When I was a racist
February 6, 2009
Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Carol Thatcher. It’s a sad, sad situation.
The daughter of one of our ex-prime ministers refers to someone as a golliwog and when people express shock and revulsion she fails to be moved. Carol Thatcher will not apologise because in her eyes she has nothing to apologise for. She has done nothing wrong.
When I was a child, at school, in the 70’s, I fell out with a friend in gym class and called him a nigger. I would have been 11 or 12. I would have picked the word up from somewhere, most likely a sitcom on TV. I understood that it was not a nice thing to call my friend, and I was afraid as I said it, knowing I was breaking a taboo, but not really knowing why. My understanding of the word and its implications would have been slight. It was the first time I’d ever said it (and, I think, the last). I was punished for using the word. I was slapped across my arse by Dr. Dunlop (a trainer our P.E. teacher would whack us with). Coming from a family where I was never hit, this came as something of a shock. Still, at least I understood that I shouldn’t have called my friend that. Why he got whacked as well, I’m not so sure.
As I’ve grown I’ve tried to understand the world I live in. If I offend someone I try to understand why. I talk, I listen. And when it is right to do so, I apologise.
What world has Carol Thatcher grown up in? Or has she not grown up?
We live in a changing world. Dr. Dunlop’s been retired and teachers whacking kids across their arses is understandably frowned upon. But occasionally, for the children of politicians and royalty, we should make exceptions.