Prejudice left me ashamed

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Sir,

I have attended both the Greasley Parish Council meeting and Eastwood Town Council meeting in the last two weeks.

Although the subject matters were very different, a worrying similarity of racism, prejudice and inequality was evident in both meetings.

One hopes that this is not a general reflection of the public view in our wonderful local community.

At the Greasley Parish Council meeting a member of the public asked a valid question that since many council houses are standing empty and unable to attract tenants, who were Broxtowe going to put into the extra 6,000 properties they plan to build? Good point, well made and worthy of discussion.

The immediate response from another member of the public was “Immigrants!”.

If the casual racism in that comment was not enough, what made me cringe was the fact that the majority of the public gallery applauded this.

I have no doubt that those sitting in that public gallery were intelligent and well-meaning citizens of our local community. I doubt any one of them would consider themselves to be racist. Yet they applaud a racist comment.

The problem with casual racism is that it is not said with malice, it is said unthinkingly.

This attitude creeps and spreads too easily, so efforts should be made to not respond.

Clapping or cheering the person who has made such a comment is just as bad as the comment itself, it gives undue credence to the point.

It worries me that only a small few in the room of 150 local people saw the offence in this simple, one word comment.

Broxtowe Borough Council probably plan to put ‘people’ in these new houses.

Some of those people might be from another country. Some might work, some might not. Some might have a different coloured skin, be a different religion or look and act different to you.

That does not matter and our local community need to see past even noticing such differences in groups of individuals.

A similar attitude was mirrored in the recent overturning by Eastwood Town Council of the decision to remove an allotment plot from a local citizen because of ill health.

It is good to see that the council listened to the views of their community and reversed their decision.

What concerns me is that this decision was made in the first place. I am astounded that a committee of people in public office would not consider the Equality Act when making a decision.

Again, this smacks of a casual attitude whereby the needs and rights of minority groups are not given due regard.

The action just slipped by without a realisation that it was offensive and unfair to those who are disabled or suffer with ill health.

I am very concerned that equality still needs to be a discussion in this day and age. It should be automatic.

People should not need to be reminded that everyone has equal rights, including those from another county and those who are disabled.

Anyone involved in either of these matters should be ashamed of themselves.

I feel ashamed to be associated, by postcode, with such intolerant individuals and groups.

I am, however, lightened by the fact that the many young people in our local community who I do volunteer work with have a very different, vibrant, welcoming and tolerant attitude to those who are different from themselves.

I see hope in our younger generation but I worry where the intolerance in our older generations will lead my local community.

Abby Parker

Newthorpe