I blogged yesterday about Losing an Ex-Friend to Racism and stated… before writing it, that I had asked my old friend ‘When did you become a racist?’, but didn’t expect a reply.
I did however get one, several in fact from him and his friend! If you’ve read my blogs regular or know me I don’t consider myself above anybody else, but I am passionate about equality. It took me to become ill with depression (rightly or wrongly) to fully understand the impact that racism and other forms of discrimination can have on people.
This too can include discrimination towards white people, however I only write about what I know and experience. I don’t know what it’s like to be white or have experienced this hate, so naturally cannot write with integrity on the subject. Others can though, just like I do about what I know.
With all my blogs, I have always commented ‘afterwards’ with any responses/replies I have received from the individuals and organisations concerned, the various pages speak for themselves. My ex-friend’s friend said I wouldn’t comment about his and her response on my blog, but I would and will. I’m answerable for my actions too.
I like banter as much as anyone, I was born in Liverpool where everybody is a comedian! I’ve appeared on television doing stupid things too (like on reflection – That Peter Kay Thing for Channel Four!) and I am constantly learning in life, so I am in no way a stiff. I can have a laugh. But, I stop laughing at things when they have ‘intent’, become personal and hurt others.
In my last job, my own Line Manager asked me if I found the word ‘chinky’ offensive, after a white female colleague challenged him over ordering a take-away. He asked me because I was mixed-race (although not Chinese). The fact he did this speaks for itself. I do find this offensive and I’m guessing many Chinese people would find it offensive too. But, those who use this and similar words wouldn’t think twice of saying it directly to those it may affect, for fear of the consequences.
My ex-friend wrote to me first stating he wasn’t a racist, because he liked ‘R n B’ music. I’m sure there was some sarcasm in there. It’s like the British National Party saying I have a friend, who has a friend, who has a postman that has brown skin…
He then went on to state I was strange. The only strange thing about me (apart from eating chocolate for breakfast), is that I don’t like racists. For those who don’t suffer because they have the ‘right’ skin colour, you cannot sit in an ivory tower and judge.
In his insult to me, I was most hurt that he said I was still ‘questioning life at my age’, but wrote that I was 1-year older than I actually am. How rude? I found this most offensive. We all hate being called older, than what we are! With regards to the questioning life, we should all question things we don’t think is right.
The world too owes me nothing, a part from fairness. I didn’t chose the colour of my skin, so let me be. I will always condemn racism, knowing what my mum (who is white) went through bringing up 11 mixed-raced children in Liverpool, without a man at her side. What the world sometimes owes others like my old friend, is a reality check.
You too cannot have ‘positive mental attitude’ everyday like my friend apparently has, when the odds are often against you. There are not many days where I do not hear of some form of discrimination towards others, and I do not live in a ‘black’ (stereotype) world. My circle of friends is predominantly white, my partner is, my work environment is and so on. However, this doesn’t mean I forget my own roots and that I am not subjected to discrimination. I will defend those who are.
I’m not trying to change the world, but I am trying to make it a better place and get others to see how their actions or lack of them, can and do affect others. That’s my only crime, a part from liking chocolate too much.
My ex-friend’s friend then wrote to me and stated he wasn’t racist, he was clearly stating he hadn’t a clue what was acceptable or offensive in our country anymore. As I wrote to her, racism isn’t and the use of words like ‘chinky’ and so on. I thought that was obvious.
She then asked me to apologise. I’m not arrogant, but I know we all feel threatened when we are challenged, it’s a self-protection mechanism. I think you guess my response on this.
Apparently, my ex-friend has ‘banter’ with a lot of Asian friends and they say those words to him. Maybe I am living in a different world, or others are. I know my Asian friends don’t do this! Banter yes, racism, no.
I was then told that ‘Freedom of Speech’ has gone in this country, and it reminded me of the political campaigning by those parties in the UK to the right of politics. Free Speech hasn’t gone and should always be at the cornerstone of Britain, great men and women have fought and died for this.
But, there is a difference between ‘free speech’ and racism. One is acceptable and one is not. It’s as simple as that.
I was further told I had ‘issues’ and ‘nothing better to do with my time’. I can take personal insults, you learn to grow a thick skin. She’s right though, I do have issues… issues with those who are racist and don’t understand the consequences of their behaviour or actions.
Playing my small part in making the world a better place, by highlighting the fact that ‘Racism Ruins Lives’ is a good use of my time. I too like to watch ‘Family Guy’ with Alex.
Not everything I write about is negative, she clearly hasn’t read my blogs, maybe I should post them! I think I’m a funny guy (which actually means I’m not), but I too have social justice and equality responsibilities ensuring the world my nieces and nephews grow up in, is one which is fair and where they can achieve their full potential.
So, it looks like I’ve lost a few votes in my campaign to become Prime Minister of the UK in 2015. I guess I wouldn’t have, if I did what most politicians do and say what others ‘want to hear’. That’s not me.
I have some remarkable good friends, white and black, straight and gay and I don’t expect them to agree with me or even read my blogs. We all have our own lives to live. My path has been chosen for me as a result of many things, where I was born, who and what I am.
I do however expect respect, which naturally must go both ways. I have friends who are members of the Conservative Party, some very influential. Just because I like them as individuals, doesn’t mean I have to agree with their politics. If we where all the same, life would be boring.
Anyway, that’s my update for this Sunday. Hope I haven’t spoiled your lunch! This is the response, that I was told wouldn’t come. I’m accountable for the things I say and do (or don’t), as much as anybody else.
I write, with a ‘View from the Bottom’.
Ciao, Max x.
Live Healthy, Laugh Often & Love Yourself!
© Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2011 – Published by My Mum