Ask the Dinosaurs.

The reason I found this scuffle about News Knight’s piece worth adding to is because not a few weeks ago a member of the family (family by marriage, not actually related to me thankfully) attempted to tell his favourite Bernard Manning joke.

Beginning by saying what a shame it was that he had passed away. I’m usually pretty well-behaved and so I wasn’t rude but just disagreed. “Oh you could always say that he told jokes about everyone, he was fair – no-one escaped his humour” was the retort. “Yeah rubbish” I said but I knew what was coming next…

So he got 5 words into this ‘joke’ “There was this black man…” and I made it clear I wasn’t sticking around to hear this but if I was in any doubt was told to “sod off if I didn’t like it.”

hmmm family ? No this was a retired white man from Lancashire who felt it perfectly acceptable to tell a racist joke at a family gathering. Had my relatives been there I suggest that he would not have dared to tell that joke instead he might have told us how he’d worked with many asians and thought they were alright.

He looks at me and sees his white nephew’s partner and she looks a bit Spanish. In his mind I am accepted. Put me on a street in Lancashire perhaps walking with my father and we’d be far from accepted by this fairly typical retired white lancashire man.

There is no denying – there is a tension. I feel it when I’m visiting the UK up north. Brown faces and white faces not smiling at each other. I am upset by the atmosphere there and yet having lived in London for 11 years with loads of different colour faces I never felt that tension and infact really relished the diversity. It’s very much a ‘them and us’ haze that lurks in Lancashire.

I suppose though lately that the ‘them and us’ fog is not simply defined by colour since many eastern europeans have arrived in Britain. Maybe the white indigenous population feels they are losing grip of ‘their’ UK. It’s all about change and an inability to adapt. Ask the dinosaurs…


~ by thiswoman on September 19, 2007.

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