When video footage of a woman spouting racist and xenophobic rants hit YouTube in 2011 it went viral in a matter of hours; no Twitter feed was safe from her torrid and frankly repulsive, verbal abuse. Whilst many may have watched in horror or in mere distaste at what she was exposing her small child to, she in turn started a trend for public, racial outbursts.
The woman has since been arrested and charged, but there are now an increasing number of incidents involving racist tirades making their way onto the covers of newspapers and blocking up our social networks; most recently a middle-aged woman shouted, “What is happening to this country?” before questioning a Nigerian student at Ipswich Hospital on why she was in England.
Such attacks don’t just remain on our shores. In January this year a teacher in Alabama, USA, was secretly recorded using racist and homophobic language towards a student and last year a French woman and her friends was verbally attacked by a group of people on a bus in Melbourne, Australia; one person went as far as saying he would cut of her breasts if she didn’t speak English. Again, all those involved were arrested and charged.
Whilst authorities have been swift in dealing with these racist rants, it’s hard not to ask why they are becoming increasingly more common; is it to do with the rapid nature of filming and uploading an attack on your phone or are there other variables causing people to become angrier and more volatile towards those from abroad?
The woman at Ipswich Hospital stemmed her attack based on the UK’s current dire, economic situation: “You’re coming over here and pleading poverty,” and “We are paying taxes and we are going down in this crisis,” were just some of the 51-year-olds remarks. Yes, we are paying ludicrous taxes and I can see how recent headlines stating that £42 million is sent to children abroad whilst there are child benefit cuts in the UK, can provoke some people at their financial tipping point to head well over the edge, but how does this justify you spitting and raving in someone’s personal body space? I in no way condone this behaviour, but I do believe these incidents can serve to highlight how many people are at breaking point money-wise in this country, and instead of taking out their frustrations with their local MP they are pointing their anger at the wrong people.
These clashes don’t look like they are disappearing any time soon; one quick Google search brings up a myriad of racial abuse via multimedia sites such as YouTube. However, they are in turn serving a rather useful purpose; police can track down the perpetrators within hours of their upload, and frankly I’m delighted that such vile people can be brought to justice.