Discrimination is Alive and Kicking

by Karen J Mossman


I was reading an online about racial abuse on a Manchester tram where a youth started yelling abuse at a man who was minding his own business.

The man, in his thirties was dark-skinned wearing glasses with his hair in a low pony tail. A regular looking guy. The tram was full, and like him, had to stand.

At first the man ignored the abuse, but that’s hard when the insults get so personal. It was ‘get back to way you came from’, kind of comment. How ignorant, as one can’t magically tell where a person is born by looking at them. To attempt means you,use be a fortune teller or stupid, usually the latter.

Eventually the man shouted back saying something about the youth’s age, as the youth and his friend had the gall to tell the stranger to get off the tram.

People around stayed tight-lipped and silent, but they looked uncomfortable. The abuser and his mates moved closer; faces were masks of hatred and fingers pointed as they yelled at him.

It was shocking to see. Luckily it was the abusers who got off the tram in the end and other passengers suddenly found their voices. Many admitting how frightened they had been.

How can people possibly misunderstand what this ‘Brexit’ is all about? Because this is what it was about and at the time of writing it was so high in the media spotlight.

How can they presume things of other people and foster hate like that? Personally I think they court trouble. They like drawing attention to themselves and other people, enjoying the drama and violence of it.

I’ve no idea what we can do about things like that. Is it possible to educated people who can’t seem to be reached?

I remember a few years ago sitting at traffic when a van came up beside me. After a moment, I heard someone shouting. The guy in the van was yelling abuse out of his Windows’s an Asian man waiting to cross the road. When the lights changed, he drove off with a big grin.

It made me think to when I was a child in the late sixties and seventies. There was a lot racial abuse about as well sexual innuendos towards women. It was generally accepted. I did it like it but didn’t question it either. It just was.

There were many things blatantly wrong back them and totally ignored. There was no social media so generally you didn’t know what was going on unless you saw it, or someone told you.

Sexual harassment at work was a big one. Men made demeaning comments to women who were discriminated against just because they were women. They weren’t allowed to do the same jobs or things as men because they weren’t capable. I witnessed it, said nothing, and avoided them. Getting touched up often happened too. Unbelievable by today’s standards, but true.

I was made a laughing-stock in the seventies when I was sixteen having left school and looking a career. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school, just some different from the expected official job or shop assistant that was expected of girls.

I went to the RAF recruitment office wanted to join up. What really wanted to was be pilot. I can still see the look on the recruiter’s face as I was told women were not allowed fly planes. Feeling stupid, I still wondered why not. Why was it a job for a man? When My Dad found out where I’d been, he thought it hilarious and told all his friends. I was the butt of jokes for a long time. Mum just shook her head in disbelief. It was as if I didn’t know my place and I should have done. My brother thought I was an idiot and told me in no uncertain terms.

I’m glad to say it has changed now. Women are equal to men and there is no discrimination because of sex these days. Although pockets of it do hit the headlines every now and again.

The Sex Discrimination act which was brought in 1975, part of the legalisation ruling by the European Court of Justice. The very same people we have just spilt from.

It is a shame the same can’t be said for racial decimation. Sometimes we seem to be going back in time just when I thought we had learnt from the past. It’s sad and just as shocking and I just hope going forward we can find some kind of harmony.


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