OneStat.com Web Analytics Trust People (once an Englishman in Philly): Grauniad: The word on the street is they're coconuts - white on the inside

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Grauniad: The word on the street is they're coconuts - white on the inside

Shocking election countdown report in the Guardian. Here are some of the lowlights:

"I don't feel fully British: non-whites are not yet completely first-class citizens. I see myself as part of the wider black diaspora, with as much in common with black French people or Americans as with white Britons."

If you don't see yourself as British isn't it tricky for others to see you as British?

"Even so, at Heathrow or Gatwick, you still feel you are a suspect. You can smell racism even if you can't see it."

I'm white and I feel like a suspect at Heathrow and Gatwick. It's largely the nature of the times.

"In the black community right now there's a crisis because the black politicians don't seem to be doing much for us. The word on the street is they're coconuts - white on the inside."

A kernel of wisdom from Benjamin Zephaniah. I'm sure that helps racial perceptions.

"I don't think we'll ever have an ethnic-minority prime minister. If it does happen, it'll be a Colin Powell-type figure who is nothing to do with his skin colour."

Isn't that a good thing?

"I'm the only black person at a party; and when I read a book it's assumed that all the characters are white, unless they're specifically described otherwise."

Well what's wrong with not having more black people at parties? I can understand how it can make people feel insecure, but ultimately we would all be helped if we didn't realise how many black people were at a party and it didn't matter either way because we knew nobody would consider invitations on the grounds of race. What's more if she assumes characters in a book are white what can society do? Isn't this her perception?

"I have a British passport and went to school and university here, but I was never taught history that covered me...the implication is that I only know half as much as others; in fact I know twice as much - their stuff as well as ours."

Isn't this whole "them and us" concept divisive and dangerous? Aren't we all us, or at least shouldn't we be? What's more, what's wrong with a British school focussing on British history?

"I see myself as a black woman of Indian origin."

Why then are you surprised when others categorise you on racial grounds?

I stopped with this statement though. Reading on could have induced a brain haemorrhage.

"Too many black people have embraced a racialist definition of themselves and can't let go."

Three words spring to mind: nail, hammer and head.

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