One of the few things I can remember and was proud of at secondary school is being called a ‘Paki Lover’.
I grew up in Leicester and can remember the first Ugandan Asian arriving at our school when I was 7. By the time I was at secondary school, I would guess that well over one third of the kids were of Asian descent. Many of these were my friends. Even at 11, it didn’t seem to matter that much to me who was of what ethnicity (in fact the only time this weak kid was threatened with going to the Head was when I attacked 2 14 year old girls when I was 11 as they were name calling my mate Kalpesh for being Asian).
I can vividly remember the first time I was called that. It was at the swimming baths for school swimming lessons. I was stood with a few mates who were Asian. Most of the white kids didn’t; mainly as they feared being singled out. Then that phrase called to me. It was a vivid experience: I can still remember it now.
Why am I telling you this? So that you will be humbled by my saintliness? Well: you are only human if you are…
I think it is because from an early age, I have never wanted to fit in with an ‘in crowd’ if it meant shutting out people. Maybe that was innate, maybe it was being at a church which was ethnically mixed and we were imbued with the idea that racism was a sin; I do not know.
But since then, I have hated seeing people shut out, labelled unfairly & others making snap judgments. Even the sight of the front of The Express and The Mail can drive me into a frenzy & as a meek and mild 48 year old, someone saying ‘I am not racist but…’ makes me want to yell or hit things.
Perhaps even now it is thinking that God judges; I am not God, so it is not my job to judge, exclude or name call anyone….