Saturday, 14 March 2009

Prejudice Comes in Many Forms


Being a dedicated biker, having held a licence for more than 35 years - quite a bit more actually - (ouch, that hurt) I always like to see myself as a biker first and a Harley or BMW or Honda or Kawasaki rider second. My point being that I like to ride and I like what riding gives me. It sort of feeds my soul. Over the years, especially in the police, I faced all sorts of prejudices; racial, sexual, religious, professional, even the fact that I was merely a police officer was occasionally turned against me. I encountered people who didn't just hate me because I was white and a police officer, they seemed to hate everyone and everything, even their own family. The worst racial hatred I ever experienced that was directed at me, personally, was from a man who was Jamaican and he seemed to fit the latter `hate everyone` category. That said, he didn't turn me against other Jamaicans although he did make me wary. Fortunately, friends I have who are from Barbados made me chuckle when they said it was OK and not to worry, as nobody else in the Caribbean liked Jamaicans anyway - prejudice again! I tried to rise above it and to be judged by my deeds and who I was, that is if I chose to hang around long enough for people to find out a bit more about me. Eventually, I got to the point where I just didn't want to waste any of my time and energy in trying to win a battle of words or sit through an argument that I judged was a waste of my lifeforce. Rather than get angry I'd just walk away if the situation allowed me to. In so doing I simply categorised people as either radiators or drains. Radiators give out warmth and drains...well you know what I mean. Now I quite like scooters in a way I cannot quite understand. I've never owned one, but I've ridden a couple, which is exactly the reason I would never own one. They just do not suit me or my style of riding and I simply don't want to ride one out of choice. They are practical and cheap to run and they have good weather protection so their owners can get away with wearing nice shoes in a bit of rain. Some of the bigger ones are even quick, very quick indeed, but they still don't float the boat for me. That said, if I'm out on a ride and stop for a stretch and there's some scooterists about, I'll stroll over and have a chat. Sometimes I get the wary look from some of my age, doubtless remembering the battle of mods and rockers of the bad old good old days, but when I show an interest in their machinery we always strike up a common thread - the joy of the open road on two wheels and occasionally The Who, Prince Buster and Harry J & The Allstars. Now if they all started hurling abuse at me, my bulky boots, biker clothing and my machinery I'd walk away, with as much dignity as I could muster. This has never actually happened to me, but if it did, then that would be my plan. If I'm `pushed into a corner` I will politely stand my ground but again, I would rather walk away from a drain and find a nice radiator to sit by as I drink my mug of tea. I would remember the faces of the antagonists if I could, and watch out for them next time so as to avoid them. In the police, I'd sooner talk a belligerent out of a pub than throw him out physically. During my time as a police officer I was both priviledged and lucky to have been able to resuscitate 3 people. One was an overdosed drug addict, one was a woman who had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage (I worked her heart and my buddy breathed into her until we got a pulse before paramedics arrived and hooked her up to the `Minuteman`, working around us in her cramped bedroom - we never even noticed them arrive and do it) and the last one was on a traffic warden who had attempted suicide in a public toilet, by slashing his wrists and then trying to literally cut his heart out. That was horrendous and he eventually conked out on me and died before the ambulance arrived - I got him breathing again but he was just leaking in too many places. What would be of total irrelevance would be for me to say that the first was white, the second was a Turkish muslim and the third was Afro- Caribbean. As I wrote this I had to dig deep before I remembered that fact. It was buried in the section of my memory, filed under "Irrelevant". Yet to my amazement, when I saw those muslims at Luton, protesting at our returning troops marching through the town, I felt such a wave of revulsion that for a few moments I hated every last one of them, their culture, their parents and their offspring. I would have been accutely embarrassed if my old friends (of Indian origin but as British as I am) had been in the room with me. I was wild, angry and wanting to choke the living shit out of these odious creatures who were spitting abuse at British soldiers who had returned from a tour of duty - a duty that was being performed at the behest of our elected politicians in Government - a tour of duty where they had lost comrades. I do believe I lost my temper! Had I been there I would have had to dig deep into my box of self control or I could well have lost it and ended up getting arrested. I hate violence yet I have used it, and threatened the use of it in a controlled manner over the years in order to effect the purpose of my office. I used my truncheon/baton maybe 3 times although I drew it on many more occasions than that. I have punched people bloody hard and then stood in court later and said so. I have pointed a gun at many people in order to effect an arrest. I almost shot someone, once. I came so very close. He turned out to be unarmed, yet I had every justification to shoot, right up to the point where I discovered he was not armed, but he was so lucky. That still comes back and haunts me from time to time. I could legally justify every occasion where I used or threatened the use of force, but I guess when I `lost it` in front of my television last week, I wouldn't have been able to justify the force that I wanted to use on those people. I suppose I should feel slightly ashamed. This is how the National Front exploited that void, the one between a race war or living together in harmony or indifference - frankly, Id settle for indifference if it meant a peaceful co-existence - harmony could always be the occasional bonus. I fear we're on an edge here and the masses of the less rational `great unwashed` out there, don't tend to think things through like I've tried to. Well, as Ogri would say, "Bollocks, I've always got me bike". I 'm off and I just hope I don't get some pizza delivery kid's smelly, gutless 50cc scooter stuck in my air intake - bloody pests.

13 comments:

Ky Long Rider said...

I find that the older I get the more tolerant I am to "differences" as long as it's not shoved in my face and it doesn’t harm others. The words I’ve come to live by came were something a guy from New Orleans told me when he was telling me about Mardi Gras.

A woman caught up in earning as many beads as possible by exposing her breasts asked a New Orleans mounted police officer riding by on his trusty steed if it was ok if she exposed her breasts. The fine officer deadpanned, “Lady, I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t scare the horses”.

Words to live by……………….

Hogday said...

Excellent! I'm afraid there are a lot of scared horses over here at the moment.

Blue Eyes said...

Now Mr Afternoon he is my theory and I am sticking to it until someone persuades me that I am wrong. We are all allowed to "lose it" from time to time. As long as we learn from "losing it" so as not to lose it the next time around then something has been gained from it. The people I can't abide are those who do not learn from their mistakes.

E.g. the other day I was "discussing" something with a work-mate, lost my rag and accused him of something which was unfair. I apologised as soon as I had calmed down and after thinking about it realised how ridiculous my accusation had been. I think that is OK, isn't it?

Hogday said...

Yes, I think you're correct Mr Eyes. I've since added the other picture I was looking for and to which I was also alluding in my rant. I'm better now.

Blue Eyes said...

*"here" rather than "he"

I will be raising a glass for you later :-)

Hogday said...

Cheers to you too :)

Evil Twin's Wife said...

That kind of stuff goes on here (in the US) too. It's infuriating and I'm fairly sure that my nearly 50 year old redneck husband would beat the living crud right out of as many as he could before being arrested.

Sadly, they enjoy their freedom of speech rights and I must let them because I don't want to lose my voice, either. All the rest of us "good guys" can do is talk louder and longer and nicer than they do.

Hogday said...

ETW: Yes, I know really. I think that after 30 years of `restraint` in uniform, I sometimes let the beast in me a little too much slack, but it's usually always on the leash!

PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Great post. Wrote a nice long comment yesterday but the Googlebogger account naffed up and deleted it.

I don't think there could be too much problem with letting the beast roam free from time to time ... Or is that simply promoting social unrest? Not that there is any unrest at the moment. No sirreee.

Hogday said...

Thanks Michael. I didn't mention the fact that the Luton protest ringleader is receiving social security benefits or that he's being investigated for urging his `followers` in the UK to donate money to Al Quaeda for the continuance of their jihad, or that another one of them has a steady job as, wait for it, a baggage handler at an airport - what a great country this is.

powdergirl said...

Hello Sir,
Interesting post and comments. Seems it's a world wide state of *FUBAR*.

Guess I'll just try not to scare any horses on my own search for Utopia, which I tried to locate via Map Quest. No luck, it's become so obscure that even sat-cam can't pin point it.
Abandon hope?
Hell No ! Have another drink and try again in the morning.

Nil illigitimus carborundum, or something like that.

dickiebo said...

What's Powdergirl saying? 'No illegitimate what?'

Hogday said...

Kill The Bastards!