Friday, 27 February 2009

Bristol fashion

I've only been to two fashion shows in my life. The first was at Silai for Skills, which runs dressmaking classes in Easton in my constituency. I remember it primarily for the fact that I was collared after the show by a certain Lib Dem councillor who rather loudly and angrily denounced me for something I'd posted about her on this blog, and more or less accused me of being racist for commenting on her frequent absences from the UK, despite the fact that her race had nothing at all to do with the story. Rather bad manners I thought, to do so in front of the event's organisers.

The second ever fashion show I've attended was tonight: a Fair Trade fashion show at Bristol Cathedral, organised to mark Fair Trade Fortnight. It was a really good evening, with students from Filton College modelling fair trade clothes and their own designs. (Including some rather fetching 'recycled' outfits made of bin liners and plastic bags. My favourite was the mini-dress made of Walkers crisp packets). Special guest at the evening was Sir Steve Redgrave, who, I discovered has a fair trade clothing company called Five G - have a look at this clip, which shows how he sources fair trade cotton from Mali. Seems like a nice guy.

Anyway, it was while I was at the show that I was told the same councillor has hit the headlines again, this time for accusing an Asian Tory councillor of being 'a coconut'.


Old Holborn said...

It is good manners in the blogosphere to attribute a "hat tip" when you receive a story from another blogger.

You can thank me later, you coconut.

(PS, it's on Youtube as well)


Old Holborn said...

For those who do not know what a coconut is, it is what black people call other black people who are "brown on the outside, white on the inside"

Whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail is going to like this isn't it?

Kerry said...

Well then, 'hat tip' to Laurence from Regional Office and Paul Smith, who were the first to tell me about it. And then I got home and saw your comment on the Mrs T post which I deleted because it was O/T. And I think we get the coconut reference, thank you very much.

Surprisingly it doesn't seem to have appeared on the DM site yet, although there is a fascinating story about a man's coconut-sized kidney stone:

Kerry said...

I particularly liked the bit:

"The delicate procedure to remove the stone, which weighed a staggering 2.48lbs, passed without incident."

Anonymous said...

The story is actually attributable to Bristol Tory blogger James Barlow who did it on Wednesday. (It's his Youtube clip).

Dave H said...

Because he is definitely struggling to keep up with the class, I shall explain for the benefit of OH that a 'Shirley Brown' refers to an individual that is outwardly morbidly obese yet in reality utterly lightweight.

She describes herself as a Motivational Speaker. Given her oratorical skills this can only be in a language other than English.

How can such a completely useless, grievance-ridden twerp ever be elected to anything? As a councillor she actually has some (limited) influence over people's lives. It's embarassing.

Dave H said...

A kidney stone the size of a coconut. Eh? WTF? Does this man have Tardis kidneys?

How does that work, er, volumetrically?

Kerry said...

In fairness, I don't think anyone would describe her as morbidly obese. I think she's fairly average sized.

Anonymous said...

"How can such a completely useless, grievance-ridden twerp ever be elected to anything? As a councillor she actually has some (limited) influence over people's lives. It's embarassing."

Bristol's Lib Dems have something of a
track record of putting completely inappropriate people into the Council House.

Kerry said...

Further to my last comment, I think the youtube clip is a bit unflattering. Or maybe not. Anyway, let's focus on her words and deeds and her comings and goings, not what she looks like. Is the implication of using the word 'coconut' that white people can never 'get' race equality issues?

Anonymous said...

I think the underlying philosophy is:
Black - good, not racist
White - bad, racist

Shirley says as much in the Sun when she says: "How can I be a racist when I’m black?"

Terms like coconut are then used to label anyone who disagrees with Shirley's simplistic worldview and shut down any further debate.

Dave H said...

I think you'll find the 'Asian'* lady in question is hard working and runs her own business; she doesn't receive or expect handouts from the taxpayer based on her ethnicity, and accordingly she doesn't she throw a hissy-fit** at the prospect of losing unearned income. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has also used the phrase 'Uncle Toms' to describe such aberrations from the norm.

Certain world-views evidently find it better to remain a state-dependent victim than to sell out to 'white' culture by being independently successful. Thus has the state funded race grievance industry managed to be one of the flourishing successes stories of the last 12 years. Better for the Labour vote, for sure (did your hear how many people appauded Ms Brown's speech?) but Dawkins knows what wider damage has been inflicted.

*damn stupid label when you mean Indian Subcontinental, rather than say Chinese, Thai or Arabic. But the whole subject's a can of worms anyway.

**Sexist but aposite. The way some men are best decribed as Pr****.

Kerry said...

I don't think you've quite grasped what the issue was about - it was about funding for 'Legacy' projects, and nothing to do with councillors' incomes. I don't know anything about Ms Jethwa's or Ms Brown's personal finances, other than the £11k allowance they get for being councillors. But I don't think it's relevant here.

Dave H said...

You completely misunderstood my comment (perhaps my fault -I tried to draw a generalisation from the specifics of Ms Jethwa and Ms Brown). I did not mean to suggest this would benefit Ms Brown personally. Did you fully understand what she meant by coconut? What precisely are the 'white' attitudes extending beyond race that Ms Brown identifies and despises?

Ms Brown was furious at the prospect of the subsidy to 'her' community being cut. This community is not, I suggest, the same as Ms Jethra's. And I'm not so much referring to ethnicity as attitude.

Ms Brown thinks equality means dividing people into racial groups and treating them differently. I can't speak for her, but would hazard a guess that Ms Jetwa finds the idea of a formal system of racial subsidy divisive and patronisingly offensive, as well as an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.

I think Ms Jetwa's community is likely to prosper and Ms Brown's is likely to fail.

(BTW I hope I never lose my temper at a perceived white person with black attitudes, not only because race is such a sensitive, potentially explosive issue but also because I’d be absolutely stuck for a convenient metaphor. ‘We have a word for you in my community: you know the Liquorice Allsort where the... oh forget it’)

Dave H said...

A Christmas Cake! How stupid of me. Probably I've mined this post enough now.

Kerry said...

I don't think you can generalise based on the two examples. There would be plenty of people of Indian heritage who would support Ms Brown's stance - e.g. didn't we have a debate on here a while ago about the Sikh Resource Centre (which is now looking to move into larger premises). I think Ms Jethwa is probably from a Hindu background, but I think it's more to do with the fact she's a Tory than anything to do with her heritage/ ethnicity.

Not keen on the Christmas Cake analogy - if someone called you a Christmas cake, would you know what they meant? Or would you be diverted by thoughts of 'fruit cake'? I'm sure we can collectively do better.

Northern Lights said...

Old Holborn talking about good manners is just hilarious...