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Other kind of racism

(87 Posts)
Notjustaprettyface Thu 04-Jun-20 11:25:06

I am not native of this country but have lived here longer than I have in my country of birth .
I am fluent in English but for some reason , cannot shake off my ( foreign) accent.
Since brexit and lockdown , this has resulted , in a regular basis , in me being told to ‘ go back to my own country’ by various people.
My husband, who is English , just tells me to ignore it but , being of a sensitive nature , I find it hard to just do that .
It is very hurtful especially as I have worked here for many years , paid taxes and national insurance contributions etc ...
Has anybody been through a similar situation ? How do you deal with it ?
Or if you haven’t been affected by this issue , have you got tips to pass on ?
At a time where protests are taking place at the death of a black man in the US, it is clear to me that there is latent racism in the U.K. even against white people
I was not sure which forum to put this in so I chose relationships as it could affect the way I interact with people in the future
Hope someone out there can help
Thank you

Wibby Thu 04-Jun-20 12:15:14

Why should you shake off your accent? stand proud of who you are and where youve come from. Dont change just because you feel you dont fit in. As your husband said ignore them. Sadly there are too many ignorant people in this country who have nothing better to do than be racist. I bet these people arent racist when they go on their holiday in a foreign country.

GrannySomerset Thu 04-Jun-20 12:18:58

And I bet their English isn’t as good as yours, Prettyface! Infuriating to have to deal with such ignorance and I would be hurt in your place.

25Avalon Thu 04-Jun-20 12:25:54

The opinion of people who would say that to you is worth nothing as are they themselves. Do not let them put you down.
Btw for a bit of perspective a very rude neighbour told me to go back where I came from as I have a different English accent coming from another part of the country. I told him I didn’t care what the likes of him thought and I haven’t spoken to the ignorant pig since.

felice Thu 04-Jun-20 12:36:55

I have to disagree there Wibby, the abuse I have seen given to staff in the Hospitality industry has been awful.
Including my DD when she was doing a try out in a 5 star Hotel when at College.
She was waitressing and there were 2 English businessmen at the end of the bar.
As she was speaking French to the bar manager they assumed she was local.
The things they were saying were terrible, what they would do to her etc. Eventually one of them grabbed her bum as she walked past and she slapped him and gave him some good Scots comments. Their reaction, oh we did not know you were 'English'.
She walked out and I contacted the Department they worked in and made a formal complaint. They had done enough bragging to make it very clear where they worked and their names too.
When I was on duty in our bar in the Algarve the Brits would come in on arrival and proceed to shout at me getting louder and louder, then 'stupid bitch doesn't speak English'.
This was at least 3/4 times a week.
I made them wait!!!
Sorry for the length of the post but I could fill a book.

Sussexborn Thu 04-Jun-20 13:09:05

We are all obviously such a nasty rotten bunch that I am amazed that anyone actually still remains in this country.

I was shocked and upset when we first moved north by the daft statements some people made about everyone in the south being rich and living a life of luxury.

On one occasion I was told how rotten and mean all southerners are and then told how stupid I was to move northwards.

There are good and bad people wherever you live but some people seem to prefer to focus on the bad which leaves them with a grumpy negative outlook.

almostelderly Thu 04-Jun-20 13:35:50

I would not worry too much not just a pretty face. My father was a Pole. When I was 8or 9 at primary school another child called me 'a German dog'. The child must have heard that charming expression from an adult, an adult who could not even identify my Dad's nationality. To call a Pole a German is the ultimate insult to a Pole. My daughter in law is Polish. She and my son were with me when the 'leave' vote was announced. We listened to the vitriol directed at poles in particular when members of the public were being interviewed. The comments were so pathetic, I told my daughter in law to ignore them and I say the same to you. These people are ignorant and petty minded so do not waste your precious time thinking about them. They are not worth the effort and it upsets you not them. Do not give them any satisfaction by retaliating, rise above and be proud of your identity. Don't believe the hype saying the UK is racist, it's a small minority, we are a tolerant country no matter what some papers would like you to believe, my Dad could vouch for that.

sodapop Thu 04-Jun-20 14:09:27

almostelderly is right, stand proud notjustaprettyface this is a minority of people with the intelligence of a gnat. You should be proud of who you are and what you have achieved, rise above it.

fiorentina51 Thu 04-Jun-20 14:09:40

My mother was Italian. She married a British soldier in 1945 and came to live in the UK.
She had to have a medical examination before they were allowed to marry to make sure she wasn't carrying any nasty diseases and the army did it's best to dissuade my father from marrying an "eyetye".
She put up with a fair bit of name calling in the early days as Italians were still regarded as the enemy back then.
As my brother and I inherited her Mediterranean colouring we also had to put up with some unpleasant treatment. We weren't invited to the street party for the coronation for example nor the various Christmas parties that were held for the children.
Over time things improved. Perhaps due to better education and increased foreign travel, who knows?
Ignorant, small minded people exist everywhere unfortunately.

SueDonim Thu 04-Jun-20 14:26:22

As someone who moved from England to Scotland 40 years ago I’ve had my fair share of racism from Scots, even on this very platform. I shrug it off most of the time, it simply shows how parochial and small-minded the racists are.

I did get angry, though, when my children were also subjected to anti-English racism, despite all except the oldest having been born in Scotland.

ExD Thu 04-Jun-20 14:37:43

Some of those examples are truly shocking, but -
you can extend this to all kinds of things.
My daughter teaches IT in a southern university and has had to modify her northern accent because the other tutors (not students)
considered her ignorant and uneducated.
And my DGS was mocked because of his red hair.
I think we have to be careful we don't look for racism where it doesn't exist.

SueDonim Thu 04-Jun-20 14:49:37

Ah yes, two of my children had red hair as well, ExD. Double whammy. hmm

eazybee Thu 04-Jun-20 15:00:03

I never say that I was born and bred in the Midlands without someone saying something along the lines of, 'do the natives still wear woad, there?' in what they mistakenly believe is a Brummie accent and roaring with laughter at their own joke. The first person to say it to me was a senior, very highly regarded teacher at the school where I was succeeding her in post. I subsequently learned that she was also extremely rude to almost every one else, and that is how I regard these jibes; very little to do with racism and a great deal to do with rudeness.

timetogo2016 Thu 04-Jun-20 15:11:10

As your DH said notjustaprettyface ignore the ignorant sods.
If it weren`t for people like you we wouldn`t have knowledge of other peoples cultures.
And alot of the indiginous are bone bloody idle.
I for one welcome all.
And don`t try to loose your accent it`s who you are.
I was born and bred here and find myself apologising for the ignorant so called indigenous people around.

Eloethan Thu 04-Jun-20 17:13:04

Sussexborn I don't think the OP suggested that the British are all "a nasty, rotten bunch". She is married to an English man so obviously she isn't saying that.

She is entitled to express how she has felt when certain people have said "go back to your own country", without you implying the same thing.

Notjustaprettyface I am sorry people have made such hurtful and racist remarks to you. I know how upsetting it can be but hope you can put it down to ignorance and hold your head high.

silverlining48 Thu 04-Jun-20 17:48:19

Hello prettyface, my mum was German and when i started school in the early 50s some children in the class called me nazi. Didnt understand of course only being 5, but I knew it wasnt kind. Obvious they had heard their parents talking.

Mums English was excellent, she lived this country the majority of her life but she never lost her accent. It was part of her charm. She, like you, worked hard, paid her taxes and loved this country.

No doubt remarks are brexit related as were those to me a few short years post war. Please ignore any ignorant and unpleasant remarks, it says a lot more about them than about you. The majority of us are generous, polite and decent people, as you must know having been here for so long.

welbeck Thu 04-Jun-20 18:36:34

the people who are not the targets of this kind of dehumanising comments cannot understand what it is like to be in that position.
it is easy for those not experiencing it to say just ignore it, but like any bullying i think it behoves us all to challenge it when we hear any of these offensive attitudes.
maybe we could ask those who suffer it what can we do to help.

ValerieF Thu 04-Jun-20 19:08:25

Notjustaprettyface I am really intrigued to know who these 'various people' who tell you to get back to your own country are? Where do you come in contact with them? How often? What age group? Is it a continuing problem?

I can honestly say I mix with a wide range of people from various countries and have witnessed arguments galore, never ever heard anyone telling people to go back to their own country. I have, however, witnessed people claiming they are being discriminated against because of their ethnic origin, when in fact they are being pulled up because of their lack of work ethos. Not suggesting in anyway that is the situation here by the way but what am saying is IF, the OP has experienced racism to this degree she needs to report it and not just accept it of those things.

Doodle Thu 04-Jun-20 19:42:45

Anyone who says go back to your own country deserves no respect. Ignore them if you can. There are many people who are targeted with abuse for many reasons. As already pointed out, the colour of their hair, their weight, religion, their disability, their homelessness, their looks all sorts. Anyone who says anything unpleasant and thoughtless about anyone else should be ignored. To quote a commonly used phrase, they’re not worth it.

ValerieF Thu 04-Jun-20 20:30:14

Ordinarily I would agree with you Doodle...People are taken the mickey of for various reasons but mainly most are one offs that you can shrug off but the Op has stated

"in a regular basis , in me being told to ‘ go back to my own country’ by various people"

That is not something that can be shrugged off imo. As the OP says she has lived in the UK for a long time anyway so just how many times has she experienced this? I don't think anyone should be advised to ignore repeated abuse. Needs reporting not ignoring imho

Sparklefizz Thu 04-Jun-20 20:42:35

Sadly it happens in every country. When my daughter, who is half English and half South African, was working temporarily in Spain, she received a lot of abusive comments from Spanish people at various times - until she answered them in fluent Spanish at which point the perpetrators would shut up.

Chewbacca Thu 04-Jun-20 20:42:48

My colleague is a lovely young Polish lass who moved to the UK, with her husband and little boy, about 5 years ago. Before moving to SE and then NW England, they lived in Scotland for a year and she said that they received more racist abuse from their neighbours there, in the short time they lived there, than anywhere else they've lived in the UK. This simply demonstrates that there are ignorant people anywhere and everywhere but they're not representative of the country as a whole. They're just ignorant thickos who just happen to be in a particular area.

Peardrop50 Thu 04-Jun-20 20:45:10

A very good picture on facebook headed 'explaining racism to dummies' shows eggs in a variety of shell colours but when cracked in to a pan are all the same on the inside.
I am white British, born in England, live in Wales but very often hurt and dismayed by the anti-English feeling. Mr P and I have often commented how hard it must be when colour is added to the mix, at least we can walk about and not be singled out by the ignorant until we open our mouth.
I am appalled that in 2020 these attitudes exist, what happened to our sixties dream of 'a great big melting pot'

EllanVannin Thu 04-Jun-20 20:48:16

Better still, do what our family friend does----swear in the language of their country of birth.

Our friend is Dutch and was brought up by an American nanny so has a yanky twang. She also speaks fluent Dutch obviously when talking to her family on the phone and if some idiot skits or presumes she's German, she comes out with a string of obscenities in Dutch---it's amusing.

lemongrove Thu 04-Jun-20 21:28:10

Yes, it’s everywhere, a casual racism and also xenophobia and even, as others say, North against South, and vice versa.This happens in most countries, probably all countries.
Ignore it OP. There are just as many pleasant people as stupid ignorant ones.