Monday 15 August 2011

Days 132 & 133: London

One of the things about traveling that is coming home to bite is being far away when things go wrong.  I think you perhaps end up more upset than you would have been otherwise.  Which is why, although we had a nice drive from Medford to Port Angeles and met a couple of really nice and interesting friends-of-Mike's on the way, I just can't really bring myself to talk about that at the moment.

I was already upset about the thing in Norway, but I'm even more upset about what's going on in London because that really is home.  I realise I haven't been living there for a while, but I know that if I was in France, I would feel an absolute need to get on a train right now and go and see for myself just what the state of things is.  As things are, all I get is people babbling in the media, and a lot of them are doing it from the other side of Green Belt, or, God-help-us, the other side of the Atlantic.  The thing that really is upsetting me is the tendency amongst some of these people to drag race into their narratives, which is neither smart, nor fair, nor good for my city.

I take it that Mr Duggan was Black British and that seems to have blinded a lot of people to the fact that our rioters are a fair cross-section of London's 'finest', that is to say, absolutely everybody, including some of the darling offspring of those people outside the Green Belt.  Check out the pictures if you don't believe me.  Meanwhile, the victims here seem to also be a typical cross-section of London's communities, ie just about anybody of rather maturer years and economic stability.  I'm feeling like a lot of people don't 'get' London, and are busy creating misrepresentations in the media and in their conversations that can do more harm to us in the end than any rioting or police mishandling of that 'accident' of theirs.

The streets and neighbourhoods of London are extremely multi-racial and multi-cultural which is how I like them. I'm afraid some people seem to have naively decided that multi-racial somehow means 'not including white people'.  Just to set you straight: I've always felt like my own Borough, Newham, was ethnically typical.  Not that I'm counting people on the street, but it felt to me like a third white, a third black and a third others, mostly asian.  I thought I would check before I said anything so according to Wikipedia we are 39% white, 38% asian, 20% black and 3% others, as of 2006.  All of us mixed together, and hardly ever a cross word   ;  )  Well, OK, maybe a few from time to time.  But less of that 'us' and 'them' race stuff please, and if you absolutely must, 'we' are white, not invisible.  It's not that I'm queuing up to be branded a potential rioter, but neither are 99.9% of my neighbours.

PS.  I'm not the only one who says so.

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