Thursday, 2 April 2009

"Go back to Africa, p@ki!" and other stories of raciamalist stupiditude

On my way into the city this morning, I unwittingly walked into a private hate-fest, which was thoughtfully made a little more public for my benefit.

I had crossed the road and ended up behind two upstanding citizens - young, white men - who were fittingly (as you'll see later) wearing neon vests emblazoned with the words SEWER TECHNICIAN or something similar on the back. (I'm not using the literal definition and therefore not denigrating sewer technicians as a profession. But looking at it metaphorically, there could not be a more apt or ironic labelling of these gems of humanity.)

So the guy on the right glanced behind him, noticed me, and muttered something to his friend, who then looked back. I think his friend was trying to say "Oooh you might want to watch what you're saying given who's behind us." Or he may well have been saying "There's one of 'em now. Let's get her!" Whatever he said, his friend significantly raised his voice, and started yelling about some run-in he had had with what I gathered from his colourful language was a non-British fellow, in which the non-British fellow pissed him off by not showing him whatever respect he imagined he deserved.

Bemused by this yelling that was taking place for my benefit, I sped up a little to provide the proper audience for Mr. Sewer Technician. It seemed only right. Based on the telling, this was merely a motorist/pedestrian encounter, in which Mr. ST, the pedestrian, was either not granted the proper thanks in bestowing some kind of right-of-way on the motorist, or not given an apology for himself initially not being given the right-of-way.

During the telling of this fine tale, Shouty McSewerTechnician kept looking back to see if I, on behalf of all presumably non-British people (because ther're no black Brits, clearly. Or maybe he just hates all non-white people, Brits or not, which is not a stretch to contemplate) was being properly admonished. After he noticed how close and smiling I was, though, his look changed from one that said "I hope you're hearing this, Blackie" to "Ah shit I think she's gonna shoot us!" Cowed or criminal: those were my options.

Before he turned right and I left, the charming man made a point to look over and yell "WELL THEY'RE IN THE WRONG COUNTRY AREN'T THEY?! THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT COUNTRY THEY'RE IN!" Teacher, teacher! I know! Is the answer, um, a country that's home to racist, unenlightened bastards who ironically think they have the market cornered on civility? There are so many isms in this story, I'm exhausted just considering thinking about them. First, there's the notion that I, an uninvolved stranger, was just as good as the other stranger to suffer his abuse. How fortunate that I should happen along so he could have a stand-in. It's not like we're different in any way: one darkie is as good as the next, right? And it is this type of attitude that will see SewerDweller going down the road, having a few pints, and then attacking some man or woman based on the colour of his or her skin. In fact, he probably wouldn't have to get drunk to do it.

Second, something tells me that if this had been a white man that had failed to thank or apologize to him, there would be nothing to see there. But somehow, the rest of us are meant to be perpetually servile and grateful just to be allowed to breathe his hate-infested air. When we're bringing him food in a restaurant or handing him towels in the toilet, we know our rightful place, and all is well. But how dare we drive a car while he's walking to his job in the sewer? (I'd suspect this is his hang-up. It certainly isn't mine.) And then have the temerity to not lick his ass over some perceived slight? Something must even this playing field. I know: I'll shout vaguely threatening, xenophobic things to no one in particular and then in the general direction of this amused, underwhelmed stranger. That'll learn 'em!

The poor man suffered from a clear case of HuffPuff Syndrome: anger fuelled by no real issue, just by his own racism; no opportunity to abuse the victim he would like to abuse; and no recourse except to huff and puff within the safe company of his own enabling, unintelligent ilk, in this episode played by SewerTechnician Number Two.

I hope you get some help for your condition, Shouty. But you'd have to wake up much earlier, talk much more gooder, or try something other than your vanilla-flavoured, lame, racist panting to get a rise out of this mongoose. This mongoose picks debris like you out of her teeth.

*Yes, the expression in the title was a real utterance from a real human person.


  1. My natal countrymen - particularly fellow pigment-challenged folk (I like defining my pale skin as the abnormal - which of course it is on a global scale - keeps me thinking) - make me retch sometimes.

    When I moved to Canada, at 9, I was, I am ashamed to admit, no different than Mr. Sewermouth. I'd never been exposed to an environment that wasn't racist. When I arrived on Canadian school playgrounds, in one of the world's most immigrant-ful cities (Toronto), I was quickly disabused of my notions that I'd get to do that shit here. All the words and overt forms of racism I'd learned were tucked away behind an overtly-polite veneer.

    I don't mean to suggest Canada's not racist; I only wish. It tends to be more of the "Well, we're all white here, so no one will be offended if I say..." type. Smiling to one's face, and disgusting behind the back.

    Anyway - brava, for your strength and admirable if not amazing restraint. Not easy.

  2. "All the words and overt forms of racism I'd learned were tucked away behind an overtly-polite veneer.

    I don't mean to suggest Canada's not racist; I only wish. It tends to be more of the "Well, we're all white here, so no one will be offended if I say..." type. Smiling to one's face, and disgusting behind the back."

    This is something I'm always wary of, and the older I get, the more of this I think is going on around me.

  3. I'm sorry to say it is, going on and getting worse, IME. :/


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