Online footage of a tirade of racist abuse demonstrates the harmful impact of racism in our society
A YouTube video "My Tram Experience" has caused a stir on Twitter and social media outlets today. The footage shows a women shouting racist abuse at her fellow passengers. Show Racism the Red Card welcomes the statements of the British Transport Police and TfL:
It is reported that the British Transport Police have launched an investigation into the case, saying, "We will not tolerate racism in any form on the rail network and will do everything in our power to locate the person responsible."
A Transport for London spokesperson said: "TfL will not tolerate this disgusting and offensive behaviour and we will work with the police to fully investigate this incident."
The vast majority of online commentary expresses shock at her outburst and widespread condemnation of the woman. Show Racism the Red Card is shocked by the comments and concerned about the deeply racist attitudes that entrench her.
It is important to recognise however that her display of open hostility, aggression and anger is the result of a constant undercurrent of racist influences around her. As a society we have taken great steps forward in challenging racism - as the outcry to this footage demonstrates - but it remains a very real issue. We must recognise society's role in contributing to such levels of intolerance.
Perpetrators of racist abuse feel supported when there are people around them who discriminate against others, share racist ideologies and engage in racist actions themselves. These people only feel able to behave in this way when there are people around them who share racist jokes, use racist language and accept stereotypes. Finally, these people will only act in this way as they are not challenged by the wider community.
The attitudes displayed in the video are symptomatic of a wider problem of racism in society, fed by sensationalist and inaccurate media reporting and a lack of education on the issues.
We are aware that, if left unchallenged, racist attitudes have the potential to lead to instances of violent racist crime. The trial of the two alleged killers of Stephen Lawrence is a harrowing reminder of this. In order to eradicate violent racist crime it is vital that we challenge all racism wherever and whenever it occurs.