Social Housing

Legitimate Concerns of the White Working Class

A few days ago, I went to a restaurant with a friend and after the meal we stopped off at a supermarket for some essentials. My date said he’d pop in quickly whilst I smoked my cigarette. Stood at the entrance I noticed a heap on the floor to my right, a young lad maybe no more than 18 with ginger hair and circles under his eyes – malnourished was the word that immediately popped to mind. I dug around in the bottom of my bag for loose change and found £1.70 in coins which I handed to him. It was a particularly blustery evening and his sleeping bag seemed inadequate, the air felt cold and sharp with the coming rain. It wasn’t right that he would have to endure a night like this. I asked him if he had anywhere warm to go and he said he just needed another fiver before he could make that happen.

Now I know some homeless shelters are free. I get that. I understand sometimes it’s not safe for people to stay at these shelters because they are vulnerable and the needs of all service users must be considered. He may have been talking about a cheap hotel, it really didn’t make a difference to me, I pulled out a fiver and handed it over. I said, “I really don’t care where you spend it, honestly, just that you need it and I can give it” and he seemed panicked as though he desperately needed me to believe him when he said it was going towards shelter. I suddenly felt sheepish, in trying to reassure him I’d actually made him paranoid, no doubt because this a conversation he has several times a day, and has had to defend himself against these cruel judgments.

To make things less awkward I decided to go into the store and track my friend down. We met in the queue for the till, there being one customer before us and so I proceeded to tell him about what had just happened. I wasn’t talking loud enough for anyone else to hear, I thought, yet the cashier, an older woman perhaps in her 60s, with a tattoo on her neck that resembled a port wine stain in the shape of a badly drawn daisy, suddenly barked at me “how much did you give him?” My response was equally abrupt, “nothing” I said, confused as to why this woman was inserting herself into my private conversation given that she was still serving the customer in front of us and we most definitely did not invite the interruption. Nonetheless she proceeded to tell me what a mug I was for giving this kid some pocket change, rolling off a bunch of other times customers had given him money including a chap who’d won £120 on a scratch card and she said he’d only go and spend it on drugs.

“GOOD!” I exclaimed, much to her annoyance. “Do you know how cold it is out there? If I can help someone find something that will make the cold night air a bit more bearable, even if it is just drugs, then I’ve done my part. In an ideal world, that kid wouldn’t be on the streets, we’d look after him.”

She didn’t seem pleased at this and started rambling about how he gets into a jeep with some lads and makes at least £50-60 a day and people like me were just encouraging this deception and suddenly the older white man in front of me in the queue pipes up about Brexit and how “it’s a good job we’ve finally left the union” not looking up from his shopping once, brave white knight that he was. My friend and I looked at each other like, what the fuck is going on, we’ve somehow got ourselves embroiled in an argument with Bigots for a Bastard Britain. I knew what Bashful Brave White Man meant, Brexit meant Pakis Out and soon enough there would be no Pakis around to give poor white kids money on the streets, or that once the Pakis were gone, the poor white kids on the street would have jobs and wouldn’t need to beg or something racist, at least, I know this much from his nonsensical interjection and entitlement to my time and efforts. We didn’t validate his pointless contribution with a response, he paid for his groceries and fucked off.

Ratty Old White Lady, seemingly hesitant to accept she had no right to tell me what to do with my money, continued to whinge about nothing until I stopped her and said “there are billionaires in the world hoarding money, the kind of wealth you clearly have no clue about or else you wouldn’t spend your days begrudging a teenager pennies, comparatively speaking, but you won’t challenge them, because you’re twisted and you don’t feel like you’re living unless you’re suffering. They’re laughing at you, and so they should, you haven’t got the first clue” and with this we paid for our things and left the store.

My friend and I seethed all the way home, analysing every little thing that was said before I launched into a diatribe on the state of the white British working class. As a born and bred Britisher, there are, unfortunately, members of my family I could describe in the same way, those who’ve brought into the protestant work ethic and live to work, but suffering is crucial for it to be considered worthy. You can’t do something you enjoy or anything that requires little effort on your part, that’s cheating. My friend is white British middle class and said that he could never say what I had just said because it would sound completely different, my point being, “the white working class is keen to point out how hard they work for the right to call themselves decent hard working folk but I cannot think of any other demographic so lazy and immature in its thinking.”

As a daughter of immigrants, my grandfather was a foreman for British Steel, my father a car mechanic (his work unit in the grounds of a council estate) I am completely wedded to this statement and couldn’t be more justified. I am justified in its application because I have come to detest the double standards and bullshit emanating from the general direction of the supposedly native and legitimately concerned white working class the establishment overlords wheel out to excuse their racist and inhumane policies against other working class people on rainy fascist island. I wish I’d said to badly drawn port wine daisy tattoo lady she was the mug for working at Asda for her £50-60 a day when young homeless lad knew to appeal to those who have more. I wish I’d called Brexit Bigot out when I’d had the chance and told him to jog on.

Stop making excuses for horrible people, I reckon. Stop legitimising their hateful creed, there is nothing virtuous about doing a job that pays you peanuts whilst lining the fat cat’s pockets with your blood sweat and tears. You don’t get a medal for keeping in line, that’s a myth. Stop being such an insufferable serf. Wake the fuck up and acknowledge this life you have as being more precious than the value some narcissist with a trust fund places on it.

Stop being so damn white and undeservedly proud of monstrous attitudes.

White Britain, Now Will You Listen?

So the UN have released a report which has confirmed what I have been saying for years; that Britain has a pervasive culture of sexism and that it is more in your face than any other country, placing it ahead of countries normally vilified by our civilised Western leaders; places like Algeria, Azerbaijan and India (what say you now Sunny Hundal?) Of course I was excited to see that, even if they silence those like me, the truth outs eventually. However, I was not surprised in the least as to how this news was received by the ‘indigenous’ peoples of this land (only read the comments for inspiration).

Women as well as teh usual menz have responded with indignation. On a phone in to The Wright Stuff (I never watch this bilge, an acquaintance provided a fairly comprehensive takedown of the problematic discourse on this morning’s show), ‘Outraged’ of England proceeded to miss the point entirely of what she was being asked and instead confirmed what we already know.

“I don’t agree at all. I’m 26 and I’m a female electrician and the boys I work with love it! They treat me equally, I get the same pay, and on a Saturday night I wear fake eye lashes and heels and become a proper girl! I’m sorry but I agree that girls should be girls, I love being treated like a girl!”

You go girlfriend, tread that tightrope of what it means to be an acceptable woman in this country, by having it all and laughing at bantz even when they’re joking about your pubic hair or your period or your mood swings (or whether you eat).

“I love being treated like a girl!” I don’t. I want to be treated as the intelligent woman I am (I say this as someone who is frequently labelled stupid and deranged). I want the right to pick and choose my own partners without having my space invaded by entitled menz who feel I should be grateful for any attention they force on me. I don’t wanna giggle at your stupid ass bullying ‘jokes’. I don’t want to know why, in this allegedly progressive country the phrases “asking for it” or “she made me do it” are acceptable excuses for those poor browbeaten menz.

What does it mean to be a free woman on this little island? Freedom to wear whatever you choose? As we have discussed, the margins leave little room for error. Too many clothes and you have something to hide, be that your expression or cup size. Wear too little and “you’re asking for it” (well, if it is ‘on a plate’). I can’t believe anyone would be so pig ignorant to believe white men respect white women for having the right to present themselves as they see fit (as the media sees fit). Yeah, they routinely physically assault hijabi women, pulling their scarves away from their heads in a bid to liberate (victimise) those put upon brown girls. Yet white girls, from when they begin to physically mature are policed by one male relative or another who will assert “you’re not going out in that” with a look of disgust at this blossoming young slut. How many ‘Angry’ of Tunbridge Wells will rage-type a letter to the local gazette at the sight of a breastfeeding mother, their sensibilities shaken to the core at this harlotry (how intelligent are these people, exactly? What would they rather, that the baby starve? Oh, they should just stay at home and sit in the dark in case a nosy neighbour catches sight of their tempting breast?)

The definition of what it means to be a free woman in the Western world is an illusion. Except I suppose if you’re a white woman of the banknote variety. But even they can fall victim to male perpetrated (enabled by society) violence against woman. Would it surprise you to learn that 1 in 10 British women believe violence against women is acceptable (Women’s Aid statistics)? Imagine being that low in self-esteem and lacking in self-worth that you believe you may sometimes deserve male violence. Surely this is one of the symptoms of a diseased Britain? It is the way we condition victims of male perpetrated violence in this country to believe that they are in some way complicit in the abuse against them, that if they didn’t provoke something, then they absolutely have the power to change their menz if they give him the love of a good woman. This message we are drip fed about what it means to be worthy of love and non-violence, the goal posts are forever changing and get this, it’s not actually our job to rehabilitate entitled menz. It’s impossible to do in a society that is so steeped in male privilege, where everything can be blamed on victims (even when they cannot legally consent).

What if you’re made to focus on issues where othering is par the course? Britain is the top of the league when it comes to pointing the finger elsewhere. Yes, there have been successful campaigns tackling FGM and we have added our voices in the global condemnation of India’s rape culture but what did that achieve for us over here? Well, a whitewash of our own pervasive culture of sexism to be completely honest. A precedent has been set here where despite widespread reporting of the true nature of rape statistics (the number that go unchallenged, the incredibly rare ‘false reports’ which we believe to be the norm) it appears that the reverse is true when analysing the outcomes of various high profile acquittals. This travesty of justice has empowered the entitled to push for an increasingly perverse lowering of standards, where indecent assault can be reframed as ‘drunken overfamiliarity’, where supposed deterrents such as naming of potential abusers can be overturned if championed by the immensely privileged. Where we have to foot the legal bill of a Tory fatcat who, brazen in his newfound powers, wants to change the law so that it protect rapists. What a façade.

1.2 million British women suffered domestic abuse in the past year.. Still think we haven’t got a problem? 30% of these women have endured their living hell since the age of 16. So of course our government consisting mostly of rich white men would slash funding to women’s services by 50%. This is an entirely appropriate way of handling patriarchal terrorism right? Factor in the biggest pay gap in 20 years and you have a situation where there is no way out for victims, they are financially dependent on their abusers. Especially seeing as independent living has been eradicated for the under 35s; couples are entitled to housing support; singletons under this age have been abandoned. What happens when you leave victims without support? According to these police statistics we’re expecting the death toll to top 10,000 and that’s just the figures we have data for. What about the many more who will never report because the police are corrupt and actively encourage rape culture? The majority of victims do not report, we already know this. We’re to expect a plague of patriarchal terrorism that will result in the murder of vulnerable women and children but y’know, let’s just sit around and defend ourselves as being some kind of world leader in women’s rights.

To admit there is a problem would be a turning point. But why would ‘Great’ Britain admit that? You may well have told yourself my mission is self-serving and bitter and you may still think this now there are hard facts. If I see you though (and I’m probably somewhat biased with my experience of having a foot in both worlds – white and non-white) then how the hell do you think you appear to the rest of the world? If someone as academic, well-travelled, well read as a UN rapporteur can face criticism (and outright abuse – never read the comments) for sharing concerns that affect all of us, then am I really surprised I was treated in such a malicious and dishonest way myself?

Nah. I wouldn’t expect any less from these historic benders of the truth under the Order of The British Empire. It does however thrill me to witness the sinking of this shit.