A 70 year old friend of mine in London had a scary experience recently when accused of being a racist. This is his story:
“There are good laws; bad laws and good laws abused by bad men and women.
In totalitarian regimes, your enemy could go the authorities with a baseless accusation and you might end up ‘disappeared’.
In the UK the best way to damage someone’s reputation is to run to police claiming to have been ‘racially abused’.
You need to produce no evidence; just a baseless and unsubstantiated claim.
The police then have to spend hours investigating whilst real criminals go relaxedly about their business.
This is the scary experience of one resident.
“As I was preparing to leave my flat in London I saw a large BMW 4×4 parked with what appeared to its engine running.
I approached the driver and politely asked if he could turn off his engine: pollution levels being dangerously high in the area. The man replied that his engine was now off.
This is something I gently do and am always met with courtesy.
In fact, because it was dark it was impossible to know the driver’s nationality.
Apologising profusely I said it must be the car next door.
I thought that would be the end of the matter: it was not.
The driver then said, “I will tell you what I will do”
He proceeded to turn on his engine and revving it for a maximum of several minutes.
Astonished, I said to him, “ you really are stupid and rude: we don’t behave like that in this country.”
The burly, forty-something driver replied,“ We own this country”
I laughed and walked away saying, “You own this country? You really are an idiot”
Those were the last words I addressed to the driver for I did not wish his aggressiveness to turn to physical violence-my wife and son were close by.
A couple of weeks later I received this email from a PC Xxxxxxx at Kensington Police Station.
Good Afternoon, Mr Xxxxx
I am writing regarding an on-going investigation about a racially aggravated public order offence.
You are a suspect named by the alleged victim and you need to be interviewed about this matter.
Would you be able to come in for an interview on Thursday 12th March at 0730hrs?
This type of interview would be a caution + 3. You won’t be under arrest and you are entitled for a solicitor to be present.
If you fail to turn up for an interview, however, then you may be arrested in order to interview you about this offence.
Accused: Sorry, but can you please enlighten me?
Someone has made an allegation against yourself that you racially abused him.
In order for this matter to be investigated, I need to interview you about this matter.
Are you able to come on Thursday 12th March at 0730hrs?
Accused: I am a seventy year old. Can we make it a later time?
I am now faced with the stress of having to prove the driver is a vexatious liar wasting police time and my own.
I am also faced with considerable legal fees to prove my innocence.
The police claim they are so under-resourced they can investigate only the most serious of crimes.
But here’s the irony….. thirty-eight of my close friends are either Nigerian, Ghanaian, Indian, Tunisian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Turkish, Asian or Middle Eastern.
The ten I have spoken to so far cannot believe what is happening to me: all are prepared to come forward to say I have not a racist bone in my body.
More ironic is the fact that my wife is Japanese and my children and grandchildren all have French, German and Japanese blood and my cousins Jewish!
Were it not so serious it would be funny.
I don’t know what the driver claimed I called him to justify the allegation…..did he say this seventy year old threatened to beat up a man half his age?
I fear I am not that courageous!
What is interesting is that the police have not asked the driver what might have been the cause of the altercation which was the driver breaking the law by running his engine at maximum revs whilst stationary.
Were they to do so it would become obvious the driver was seeking to use the police in order to support his outrageous claim of racial abuse.”
Racism in all its forms and expressions is evil and should always be challenged.
But sadly there are people in the people of colour community who abuse charges of racism and make false accusations.
I had such an experience myself some years ago in the town of Balbriggan in County Dublin which has a very large Black community.
A black woman in a car drove right in front of me on the wrong side of the road and nearly caused a serious accident.
When I remonstrated with her and told her I was teporting her to the Garda she said: “If you do I will tell the Guards you racially abused me”.
I still went to the Garda station and reported her and her threat to accuse me of racial abuse.
In the politically correct society we live in it so easy to be accused wrongly.
Racism is an evil thing.
But so is calling someone a racist when they are not.