This was my response to the following invitation to
Share Your Story. As part of our Op-Docs series Conversations on Race, we want to hear your experiences confronting issues of race in your life. We invite you to share your stories, some of which we will feature on a page of readers’ contributions.
Mine is probably not the kind of race-related story you want to hear, but I’ll tell it anyway.
I was born in the London suburb of Wembley in 1949, when everyone was white. Not that I noticed this at the time. It was just the way things were and one took it for granted. If there had been any non-white kids or teachers at my primary school, I’m sure I would have noticed, but I didn’t. All the faces in all my class photos are white. And it was the same at secondary school. I remember as a child noticing the first non-white people I saw on the street, a black person or someone in Indian dress striking me as most unusual and exotic.
As I grew older I couldn’t help but notice the increasing number of non-white people there were. At first a small minority, but ever increasing, until suddenly they seemed to have become the majority, and indeed they had.
I went back to my old primary school a few years ago and as I looked into the playground I found myself trying to pick out the odd white face amongst all the non-white ones. The combination of the familiar (all the building and roads are still much the same) with the unfamiliar (a different race of people) caused me to come over dizzy. What on Earth had happened?
When I put this question to my MP he dismissed my concerns with distain. To him I was a “bigot” and “racist” who had failed to move into and “celebrate” the new era of DIVERSITY.
But what is "Celebrating Diversity" other than Orwellian newspeak for native Britons like myself (and white people everywhere) to celebrate our own ethnic displacement (white flight), replacement (we have now been reduced to an ethnic minority in large swathes of our major cities) and ultimate demise . . ??
Xenophobia is one side of a single coin, on the other side of which is love of one’s own and the familiar. I don’t hate the immigrants (some I have got to know and like very much), most are nice people, but they are not my people.
I don’t blame the immigrants for coming here (who wouldn’t choose Britain over a poor-world country?), but feel betrayed by the British state itself, which I and my fellow countrymen made the fatal mistake of identifying with, as our nation, and trusting.
I didn't hear back, so I guess I was right about it not being the kind of race-related story they wanted to hear about.