger things to worry about. Things like have we got enough nappies and are the baby grows going to fit the baby when he comes.

After I had my son, I had an hour with his dad while a bed was found then both of us where wheeled away as it wasn’t visiting time. I’d have to wait six hours to see my family again.

Again didn’t think much of it. rules are rules, and after nearly a two day labour I didn’t feel like talking to anyone anyway.

That night another new mum and baby where wheeled into the ward. An asian mother not much older then myself. with them came ten family members. seeming shouting at the top of their lungs. the midwife asked them to keep the noise down and left them to it.

two hours and many complaints by me and other white mothers later, to which we where told we can’t kick them off the ward theyd cause to much trouble, I called my other half and made him complain. within moments of him calling who ever was in charge of the hospital that night the family where finally made to leave.

The rules should be the same for everyone. My son wasn’t even 24 hours old and for most of that he’d been wide awake and very gassy.

Soon that family slipped my mind I was home an trying to get used to breast feeding every hour and half on the dot.

fast forward seven months and my son and I are at a mums and tots group run by the local sure start centre. There was an even spilt of white families and Muslim families. i know this because they weren’t mixed. the white families at one end of the room and the Muslim ones at the other.

My son at the time s was starting to motor along on his own and as long as he wasn’t in danger of being hurt i left him to it. He and a Muslim child not much older then himself wanted to play with the same toy. They were happily sharing the toy when the boys mother in the full body covering came over grabbed the toy and her child and moved them back to their side of the room.

This made my son cry and me very angry. I tried to talk to the woman but was ignored and a few minutes later i was told off by the staff there for causing a problem.

I admit I might not have been as polite as I could have been. Telling the woman that her actions are why children grow up to hate her and others like her. My son was just playing with her child and they were making friends.

There where times when I’d be out shopping on my own or with my son and the male Asian shop workers would serve men in the line behind me before they served me. or would ignore me when i asked when something was.

I was spat at in the street by Asian’s, women, men and children. once it hit my son in his pram. I caused a scene then an there and amazingly nothing happened to me or the family even though there where police officers across the street.

Over three years living in Rochdale i experienced a lot of racism aimed my way, to the point where i would only enter a shop if there where white staff working there. I didn’t feel safe if there was a gang of Asian boys near me on the street, where as i felt completely safe if it was a gang of drug smoking white boys.

Something i never thought would happen as i grew up thinking gangs of white boys where quite scary and to be avoided.

So in short after my experience in Rochdale I am Racialist and don’t like being around Muslims. I know that not all are like what I experienced in Rochdale, but that was a town over run with people acting like that and it has coloured my view of all Muslims.

So what got me writing this post? The BBC is running a season about race and how attitudes to it affect people. And it got me thinking.

75% of people say they are in no way racist and wouldn’t like to be with anyone who is. But race crime is up and far right groups are on the rise. So people are lying in public about not being racist but are behind closed doors.

I know my saying in public that I am a racist after my experience’s isn’t something that going to win me many friends. But, i cant lie about it. I feel safer around white people. My son never had a new friend taken away by a white mother. To date I have never been spat at  by any one who wasn’t Asian, or been ignored in a shop by someone who wasn’t Asian.

I don’t like feeling this way. Or the fact that the experiences I’ve had had led me to feel this way. I get on with the Asains who run my local take away across the road. But it took a few visits before i felt comfortable in there.

One of them asked my why I didn’t seem comfortable there one day, and I told them about my time in Rochdale. They listened and then told me that, that was part of the reason they and their family had left that area and set up shop where I live.

They saw people being mistreated for not being the same and even being mistreated themselves for not being as uptight as others.

With the boys at the takeaway I know I can ask them any question about their faith and the lives of their families in the mid east. They want to teach people that not all Asians are bad and often enjoy the same things as any one else. They want me asking questions of them. They see it as their job to teach people things.

I have to say through them in a mostly white town I have learnt more about their faith and community then I did living amongst it in Rochdale. I hope that they’ll still answer my questions in time to come and help me turn my thinking around on all Asians.

If my experiences in Rochdale had been like the ones I’ve had in that take away then I wouldn’t have any racist thoughts or feel less safe around Asian gangs then I do white.

Work in progress here, but I’m prepared to put the time in as i don’t want to carry on thinking the way i do.

And, in the end it’s up to all whatever their skin colour or faith to say yes we’re a little or a lot racist but we want to change. We want to get on with one another and feel safe no matter what. Until then race and faith crime will probably carry on rising  and more people will find themselves in the position I have. With racist thoughts because of what they themselves have experienced while trying to live their lives in a peaceful way.

Racism: purely small mindedness?

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I will hold my hands up and say that that i am a little racist. Its not something i like about myself and before i lived in Rochdale i would never have believed it is something i would ever say.

Before i go further i would like to say that i have friends who are Muslim and have in the past and still do try to understand why people believe and act the way that they do.

During the last moth of my pregancy i moved to a muslim area of the town and thought nothing of it, untill i gave birth to my son. as my son was born with jaunice we had to stay in the hospital for a couple of nights and on the second night i had to call home to compalin about the muslim family in teh bed oppisite mine. the mother had only given birth that day and when she was moved to the ward after visting hours she brought with her five people, who shouted, woke my son up from his nap which in turn woke me up in a bit of a grump.

when i was moved to the ward my family werent allowed to come with me as it wasnt visting hours and i didnt mind that. Having spent the last forty hours surounded by people while my son took his sweet time entering the world.

When i mentioned to the ward sister about not being happy about the difference in treatment between my son and myself and the muslim family i was told that they let the womans family on to the ward for the best part of two hours late at night as they didnt feel able to tell them only the mother and child could go to the ward.

This was the start of a long slow slide into my views on racism changing. Why should they be treated any didferent then the rest of us whoi have just gone through the same thing. the woman already had five kids so surely she know what to do in those first few hours without family there to wake the dead with their shouting and screaming!

Thankflly after i and another new mother complained the family where resicted to visiting times just like our own. But it really shouldnt have come to that. therers signs up all over the place about how you should be quite when visiting and respect others who may be sleeping/seeing the doctor.

when i got out of the hospital i didnt think any more about it. i had a new son adn his feeding habits of once every hour and a half to deal with. it wasnt until nearly a year later when i started getting really peeved with the difference in treatment between muslim mothers and non muslims mother in that area, and found myslef thinking and acting more racist.

I took my son to the local sure start center and found that the muslim mothers no matter when they arrived for things like baby weigh ins etc where seen first no matter when they arrived, whislt white mothers where pushed to the back of the line.

When my son was active enough (about six months) to pay with the toys and other children at the play sessions the burka’d mothers whould take the toys and their kids away from him leaving him with nothing and no one to play with. When telling the leader of the sure start how unhappy i was with this they said their was nothing they could without being reported to their boss in the council for being racist. So in effect it was alright for the muslims to be racist but when a non muslim spoke out about it they were left feeling useless and wondering what sort of place they where allowing their son to be.

And going shopping was a nightmare. Half the time your stood in the line waiting to pay and an asain family will just walk to the front and get served as if they had waited like everyone else. The only time i have ever had anything taken from me after putting it in the trolley when shopping was when woolies closed down and a group of burkad wome kept taking things out of the trolley after i had put them in. One of the women tried to hit me when i told her where to go. I had picked up a large bag of bag of cheap baby clothes for my son and had put other things on top of it when she diecied she wanted it and rummaged through my trolley to get it whilst i was picking something else up.

Maybe thats how they do things where these women “come from” but thats not how we do things things here. I put come from in quotaion marks as i dont really have a clue if they come from else where or where born here as a lot of them refuse to speak english. even if there is some one with them who says they can.

With actions like that is it any wonder more and more people including myself are turning against muslims and wondering when the pandering to them is going to stop?

my ex land lord is muslim and he often has the same complaints that i do about the actions of a lot of muslims in rochdale. He told me that he and his wife sent their children to largely qhite schools as they didnt want them to held back by class mates who having been born here werent taught english in the home, and where having to learn it before any teaching could happen.

He shocked me by saying that he can understand why people think the EDL and BNP are forces for good, when people within his own community are acting in ways which just encourge people to hate instead of getting along with them. He also stated to me last week (he works in manchester so i tend to see him alot), that he doesnt think anyone else should be allowed into this country unless they have great enhlish skills and will use them. Even if they are coming here to be with family. This shocked me as i assummed that he wouldnt have the same probs with muslims that i and others i have spoken to do.

I would never a-line myself with people like the BNP and EDL, but atfer talking to him and my own experinces of living in an area where a minority of people can get away with in some cases crimenal acts because of their race and faith then i can see why grups like them are gaining support and seats in councils, etc.

I hope one day to be rid of negative feelings towards muslims, but whislt they are allowed to get away with the way they are acting i can only see more amd more people like myself finding themselves becoming racist through no fault of their own.

Hopfuly one day we can all live together and work through these issues there will be no more racism and people finding that they hold racist views.