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Forgetfulness or racism?

Forgetfulness or racism?

The Evening Standard carries a story about a black couple, outraged that their waitress scribbled ‘black couple’ on their bill, when they were the only couple dining.

The thing is, I’ve kind of done this myself while running my parents’ Chinese takeaway, scribbling descriptive notes on their order because I have a huge tendency to forget which order belongs to which customer. I’ve even done it when there’s only one customer – after all, another one will inevitably walk in and I’ll get all confused.

I’m not so sure I’ve gone as far as just describing someone in terms of their race, but there have been other unflattering descriptions such as baldy, NHS glasses etc. But if I went to a restaurant, and saw that scribbled on my order was “fat balding Chinese man”, I’d be a tad put out to say the least.

It’s certainly racism in the sense of discrimination against or antagonism towards other races, but there are probably bigger battles to fight. Like the woman at Question Time taking Jack Straw to task over African-Caribbean versus Afro-Caribbean while one of Britain’s biggest bigots sits on a panel next to Jack Straw. And then there’s the controversy in China over a “Chinese Idol” contestant who’s half-Chinese, half-black

Ooooh it’s complicated. But I’d rather we just end up dealing with people based on whether they’re nice to us or not…

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