My week whited-up as an angry, middle-aged man


YOU never really know how prejudiced you are. But I must admit, when I see crowds of paunchy, white-haired men at cricket matches or in boardrooms ugly thoughts go through my head. 

‘Keen gardener’. ‘Tax-avoider’. ‘Drives aggressively’. ‘Sunday lunch in a carvery.’ Thoughts that I’m not proud of but that made me feel this wasn’t the country I thought I knew.

So that’s why I, an Afro-Caribbean woman, decided to put on latex, a fatsuit, ironed bootcut M&S jeans and a crisp blue shirt to find out the truth about life among the whites.

Wearing whiteface, I saw your lifestyle from the inside. Working three days out of five, mostly telling other people to do things, I realised how frustrating it was when things were so imperfect you almost had to do some work yourself.

At dinner parties, I understood how oppressive political correctness is, stopping you from saying all the things you say while qualifying that you are not allowed to say them, and the daily oppression of living in terror of speed cameras.

I understood the discomfort and unease I had caused to ordinary, decent people in the English countryside simply by living 170 miles away with dark skin, and rightly felt ashamed.

And most of all I understood Brexit: that it was common sense, that all the fussing about it was simply scaremongering nonsense, and that if anything did go wrong then it would be my fault.

My week in whiteface has taught me that whatever trivial problems the black community faces are nothing compared to the suffering of the persecuted majority.

They will never truly recover from the removal of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear. But it is our job – all of us – to try to help them heal.

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Reciprocal gift-giving ‘a lifelong contract from which there is no escape’

THE giving and receiving of gifts between women is a contract that can never be broken no matter how much each party yearns for escape. 

Researchers have found that female acquaintances can exchange up to three gifts a year despite both parties’ resentment of and fervent desire to end it.

34-year-old Carolyn Ryan said: “It began 12 years ago, when Susie got me a lipstick for my birthday. I was initially thrilled until her birthday three months later, when I was obliged to get her a present of equal or greater value.

“That was fine, I got her a Lush set, but then she upped the ante with a Christmas present so I had to pretend hers was in the post while panic-ordering a scarf and muttering ‘Nobody told me we were doing Christmas.’

“Then six years ago she got promoted and began spending silly money. I mean, she got me a bloody spa day for my birthday and a gold-plated, inscribed friendship bracelet for Christmas.

“Am I meant to budget £500 a year for my friendship with Susie? We’re looking at no-deal-Brexit-level losses here.”

Ryan added: “I tried to engineer a falling-out, but that only ended up with her sending me apology flowers. So that’s the precedent set for next time she gets upset.”