The racist video in which a woman calls a man a 'smelly Nigerian' and he punches her shows two wrongs don't make a right

We need to talk about race pro-actively, not glorify violence in the name of racial equality

Share
Related Topics

Nothing is particularly shocking about a racial altercation taking place on the Tube; however, this week’s surfacing of an especially ugly skirmish between two commuters on YouTube poses a series of provocative questions with regards to how this country talks about race.

The three-minute video, which appeared on Wednesday under the title ‘Racist Woman On London Train Gets What She Deserves!’, opens mid-debate after a 19-year-old black man has allegedly stepped on a white woman’s shoe. How does the woman respond? By calling the man a “smelly Nigerian”.

Racially-insensitive insults begin to fly from both parties – ranging from the woman being called a “white princess” and “escort” to her firing back that the black man is “fucking shit on [her] shoe”. Yet the squabble is nothing but a particularly messy night on the Tube until the black man finally loses his cool and apparently decides that it’s time to literally beat some sense into the bigoted woman.

In doing so the man’s actions did little more than to solidify the disgustingly ignorant convictions of London’s racist individuals. Indeed, it can’t be ignored that young black men are already blamed for a substantial amount of all crime committed by men in London – this sort of incessant, nationwide racial profiling will never cease to exist so long as young men succumb to the hateful taunts of others.

Under absolutely no circumstances is racism acceptable – least of all, on public transport between strangers. Yet violence based upon such irrational hatred is even worse. Had the event been responsibly reported to transit officials, the police might have even bothered to track her down; however, because the altercation was permitted to become violent, the racial spat has served only to embarrass everyone involved. In effect, this video didn’t illustrate a “racist woman” getting “what she deserves”, but rather yet another disappointing chapter in a society’s inability to celebrate its ethnic diversity.

Unfortunately, YouTube videos attempting to publicise the racist rants of society’s more ignorant individuals is no new occurrence – in fact, Wednesday’s violent episode is only the latest in a growing tradition of home-made exposes of public transport at its absolute worst. On the one hand, it’s quite understandable that spectators should wish to share their first-hand experiences with racism, in the hopes that it might initiate a higher level of awareness and subsequent action. Yet on the other hand, it’s clear that a vast majority of these videos aren’t concerned with civil discourse – but instead choose to wrongly glorify violence in the name of racial equality. Nothing has ever been so self-defeating.

Race will always be an issue in Britain – at least 10% of the population isn’t white, and this figure is expected to rise substantially in coming years. Accordingly, it’s time for the UK to start talking about race proactively – not just MPs, but everyone.

This discussion doesn’t need to start in Westminster, but it needs to start in Britain’s trains and buses. Indeed, perhaps the most upsetting aspect of Wednesday’s highly-publicised spat is that it took so long for the dozens of spectators watching to get involved – which doesn’t necessarily mean throwing oneself into the line of fire, but helping to defuse a tension from which violence is a regrettably predictable outcome. With any luck, perhaps the commuters who appear on YouTube’s next video depiction of racism on public transport will have the courage to stand up and interject – before someone is able to throw another punch.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, MSSQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

English Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - So...

French Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: French Teacher ? Sou...

Geography Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Geography Teacher ? ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Photo issued by Flinders University of an artist's impression of a Microbrachius dicki mating scene  

One look at us Scots is enough to show how it was our fishy ancestors who invented sex

Donald MacInnes
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp  

Oscar Pistorius sentence: Judge Masipa might have shown mercy, but she has delivered perfect justice

Chris Maume
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album