Was Kelis right for calling Britain racist?

The singer tweeted her anger after the incident.

UPDATE: I have some corrections to make, I don’t want to spread any untruths!

  • Kelis has since tweeted to clarify the incident happened in Spain after a flight from Gatwick
  • A British passenger made the comments against the singer
  • Incident DID NOT occur in Heathrow as I previously wrote (I blame my sources and Twitter confusion!)
  • I hope this makes things clearer!

Kelis vented her anger via Twitter today after being racially abused at passport control whilst leaving Britain. The incident apparently occurred last month, but Kelis did not want to make it public as riots, triggered partly by racial tensions, flared in London.

The Acapella singer described the incident in a series of tweets. She claimed that she was waiting in line with her two year old son at passport control in Heathrow, when a white, middle-aged man accused her of queue jumping. Kelis went on to say he then called her ‘slave’ and declared she was ‘probably a disgusting Nigerian’.

To make matters worse, the official behind the passport desk, apparently laughed, shook his head in agreement with the singer’s abuser and said “kunta kinte”, which is the name of a fictional character in an American novel about slavery.

Whilst it’s absolutely clear that the incident Kelis suffered was disgustingly racist, the singer went on to claim that racism was still rife in Britain as a nation, labelling it as “disgusting”.

She wrote: “It’s [Britain] racially decades behind progression because everything is swept under the rug. People don’t talk about it. People don’t fight about it. Not mentioning a problem doesn’t make it go away.”

Kelis also conceded that racism was still at issue in her own country, the US, where black people could not vote until the sixties.

Personally, I agree with Kelis’s opinions in some respects – in Britain there is still in ignorant minority of people who are racist. However, as I wrote about in my recent blog post on the EDL protest and counter-protest, there are people, an overwhelming  majority, that are fighting back against racism.

It’s very sad that Kelis, and probably many other people, have had to suffer racism in this country, but I hope that they see and believe that these views are held by a minority of very ignorant people, and not my Britain as a whole.

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What do you think of Kelis’s comments? Please leave your comments below!


The English Defence League and why they’re no Englishmen that I know

London: Our metropolis is a proud mixture of many cultures

Like many people that live in this country we call Great Britain, my heritage does not originate in this country. My dad’s family settled in London in the 60’s from a very small, very rural village in Southern Italy, and my mum’s Grandfather came to London after traumatically losing his first wife in Ireland.

Despite coming from different places, both wings of my family had more in common than their Catholic guilt. My Irish Great-Grandfather and Italian Grandparents came here for the British dream. That’s similar to the well-known American Dream of wealth and freedom for the hard working, but with tea and scones and our stiff-upper-lip attitude.

My family’s roots are common for many people who came to London. I can’t deny that racism and violence has been experienced my some foreign immigrants, but I have to say that my family were welcomed with open arms to the great melting pot of culture that is London.  And why shouldn’t they have been? England is a country derived from the roots of other people – in fact, to be Anglo-Saxon means to come from Scandinavian and Germanic descent.

But today, it seems that an increasing minority of “English People”, Anglo-Saxons, have become disillusioned with the idea of immigration to our country, and the cultures that are brought here.

Before you start thinking I’m going to go into a long, politically correct rant about how it’s racist to talk about cutting immigration, I’m not. I absolutely agree that we can’t have limitless numbers of people flooding through our borders; quite simply the size of our small yet strong nation just can’t cope with that.  What puts my back up though is the idea that people have bought their culture to this country thus destroying our culture.

Yesterday, over 1,000 members of the English Defence League met at Aldgate in London to protest against Islamification of our culture in Britain. “It’s not British!” they cried, “It takes away our identity!” Well I disagree. It is British.

British to me is of course tea and scones and country pursuits, but it’s more than that. Britishness is being able to have a Chinese meal one night, an Indian takeaway the next, a pizza for lunch one day, and a Turkish Kebab on the way home from the pub.  Britishness is a meeting of minds, a meeting of cultures and, absolutely, the pride to be part of so many cultures.

But of course, to argue against the EDL, we have to consider their argument. Is Britain becoming more Islamified? Yes, it is. But only because we’re becoming more GLOBALISED. Because of the media, the internet, Twitter, Facebook and cheap travel we experience more cultures and traditions, and we bring them home to our Great Britain, creating a culture that has roots  from all over the globe.

And globalisation doesn’t just happen one way. Just in my experience of other cultures, I’ve seen our British influence. From Scottish castles in the Canadian Rockies, to afternoon tea in Singapore, the best of Britishness has left its imprint on the world, and the world loves that, just as many Londoners love the cultures shown to them in their own city

So, I say to the EDL, yes, other cultures are changing and shaping our culture, but it’s only adding to Britishness, not taking away Britain’s heart.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that my writing and arguments will change the ignorant, closed mind of an EDL member, but I do realise that my thoughts will have much more in common with the 1,500 people who went out on the streets of London yesterday to oppose the much smaller amount of EDL thugs.