Lately, there has been a lot of talk in the media about racism in sports.
But what about racism among England’s general population? It is a topic
that’s rarely discussed and one that needs to be brought to the forefront.
First, I need to make things clear. I am a black woman with an American
accent. I live in Leeds, where it is quite segregated. When I am out and
about, running errands and walking around the city center, it seems as if
people look at me like they have never before seen a black person. At
times people give me mean, sour looks which seem to suggest that I am
intruding on their territory. I don’t think I could ever fit in this society
because it feels like I’m being held at arm’s length, even when people are
friendly. I spoke to a professional about my thoughts and feelings and
her response was that people want to protect their neighbourhoods. I still
wonder what she meant. Do people think I may do them some harm just
because I have dark skin and kinky hair because I look different from the
I’ve had two experiences that denote racism and discrimination. The first
one occurred when a support worker called a counselling organization on
my behalf. The person from the organization asked if I was White-
British. I didn’t know if the worker from Touchstone meant she would
only accept people of that racial group. I did find her question to be
discriminatory. The support worker didn’t challenge her question, and
when I tried to discuss it with him; he didn’t seem at all concerned.
On another occasion, I walked into an Orange store and approached a
sales agent. A white male walked in after I did. Although I stood right in
front of the salesperson and started to speak, he ignored me and served
the man behind me. Both men were white, which is why I can only see
this as racial discrimination.
I have been told that people in England dislike Americans because of the
war. Perhaps I have been experiencing some of these negative
sentiments. It is unfair to place that burden on all Americans.
What are most disturbing to me are the looks of derision I get from young
children. It makes me question or wonder if their parents are teaching
them negative and biased attitudes and beliefs.
By Veronica Moody