This incident happened on Sunday, May 15th 2011 at a bus stop near Stratford in East London. I was waiting for a bus with my son Anthony when a black woman arrived pushing a baby buggy. There was an infant in the buggy. With her was also a teenage girl who looked about fifteen years old and a boy who was about four years old. At this point I have to mention that my son is mixed race and they were all pure black.
I had just bought my son a few toys from Stratford and he was very pleased with himself. As soon as he saw the boy who looked about his age he immediately decided that he had to go to him and show off his toys. Anthony and I were standing a few metres away from the new arrivals, so Anthony left me to go and talk to the boy. From his demeanor I could tell that the boy was not comfortable playing with Anthony. He was one of those children who were told by their mother never to talk to strangers anywhere. Realising that the situation was becoming awkward for the boy I said “Anthony come here, what are you doing over there?” That was my first mistake, but I did not know it at the time. All I wanted to do was to stop my son from bothering the poor boy.
Anthony obliged and left the boy alone and came back to me. Next, the woman put her hand in her pocket and a large used tissue paper fell on the floor. To me it looked like an accident…or not. Being a responsible citizen as I am I said to the young boy “Please tell mommy that she dropped some tissue”. The boy told her and she was furious. She asked if I’m the one who cleans the street and why I was meddling in her business. I was taken aback by this. I did not utter a word as she ranted on and on. Finally the young girl took the tissue and put it in the bin. Meantime she was trying to calm her down, but the woman would not come down. From her accent there was no doubt in my mind that she was Caribbean.
Now, this is where I should have stopped and let it go, but I did not. My problem is that I hate people who litter the floor and generally cause havoc in public. So I looked at her and said “Do you know that it’s pigs that live like this…throwing rubbish on the floor?” Little did I know that I had upset a honets’ nest. The first words that came out of her mouth were “You black people, once you mix with these white people you think that you are better than us!” I was totally shocked because that was totally unexpected. Well, maybe a little because I had actually called her a pig. At that time there were a few people at the bus stop and white people were there too. She went on for the next fifteen minutes screaming at me. “My husband is bigger than you. He will come and kill you. You are picking on me because I’m a woman” She went on and on. I kept my cool although she was in my face all that time, obviously trying to intimidate me.
Later on a black guy arrived at the bus stop and asked what the problem was. She just said “He called me a pig” and he was shocked. “Brother you were wrong…you must apologise to her”, he said. I had no choice but to apologise to her. She really looked victimised and I was the big bully. Honestly, I wonder why a bus never arrives when you really need one! Eventually the bus arrived and Anthony and I got onto it. She was still giving evil looks and ranting away. People were looking at us and the strange thing is that she was really angry at me and giving me evil looks, but I was calm. I think that’s what many passengers inside the six or so busses that passed during that unfortunate moment couldn’t understand because I was so calm and she was screaming at me. Anyway I was relieved when she did not get on the bus because I was finally leaving hell. My heart was beating very heavily.
From that day on I reaslied that I need to be more careful in life about what I do. I’d always believed that if something is wrong then I should always speak up. You know that saying which goes “Chaos prevails when good men stand by and do nothing?” Anyway now I see life a little differently. Now I believe in “Live and let live” because everyone has a different view of what is right and wrong. For all I know that woman could have stabbed me. And for what! Now I just let them do what they want. The other month I was on the train with about five collegues from work. Someone started smoking and choking up the whole carriage in the process. I would have said something before the encounter with the crazy lady, but I did not. I remember some time ago when I was on the bus and a black woman started smoking at the back of the top deck. I was sitting at the front of the top deck and I could smell the strong cigarette. There were people in the bus, but no one said anything – The London Syndrome. So I went to confront her. She said to me “Are you the superman of this bus”? I remember that very well even today. I asked her to politely stop smoking and she would not have it. She ws completely off her head and no one could have said anything to make her stop. She was out of control. There are so many crazy people out there and it’s best for us sane people to leave them alone unless it’s absolutely necessary for us to face them.
After the incident I also reflected on why the black woman turned such a situation into racism. I have to stress that she was black because I’m black too, but she was racist against me. How crazy is that! Her problems were obviously much deeper than I could have imagined and I know that she hated the fact that my son is mixed race. I wonder how much she hates white people. Before that day I had seldom heard that some black women do not like it when white women date black men. A white lady I once knew even told me that at times she had been confronted by black women in London clubs for being with her black boyfriend. I never took the whole thing seriously until that day.
Even today I still look out for the crazy lady when I’m in East London. Things could be worse if she is with her husband because I’m sure that he must be crazy too, being with a woman like that. He definitely would kick my ass and I hope I never have the misforutune of ever crossing their path again.