The fourth of June 2019.
It’s 12:40 am; Once again, I have woken up with a thought, and I can’t sleep till it’s saved.
The thought is racism in Chertsey, or, as in my childhood, the complete lack of it.
There were very few dark-skinned people around then, and any person who was, would probably be called a “Darkie’. This was not meant to be hurtful, just as calling some-one with red-hair ‘Ginger’, no more than a friendly nick-name.
A few week’s ago, I told a true story about a man I befriended while I was in hospital, in the story I referred to his race or religion. When I read it my writing group, I felt an ‘unease’ go through the listener’s. This was in North London, an area with just about every nationality living happily next to each other.
I realise I now have to be very careful of what I say or write, every-one is so sensitive.
As a child, all those years ago, any-one with an unusual name or physical feature, would have nick-name—admittedly, some of these seemed cruel, like ‘four-eyes’ for some-one with glasses.
Most of these names were friendly, like Dusty Miller or Chalky White, but there were others that defy any logic, where did ‘Sykey Balchin’, ‘Kipper Field’, or ‘Pisell Sewell’ come from?
I had several nick-names, I never thought any were nasty, just how I appeared to some-one at the time; ‘Raggy-Waggy’, when I had holes in every-thing I was wearing, shoes, socks, trousers and my jersey. Another time it was ‘Blackie’, this was when my pregnant sister told me to put her liquid paraffine on my hair instead of Brycreem—it turned my hair black for weeks.
Today, what I once thought were friendly comments, such as ‘dear’, ‘love’, ‘pet’, are now frowned on and considered abusive.
And never, ever call a grown woman a ‘girl’, that’s a hanging offence!