Superiority complex

August 8, 2008

My personal privileges as a white middle class UK citizen were brought to light this week by two very different encounters. The first was when a large group of black teenage boys wanted to get on the bus, weren’t allowed, then one of them sabotaged the bus. Although sabotaging a bus is rarely the best cause of action I sympathise with the boys. They are one of┬áthe most despised groups in our society, and one that it seems socially acceptable to despise since all the press about gangs, knife and gun crime. They were probably correct when they claimed the bus driver was being racist. I can appreciate the driver was intimidated by the number of them and only wanted to admit some to reduce the chance of rowdiness, but the fact that they could see there was space for them all to fit antagonised them. Unfortunately they did get a little rowdy then, proving in the minds of the passengers what they had suspected all along.

It’s actually that part that happened after that I had most problem with. The boys were not a gang, they were a football team on their way to practice. Despite that the disruntled passengers complained the driver should have done something sooner, they shouldn’t have been allowed onto another bus, and one of them called the police. These were all middle class white people, all very annoyed that their bus had been messed with. The guy who called the police actually shouted at the rest of us for not standing up with him when he confronted one of them (he’s obviously been reading too many opinion pieces on the Independent website). No one spoke up for the kids, but I guess there could have been some secret sympathisers.

I understand why they feel safer in large groups now, with so many suspicious glances.

Not that I understand their entire lives, obviously, though I do think hating teenagers is one of the first signs of aging.

My second encounter was with my new friend Neighbour. Neighbour lives next door (duh) and gets the same bus as me in the morning, giving us the opportunity for a five minute chat before the bus arrives. He is about 60, a working class Brummie who builds staircases for shops. I, being middle class and highly educated, assumed that I was so very much more clever than Neighbour, until we had a chat about books. He is a sci-fi fanatic and loves to read at any given opportunity, though for unspecified reasons (probably since he started living in pokey bedsits) he hasn’t read a book for 3 years. I could not allow this so I lent him A Brave New World and Oryx and Crake the next day: the only sci-fi books I could find at short notice. He was most pleased, and promised to lend me a book of his when another friend returns it, about a half-human half-martian and featuring philosophical discussion on the value of marriage. That is a book I would like to read. Which surprised me. Because I do have huge prejudices in the way I see the world, and I judged Neighbour on his appearance and class and his current main hobby of drinking Carling.

I am glad Neighbour befriended me, he has helped me see flaws in myself that I can address.

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Self-loathing

June 11, 2008

It’s easy and a very dirty habit. I have not had the courage to tell Housefolk Epsilon that I don’t want to live with him any more. I hate creating tension. In fact I hate interacting with HE in any way, which is kind of why I don’t want to live with him. Last night, when Relocation Revisitation was on he mentioned that he’s seen a great house in this out of town suburb he is desperate to move to. I don’t believe the house is for real because it sounds way too cheap for the area. I also refuse to move to that suburb because it is really far away from the city centre (sort of its own town) and all I know about it is that it’s extremely middle class so probably has terrible transport links and everything will be over-priced. It also sickens me because HE once described it as a ‘bastion of whiteness’ whereas I would prefer to pay a little less and not give a crap about the colour of my neighbours.

I hate myself for not calling him on his racism. It is awful, and I do all I can to avoid being anywhere near him in public places but I’m too much of a pussy to call him on it. I’m a strange one in that I tend to only bring smackdowns on my friends, such as when one of the guys said something about not needing ‘gay hypnotism tactics’ and I told him about my vision of the gay tactics lab team working away on their latest hypnotism techniques. In my experience of gay people there aren’t many secret groups like this. The word just jars in my head when people use it in the wrong context like that so I often tell them in the hope that they’ll think about the words they use (or just annoy them into not doing it anymore).

Still, that’s not a very good comparison because the guy who says ‘gay’ is not a homophobe he just has slack language use. Housefolk Epsilon is a deliberate racist. I don’t know why either. I could be he grew up in an incredibly white area. Or that he had prejudiced parents. Or that a person of an ethnic minority did something that hurt him once. Or that he has an inferiority complex so feels the need to class vast sections of society beneath himself, including women, people of colour and queers. Or he’s a massive dumbfuck. Or all of the above.

I used to go out with a guy who gradually revealed himself to be racist. He was also a pig to me and cheated on me several times, so let’s call him an all round bad person. One thing that really gets to me still is that when I phoned him after being mugged in the street and physically attacked the first thing he asked me was ‘was he black?’ Not was I ok or had I called the police yet or anything like that – he was just that keen to get another little anecdote for his arsenal of hate. I wish I had put the phone down on him then and called it quits, I could have saved myself a year of degredation and humiliation, not to mention all the self-loathing afterwards when I realised what a shit he was and what an idiot I must have looked for so long.

Why are so many young people in the UK racist? I don’t understand what excuse they have…