How did we get here and when did racial intolerance become acceptable?

Posted 27 Jul 2017 by Walaa Idris

Sir Martin Moore -Bick

As a black person, I am proud to say in the twenty-six years I lived in the UK, though I met a few ignorant people, I have never directly or indirectly experienced racism at work, on the streets or while using public services.

Having said that, I am not so naïve as to think this is the norm or the experience of most people of colour, even though it should be. However, I believe it is an indication that while there are some people with bigoted and ignorant views, overall Britain is a very tolerant, diverse, and accepting society.

That is why when I read the Grenfell Tower saviours again challenged, Sir Martin Moore- Bick, the retired judge leading the enquiry into the disaster, by telling him “You don’t represent us, you don’t look like us” and asked for him to be removed predominantly based on him not looking like them! I was shocked. Stunned, at the level of open and seemingly acceptable prejudice. Horrified at the nonchalant reporting by mainstream media, the unquestionable acceptance by the public and even some elected politicians!

The first time it happened, it could be excused as an overreaction at a distressful time after the unspeakable Grenfell fire tragedy. But to happen again and no one objects to it, or seems bothered or alarmed by it, is appalling. This level of bigotry, no matter the circumstances, should never be tolerated or excused by anyone. It goes against our humanity, our decency, our civility, and against all that is British and who we are.

If you think my concern is an overreaction, then ask yourself this. If the tables were turned, and the judge wasn’t a white man, could the same language be used without anyone squirming or complaining? Ask yourself what would the public’s reaction be? What would the media, and dare I say the politicians say?

So I ask you again, why in 2017 when racial discrimination in most quarters is a thing of the past. A white judge is asked to vacate his appointed post because of the colour of his skin? What does it say, about us and about twenty-first century Britain?

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