There’s No “W” in Negro….

I remember the stories my mum and dad used to tell me when I was a kid, or when we had the family gatherings over the festive period, as they and their siblings, my aunts and uncles talked about the days they arrived here, the good ole United Kingdom, stories from when my mum walked in a hospital as a trained nurse and even though the job board clearly said “Trained Nurses Needed” she was turned away as not being fit for the job, but as she walked out the hospital, tears streaming from her eyes she bumped into a woman who was in a Nurses uniform, who stopped my mum and asked what the problem was….. after a brief discussion this nurse brought my mum back inside and took her to HR… more discussion was had and my mum offered a role…. This Nurse by the was from Jamaica…. her name… Sonia Wong…. yep she was a Chinese Jamaican….

Then there was the story from dad, of when he arrived, and we was walking all the streets of Hackney looking for a place to live in a boarding house, all those that had a Vacancy notice he knocked and all of them turned him away, either claiming the “last room has just been taken” or “the NO part of the Vacancies sign had fallen down”, but a fair few had a notice in the window saying that they didn’t accept certain animals or people. So three hours into the walking the streets my dad decided it was time to put a few things straight, so he knocked on the door of one the houses with this sign… after 15 minutes of continuous knocking the owner eventually came to the door and wasn’t happy and started to have a go at my verbally, to which my dad said… “I’m sorry to bother sir, but I just wanted to point something out,” pointing at the sign in the window he said, “that sign there that says “No Dogs and No Negrows”, I think you’ll find there isn’t a ‘W’ in Negro,” promptly turn on his heels and walked away…. when my dad told me that I was in tears of laughter, but hey good ole pops finished paying the mortgage on his 6 bedroomed town house in London back in 1983.

So here we are in 2010 and I thought those days of basing things on a persons colour had long gone, but hey maybe it was just a coincidence…. maybe…. anyway, the other night I arrive at my Slimming World session, I’d been going there two weeks, so yeah I was pretty new. The queue had formed for the payment and weighing session, as I don’t like queuing I grab a seat that is free and sit down and start sorting my stuff out, as I do so I notice that the leader of the Slimming World session is sat to my left talking to three women and is clearly instructing them, I notice that one of the three is a woman has been at the Slimming World classes the previous two weeks that I’ve been there, so she knew I’d been there before, as I look in their direction our eyes meet, and she promptly gets up and walks towards me, she walks round behind me and to a seat, two chairs away from me, she picks up a handbag, which I assume is her’s and she walks back to the table where she was receiving instruction and puts the bag on the table next to her…. the Slimming World leader, looks at the woman, then looks at me, then back at the woman, then clearly hangs her head as if ashamed…… hummmm

So a couple of days later I’m standing at the bus stop, it’s raining, so there are four or five of us stood under the shelter, it’s just about capable of covering us. As we stand, along comes a woman who must have been in her late fifties, she has a brolley. She walks along the shelter, I’m the last person in the line and I’m the only ‘ethnic’… this woman proceeded to place herself between me and the person in front and she kept her brolley, so basically I had to step back and into the rain to avoid getting a prong of the brolley in my eye…. the man in front sensed the movement behind, he turned round, looked at the woman, looked at me, then looked at the woman… shook his head and looked at me again and sheepishly turned away……

Man, I thought those Banana Boat days had long gone….

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~ by DJ Camstar on 20/08/2010.

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