Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is Croydon racist 'mother from hell' a criminal, or just a sad, drunk nutter?

A 34 year-old woman, Emma West, from south London has been arrested after video of her ranting racist remarks about how “Poles and blacks should go back home” went viral on the internet and Twitter.

The video was taken by Kelly Hollingsworth on one of the UK's few trams, in between Croydon, close to where I grew up, and nearby New Addington.

As you can see by the video, the woman, holding her young son in her arms, is clearly drunk and what spews from her mouth is revolting.

Everyone who watches the video probably thinks the same thing: poor, poor kid having a mother like that.

I thought the same. But what happened next makes me squirm almost as much as watching the video does.

Last night, Kelly Holliongsworth, who took the video, tweeted: “Ok so this women's been arrested. I guess my video was a success. This has caused quite a bit of hype...”

It certainly caused hype – it also caused a tweeting frenzy, with many grassing the woman up to the cops. But was it a success that the rancid rants of a racist led to an arrest?

What is encouraging about the video is that people challenged this woman – they didn't do what the British often do: hide behind a newspaper and pretend this embarrassing thing isn't happening.

And challenging racist outbursts can sometimes be a good thing. But getting the cops dragged into this is not.

Never to miss a trick, politicians got in the act too. Leader of the Labour Party, Ed 'Who?' Miliband, tweeted: “Important appeal from [British Transport Police] to identify the woman shouting racist abuse on a tram in London.”

But the question must be asked: should mouthing off in public one's sad old racist prejudices be a criminal offence?


Z. Zuccotti said...

I look at it in terms of child abuse.

jannowak57 said...

What's the surprise here? This women exits everywhere, just closely examine the white uneducated underclass of any society in the western world and you will easily find the same thing. Haven't we heard the lament of the British social workers who find themselves dealing with situations where people are a product of families where five generations never worked a day in their lives, have no education and exist on social assistance. In the case of this women it is highly unlikely that anyone Polish or Black prevented her from working hard and getting an education, she made her (bad) choices and now she can live the consequences. Undoubtedly blaming others for her circumstances has become a habit.

If she was not drunk, then there should be some consequence to publicly uttering racist abuse that undoubtedly distressed the people around her. If a society decides to be multicultural or accept ethnic diversity there is an obligation to maintain some measure of social harmony. The issue of the child is another matter in so far as it looks like this "mother" is not likely to give it a fighting chance for any sort of future, removal and adoption to more suitable parents should not be out of the question.

beatroot said...

You say there is a case against her if she, while sober, upset people. Upsetting someone, though regretable sometimers, is not criminal.

Z. Zuccotti said...

She more than upset her kid.

Really, what do you think she is doing on a daily basis to that boy?

Is she ensuring that his life will be full of joy and decency?

Brian May said...

I'm not sure, but if only one of the people she was insulting in this tram felt verbally insulted by her racist rants, then she could have filed a complaint to the police.

But if the public autorities have charged the women without any complaint from the people in the tram, I also think it goes too far.

It would be completely different if this racist complaints were made by a public or politic figure.

Phelonious Phunk said...

Well, obviously people were offended even if they didn't file police complaints.

And it was videoed in a public place and viewed by the police, so who made the complaint seems irrelevant, no?

What's amazing is that despite the offence, people reacted peacefully albeit angrily.

If another drunk was in the tram, however, and having taken offence, reacted in a violent manner, the kid could have gotten hurt (beyond the mental/soul scarring he underwent).

Czary kapturek said...

jannowak57: "uneducated underclass of any society"? You'll find that education or class is not determiner of whether one will say racist things or not. Many in the BNP in GB or the NPD in Germany are university-educated middle class people.

It is legislation that is useful in fighting things like racism.

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