Show ‘Emma the racist’ compassion.


At times the letter of the law can be a blunt instrument particularly when you are trying to win over hearts and minds. The furore over Emma West’s racist rant at Black people and Polish people is in danger of dividing society on racial grounds, not bringing them together.

Emma’s rant is disgusting on so many levels. For me the worst is the racist poisoning of her very young child. As she spews her bile and hatred towards anyone ‘foreign’ the young child looks on slightly bewildered, but not too surprised. You get the feeling that the child has heard the tenor and tone of this before.

But what do you do with a rabid racist rant? The courts are in a very difficult position given that quite rightly they take race hatred seriously. This situation is worsened because 11 million people have seen the video and as a result Ms West has received death threats. The court have decided to keep her incarcerated for her own safety. Most sensible people would argue though that to be in police custody away from your child, and over Christmas seems a very excessive punishment. Worse still, will all of this make race relations better or worse? My guess is that it will polarise some, fueling even more rabid hatred in some quarters.

Being Black, we know on a regular basis that racism has not gone away. Racism rises particularly when there is an economic downturn. We know; we see more of it, we hear it, and in the extreme we feel its violent effect.

Here’s the thing! Wherever possible, most Black people will try to either ignore these situations or deal with it in a very humane way. Here is a very real example. Read this passage of emails - name taken out - I recently received after a radio interview I did. Instead of ‘fighting fire with fire’, I tried to show understanding and even compassion. It kind of worked. The heat was taken out, we understood each other more, and dare I say it, we might have even become friends. Well, not friends, but not enemies.

The reason why I use this example is because my feeling is that there are too many individuals who think exactly the same way as Emma West, but keep it to themselves. If we are to have a better society, we have got to win those like Emma over. If we don't, they may become fodder for the really rabid violent racists. Sure, we ourselves need a safe space to vent our frustration - why should we be punch bags for individuals' frustration - but just ‘fighting fire with fire’ will only cause even more fire.

Somebody needs to help Emma West; help her understand her own hatred, her own frustration and her lack of humanity to other people. It might not work with everyone or Emma but I believe it must be the first port of call.

Helping Emma West helps us all.

Simon Woolley

Email exchange


From …

the black nick griffin= simon wooley

you know what simon wooley.i am getting a bit sick and tired of your black victimhood where white is evil and black is all good,,in birmingham where i live as a working class white man,,the majority of the victims of rape,sexual assualts,robbery and other street crimes are white and the attackers are either black or asian,,that does not bother you because you just hate whitey full stop,,your cowardice last night in pulling out of adrain goldbergs show in this tired debate about race just proves to me you are no better than nick griffin of the bnp.and do you know what simon wooley,your so blinded with race hate towards white people and your in denial about it all the time..your warped mate

My reply

Your bigotry and abuse towards me proves precisely my point. Sadly …. racism still exists. I'd like it dealt with as well as the lack of social mobility, gender inequality and other obstacles of prejudice that hold people back.
I accept we have made improvements, I would have liked to discuss how we make more not discussing whether or not it exists.

I don't hate white people and I don't hate you for your bigotry.

I wish you well and a good weekend.

Simon Woolley


Dear Simon

i just wish simon people like you would understand that white people suffer racism as well in citys like mine mainly from the muslim for you simon,,i dont hate you,,why should i ,,i am not as stupid not to know that black people in citys like mine have suffered appalling racism at the hands of the police which i have witnessed with my own eyes and it still goes on,i know black people get the rough end of the stick in soceity,,but please simon,,all my point is that white working class people do suffer as well,,thats is the point i was trying to make, and if i upset you i apologise...

Hi …, Thank you for your kind and conciliatory note. You know, when the heat it taken out of these debates its clear to see we are on the same side.

All the best.

Dear Simon

i just want to finish on one final point simon,,whether or not we agree on these wars and i hate war,but it is a politacal decision by are goverment to send are lads abroad to serve are country,,i have relatives serving in the armed forces and at present in helmand province in afghanistan,,i can tell you this simon,,some of the finest and bravest soldiers serving in afghanistan are young english/british born and bread young black men serving alongside there fellow white working class counterparts,i have been told that..look at anyhome coming parades for the soldiers and look at the number of black soldiers alongside there white working class fellow soldiers,, that makes me proud simon and i think this is a important point to make...i wish you and your family a happy christmas and new year simon..