On a lovely drive out to the country side, I visited an elderly friend today in her late 80s. We had a lot of catching up to do, and as we darted through all sorts of topics we finally got onto politics.
It’s always sensitive to discuss politics with an old friend whom one visits so seldom. We were able to agree energetically about how the world is changing. She does not have access to the internet and she is very fearful of how it is changing the world.
She said she likes to write letters every week to her grand daughter as otherwise she has very little contact with her.
She is worried about Brexit and how fast everything is changing.
Then she dropped her truth bomb that I haven’t heard for so long, and it startled me into silence. I knew it was a debate I couldn’t take on in the limited visit I was having.
The sentence started “I’m not racist but…..”
Oh no I thought I haven’t heard this sentence in forever. What is coming next? Bearing in mind that my own offspring are of dual heritage.
She went on… “in the past, on the Tv, it was all white faces….,it’s very difficult,” she continued, “we have so much to adjust to. Where will it end?”
I was completely stunned. It was the kind of moment where you wish you’d been prepared with lots of cute responses but I was just silent.
Afterwards I wish I’d said…so is it hard for you when you see all the flowers in your garden in different colours? Would you like them all to be white?
It is so long since I’ve been confronted with actual racism that I didn’t know what to say. It’s such unreconstructed thinking that I could not assimilate it. My thoughts were rushing around my head about the benefits of multiculturalism and how rich our culture is when we share in an open and welcoming way. How every culture since the beginning of time has been a mixture from the world pool of genes.
Then she confused me again by saying how disgusting she thinks President Trump is. Well of course I could easily agree with her on that but it was confusing because Trump would probably be someone who would agree with her dilemma about how many immigrants there are. Then we moved on to the trouble with Russia and globalisation.
She then said that she doesn’t even know what Corbyn is about but she hates him. So she is right wing and would like a return to a local economy. She lives in a small isolated village and there are no shops there anymore and only one bus twice a week. She has seen her village diminish in the past 50 years that she lived there. There used to be a butcher, a baker, a veg Shop, a hardware shop and a mechanic. Now they have all gone. There is only a pub and a school.
Of course we all like to buy “cheap” products but it has put our local economies out of business. In a rural location, there isn’t even a farm shop. There are allotments which used to be full of produce but she says that the council don’t know how to manage them and they have all gone to pot. This seems crazy to me. To bring back local economy would require local effort, but no one bothers because they can buy their food online, or drive to local super markets.
In conclusion, to my rambling, meanderings of topics, I think we need a return to a local economy, but not to have closed borders and to embrace difference and benefit from learning from each other. A local economy would be so much better for the environment, as the roads would be relieved of heavy lorries and communities would grow again. We would benefit from eating produce that had been grown locally with all the local antibodies to boost our immune systems. It’s like all the benefits from global economy only benefit large corporations and we don’t care that they outsource their production to other countries where regulations don’t protect their workers. We get to buy rubbish that we don’t need and we could easily manage without.
I’m not under any illusions that the past was this magical place where everything was better and easier, but seriously has it improved? Can we feed ourselves now? Are the roads full of holes due to heavy lorries?
I think there is confusion over how the failure of globalisation is somehow blamed on the influx of different coloured faces. But are these two things are necessarily connected? Growing food, enabling communities to mix and flourish is my wish but I am not sure which political party represents these wishes? Any help gratefully accepted. .
Footnote~ apart from that it was lovely to see my friend again🙏🏻💕