For as long as I can remember people have been mistaking me for a white man. Not in the flesh of course, but after speaking on the telephone.
I have lost count of the times I have arranged business lunches with strangers, only to see them look straight through me as they scan the restaurant for a middle-class white gentleman who answers to the name of Ben.
When, eventually, they realise that I am he, the reaction is invariably one of barely concealed surprise. Conventional wisdom has it that my face and voice do not match.
No doubt David Starkey would have something to say about this. His comments of late have certainly put me in mind of this recurrent dilemma. Sounds trivial, doesn’t it?
But look at it from my point of view. Why do people assume I am white?
The answer is so depressingly obvious it exposes a fundamental prejudice at the heart of our society.
What prejudice is that then?
If a man comes up to me and says, ‘I’ve been assaulted. The man is a black man wearing a blue striped top and yellow jeans…” Shall I only look for black men?
Is that prejudiced thinking?
If someone comes on the ‘phone and says ”aye officer, ken you noo see what ye sayin’ is tosh?”
Am I being prejudiced supposing that he may be Scottish?
The argument that this is in someway racist is LAUGHABLE!
This bloke is talking out of his arse-in educated tones… He needs to come to terms with the fact people identify certain accents with cultural and ethnic backgrounds… it’s not prejudice it’s experience…
When I hear ”Hi you’all…” I think American. Most Americans are white. I it therefore unreasonable to think the person on the other end of the ‘phone is likely to be white? Then after meeting and seeing they happen to be black, to just file that under ‘interesting’ not ‘nigger’?
God, I hate this bullshit….
People like this need to grow up.
I had a conversation with a bloke (dark brown skinned) after arrest when he accused me of being prejudiced etc. I asked him to define prejudice… he said he thought it was being treated different because of colour…
I then said…”OK. So, if I was a black officer would you be able to say that? Also, I know what prejudice is… when I am introduced to new people I guarantee at least one will say ‘he’s a Police officer’. That affects greatly what we talk bout. I get the ol’ ‘my friend is a Police officer…he’s alright though…’ So, you think this of me because I am a white person and a copper… you are prejudice too eh?”
To be fair… this chap said it was interesting and understood what I ment…
Some black people need to get over themselves… It’s like that little Brittain sketch ‘I’m the only gay in the village…”
Nobody really cares….