You Ain’t English! – The Ride Turns Ugly On A London Tram

I’ve been writing fast and furious over the last few days trying to meet my goal for NaNoWriMo, but I had to stop for a minute to send out a thought on some nasty business that happened on a London tram the other day.

The language is really rough so be aware before you click on the highlighted link above.

I’m not sure how they found her, but Emma West was arrested for her racist rant yesterday and I’m sure many will be watching to see the outcome of her court appearance. At least 2 million people have seen the video, and I have to thank one of the bloggers I read for alerting me to the news story.

I just watched the video a few minutes ago and was shocked by the foul-mouthed rant of the woman who was holding her child in her lap. One woman spoke up to her and then another woman joined in, but only because the shouting had bothered her baby who can be heard crying in the background.

While working on my novel this month, I’ve been seeing the world and it’s events differently, more like scenes in a movie as the chapters in my book develop. After watching the video, I couldn’t help but visualize a different ending than the one the people on the tram had to tolerate many of whom are not British by birth and probably feel a bit displaced already without being confronted by such a venomous outburst.

In the movie scene in my head, I wonder …

What might have happened if when the woman began shouting, ‘ You ain’t English, and you ain’t English either ‘ as she was did to those around her … what if one person on the tram had launched into a loud song, one uniquely identified as a song all Brits and many expats would know, a song that’s sung at public events by the masses and is usually one found in the group below.

What if one voice became two, and then three, and then four, until one by one the voices of everyone on the tram were joined in song so that in the end both immigrant and British born citizens were singing so loudly that her voice could no longer be heard.

That might have shamed her into silence and made the people she was insulting feel better for a moment, but I’m not sure it would have had the impact needed to bring some greater sense of community in the mix of cultures that call Britain home.

Maybe this is a wake up call for a dialogue of some kind. I know there are strong feelings out there, I hear the rumblings too sometimes, but there has to be a better way than the one Emma West is teaching her child.

Isn’t it time we work on finding it and if not now, then when?

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

 ~ William Congreve

9 thoughts on “You Ain’t English! – The Ride Turns Ugly On A London Tram

  1. Look at the face of the child on the lap of the mother who is spewing bile…………..he is clearly used to this behaviour……..this is deeply disturbing on a number of counts.

  2. I agree Suzanne. I was thinking the same thing. I think my greatest concern was with her child. Adults can talk it through, other kids who heard have parents that can try to calm & explain, but this child is being exposed to hated and anger which & as you said, he appears very accustomed to this behaviour.

  3. What strikes me is that Britain has long been a magnet for immigrants and its multi-cultural roots are deep and for the most part many different ethnicities live peacefully side by side. It’s one of the things I have always liked and even been fascinated by during my years in London. There is absolutely no excuse for this woman’s foul language and outburst of insults, but it fits in with a report I listened to the other day on the TV or radio, about the increase in immigrant populations who do not assimilate and how natives feel increasingly alienated and threatened in their way of life. Add to that the overall state of the world that we are constantly being bombarded with ~ economic crisis, violence, wars ~ and I can almost understand why some people snap. What you say is absolutely right: a dialogue is needed. But how do you convince a woman like this, who comes across as uneducated and not very bright, that her handling of the situation is utterly wrong and only makes things worse? Your idea might just do the trick! I am thinking we need more Hollywood endings in real life!

  4. This woman is clearly on something — I agree. That said, it made her just uninhibited enough to say what she really has felt inside.

    Frankly, I’ve experienced a lot of xenophobia and racism in England, both as an American as well as hearing other people discuss how immigrants are ‘ruining’ the country. I find it appalling, as I do back in America when I see or hear it. Immigrants are vital to economies, they are vital to a diverse gene pool, they are vital to continuing to create healthy societies. Is immigration difficult as well? Sure, diversity always brings challenges, but having a plan of action for assimilation and support for everyone should assuage most of that.

    Knowing me, I probably would have been one of the people who confronted the woman — even though it wouldn’t have done any good and even though I probably would have made it worse.

    Britain needs to work on assimilation programs (as does France and many other countries). Canada and the U.S. have done a slightly better job, but they also need work as well.

    I’m so sad and horrified that this even exists.

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