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Racism. It can never die if we keep it alive in our hearts.

What's the most racist thing that's ever happened to you? 
When a US writer asked noted Americans this question, the answers showed that prejudice, if not always overt, is ever-present. Putting the same one to black Britons produces disturbing results
Racism used to be rampant in the west, yet people have grown up a little since the bad old days. Where bigotry has not met it's demise through education and better understanding, the law will now step in.

The law has even gone too far in some respects, looking for racism where none exists and even ignoring it when committed by minorities against white folk.

For some people though, the issue of racism will always exist. If they can't find actual examples they will imply racism couched in supposition and speculation.
Back in 2005, Oprah Winfrey, one of the world's best-known celebrities, travelled to Paris. Like many well-to-do tourists, she made for Fauborg Saint-Honoré, a street famed for its exclusive stores. Winfrey stopped at a designer store just after it had closed its doors at 6.30pm. The star is reported to have asked the door staff whether she could pop in to make a purchase. The answer was a resounding no.
Sounds fair. The shop had already closed it's doors and the staff were not ready to allow another punter on site at that time, even if she was a well known celebrity. Is there more to this?
End of story... or not. Staff insisted they were busy preparing for an after-hours event in-store. But an unnamed "friend" of Winfrey's was subsequently quoted in a New York newspaper, saying the term racism hadn't been used but they suggested if Céline Dion or Barbra Streisand had made a similar request that there may not have been a problem.
Oprah Winfrey was not denied access to the shop because it was closed, she was denied access because she was black. The passage even says that there is no evidence of racism here, there is only the supposition that a white celebrity may have been granted access.

The staff's insistence that there was a perfectly valid reason, other than the perfectly valid reason of being closed, holds no weight with those who see racism where it does not exist.

Also, if the staff were in the habit of granting favours to celebrities, I would suggest that Celine Dion and Barbera Streisand are much bigger celebrities than an American talk show host. But that's by the by, they were preparing for an after hours event so why am I making excuses where none are necessary?
Racism. It's no longer as simple as black and white. There was a time when it was. "No blacks allowed" was pasted on the doors that greeted my parents when they arrived in Britain as part of the Windrush generation. They were spat on in the streets, attacked on the way home and refused service in certain shops. Back then, racism ran through society in a direct and easy-to-read way.
Now fortunately, this is no longer so, but that is not good enough for some people. They want to gain entry into that exclusive club, 'The Victims', and in order to do so they must prove that racism still in sufficient quantity to put them there.
Times have changed; the racism faced by my parents and their generation has gone, in its place is a "fog of racism". The Oprah moment is a classic example of this fog. Was the decision not to open up motivated by racism? Would the store have opened up for Céline? We know it's there, we feel it, smell it, but we just can't just pin it down. The phrase "fog of racism" was coined by the American journalist, Touré, and speaking from New York he explains it: "With this form of racism there is no smoking gun. There is no one calling you a nigger to your face. There's no sign saying you can't enter this building. It's subtle, it's blurred, but more often than not, it's there." It has "become difficult for all sides to pinpoint, discuss and deal with", he says.
Maybe it isn't there. Maybe the Opera moment is a classic example of nothing other than shop staff not being bullied by a celebrity. Even if she is black.

Maybe the only way you can claim racism still poses a massive problem is to turn it into something that can neither be seen or be defended against by those accused. But if you can't see it, how can it be affecting you? If there is no one calling you a nigger to your face, that surely is a good thing. Maybe your feeling is something created in your own head and something that only you can deal with.

Unless you propose further laws that say black people can now dictate the opening times of shops.
[In his book] Touré attempts to unpick modern-day racism and define what it is to be black today. In doing so, he asks 105 celebrated African-American figures from the world of politics, sport, business and entertainment the simple, yet powerful, question: "What is the most racist thing that has ever happened to you?" For the older generation, experiences were shaped by the naked racism of the past. For the younger generation it was often a more nuanced form.
What is the most racist thing that ever happened to you? This question presupposes that not only must something racist have happened to you, but it must have happened on more than one occasion.
But the question made me think. What is the most racist thing that has ever happened to me? And how would other figures in Britain's black community answer such a potent question? Intrigued, I set about seeking their answers.
You can see the answers by following the link to the article. Most of them are tales of true racism, but told as memories from the past and from a more intolerant era.

But what about the chap asking the question? What is the most racist thing to happen to him?
There are many contenders vying for the No 1 spot in my racism hall of shame. The overt racism of being surrounded by a gang of Leeds football fans and having them chant, "Nigger, nigger, nigger, you're a long way from London now, boy," springs to mind. 
Yep. That sounds like a racist incident. He doesn't say how he ended up surrounded by Leeds fans and that they knew he was from London. Unfortunately racism does still exist as that real rather than 'felt' half a story shows. Is there more?
Giving that moment a run for its money would be the incident 20 years ago when I made a pub in Stockton-on-Tees go tumbleweed quiet as I walked through its doors. I know it's petty and I should be bigger than this, but I've had a dislike for Yorkshire and the north-east since.
And you were doing so well. I've walked into pubs that have seemed to go quiet and I'm not black. I've been in quite a lot of pubs on my travels where the locals are not racist but don't accept you instantly and are even sometimes surprised to see a new face as it doesn't happen often.

I walked in a pub in a little village whose name I can't remember with a friend a few years back. The reception was just like the Slaughtered Lamb in American Werewolf. After a couple of pints, we didn't ask about the star on the wall but a photo of a rugby team with a chap who looked like our host. By the third pint we were drinking with the locals as though we had done it all our lives.

This chap doesn't say what pub in Yorkshire he received that reception, but sometimes a close knit group of people will want to weigh you up a bit if you are a stranger to them. That doesn't imply racism but I notice he says that he is now racist when it comes to Yorkshire.

I haven't delved into the answers from the other celebrities asked because they are mainly tales of the past, however I will highlight this one:

Danny John-Jules
Actor, Cat in Red Dwarf
One day I woke up and realised I was black, that I was always going to be black and that racism will always be there.

How can you argue with that. Black actor says there will always be racism, so racism there must always be.

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