Apr 11, 2006

'We ate those suckers alive'

Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal:
Groovy white liberals can pose serious problems to ethnic minorities in this country. They contributed to some of the most enjoyable and least productive moments of my childhood. I went to an all-boys comprehensive school in Ealing; the pupils were overwhelmingly black and Asian. Some, like me, were the children of Indian immigrants, others, refugees from Somalia, Iran, Armenia . . .

We’d often get a fresh-faced, idealistic teacher who had no doubt read Marx and Malcolm X and done an elective in post-colonial theory at polytechnic. We ate those suckers alive.

Desperate to empathise with our persecution, they were knocked dead by our indifference and rampant misbehaviour. At the first sniff of guilt-ridden middle-class weakness, the feral instincts of teenage boys were unleashed and the class descended into anarchy. They thought we’d been crazed by oppression, so didn’t want to come down too hard on us. They wanted to understand instead. When it did get too much for them and they threatened to march one of us to the headmaster’s office, our immediate protest would be: “You’re a racist!”

They’d cower behind their desks, mortified that we’d recognised some deeply suppressed prejudice within them, while we got back to hurling insults, beating the crap out of each other and rolling joints to smoke at lunchtime.

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

Via Clive Davis.

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