Chapter 2 – Extract 14 from The Paradise Induction!
In the same year, I had one of the best dates of my life with a beautiful girl from Spain. I’d taken her around London, seen an outdoor film at Embankment, rode the London Eye, and gone dancing at a trendy bar. It was the closest thing I’d felt to love in my life.
On the night bus journey returning home, we went upstairs and sat at the back.
Two men in their forties climbed to the top floor of the bus. A black guy and a white guy with beer bottles in their hands. The black guy spotted me. I recognised those harmful eyes; eyes that whispered to me what was coming next.
The black guy took the lead and stormed to the back of the empty bus to sit next to us, goading me, asking me questions about my origins, saying I wasn’t good enough for the girl I was with.
“You think you’re nice though, don’t you?” said the black guy. “Think you’re all that.”
The white guy wasn’t paying attention.
My father’s words resonated in my mind. “Black people. Always black people.”
So many times, black people would give me grief. At night clubs and bars, walking the street past a group of black guys – something would be said, perhaps a little laughter, or worse, a full blown confrontation. It was a certainty.
Black girls said similar comments about me.
“You’re not black.”
And they went further making the assumption, “you only go for white women.” Not a question. A statement. It destroyed my attraction to them.
In university, a Caucasian housemate who’d been raised in the English countryside said to her friends with me standing there, “We don’t see you as black. Do we?”
Other girls of various races had said, “I don’t usually find black men attractive, but there’s something different about you.”
None of this was good. None of it.
I was an outsider to black people, my race. And the gap was filled with hate.