“Eight to ten black men”. – David Sedaris
Hi there girls and boys, I hope you’re well.
Contains hints of Ellie, so if you don’t like to hear about her, don’t read it.
Being white and living in a country mainly populated with other whites, I’ve never experienced racism. I’ve seen it of course. Nobody can live in a utopia of friendliness, no matter how rose-tinted the glasses are. The news can feature a racially motivated attack and my heart sinks a little. I like to think that my area, that is the northeast of England, is free from it but of course it isn’t. This region may not have the size of Asian population as say Bradford, but you do see people of differing skin colour about. Westgate Road in Newcastle has many many Asian shops, a great place for a walk to experience some different culture, food and shopping. Never once while I’ve been in a shop full of people whose parents were from India, Pakistan, wherever, have I had any racial abuse. While travelling in India there was none either.
Is it really because somebody has a different skin to you? Is it that simple? Or is it that, the same with crime, if you go looking for it, you’ll find it?
I realise that religion plays a huge part in this as well. I was going to write of the perceived “wisdom” of the allegedly Christian EDL’s and KKK’s of this world, but they don’t have any wisdom to speak of. Their rhetoric, a much better term, is that other religions are wrong, heathens, they throw goats from towers, unclean..blah blah. All spouted by people that love a curry but never attend a church. The Christian image of we are right and everybody else is wrong still pervades the racists. A Protestant goes to heaven, and St Peter asks him if he’d like a tour. “Over there we have the Buddhists, there the Jews, and the Greek Orthodox. Then there’s the Shia’s and Sunni’s..as you can see, everyone gets on.” The man interrupts and asks what the big wall is for. “Ah”, says St Peter, “that’s where we keep the Catholics”. “Wow”, says the man. “Shh.” says St Peter, “they think they’re the only one’s here”.
Ellie’s parents met when her dad was a police officer, attending a racist attack on the shop owned by her grandparents. They had come over from India and had set up a grocery shop in Blyth. They won’t have been the first people of a different culture in Blyth, it being a busy port. In fact that’s how her grandad had fallen in love with the place, as a seaman arriving on a ship. I can’t imagine how he sold this to his wife. “Yes, it might be cold, and yes the people speak English but not as you know it, and yes the food is weird, but look, Get Carter was filmed there!” Nani is one of those people I can sit and listen to all day. Still sprightly at 87, she can do henna tattoos on your hand, can cook THE best bhajis, and has tales of her youth that make my toes curl, in a bad way! I’ll tell you about the worm in her leg someday. After her husband died a couple of years ago, a funeral at which most of the town attended, she took up running and had me teach her to swim. We often have a jog along the beach. She always encourages Ellie and I to marry before she gets much older. “And don’t you worry about my other daughters, despite their insistence that Ellie marries a nice male Gujarati doctor, they love you”. She’s wonderful. Her three sisters are great to be with as well and have made a fuss of me every we’ve visited or they’ve come over here. I have a few sari’s they brought over last time which are just beautiful. I can’t imagine where and when I would wear them though. They find it extremely funny as in laughing their heads off that their granddaughter is a lesbian, and keep promising that they are going to kidnap me and feed me on their food until I look fatter. “You’re too skinny, baka”, they’ll say as they poke my stomach. They’ve accepted me into their family and I’m extremely white, catholic with a small c, and English ..well.. Northern Irish, but you know what I mean.
And so her mum and dad got together, despite the concern from others. They suffered some slight abuse from people, some of them her dad’s fellow police officers. Over time though this decreased.
Ellie has a dusky skintone, maybe not Asian, but certainly not as white as I am either. She’s had a bit of racial abuse but deals with it in much the same way I would, extended fingers and a fuck off. The name-callers are always taken aback that such a pretty girl has such a foul mouth. Her best one is, “Leave me alone or I’ll come to where you work and knock the sailor’s cocks from your mouth”. She tells me it’s only words, does no harm to her, but you have to wonder.
I used to say that I don’t see colour, but after having it explained to me at uni that this was, apparently, massively racist and therefore not the thing to say, I no longer do. What I mean of course is that I see everybody the same, as equals, their colour isn’t an issue as far as discrimination goes. All the same you have to respectful of a person’s skin colour as some are proud of it.
At school all of the girls except one were white. At uni there were a few more, as well as Chinese, Indians, and one particularly sweet Aussie Aboriginal girl, the mad as a box of frogs Clara. As a city Durham can hardly be called diverse. It’s no surprise then that I’ve never shared a bed with a black girl, in fact no other skin colour than my own, Ellie excepted. This isn’t by choice. I see many a dark-skinned girl and my eyes open slightly wider as they do with other coloured girls so maybe one day the chance will present itself. Form an orderly queue, now…..
I know there were the dire monkey chants and banana throwing at football matches, there still is if you go to France, Italy, Bulgaria, Russia or the ever so horrible Millwall. In what world have these people grown up? How can you do that when your own club has black players? Ahh, I see, they’re YOUR team’s black players? You fucking morons. You do know that your abuse is heard by everyone? There isn’t some hi-tech channeling system that transmits the audio from your halitosis-ridden gob straight to the target’s ears. But there are some good people. At a recent non-league game I was at, (and yes, women CAN go to football matches, I know, it’s almost as if the world has moved on!) I witnessed a teenaged boy being twatted across the head by his his dad for calling a player the n word. The whole attendance of 50 or so people applauded. Hope springs eternal.
Like any things that shouldn’t concern me, racism does.
Browsing Reddit often shows me stuff of which I had no idea existed. A few years back I was attending a seminar. In the next hall was one of those cosplay get togethers and after my own talks had wrapped up, we took a wander. This being my first experience of such a thing I was genuinely impressed by the effort some had gone into making costumes for their favourite character. I even recognised a few. It was at this visit I was introduced to the idea of Bronies. Grown men that “clop”, living the lifestyle of My Little Pony. Cant get any weirder than that, I thought.
On the cringe subreddits there were images of grown men cuddling large pillows, on which were the images of their favourite anime character. If I’m typing the wrong name for these then please correct me, there seem to be so many. I can’t say I’m a fan of anime, the big eyes, the little-girl figures. Like so many of the terms surrounding anime, I had no idea what waifu was.. From Urban Dictionary.. “Waifu” is used to refer to a fictional girl or woman (usually in Anime, Manga, or video-games) that you have sexual attraction to, and you would even marry.
Now I’ve been accused of being a “sad bitch” for having a spreadsheet of things I don’t need one for, or when it isn’t the most appropriate tool. ..pool inventories, diary entry notes, or contacts for example are all better suited to their own programs. Sad bitchness goes out of the window when it comes to waifu though.
After discovering this little world of besotted boys and men who presumably have access to the real world and therefore real girls, I sat for an hour in a dark room, (yes, I appreciate the irony) with a cuppa as my disbelief grew. Men taking their pillow to the cinema, buying it gifts, having a Valentine meal (in itself an act punishable by stoning), in a restaurant in full view of others.. fuck me. Treating an image of an animation as your “significant other” ..really? Oh yes, really…
Nervous about an imaginary friend? I know all about nervous and can guarantee you that what you experienced, if indeed it did happen as you appear to stuck an image onto another, is nowhere near nervous. Also that message has been doctored, with a different font.
Then there is the waste of food and champagne.
Now I will admit to owning a Barbie which I’ve mentioned. I call her an “it”, as it has no gender, never “her’. Pronouns are a minefield which some take very seriously. If a cushion can be semi-sentient then so can a doll. If I called it “her” and it identified as they, or them, or a fucking teapot, how am I supposed to know that? Should I ask you to wear a badge so that I know how I should address you today? This week you’re a girl, the next non-binary, it’s difficult to keep up with what seems to be an arbitrary gender existence.
So I have it sitting over there on the windowsill. I’ve not gone as far as buying it a meal though! What are you going to do with the meal you cooked your cushion? I own a few cushions and they seem not to eat so I can only imagine that yours will be the same. To quote my favourite Geordie radgie, “How man like are yeez off yas trollies?”. I see people lavishing money on their pets. This week it was announced that somebody had left a million pounds to her cat. Animals are a tad different to cushions. You can get a response from an animal, a purr, a contented growl, or in my case just a stare, but something. A cushion just sits there, dumb, (that’s dumb in the original sense, not the transatlantic version), not needing anything from you apart from an occasional dusting, washing or plumping. No talking to, no feeling that it has to be wined and dined, and it certainly DOES NOT need sexual attention.
Then there are folk that take it a step further. I cant believe this happened…
Now come on, excuse the pun. Your mum washes your clothes, and I assume your bedclothes. Therefore in at least my world she washes the pillowcases as well..and on her seeing the hardened stains she has every right to chuck it away in disgust. Your “personal reasons”. We all wank in some way, but it takes a special person to come to an image of a badly drawn cartoon girl. I’ve never been in a teenage boys bedroom so can only imagine the horror that lies beneath the sheets or under the bed. All of that pent-up spunk has to go somewhere I suppose, but at least clean up after yourself, you mum isn’t there to make sure you have a clean imaginary friend as well. And customised? Was it a message that you had put onto the pillow pretending it was from your imaginary friend to you, promising their body if you were a good little boy?
There is also the problem of why don’t you ask somebody in real life about this, a doctor, psychiatrist? You see people asking others on Reddit what should they do as their washer has sprung a leak when they should be phoning a plumber, or that are moving to the UK and want to know about voting. Ask the embassy of your country, they’ll know more than some keyboard basher in Leicestershire. I choose Leicestershire as I love the mangling of the name when it comes from anybody other than British. My heart jumps for joy when I imagine somebody from Beijing or Vladivostok or darkest Santa Fe negotiating the vowels and consonants and getting it hopelessly wrong. Here in my part of the world we have villages called Pity Me, Hole in the Wall, and No Place. Silly but pronounceable! On my travels there is no doubt that I’ve mis-pronounced place names, causing either mirth or a pained expression. Maori place-names in New Zealand gave me some trouble.
Waifu then. There were hundreds of these images as well, the four above being just a sample. You know the saying that there is someone for everyone? Well if more than half of the planets population is female at a given point, and I know it fluctuates, then the pool of eligible men is made even smaller by these weirdos. Straight girls of the world.. would you rather have a man that made you feel like the centre of his world, or one that worships an imaginary character? And how do you book a table in a restaurant? “Table for two, sir? Yes please, and you can just pile all of the food on my plate, she won’t be eating much.” Can you have more than one waifu? A harem..buy a ten pack of socks and some pens and there you go! Bit of glue, some glitter, feathers. One for every day of the week, and spare for a foursome on a Sunday. You can go all inter-racial by buying black or yellow or brown socks. Or you could get a life.
Am I being cruel? After all, this doesn’t affect me. What a person does in the privacy of their own home is their business, but when that spills onto the real world then others have to take notice. And woe betide you if you don’t, because these types will bleat about being ignored. I wouldn’t be able to take my eyes from one of these folk in a restaurant. “Anna babe, don’t stare, eat your food and tell me about your day.” “But…but..it’s a FUCKING PILLOW!!!” Possibly literally.
As ever, thanks for readng.