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When did you first encounter racism?

Started by Petey Pate, June 12, 2013, 02:49:01 PM

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Petey Pate

I didn't grow up in a particularly integrated community.  My home town is about 95% white, and was probably more so in my youth.  That said, I don't ever remember having any negative feelings about people who didn't look like me.  There a few black and Asian kids at my primary school who I don't remember being treated any differently (admittedly I could be wrong on this, my memory isn't the best and I wasn't exactly a socially aware child).  I bought ice cream and sweets from a local corner shop owned by an Indian family, my parents frequently played music made by black people, and I saw friendly ethnic faces on TV, mainly on Sesame Street.

My first memory of definite racism was when I was about 9 or 10 and I heard kids at my school go on about "Pakis".  They were doing this rap which ended with the lines "there ain't no black in the union jack, so send those Pakis back".  They probably didn't understood what were they actually saying, presumably this was parroted from their older siblings or somewhere else, and neither did I.  I asked my mum what a "Paki" was.  She told me it was a horrible and offensive word that only idiots use.  While I would swear like a docker at school as soon as I learnt the wonders of "fuck", "shit" and "cunt", I never remember using racist epitaphs to impress.  I somehow always felt that they were wrong.

I'm sure others have more interesting and better examples of this kind of thing.  Maybe there's people here who have early memories of actually being the victim of racism.  Either way I'd be interested to read them, for whatever reason.

Artemis

A lot of racism went on in my primary school as well, but I don't regret it.

Danger Man

I'd be about four years old and some other child said "Your dad's a paki".

To be honest, I was far more upset a year later when a group of children at school said I was wearing 'girl's shoes'.




syntaxerror

Eeny meeny miny, moe, I suppose. I remember being told I couldn't say it, despite not being told why. Wasn't as good as Ip, dip, dog shit anyway.

Sony Walkman Prophecies

I remember Andrew Spetch wouldn't go into a chip shop in Telford 'newtown' with me because it was "run and owned by pakis". I thought this was absolutely ludicrous at the time, and I'm still convinced most of the people I went to school with were (and probably still are) undiagnosed psychopaths.

Noodle Lizard

Apparently when I was very young (5 or 6), we were walking around the corner of our street where two skinheads were bashing a Pakistani guy's head into a postbox - I don't remember it, but that was likely my first exposure.

I didn't really encounter it, but I remember being about 10 and a family friend talking about her schooldays back in the 60s and how one of her teachers was racist.  Apparently she'd tell the dark-skinned kids to "step away from the radiator, you're making the room smell".  Not only is it my first memory of an anecdote about racism, it's also my first memory of laughing about something racist.  It's just hilariously mean.

When I was 13 or so, a chemistry teacher called the Indian kid in our class a n**ger in a roundabout way, but in his defence it was mostly accidental; a misguided attempt at making a joke about Norwegium (Ng).

Now I think of it, the first time I actually learned the word "racist" was from watching 'I'm Alan Partridge'.  I must have been around 8 and saw that episode where Kevin Eldon plays the "few too many blacks" guy and had to get my parents to explain it all.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: syntaxerror on June 12, 2013, 03:01:56 PM
Eeny meeny miny, moe, I suppose. I remember being told I couldn't say it, despite not being told why. Wasn't as good as Ip, dip, dog shit anyway.

What's wrong with "eeny, meeny, miny, moe"?  Unless you're doing the Zed from 'Pulp Fiction' variation, I suppose, but I can't imagine many kids were hanging around the playground saying "catch a n**ger by his toe".

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Petey Pate on June 12, 2013, 02:49:01 PMthere ain't no black in the union jack.

Where are all the red and blue people anyway?  Except for Brits who've just returned from Magaluf, that may account for the reds.

tookish

Probably encountered it from birth really, my dad and his side of the family are all pretty racist. I first started noticing how shit it was when I was about four, probably - my friend Tanisha is mixed-race and kids used to chase her and throw crisps and dried-out conker shells. And her mum pretty much always had to stand on her own in the playground while the other mums chatted, which was really sad. At Christmas, we all coloured in a Santa picture, and I coloured mine in to be 'brown like Tanisha' and got told I'd ruined it and was DOING SANTA WRONG, which retrospectively was also really fucking racist.

Petey Pate

Quote from: syntaxerror on June 12, 2013, 03:01:56 PM
Eeny meeny miny, moe, I suppose. I remember being told I couldn't say it, despite not being told why. Wasn't as good as Ip, dip, dog shit anyway.

It was always "catch a tiger by the toe" when I was at school.  I didn't find out it was originally "n**ger" until years later.  Maybe political correctness really does work.

Danger Man

THEY WEREN'T GIRLS SHOES THEY WERE UNISEX

jutl

The dad of one of my friends used to tell jokes about Jews being mean. I had no idea what Jews were. One of the jokes ("How was the Grand Canyon formed? A Jew dropped a penny down a rabbit hole") left my young brain with the vague impression that Jews were a kind of human-rabbit hybrid. Later I realised that my friend's Mum was Jewish (and thus my friend was too) and that this was all probably some ugly by-product of their marital problems.

bigfatheart

It was either a documentary on Channel 4 where an Asian reporter went to work in a takeaway in Matlock Bath, a fairly short drive away, for a couple of weeks and while they were there someone put a brick through the window and did some racist graffiti, which I remember making me angry, or a classmate who was a bit of a bullshitter claiming that he'd been to Normanton, the local predominantly Asian area, with his brother to 'kick Pakis' heads in'. I didn't like him anyway so I would have been angry whatever he said. Both would have happened when I was about nine or ten, I guess.

Thomas

My first memory of it is from my ol' pa. I also learned about the BNP from him. Apparently they're 'the only party that cares about us,' you know.

Fascinating fact about the origins of 'Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,' there. I didn't know that.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Petey Pate on June 12, 2013, 03:08:58 PM
It was always "catch a tiger by the toe" when I was at school.  I didn't find out it was originally "n**ger" until years later.  Maybe political correctness really does work.

Oh it actually was "n**ger" before?  Yet another thing I mistakenly credited to Tarantino.

Yeah, I thought it was "catch a tiger".  I don't see the problem in doing it that way even if it used to be something bad racist.  That being said, it'd do a lot for these young kids if they were forced to actually make decisions rather than go through this magic rhyming process.  These fucking softies.

syntaxerror

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on June 12, 2013, 03:05:27 PM
What's wrong with "eeny, meeny, miny, moe"?  Unless you're doing the Zed from 'Pulp Fiction' variation, I suppose, but I can't imagine many kids were hanging around the playground saying "catch a n**ger by his toe".

Well maybe you don't have a very good imagination, because they were saying that on the playground and that was why I was told not to say it.

Danger Man

At least my shoes weren't racist.



Unlike these Adidas 'slave trainers'

Cerys

Quote from: tookish on June 12, 2013, 03:08:19 PMAt Christmas, we all coloured in a Santa picture, and I coloured mine in to be 'brown like Tanisha' and got told I'd ruined it and was DOING SANTA WRONG, which retrospectively was also really fucking racist.

And extra-stupid, seeing as St Nicholas was a Greek bloke living  in Turkey.  Damn right he'd be brown.  Either that or red and peeling.

SetToStun

If you remember the childhood song "Ten Little Indians", you may have come across this charming version, and Agatha Christie's use of the derivative version as a book title. I was genuinely shocked by that when I found out.

copyingdogs

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on June 12, 2013, 03:05:27 PM
What's wrong with "eeny, meeny, miny, moe"?  Unless you're doing the Zed from 'Pulp Fiction' variation, I suppose, but I can't imagine many kids were hanging around the playground saying "catch a n**ger by his toe".
That's what they said at my primary school. I think it was just that no one knew what that meant until they were older. I didn't see a black person in real life until I was about 5 or 6, and even that was just from driving past them in the car.

That being said, a lot of my dads friends were, and still are, pretty racist. I almost think that it's a bit of an act though, as in they find it funny to be absurdly racist because they live pretty insular lives these days and it's never really going to effect anyone.

Petey Pate

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on June 12, 2013, 03:14:07 PM
Oh it actually was "n**ger" before?  Yet another thing I mistakenly credited to Tarantino.

Yeah, I thought it was "catch a tiger".  I don't see the problem in doing it that way even if it used to be something bad racist.  That being said, it'd do a lot for these young kids if they were forced to actually make decisions rather than go through this magic rhyming process.  These fucking softies.

The rhyme dates back as far as 1820 according to wikipedia.  I don't see why there should be any offence in hearing the phrase if the word has been changed either.  Rolf Harris sang "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" for years after he changed the offending "take me Abbo back, Jack" lyric and I don't think there's ever been any controversy about the song since.[nb]Other than the singer being a possible sex offender.[/nb]  The fact that the golliwogs in Noddy were replaced by goblins for the TV show doesn't seem to bother many people either.

Cerys

Having rooted through my memory, I've worked out that my first encounter would have been in a story called The Ten Little N*****s, which appeared in a lovely book I had when I was a kid.  That and my grandmother, who was casually racist, but such an old bat that any influence she may have intended was doomed from the start.

Oh, and The Black and White Minstrel Show.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Danger Man on June 12, 2013, 03:19:17 PM
At least my shoes weren't racist.



Unlike these Adidas 'slave trainers'

Haha, Jesus Christ, are those real?  There is quite literally no way that's a good idea.  The mind boggles.

Danger Man

The shoes are real but were marketed as 'prison trainers', not 'slave trainers'

But aren't US jails full of black people SO WHO'S THE REAL RACIST HERE??

Petey Pate

Quote from: Cerys on June 12, 2013, 03:29:01 PMOh, and The Black and White Minstrel Show.

I remember being shocked when I found out that that was airing as late as 1978.  It was bad enough in the 60's I imagine, Welsh men in blackface singing the most unhip tunes from the late 19th century during Beatlemania, but for it to continue late into the '70s is just mind boggling.

Lenny Henry made his TV debut on the show as well, something that he unsurprisingly deeply regrets.

Noodle Lizard

I only found out a few years ago that my granddad was a bit of a bigot.  He apparently wasn't fond of the blacks, nor our family's slew of gay friends (this is the biz, darling), who he said had smaller brains.  He died when I was 7, so I may or may not have heard some of this shit, but I don't remember any of it - I just remember him telling me stories about a dog.

Oddly enough, my grandma didn't give a shit, and she was the Catholic one.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Danger Man on June 12, 2013, 03:33:41 PM
The shoes are real but were marketed as 'prison trainers', not 'slave trainers'

But aren't US jails full of black people SO WHO'S THE REAL RACIST HERE??

Even forgetting the racist angle, aren't all these trainer adverts about flying away and breaking all boundaries of logic and gravity, really sticking it to antiquated squares like Newton and all that?  The chains don't inspire such a blatant disregard of physics.

billtheburger

My mum was racist. ( & a Thatcherite)
I remember being about 8 and asking why black people were suppressed in South Africa and her reply was, "because they're black".
I learned Larkin's This be the Verse a few years later.
Quote from: syntaxerror on June 12, 2013, 03:01:56 PM
Eeny meeny miny, moe, I suppose. I remember being told I couldn't say it, despite not being told why.
Was this on Saturday and  are you my five year old son?

Thomas

It does boggle me when one grandparent is racist and the other isn't. Do they just avoid the topic for decades?

DISCLAIMER - None of my grandparents are racist. My grandpa's actually pretty hip.[nb]He used to compete with cyclist and neighbour Ray Booty as to who could have the cleanest wheelie bin. That's just one example of how hip. They only stopped because Ray died.[/nb]

Big Jack McBastard

There was a (now I think about it clearly muslim) kid in our primary school who was black, we didn't take the piss out of him for being black or musilm though, we took the piss cos he was a bit of a s*****c and thus entirely fair game for our taunts, what forward thinking little disableds haters we were.

Amazingly he wasn't even the focal point for piss ripping, the two or three white morons got it worse and more regularly than him.

My first awareness of it as a 'thing' was more than likely something on the telly, Alf Garnett probably.