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I was the victim of hate crime – but by speaking up I felt empowered

3 1 0
23.06.2019

One afternoon last month I boarded a train in Liverpool en route to Newcastle to take part in some writing events. I was sitting in a pre-booked seat. Nearby a man was blaring out loud music. A train conductor walked by and told the man to switch his music off, but shortly afterwards he turned his music up again. I then asked if he could turn the volume down as it was giving me a migraine.

The man responded with a torrent of racist abuse: “Do you have a British passport? Get back on the banana boat. Paki cunt! Fuck off!” He continued to racially abuse me throughout the journey, berating “strange people” who “come over here on banana boats”. There was a whole carriage of witnesses.

I was born and raised in Manchester. Both of my parents were born in British colonies and came to England following de-colonisation. I am no less British for having brown skin, and this country is no less my home than any white person’s. And even if I had not been British, no one should have to tolerate such abusive behaviour.

I walked up the carriage past the man, who shouted after me: “Are you getting off the train? Good, fuck off Paki cunt!” I wasn’t leaving, I was looking for help. I found a member of train staff, Steven, and reported the abuser. He was supportive and accompanied me back to the carriage, sat with me a few rows behind the man, discreetly took witness statements from fellow passengers and left the........

© The Guardian