I really really hate the Guardian.
London and I are doing fine, thanks for asking. North-east London, where I was born, is pretty much the love of my life – surprising and constant, quiet and loud, dirty and home. I understand why people want to leave London because I have eyes and ears and I read the news sometimes. I have survived an attempted mugging here and I have been unemployed for way too long here. I have had panic attacks on the tube and I have watched the glass houses sprout from my childhood playgrounds in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, up towards the sky, towards nothingness. I, too, have felt the loss of this city. I have tasted the bitterness of realising who will be untouched by these changes and who will suffer, who will have houses bought for them, and who will never have houses.
I understand there is a psychic toll of living in a place where you have to fight, for space, time, money. But what these Why I am Leaving London articles are missing is that, while the psychic burden of living in the city with the highest living costs in the developed world is very real for a brown person, in my experience the cost of living surrounded only by white people is worse.
You mean you don’t like the idea of living in an area where you’re surrounded by white people? Might I suggest leaving then and going to another country where there are no white people at all, where only your own racial group exists? After all, that actually is a possibility for you, seeing as every other major racial group have their own exclusive countries. White people don’t have that option, seeing as there is no such thing as a white country anymore. There are only multicultural countries, which happen to have the indigenous white people as one of those cultures.
Of course, we know you won’t ever do that, seeing as you would much rather parasite off the superior living standards in Britain, which were created by the ancestors of those white people you think so little of, rather than go back to the inferior living standards of the country of your own ancestors.
London is super-diverse. Steven Vertovec coined that term in 2005 to describe a kind of rare and messy diversity that I have never seen anywhere else – a space where so many different cultures and so many different experiences of those cultures exist in such close proximity.
You know somewhere else that was “super diverse”?
Anyone old enough to remember the mid 1990s knows how well that turned out.
I like the idea of super-diversity, but it is still only another term made up by a white man to describe brown people in London. For me, London is the smell of Pakistani cooking through the window of a Haringey council house, it’s the reggae coming from my neighbour’s garden and it’s a primary school newsletter translated into 11 languages.
For you perhaps. If you asked the indigenous British people however (the ones whose opinions actually matter when it comes to what London should be) they’d probably disagree. Well, that is apart from the younger politically correct, indoctrinated generations, who have been conditioned through decades of propaganda to hate themselves and their people. They might agree with you, just so they can score a few points on the political correctness scale.
By 15, I could cornrow hair, paint henna on hands, play most Red Hot Chili Peppers riffs on electric guitar, and had embarked on a lifelong love affair with dancehall music. You can call that diversity, or even super-diversity, or just life. So many of my cultural and personal reference points were brown people, and I absorbed the knowledge that, while we may not run the world and while the girls on TV do not look like us, we exist, and we are rich in our own way. This is a great gift.
I definitely do not wish to push the idea that London is some sort of racial safe haven. We have got so, so far to go, and so much racism and abuse to drag from underneath the carpet, and that is why I need to be here. The smells and the songs are familiar here, and I am in close contact with people who look a little bit like me and are angry about the same things. I can exist, for the vast majority of the time, without being looked at and without reacting to that look, without questioning myself, and without being the only brown person in the room.
So you feel comfortable being around people who look like you? That makes sense and seems perfectly reasonable. I’m sure most people naturally feel more comfortable around their own kind. Of course, you’ll show your double standards later in the article.
I feel the comfort of London peel away whenever my train pulls out of King’s Cross and the threat of overt racism is increased. A few years ago, I walked into a pub in Cornwall with my then boyfriend, who was white. A man at the bar asked him “What’dya bring that in here for?” referring to me (and before you go into overdrive searching for an alternative meaning to his statement, let me save you time: it’s because of the colour of my skin). Outside London, I am put immediately into a position of defence. This is something my white counterpart will never understand. That is why when I read the headline: Live in London? No thanks, I’m happier in Bath, I couldn’t help but laugh. Good luck to you, and the majority white population that will greet you there.
If you want to leave London, or you feel you have to, then go my sweet friend. But please, not another smug, reductive article about fleeing this capitalistic nightmare for somewhere you can work three days a week and grow your own vegetables. Not another article that ignores so much about what a place like London, a place where black and brown people live and have claimed spaces, brings to some of us and that is not attainable elsewhere.
What are these wonderful things that “black and brown people” bring that are so worthwhile and so unobtainable otherwise, that people might miss out on them if they left London?
Such wonderful enrichment. How could anybody want to miss out on all that?
Go back to the home counties. Go, and here’s what will happen. A few months into your new life you will realise that you haven’t seen a black person in a while, but you will still describe your new city or village as diverse to anyone you speak to because there is a Chinese restaurant and a cluster of guest workers.
Yes and I’m sure those people who deliberately fled from diversity, will be so upset about not getting to see diversity anymore. How will they possibly find the will to go on without the wonderful enrichment of diversity?
Seriously, what kind of a simple minded drooling moron wrote this garbage? I know that The Guardian is just an anti-white propaganda device, rather than an actual source of journalism, but holy shit, this is is just pitiful.
Sometimes you and your friends will discuss diversity while you’re drinking wine together in the garden but most of the time you will forget about it. Your beautiful white children will go to schools full of beautiful white children and the rest of the world will validate you and them forever. That is not the way I experience the world and it is not the way I want to. That is not the way my body moves through it.
So earlier in the article you were talking about how much more comfortable you feel living around people who look like you, and talked about how it was a good thing. Now, you sneer at white people for wanting to live around people who look like them and act as if it’s a bad thing for them to do that. The hypocrisy is astoun… oh who am I kidding? It’s not astounding at all. This sort of thing happens all the time, based on the sheer number of posts that I’ve made on this topic already.
I’m staying behind with the women who are fighting this government for accessible social housing in the places they grew up and know the taste of. We need to fight for better realities in London. Fleeing the only place we can call home is not the answer.
A better reality for London would be to take it back to where it was about half a century ago, before it was invaded by people from the third world, who have this brilliant idea of turning their new host country into the same kind of country that they left in the first place.
Can anyone really find the sense in their logic? They leave third world countries for a better life in first world countries like Britain. They decided not to integrate into their new country, instead retaining the culture and traditions of the country they left. They demand that the people in their new host country change to accommodate them. Eventually, the living standards of the new country start to decline, towards the level of the country they left to begin with. Therefore, instead of making a better life for themselves, they just make a worse life for the people of their new host country.
Who the fuck wins in that situation? What’s the logic?