Year Zero: Day 80

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Day 80, and we’re into the 8th 10 day week for those of you concentrating, and I have some extremely distressing news. This Year Zero thing was all about when the pubs shut, for me, and because it’s my blog I can say what I want, I make the rules. I was looking forward to supping a nice pint of butty Bach and maybe sampling one of the local pub’s Sunday Lunches , sitting outside in the garden. Their take away meals are splendid and the delivery sweet, like water from a fountain. However my local pub; is run by a racist, I won’t mention this name. Now followers of this blog will know I don’t like to name the protagonists, but these last 24 hours have been pretty trying but after a chat with Mrs T I decided not to name him. If you want to make a stand don’t visit.

Yesterday on FB (which I don’t take part with any more) Mrs T read out a post he had made on his personal account, which went something along the lines of, and i’m paraphrasing:

“Call me stupid but wasn’t George Floyd high on Crack and driving a stolen car? Just sayin””

Now excuse me for jumping in here but What The Fuck!!  Mrs T told me about this as we went to bed and I spent the first few hours of the night wondering what to do, and the second few hours of the night wondering if the village would say anything, bearing in mind the public access to this account, I think he posts the menus for the pub there, interspersed with peppercorn racial insults. Just Saying’! And at around 3am I was going to say hello to the other insomniacs of Twitter but I didn’t have my phone to hand. In any event when we woke up, Mrs T was straight on FB and had called him out, by saying the George Floyd didn’t deserve to be murdered in what has now become the most watched snuff movie of all time, and quite frankly he should take the post down. Within minutes a good friend from the village had come to support Mrs T on the platform, But no one else.

Now my point to this story is not to boycott the pub, you could and that might mean he loses the village and it might mean he’ll move out to go somewhere else to spread his hateful questioning and passive social media racist shite framed as a question with the “Just Saying” phrase at the end of every post. As though its the reasonable who should be questioning their own morality. No my real issue with this incident is that my wife and our friend have so far been the only people to call this man out publicly on the social media platform, to actually stand up and say something. NO ONE ELSE made even the slightest protest, in fact there were a few likes. It seems my village is made up of the “I’m not Racist But…” tribe, a gaggle of white right wing biggoted, couldn’t care less types. “Well it is terrible but look what happened to Leicester”, a familiar thread from my Mum. It seems to me that in Provincial, Parochial Worcestershire, the Latent thread of racism runs through the countryside like a holiday destination through rock. It’s always there, unseen, and as such will always be a problem, like the Covid 19 Virus the scourge of Rural Racism is bubbling under the R number of 1, but all it takes is a gentle questioning, “am I stupid or…” type comment on a public platform to bring the amount of closet racists to the surface of the idyllic pastoral pond, ripples of racism spreading unchecked. Its disgusting and Shrawley should be ashamed of itself.

As I mentioned sometime this week on this blog, my 11 year old son printed off and stuck up a #blacklivesmatter fist onto the study window for all the people driving by to see, no where else in the village too I see any such sign, it seems maybe that those lives don’t matter, or maybe in the village of labradors and spaniels maybe black dogs matter more. Who is to say, that is only my own conjecture.

So with that I will continue to view my “fellow” villagers with suspicion as I do, regrettably my Mum, who’s racist jibes are well known throughout my family, it’s not acceptable anywhere. The pub will probably open its doors in mid June and my year zero will possibly continue until I decide to walk to the Lenchford, about 1.5 miles across fields, which will go some way to eliminating my belly. I imagine the crowds will flock to the village pub, there will be discussions over parking in the car park, petit squabbles will break out over people having bonfires, and parking on the edges of roads, McDonalds litter will get thrown into the hedgerows tracking the roads, and dog shit in bags will appear in the bushes of the woods when the autumn turns to winter and they shed their leaves. But the hateful dislike and lack of acceptance and tolerance of specifically black and brown skin folk will go unchanged, Worcestershire has, or at least had, a large population of Eastern European Fruit Pickers but because their skin is not a different colour that isn’t an issue for the gentle fascists of Shrawley.

As yesterday passed into yesterday evening I asked Mrs T if anyone else had commented on the publican’s post. Only the publican; this time asking the question citing the murderous terrorists who attacked and killed the soldier Lee Rigby at his barracks with the “just saying'” caveat. So there you have it, seems the Race number in Worcestershire is way higher than previously thought, and it seems staying indoors doesn’t lower it, with social media offering an umbrella in which to nurture it. Shame on us all.

9 comments

  1. I note that not many people have “liked” your post, either! Has everyone forgotten that we encouraged black people to our country to work on the buses and building sites several decades back, and before that, handfuls of Jamaicans came to this country to fight for us in the World War II, after which it was made clear that they weren’t welcome to settle here as citizens (have you read the novel Small Island by Andrea Levy?). Even before that the UK and US were complicit in the slave trade. The morality of bringing people to your country against their will and then treating them badly forever after, really, really, really sucks. I will tell you something heartening, though. Did you hear about the Native American reservation that has put itself into extra strict lockdown of its own accord, and doesn’t have one case of coronvirus? Justice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sarah, I know my post hasn’t been liked much either, but then I’m a small fish in a big pond just trying to tell it how I see it. Without immigrants this country would be in a really poor state, and what I’m trying to show is the awfulness of the bubbling undercurrent of racism in rural Britain. I haven’t read small island I’ll put it on the list! thanks for reading and commenting and maybe in the future we’ll all be able to live in harmony without the cancer of racism eating away.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m down in rural Wiltshire and it is probably similar here. As far as I know, though, we don’t have anybody posting anything idiotic on Facebook, although it’s not a platform I follow much. But it is very “English” here and in that respect, I miss that melting pot when I used to go up to London to work every day.

    I can talk to people in their eighties who have never lived away from this village and I’m, like, wtf?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said. It is the not challenging of such careless comments that will prevent any change in our society. Relationships and opinions have been centuries in the making but nothing can change until some of us begin to calmly say what isn’t acceptable but also to explain why it isn’t acceptable. People are naturally concerned about others they don’t recognise and skin colour is the most obvious visual difference on first look. But if we can overcome the inbuilt opinions and attitudes of our parents and teachers, then we won’t infect our children and the other future decision makers within our society, with the same incorrect views about those different from us. All of life matters.

    Liked by 1 person

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