Why don’t we all just take a minute and read a book? No, not literally.
Recently in the news and in real life I’ve been made horribly aware of how the ‘isms’ are still a real thing.
Racism and sexism are so deeply woven through language and social structures that even though we are more aware of them these days and pretty active in moving away from them, they are still so prevalent. We’re all guilty in this aspect. ALL OF US.
Being brown can be difficult in some industries, especially in media or the arts. Not because brown people aren’t talented and relevant and wonderful at what they do, but because the opportunities are hard to come by and because audiences are presumptuous. I think because the brown is so visible, some people can’t see past it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been outside of London and a cabbie starts talking about Indian food/culture to show me how ‘clearly they are not racist’, or how many people have said ‘Oh! Your english is really good, you must’ve been born here’, or ‘where are you from??… no I mean originally?’.
YES I AM BROWN, YES MY ENGLISH IS OKAY, I LEARNT THE ALPHABET AT THE SAME AGE AS YOU AND YOU GUESSED IT, I’M ORIGINALLY FROM ENGLAND. And even if I wasn’t, what’s the problem with that?
But let me tell you a tale, a tale that shocked me out of my romanticised and naïve view of the general public. I was on the train out of London with my husband (LOL. still weird.) and there were a group of four middle aged people sitting in front of us, all was well and good until a few glasses of white wine later, when one woman said, ‘I just think it’s really bad, The Great British bake off is called the BRITISH bake off for a reason.’ To which her confused husband responded, ‘What do you mean?’. She then went on to explain what she meant by pointing at a picture of her in the paper — ‘Look!’.
Thank god for her husband’s sanity because she was pointing with disgust at the winner of this year’s bake off, a culinary genius British culinary genius named Nadiya, and I was about to stand up and ask her to speak openly about why a brown person can’t be British. ANYWHO. Her sane husband calmly said to her, ‘She was born in Leeds, she has a British passport, she’s British.’
At this point, I nearly stood up and said THANK YOU NORMAL AND NON RACIST HUMAN BEING, but thought it better not to. Comments coming from a place of ignorance are a difficult thing and I often feel like people should know better, but sometimes I hear things in public, in LONDON and other metropolitan cities and I wonder how people are still so confused. Brown is still synonymous with other. Maybe not foreign, maybe not evil, but definitely other, and that’s a problem.
How is it that my own country can make me feel so unwelcome in my own home. I’m made to feel foreign even though I’m not, and it’s not in an obvious, racist way, but in the subtleties of culture. There were separations of cultural groups as far back as Primary school for me. I remember getting Diwali off as a holiday because I celebrated it. I thought it was great until my mother refused and told me if there were other children in school, I was no different and had to be there too. I also remember watching films and wondering why the Indian characters all had accents. I don’t have an accent. Maybe that’s why people outside of London assume I will.
Why is it so difficult to watch even a British film and have a coloured cast where it isn’t based on a council estate? Little things like this have been bothering me recently. I love my culture and love my roots but much of my culture IS British culture and it confuses me that I am not able to be fairly represented in the media. Just a thought.
I watched a really interesting round table talk with some great female comics, and though they’re American, it got me thinking about all this stuff. Watch it here.
Being a girl is hard enough!! Let alone being an ethnic minority AND a female. But I can save my feminist rant for another day. I have to tell you about the food I made last night.
I made sea bass curry. YES I know, ‘whaaaaat! That’s amazing’. And yes it was. I will never stop milking it. I also made slightly less successful but still unbelievably tasty potato pakoras. These are just deep fried cubed potato and chopped onion in a spicy batter, there was no way they were going to taste really bad. I’m going to work on them but they were yum. I even did some yoga and did some handstands!
On a sourer (punny) note, my stomach has been not very good. STOP here if you don’t want to know any more about my gastronomic life.
The intolerance to garlic has meant that I have to be really really careful and I’m trying, but garlic up until now was my one true love. Breaking up has been tough and so my diet hasn’t been so good in other areas. After last night’s meal I was doing great and then something mystical happened. The skin on the roof of my mouth almost entirely peeled off. So now? Sore mouth, sore stomach, bad head and ANGER at the ‘isms’.
Let’s all just be kind to each other? For now? Until I have the energy to rant some more.