Tuesday, 7 October 2008

State of Britain.

It's been a great day today. I had my daily dose of racism and sexism all before 10.30am.

Firstly, I'm lying in bed contemplating getting up. I'm almost ashamed to say that, as a PhD student whose desk is at the bottom of her bed, this is a near daily occurrence. Chris Moyles and his lot are on the radio and it's the Monday Pub Quiz feature. As ever my ability to answer the questions were shocking. Unfortunately what was not shocking was that one of the men in Chris Moyles' team, annoyed at having a bad score, made a comment about the sole female player's score being "Good for a girl." Why not start the day with some harmless misogyny right? Anyway, the person controlling the quiz, Rachel, docked him a point for being sexist (Go Rachel)! Needless to say he wasn't very happy, but didn't get any sympathy within the team, so the Great British Public weighed on in and by the end of the next song he was reading out a swathe of text messages all saying things such as "That's what you get for giving women authority", and "Don't worry mate, must be her time of the month", etc. So, because Rachel stuck to her guns and made it clear that she did not find sexism acceptable she got a slew of texts basically saying that, as a girl, she should never have been allowed even that limited power and that protesting against sexism is irrational. I especially loved how the guy whose points were docked claimed that the nation had spoken and that the nation was behind him. I really hope that such thoughts weren't the opinions of the nation as a whole.

Incidentally, after those texts were read out, I sent in a message saying, and I quote, "Good to see sexism is still rampant acceptable in British society. By good, of course, I mean shameful and disgusting." I didn't wait around to see if it was read out, I was too annoyed so I got up and got on with things instead.

Then, at about 20 past 10, I was walking past the Buchanan Galleries and there was a drunk ranting and weaving his way across the road. I tend to try to not listen to them because, well, they're always so aggressive and talking such bullshit. Unfortunately I caught the "Look at all these fucking Pakis" line which shocked me to the point of turning and glaring at him before I realised I really didn't want to have to deal with an overly aggressive drunk man when I was actually trying to get to a specific place at a specific time. Also, I'm a wuss and I have no idea what I should do in those situations. I start walking away and following me up the road I hear him going on about "Darkies" and giving some disgusting, and biologically impossible reasons, for the colour of their skin.

Of course it did make me suddenly painfully aware, and ashamed, of my colour and my privilege and my nation, The fact that I look so typically like a Scot means that I will never have to worry about being told that I shouldn't be in Scotland, well unless they decide I sound too English. It also made me realise, again, how many different ethnicities are here in Glasgow, a fact that, even after having lived and worked here for a couple of years, I am every now and then surprised by. My little town in the middle of nowhere was nothing like Glasgow.

I don't know what I should have done. And I think this post is rather whiny. I hate being whiny. I don't like confronting people and I don't think random drunk guys are likely to listen to me or give a shit about my opinions. I'd much rather rant about it on a blog or send an inefficient text message.

Still, today, I am disappointed by my nation. And I wish I was more surprised.

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