The area known for its griminess around Dudley and Wolverhampton formerly known as black
I'm always cautious about talking about the Black Country now - even though I shouldn't be. Thinking about it whilst drafting the above piece, and seeing it in the same story as golliwogs reminded me of just why I'm so cautious.
Last year, whilst working as a part-time receptionist at a Premier Travel Inn (there are many stories there...) I was about the only person who worked at the desk who spoke English as a first language. A few of us were chatting at a quiet moment and I was asked where I'd come from, and I explained I was born around the Midlands and the Black Country. The conversation developed and moved on. I finished the shift and thought nothing more of it.
A couple of days later, I was on shift again with one of the girls who'd been working with me a few days earlier. In another quiet moment she took me to one side. "Which part of Africa were you from?" she asked. I was puzzled and didn't know what to say. "You really shouldn't talk about it the way you did on Sunday, you know," she went on.
"I really don't understand. What do you mean?" I asked.
"You shouldn't call it the Black Country, especially if you're from Africa yourself."
The penny dropped...