A Racism Timeline In Barking & Dagenham

28 Feb

Barking & Dagenham's Next MP?

February 2010, and the BNP’s leader – the wonderfully goggle-faced Nick Griffin – is attempting to be elected to Government through my home town, Barking and Dagenham.

I’ve lived here all my life and racism has never been a part of it – If you know me, you know my half brother is mixed race, and so are some of my cousins. Racism is not something I’ve grown up with.

But it’s almost as if there’s something changing in the air, here.  Perhaps this is what is meant by growing up – realising the reality of things.

In the last general election, in 2005, the BNP came third in Barking, behind the Tories and Labour, but let’s be honest; they were still a long way away from getting a seat.

In 2005, I suddenly noticed a whole heap more black people at my school. They had moved from Peckham, Hackney, all of the colourful places the BBC love to feature when talking about knife crime, and some of them were ‘fresh off the boat’.

In 2006, eleven of the twenty-six seats for Barking and Dagenham were held by the BNP, and now they’re pushing for all of them.

The number of ‘ethnic minorities’ has steadily risen over time… walking up the hill to the Heathway you can be hit by a United Nations of accents, smells and outfits. Where there was once an off licence, there’s now an Afro-Caribbean shop.

In 2009, a Nigerian restaurant opened on Goresbrook Road, not far from my house.

In 2009 Nick Griffin gained sympathy by being made a fool of on Question Time.

In 2009 I realised the hall upstairs from my local pub was a BNP meeting place.

In 2009 I was verbally assaulted by that everlasting cliché, the man in a white van.

I’m not suggesting some magical cure. I don’t have one. All I know is that people are moving to Dagenham, and they’re living. They shop at Asda, they send their kids to school and they go to work.

Some of these people are black, some of them are Asian, and some of them are Eastern European.

I also know that there are white people, who have been living in Barking and Dagenham their whole lives. People who have been made redundant, and scrape by with visits to the Job Centre Plus. They see these others, who don’t belong, who are living. These people want someone to listen, to help.

They are the people who vote BNP.

Nick Griffin may very well ride the wave of disappointment and dole money all the way to a parliamentary seat, but I just hope the people who vote BNP realise they’re wasting a vote – the BNP couldn’t help a fly.

They wouldn’t anyway, flies are too dark.

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6 Responses to “A Racism Timeline In Barking & Dagenham”

  1. sophie February 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    I love the ending.
    I love the piece.
    And i love you black, white or asian!
    And many others should see that skin colour doesn’t matter, it’s whats inside.
    Why should we judge our own kind?
    At the end of the day we are all human, regardless.
    :)

    • Lalah-Simone Springer February 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

      Ah, just wait.
      When we take over the world, it’ll all be a hell of a lot better!
      x

  2. hanneymonster February 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    He is a cold nutter

  3. Alex March 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    It is a sad state of affairs indeed, when decent members of Society have oftentimes been tempted to stray , if only for a brief moment, with weak wrists compelled to sign an X, which in great abundance could spell the end of everything this country stands for.

    It is a sad state of affairs to find that, in an age so full of choice and information, an organisation such as the British National Party succeed to pull the wool over the eyes of otherwise rational people.

    The tragedy of all this is that the majority of voters are not of the same disposition as the lowlife scum who control such a party and that they are not inherently racist, it truly is a sorry state of affairs to say the least.

  4. Not Just Another Milla June 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    What a truly excellent post! Happy to have found your blog.

    The ending is a. true and b. bloody funny! I love you quote “Perhaps this is what is meant by growing up – realising the reality of things.” Adulthood isn’t always fun, is it!?

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