Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Racial Rants-Pot, Kettle and the UK

If you may remember some time back a Caucasian British woman, one Emma West, decided she had had enough of the large numbers of non-Caucasians and/or non-British on the train with her and decided to let everyone know exactly how she felt.  Her trial is coming up in September. Another Caucasian British woman that had a similar rant about previously living in England and now living in the United Nations recently received a five month jail sentence. Not to be outdone a Black British woman riding the bus chose to vent her intensely negative feelings about white people. I don't know what it is about public transportation that makes some people want to get in touch with their ugly side but there you are. There are reasons I haven't taken public transportation in over 25 years and women like this would be one of them. The woman has since been arrested.
She begins the tirade of abuse by shouting: 'I'm so glad. I'm born black and I'll die black. I was born African and I'll f****** die African.'
The foul-mouthed woman then goes on to tell the passengers: 'The only reason I was born in this country is because you f****** people brought my people here.'
'My parents are f****** African, born in Jamaica. And I’m f****** African, born in England and I can’t stand you white people, I tell you.'
Wearing a black leather jacket and grey T-shirt, she continues her rant by saying: 'I don’t care what none of you lot got to say because at the end of the day if you lot would have had a choice you will f****** go with your people and I’ll go with mine.
'The whole lot of you are programmed, f****** puppets. Not this one, I’m black and proud.'  She then spits on the floor and picks up her phone and can be heard describing those around her as “f****** doughnuts and puppets on the bus.' 'I'm black and proud', she added.

As we discussed before it's not necessarily a given in the US that such a person would be arrested though I suppose disorderly conduct or some such other charge could be used. And with increasing attempted usage of hate crime laws to criminalize speech that in the past would have been shrugged off or handled in the street more people in the US may have to start watching what they say, just ask Delmon Young. So I suppose that this woman will soon be identified and like the Caucasian British women before her, express either mild regrets or claim that she was drunk or on medication. Of course people will likely be looking to see if she also gets a five month jail sentence.

That said I really don't like, with the possible exception of fighting words, putting people in jail solely because of what they say. You can say almost anything. It's when the words turn into action that we have a problem. But as we discussed before the UK has a different tradition of free speech and public order than the US does.

As far as the content of her speech all I can say is I think we will see many more such incidents in Europe, especially in the UK as the demographics change. Although people try to sweep such things under the rug the facts are that nationalism and its ugly kid brother racism, will remain potent forces in the world for the foreseeable future. You simply can't mix millions of different people together and not have some occasional problems and resentments boil up. The US in that regard is a comparative outlier, I think.


1) Now that the shoe is on the other foot do you think this woman should be convicted? Is this hate speech?

2) Was anything she said valid?

3) Do you use public transportation? Often? Exclusively?

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