Speaking with an accent

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I was working on a project in a Northern English city. I decided to buy a meal from a Caribbean take away. On entering the shop, I waited to be served and realised that the local people were aware that I had come from other parts. One of them decided that my presence was either not welcome, or that my face didn’t fit in (even though everyone in the shop was Black). He started speaking loudly in his idea of a parodied African accent, which was somehow aimed at undermining my presence. This incident happened within the last seven or eight years, so it was not that long ago.

I ignored his immature behaviour and stayed in the shop till I bought what I wanted. It was interesting to note that the shopkeeper said nothing to address the issue. Obviously, I went elsewhere to buy meals, after that experience.

Life in London is seemingly quite different to what happens in other parts of the UK. I was taken aback by the experience I had in that shop, because it was unlikely to have happened in London at any point in the last two decades.

How can we find ways to move along at relatively uniform pace, so we can recognise the valuable things that everyone can contribute?

Does the answer lie in the escapism of Hollywood Blaxploitation? Or should we be looking at ways of engaging with each other, face to face, in real time?

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