ABC newsreader Jeremy Fernadez in the company of his two year old daughter was on a bus yesterday and a woman called him black c***. There was some to-ing and fro-ing between them before she resorted to such offensive words. The tale is here.
I've mentioned this before, but a long time ago I did have a best friend. He was Anglo Indian and had attended the poshest English school in Calcutta and spoke as you would expect, with a deep and mellifluous voice and ever so clearly, courtesy diction classes at school. I worked with him and we, R and myself, became friends with him. Although something happened to end our friendship, we met our Brother Friends through him, also our ex NT politician/policeman friend through him. He was not very dark skinned, just exotic looking. Nevertheless, exotic enough to be called a black c*** by a customer at work. I think I made the right call by pretending to not hear what was said. It would have embarrassed him had I said anything. Down to the last, I know every Indian born workmate I have has been called a black c*** at some point during their career. Some deal with it better than others. I suggest to them that they replace the black with gay, or red haired, or pointy nosed, or fat.
Back to Jeremy. He decided it was his Rosa Parkes moment and made a stand. In my opinion, he made a wrong call. The woman was clearly a vile type who one sadly comes across at times. I saw one just today. She had a beautifully dressed toddler with her, a gorgeous looking kid, but the mother was truly scary. She had drug addict written all over her. The tram I was on was slightly delayed as she tried to finish her cigarette before getting on the tram. Her hair was so tightly pulled back, it had stretched her face tight.
What do you do when you come across someone as unpleasant as the woman Jeremy encountered, especially if you have your two year old daughter with you? You remove yourself from wherever the unpleasant person is. You get away from them. If they are at back of the bus, you move to front.
Frankly, I am disappointed in Jeremy. This was not a Rosa Parkes moment, the right for a black person to sit anywhere on a bus. It was about protecting your child and avoiding an obnoxious woman who is no doubt at the very bottom of the social scale. If any pity is to be felt, feel for the two children she had with her who will perhaps grow up like her.
I suppose at least Jeremy did one positive thing, he drew attention to the great middle class white Australia of the random racial abuse people with dark skin or even not pure Anglo Saxon looks have to deal with often.