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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.

sorry bro

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My little brother feels that in an earlier post about the Labour Party i strayed from the facts.

He says that during the lastest round of strikes he knew people from the labout party who baked cakes to give to strikers and joined them on many a picket line. From what he was telling me a lot of these people where yonger members who took the day off uni. Nowt wrong with taking the day off uni to join in a strike.

He believes that i have got a large amont of facts wrong due to only dealing with a small number of people from parts of the party. And that my own experinces with a handfl of people from Rochdale clp colours my view point. On that he may just be right. I wont go into detail as its in the past and i’ve moved on.

So dearest brother here is your chance to blog on my site about where i went wrong in my estimation of the party and what you think the party is doing right.

Labour Party

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I grew up in a Labour household and became a member on my 15th birthday.

In the nearly ten years since i have seen the party i grew up in change beyond recognition. When i was eight i have the pleasure of meeting John Smith, and as only a child can be was suitably unimpressed with meeting this important man. Sadly he died a few weeks after i met him so i don’t really remember what he was like as a working leader of the party/ politician. All i have is stories about how great he was and how he was renewing the party so we where electable and important in the world as it was.

Then came a long Tony Blair. A bit like Marmite you either love him or hate him. Having been brought up to believe in old labour, where the party fights for the rights of the working class and to make things better for everyone not just those who can afford  it, i wasnt too keen on mr Blair.

Sure he was a great actor in the world stage and a master in the art of the sound bite. The camara loved him. Much like JFK he burst on to the scene a young good-looking man with the energy to really get things done. Although at the time anything was better than having to look and listen to John Major. The only man who is just as uninteresting after it is reviled he had an affair with one of his ministers as he was before it  was common knowlage.

But, he totally changed the party and not for the better. Suddenly it wasnt enough to want to improve life for everyone and having a background in working for people. The higher tiers of the party where suddenly filled with people who had a degree in politics but no real life experience. No experience of just what it is like to be living on the b read line not knowing where your next pay check is going to be coming from.

The people who hold official positions in the party dont know anything about life. They have got those positions as soon as they left uni and quite often they will tell you that it is a stop-gap until they get a safe seat. How on earth are we meant to trust that  people care about the party and the values that started it? We cant. Gone are the days when your local labour party would be standing side by side with strikers. Helping organise tea and food runs so the strikers can stay as long as is needed.

Ed Milliband is coming down on the side of the Tories by refusing to back strikers. Refusing to back the people who pay to keep his party running, through their party membership fees or through the political fund of their union. There was a time when the party was closely related to trade unions and often worked with them to improve the rights of working people. But, now a days we seem to be in a position where the party is working for a select few, ie the uni graduates who want to play politics, rather than the very people the party was set up to help.

Granted Gordon Brown wasnt the leader he was built up to be while waiting for Blair to step down. But compared to Milli he was magnificent. At least with brown we know what his thoughts where and which direction he wanted to take the party in, even if we didn’t agree with it. Where as with Milli we’re left in a position where we don’t know which direction the party is meant to be moving in. Which has left it wide open for people who are just out to get what they can for themselves to abuse their positions within the party.

For example Rochdale labour party has been tearing its self apart for many years and it shows no sign of stopping any time soon. How can they expect people to vote for them and trust them to do whats right when they are having rows through the local press. And where is the national or even regional party in all this. No where to be seen, It’s a bit hard for them to intervene and tell Rochdale clp to behave when they don’t even know what is expected of them.

As a party we have gone from being electable and trusted, to very unelectable and untrusted. Which when you consider just how hated the con dems are at the moment is something of an achievement. But as long as the party can’t play nicely with its own we will carry on being unelectable and untrust worthy.