Back in White Britain

It’s been a while since I blogged, lots and lots have happened. I’m not sure what I’m going to write about, but the main thing that has happened during lockdown for me, is moving out of London again.

Now, there’s a whole story about that and what has happened in my personal life. More than happy to talk about it in an email. Essentially, I got offered a job which included housing, rent and bills. It’s too good to turn down.

However, the thing that I have lost is the intangible identity of mine being brought back into focus again. Right now, I’m one of three people of colour of staff. In a company over 200 staff. 3 members of staff. Now our customers are from every part of the world, but I normally just spend time on the phone or emailing them. I don’t meet them; they don’t have this huge say on how the company is run. We have a product and they buy it. That’s it.

And it’s weird. Not the buying of the product but the lack of diversity. Looking back at the annual staff meeting and having to discuss black lives matter and micro-aggression reminded me on how far removed I am from the rest of my colleagues. It wasn’t that they were dismissive of the issues or rude, but clearly didn’t know anyone personally who had been affected by this and thus had no idea how to act when trying to answer a question about dealing with micro aggressions. Being in the room just felt disappointing. The reminder on how multicultural my life was in London and growing up everywhere else outside of the English countryside. I brought back to reality that there is a long way to go and there is a whole world outside of London.

my current Shakira binge is too exotic for them

To be honest, I’ve always known this, I have spent most of my time outside of London when living in the UK, but it’s such shock to the system. All my new housemates are white and while there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just odd coming from a very Asian household and suddenly seeing someone wear shoes inside the house. Like seriously, why? Do you not understand dirt and germs? To homebodies that just spent every waking moment in their own rooms refusing to enter a common area just to chat see what’s going on with the rest of the house. It’s very disjointed. Also, the food sucks because of a lack of spice.

the system may not have been made with malice, but not addressing the bias just reproduces the bias. There seems to be no impotence to do better, from them.

When speaking about culture, everything is Anglo-European centric. When it comes to books, all the authors are white. When it comes to films and televisions, everything is about Anglo-American productions and casts. Music is the same. I think that my current Shakira binge is too exotic for them sometimes, heck even the Spanish part of Gregory Porter’s Disclosure song is too much. I must provide the variety that of culture. The zest into my life is fighting to survive. Playing Saavn when I shower, watching Hindi films on the sofa or reading South Asian authors. I don’t experience my culture; I must co-opt it into my life again. It’s a choice, but it makes me seem like an outsider again.

No longer is my masala chai just part of my morning ritual, it seems to be a dividing line on the differences between us. As I said, there’s no malice from the people around me, but it’s like the twitter algorithms. The system may not have been made with malice, but not addressing the bias just reproduces the bias. There seems to be no impotence to do better, from them. They’re just content to be in their bubble and shocked when it gets called out. That’s the hard part to deal with. They’re happy with inadequacy, because it will never affect them. They have that privilege. It’s envious to be honest.

At least my neighbour Sue is giving me eggs. As I said, they’re not bad people, it’s just a long walk to freedom.

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