Liberal confesses he hasn’t actually spoken to his ‘black friends’ in 30 years
A 39-year old teacher from West London resolved to get back in touch with a black schoolmate for the first time in three decades after using their friendship as an example of his non-racism.
Pete Waters had had his liberal credentials called into question following an ‘inappropriate’ remark at a dinner party during a conversation about the recent mugging of his host’s nanny. ‘I’d been saying how the local black community had so few opportunities, and the council needed to step up and do something’ explained Waters, ‘when a fellow guest pointed out that nobody had said the muggers were black. I only just managed to dig myself out of it by talking about my Afro-Caribbean neighbour and how we’d often gone on cycling holidays together. All true, but it happened when I was ten.’
Ashamed of consistently failing to back up his multicultural world views in his social circle, Waters attempted to re-connect with his old friend through Facebook but found it a challenge as he couldn’t remember his surname, just that he was called Leroy. The search was also hindered by the fact that Leroy might not even have been his actual name but just what the local kids called him because he looked a bit like the guy from TV show Fame. ‘But not in a racist way, I mean we called a curly haired boy Bruno and he couldn’t play the piano and wasn’t even Italian!’
The days after the party also saw Waters make various attempts to break down the barriers between communities around his Shepherd’s Bush home. He noted with some satisfaction that making a point of finding out the real name of ‘Harry’ the waiter at his local Balti House and attempting for some time to pronounce it properly had resulted in his not being charged for poppadoms, but was disappointed that a supportive smile to a mixed race couple kissing at a bus stop, ‘appeared to have been misinterpreted as leering’.
Then, at a christening, he went out of his way to speak with a young Ghanaian man, now a highly successful regional sales manager for a pharmaceuticals company, although his friendly overtures were re-buffed. ‘One harmless remark about the number of young black men in flash cars making a lot of money out of drugs around here…’ sighed Waters, ‘These people are so sensitive. Some! I mean some people…Oh Christ…’
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Posted: Jan 15th, 2014 by nealdoran
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