Thursday, 6 August 2009


I was sitting in the car at traffic lights and next to me the road veered off to the left. In that lane was a white van at a slight angle and further forward.

My windows were closed and my radio was on when I heard someone shouting. I looked over and the guy in the van seemed to be shouting out of his window. I couldn't hear or catch what he was saying, but did turn my radio down to listen.

I still couldn't make it out but the tone of his voice was aggressive. I looked to see what he was shouting at and shocked to realise it was an asian man waiting to cross the road.

Was he racially abusing him? Do people do that? I thought about blaring my horn and the brave side of me wanted to wind down the window and shout, "Oi, big nose!"

I didn't.

It made me think about when I was growing up in the seventies where racial abuse was commen place.

We regularly used the word Paki refering to the shop in the high street run by a man of Pakistan origin and we thought nothing of it. Now it is derogatory. What the difference between everyone calling us Brits?

My police officer daughter said the word Brit was never used in a derogatory fashion, Paki was and I couldn't really argue with that.

So why did it shock me so much as I sat at the traffic lights when it didn't then?

Maybe because we are more aware these days and I only accepted it back they because it was a way of life. People were verbally abused and not just racially. You were taunted if you were fat, thin or had a big nose.

Perhaps because we are more aware now, we accepted life without question once and it shames me to think I never spoke up,, Nobody did. Perhaps if I had seen something aggressive I may have intervened, more likely I wouldn't.

Yet today was shocking to see. We supposed to me more aware and yet he thought it was okay to shout abuse at a man because of the colour of his skin.

Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, why didn't I take the number of the company, phone and make a complaint? Why didn't I blare my horn to show my disgust.

So easy to say that now, isn't it?

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