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Acclaimed equalities campaigner still can’t get her dad to not say ‘Paki shop’

Despite a career which has seen her face down angry mobs of Neo-Nazis at riot flashpoints in the UK’s deprived inner cities, and facilitate emotionally traumatic reconciliation groups in South Africa during the dismantling of apartheid, Marion Inglewood has so far been proved powerless to stop her own father from cheerfully using casually racist language whenever it occurs to him.

Ahead of a highly prestigious United Nations awards ceremony, where her humanitarian efforts were to be recognised in front of an audience containing senior politicians and diplomats from around the world, Marion and her parents were just leaving her home to be taken by Limousine to a London hotel. It was as they pulled out that her father, Sid, tapped on the glass and asked the driver to stop at their local convenience store so he could purchase his cigarettes. ‘But not,’ sighed Marion, ‘exactly in those words’.

‘I thought I had it all covered tonight,’ she continued, ‘I’d made sure he knew Ban Ki-moon was Korean, definitely not Japanese, and it was a perfectly warm evening anyway so I would expect no comments about the temperature. I’d reminded him that if the subject of US politics and the presidency came up that ‘mixed race’ is the preferred term these days. Then he drops the P bomb on me, and my preparation’s right out the window.’

‘Suddenly I’m back at my school prize-giving and paralysed with mortification watching him talking to Mrs Atwood, who’s married to Mr Gandhi the chemistry teacher, and he’s doing that head-bobbling impression he picked up from ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’. What is it with parents?’ Marion asked, ‘I’d have better luck doing Wife Swap with Nick Griffin.’

The most frustrating thing for the leading campaigner is that her father appears completely oblivious to her concerns. ‘He still doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Like tonight, he just says ‘Mr Singh doesn’t mind when I say it, and he’s not even one of ’em’, and that ‘I should hear what Mr Singh says about that nice Polack family around the corner’. Honestly, I sometimes think he genuinely believes that these are the proper technical terms. I wonder if it’s too late for me to take up that 12 month post doing tribal conflict studies in the depths of the Amazon?’

Other members of Marion’s family are more sympathetic to her plight. ‘Sid’s of a different age and doesn’t really appreciate the sensitivities of the modern world, and the embarrassment he might cause Marion,’ said her mother, Celia. ‘But at least in me she has one parent who understands what’s important in her life. She’s a modern, successful woman in her late thirties with a high profile career and an immense intellect. Every day I tell her, she’s never going to get a husband going on like that.’

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Posted: Apr 10th, 2011 by NewsBiscuit

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