The other day I went to Asda with my boyfriend and we walked past a really beautiful Muslim woman in a hijab. My boyfriend said “that’s brave of her”, we nodded and smiled at one another and I had the compelling urge to make friends. This is something that I rarely experience, being a bit mardy and anti-social particularly when shopping, but I felt a need to be kind to her and make her feel at ease. Then the sad realisation dawned on me that the reason why I singled her out with this out of the ordinary need to show her that I was nice was because I know that she is likely to experience hate and animosity at some point in our vastly Caucasian, vastly chavvy town. I wanted to compensate for it by seeming friendlier than I actually am. I think this is potentially an indicator of what the majority of us “pro-refugee” people are going to end up doing, being twice as good and twice as kind so that our voices are louder than those being cruel. Then it made me think that I should be that nice anyway, I should be nicer to people in general because you never know who needs your kindness. There’s enough nastiness in the world and I’m going to try harder to be kind…er.
Then it occurred to me that making the assumption that she’s not already from Tamworth or is in any way linked to the refugee families coming to live here was pretty ignorant in itself. Please don’t judge me, I’m just being honest and I do recognise that my assumption and reaction was wrong.