TALAT YAQOOB is many things – feminist, hilarious, cheese aficionado. Oh, and Asian, which isn’t big deal until the media mobilises to reiterate (however well-intentioned) the apparent ‘otherness’ of the non-white population. You know, like it did yesterday.
I rarely notice that I’m Asian.
That might sound odd, but it’s true. I think it comes from the privileged position of being around certain groups of people, often those who work in equality and the third sector, like me. I don’t generally take note of my skin colour, which has been called a “caramel coating” by someone once, I assume in a loving nature… Recently, I went into a tanning salon because I needed change to park my car, and everyone stared. It took me a couple of seconds to realise why. At which I pointed at myself and said “I know, I’m just addicted to these beds, this is my third time this week” So comfortable am I with my caramel coating, that I can have a little fun with it.
But there are those occasions where I am reminded of my race and my heritage, and unfortunately, almost always these reminders are in the bleakest of circumstances. My earliest memory of this is the few times I witnessed my dad wash racist graffiti off his shop wall. “Go home”. I didn’t really understand it – this is the place where I gorged on 1p sweets while my dad worked. Trust me, I was at home. But after it was explained to me, I remember feeling shaken and speechless. In later years at school, or in the street, it still happened, especially after the horrific 9/11 attacks, but I know I have encountered it more rarely and less severely than others.
Good piece, worth reading as a counter-balance to the sensationalist take on yesterday’s events that was shared by racists and media outlets alike.
Which is to say: fuck the BNP, the EDL, Richard Dawkins and anyone else who saw this brutal murder as nothing more than a confirmation of their hateful beliefs about (and/or an opportunity to stir up violence against) Muslims at home and abroad.
Richard Dawkins weighed in on this? He’s getting stranger and more frightening as time goes on.