THE elderly, who grew up in a world of state-sanctioned prejudice, can’t seem to get past their mental block about some phrases not being okay to use now. Because they’re appallingly racist:
Where are you really from?
London or Leeds or Milton Keynes won’t do. Black people obviously come from Jamaica or Africa, really. And old people are fine with a few of them coming here, because who wants to live in a mud hut and get eaten by a crocodile?
He was a coloured chap
Did you know there’s been a bit of debate over the years about which words are acceptable, granddad? You must have missed that. Maybe as a simple test, ask yourself: ‘Does what I’m about to say make me sound like the swivel-eyed racist loony Enoch Powell?’
They’ve got natural rhythm
Strangely the ‘natural rhythm’ gene remains undiscovered by scientists, which is a shame because it might one day help eradicate dad dancing. There are many problems with this idea, not least that black people are better suited to dancing than, say, having a job. It must also be pretty grim for those who are shit at dancing.
Can I touch your hair?
Yep, wavy Afro hair definitely merits an exploratory feel, gran. It’s hard to know what an old person expects from this, maybe an electric shock? Not entirely surprising from a generation that feels the need to comment on it if they see a ginger person in the street.
A white man couldn’t run that fast
Oldies believe praising black people’s athletic prowess is a compliment, not realising that some black people might have intellectual interests beyond track and field events. Becomes extremely racist if they attribute those skills to ‘running away from lions’.
It’s just a golliwog
Okay, old people remember the Robertson’s golly, and frankly his ancestry looked more ‘fraggle’ than ‘black’. But do you think it’s acceptable to perpetuate outdated, offensive racial stereotypes? Oh, you do. You still think Chinese restaurants abduct cats when just buying chicken wholesale would be a fraction of the hassle.
You don’t sound black at all
Unpick this statement if you can bear to. You sound not-black, ie. white, which is better, and possibly more respectable or educated, and the take-home point is that sounding black is bad. But that’s okay because, as has just been pointed out, you are a traitor to your race.
What do you eat at home?
Every ethnic minority household has a huge nightly banquet of ‘their’ food, eg. jerk chicken and sweet potato or, if you’re Asian, curries that took days to prepare. Never at any point in history has a person of colour said: ‘F**k it, I’ll just do some cheese on toast.’