Churchill is not my hero (part 2)

I’m Bangladeshi and I didn’t even know Bangladesh had two major famines until literally 2 years ago, and that was because I accidentally found a video of Shashi Tharoor talking about the issue. I’m a self-professed simpleton. I barely know anything apart from the regurgitated and filtered curriculum taught at school. I barely know anything about my native culture. It’s embarrassing.

I did this to myself, by rejecting my brownness as a kid so that I’d fit in. Obviously you can’t take your skin off, but you can reject your identity for sure. I refused to speak Bangla, hated dressing in saris and avoided any cultural/religious events like COVID-19. My childhood was basically Anita & Me, with me being the brown kid who just wants to be her best mate, the white girl from a completely different walk of life.

I’m a different person now. I’ve taken an active interest in my roots and asked questions, which has led to me hearing stories of civil unrest, family members seeing strangers shot before their eyes, whole villages uprooting and fleeing to India, as well as accounts of adapting to British life, following immigration in the years after.

It’s astounding.

Did you know that my grandad was a qualified teacher, and a pretty damned good one, in Bangladesh? Because I didn’t know exactly how esteemed he was in this role or how much of an impact he had on his many students, until his funeral. My grandad, as far as I’d known as a kid, was a labourer in a carpet factory in Bradford. He had a beautiful brain on his shoulders but that didn’t matter because his qualification counted for nothing in Britain. So he worked in an environment that probably involved few brain cells, and worked his ass off to give his children a great life in a country that, up until the fifties, didn’t even allow brown people to own their own properties.

You conform to fit in and you’re embraced more if you’ve got a “whiter” personality. I’ve been called either “paki” by dimwits or a “coconut” my whole fucking life, always being a classic Asian from afar and an exceptional token for racists who say I don’t “count” as one of the stereotypical Asians they have a problem with. What the fuck does that even mean? I’m stumped, man. I really am.

I don’t hate anybody. I just want more awareness of HISTORICAL FACT and more consideration of VALID HUMAN EXPERIENCES/FEELINGS. “Historical amnesia” is 100% a thing and I really believe that if people looked at the past with less tunnel vision and embraced the “other” with less fear/hostility, the world would be so much nicer.

As a young kid, as far as I was aware, Britain had practically reformed the rest of the world and turned helpless brutes into the pillars of civilised organisations. As an adult, I’m learning that brutality is on my doorstep and rich cultural civilisations were destroyed by colonialism. Lives were undervalued then, just as they are now. So let’s just wake up, smell the coffee and change shit for reals so that this same conversation doesn’t need to be had in another 100 years’ time.

My future dogs and children will not be growing up to think cultural erasure, racism or just being an asshole in general is acceptable🐶👶🏽🤷🏾‍♀️

EDIT: Actually, there were still issues with “coloured people” buying houses in 1968. Nikesh Shukla, a wicked writer you should read, said in his interview with The Independent that, “My uncle Mahesh is a source of strength for me: in 1968 he tried to buy a house in Huddersfield but they had a policy not to sell to “coloured people”. He’s the first person to have brought a case of racial discrimination under the Race Relations Act.”.

OPINION/RANT: Border Control

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Rep. Ted Lieu Plays Videos of Separated Families for Border Patrol Chief Brian Hastings

This is what the reality of “border control” looks like. Indefinite detention, implications on short-term/long-term mental health, divided families and heaps of trauma. So, when discussing the sensitive matter of immigration, lets take into account the fact that the stereotype of ‘welfare-exploiting, ignorant foreigners’ only covers one aspect of immigration. It’s an artfully crafted narrative from the media that serves as a catalyst to stoke the prejudice, which divides the masses. This ploy is used tactically, not only in the US, but also in the UK (Yarls Wood being a prime example).

People don’t have any compassion, forget empathy, for that type of immigrant and then they project this lack of understanding onto all the other individuals who have a completely different story to tell. This is utterly heartbreaking. Next time you feel rage, upon seeing some bull-crad in the news about those people taking our women and stealing our jobs, just remember that the propaganda you’re consuming isn’t reflective of the full picture. Imagine what it’s like to endure unethical detention or separation from your family or constant condescension because you’re not a naturalised citizen in the country you call home.

Please can we all try to practice a little more empathy? And can we also try to challenge/critique the sensationalist drivel we are being fed on a daily?

Right okay, I’m ready for my second coffee now.