Showing Racism The Red Card

Posted May 7, 2012 By susanp6

Show Racism The Red Card

I was recently invited to participate in a “Show Racism The Red Card” parade.

Symbolically it was great  – all the people (predominantly primary school children) – walking around the football pitch


However, although it might not be the objective:
•    I wish there had been a brief announcement highlighting the significance of what was happening as people walked around the field in order to focus people’s mind on what the parade was about and why it was important
•    I wish the parade was closer to kick off  time as opposed to half an hour before the match when the stadium was almost empty.
•    I also wish that the people in the parade truly represented the diversity of the local community – most especially, I wish it was more representative of the people that racism is typically directed at.

Selah
Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

Be the first to comment
        

BNP on Question Time

Posted April 19, 2012 By susanp6

It’s now quite some time since the BNP’s leader, Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time and I think it would be fair to say that the jury is still out on whether it did more harm than good.  In fact in all honesty, I doubt if there will ever be a consensus.

For me more than anything else it highlighted our limited ability to address the root causes of issues and as such although the intentions may have been noble, I believe it was a wasted opportunity.  At the beginning of the programme I was pleased to see that politicians were actually uniting and agreeing on points being raised.  However, I shortly after I made this observation while watching I became aware that it seemed that the other panelists  were more united in showing Griffin up than anything else. It seemed that due to the controversy proceeding the programme they needed to justify the presence on the panel the Question Time panel that night by showing him up.  Furthermore, by the time the conversation moved on the subject of immigration, the sense of unity that I had previously observed dissolved.

This is not, however, the key reason why I believe that the programme was a wasted opportunity.  More pertinently, I believe the programme location and therefore studio audience was flawed as West London is not an area with much BNP support as reflected by the questions/comments from members of the audience.

Rather than the attempt to show Griffin up, I would have preferred an opportunity to gain a greater insight into why there are a significant number of people in the UK that support the BNP, so that their concerns can be addressed.  As it stands, even though Griffin may have been shown up, there were subliminal messages behind some of the things that he said that the less liberal minded amongst others would have agreed with.

For instance people may have sniggered at Griffin’s comment about public kissing in response to the question about homosexuality.  However when he went further to speak about the teaching of Sex Education in Primary schools , without defining terms, he was touching on a concern that (like it or not,) a number of parents hold. However, the only response to this that I heard was from a politician tweeting who exclaimed   “Why is he bringing primary school kids into this?”

As such while there will be many that disagree with some of the fundamentals that he stands for, they will at the same time believe that he (and his party) are the only ones that understand and address the issues that concern them.  Yes Alan Johnson is now talking about the need for a debate on immigration.  I would, however, venture to say that at this stage (after over 12 years of labour in office) we shouldn’t be debating but acting.  The sad thing is whether or not you agree with their policies, Labour have started to do something.  There is a question as to whether people are aware of  what they are doing.  For instance, how many people are aware that Britain now has a points system for immigration, fashioned after the Australian system? For those that have heard mention of it, how many kow how it works together with the impact that is likely to have over time?

The lack of explanation/response may explain why when I recently came across a list of BNP members and allowed my curiosity to get the better of me; I reviewed the list and came across the name of someone that I believe I know. Assuming the person on the list is the person I think it is, I very much doubt if she joined the BNP because she hates people of colour and sees no place for them in this country.  This is a person I have conversed with at length, had lunch with, who has discussed the possibilities of working jointly on projects.  You may say think I’m naive and that there is no explanation for her BNP membership  other than hatred or race.  I, however, do not believe it’s that simply and hope to unveil at least some of the real issues in my next book, “Consequences”

Copyright 2009 This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

Be the first to comment
        

The True Britons

Posted April 11, 2012 By susanp6

Many moons ago, in the year 1983 during the era of apartheid South Africa, a young South African girl moved to England, claiming British citizenship so that she could run internationally as South Africa was excluded from international events due to it’s apartheid policy. When she ran at Crystal Palace the following year it was controversial, but she had ever right to do so as the fact that her grandfather was British gave her the right to British citizenship. Over the years that have followed there have been numerous different athletes originating from or born in different countries who have represented Britain in International athletics. It’s therefore quite bemusing for people to speak of ‘plastic Brits’. I must say I am, however, somewhat fascinated by Tiffany Ofili-Porter who says “I could have run for America, I could have run for Nigeria but I choose to run for Britain because I appreciate the support they show for athletics” The truth is that the diversity of her background and options is very representative of modern day Britain. Ref: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/8680043/London-2012-Olympics-US-born-Tiffany-Ofili-Porter-seeks-to-dispel-myths-after-switching-allegiance-to-GB.html

Copyright 2011. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

Be the first to comment
        

The Enduring Issue of Racism

Posted March 25, 2012 By susanp6

I was up late on Friday night – I couldn’t sleep. I therefore logged on to twitter  -just to see what was going on.  I noticed that Stan Collymore was trending together with someone named Tom Adeyemi (who I hadn’t previously heard of).  Bored and with “nothing better to do” I clicked on each name to find out why they were trending.

First I clicked on Stan Collymore’s name.  I discovered that with no apparent reason, someone had decided to rein racial abuse on him via twitter. Stan had got fed up with it and reported it to the police. As a result, the man in question had deleted his twitter account. Stan had, however, had the foresight to take photos of the abusive messages, which he posted on twitter. After a visit from the police, he also posted part of his police statement – I guess to make it clear that he would not tolerate such behaviour.

Reading the commentary on this case, a number of people expressed shock at the language and behaviour of the perpetuator who was described as a 21-year-old law student. Others commended Stan for dealing decisively with this case. I was, however, somewhat befuddled to find that there were a number expressing the view that Stan should not have dealt with the situation in public and posted the comments and/or he should have said nothing in public until the matter was resolved.  I was befuddled because I wondered what made people think that how he dealt with the matter even required commentary. Was it not more pertinent that such abuse had taken place than how he decided to report the situation?  Furthermore, I believe it’s important that we are made aware of what is really going on.

Before I talk about the case of Tom Adeyemi, I’ll explain why.

Back in November 2011, a woman was recorded swearing abusively on a tram in Croydon.  Punctuating every other sentence with the F word, she was addressing the passengers that she saw as foreigners and not English, telling them to go back to their own countries.  I don’t know what set her off, but she was later arrested.

Shortly afterwards I posted a thought on twitter, pondering “I’ve been reflecting on the racist ranting of the woman on the Croydon tram – I wonder what % of the British population share her views”

Someone responded saying “Very few I think (and hope)”

I was a bit surprised by what I will describe as his innocence and went on to say “I suspect there are many that share the concerns of the Croydon tram woman. Difference is it’s not publically expressed”

Separate from this, the recent trials and convictions in the Stephen Lawrence case have brought the issue of race to the forefront. The challenge of this is that it’s possible for people to conclude that this was a negative era in our past for which justice has now been done allowing us to close the chapter and move on.

The truth, however, is that although fortunately we have most definitely come along way, we still have a long way to go.  This is not only illustrated by the Stan Collymore case and the Croydon tram incident, but also the case of Tom Adeyemi.

So back to my Twitter explorations… I clicked on Tom Adeyemi’s name and discovered that he is young football player who it seems was racially abused during a football matched. As illustrated by the photographs taken of him immediately after the incident, he appears to be so distressed by the incident that he is virtually in tears. I don’t know what exactly it is that was said to him, but it seems that as result of the incident the game was actually paused for a few minutes.  As you’ll probably be aware there have also been other cases in football as of later, with some interesting responses from some people in positions of authority who have at times belittled the situations or who have without question tried to protect the player against whom allegations have been made.

There is no question, we have come along way, but I believe we need to be honest and recognise that we still have a long way to go.  I’m particular concerned that the alleged abusers of both Stan Collymore and Tom Adeyemi are both very young i.e. 21 and 20 respectively.  I mention age, because at that age they are more than likely to have grown up and schooled with people of colour.  The 21 year old is said to be a law student. It’s early days yet and this is yet to be the confirmed, but assuming he is a law student how well is our education system working in enabling young people to have a more positive view about race or are other influences just too strong? Before you say anything, I’ll reiterate – yes, I know its early days and I recognise that some may say that these are isolated incidents.  I will, however, respond and say that I don’t believe I would have to look too far to find similar incidents (unreported and/or with less public figures) across the country.

The tram case still weighs heavily on my mind as whilst regardless of what set her off, there was no excuse for that ladies language or behaviour, there are concerns that she expressed in relation to foreigners, jobs and immigration that are shared by a number of people in this country.

#Selah

Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

Be the first to comment