While We’re Not Afraid! was a bit, in my opinion, tacky, and bordering on a sort of online equivalent of grief tourism, at least the sentiment was eminently agreeable; we should not be afraid of stepping out in public, nor should we suspect anyone whose skin isn’t white of being about to kill us.
Bolstered by this, I thought that the people of London would be broadly in agreement. But then I read this BBC article on how non-white Londoners are getting funny looks, or even outright hostility, when they travel now; the fact that they now feel compelled to ‘blend in’ to a city that is characterised by its diversity is quite perverse (although the guy who now wears a white wristband and carries a copy of the Economist brought a smile to my face – he’s savvy enough to be covering all bases, at least).
I didn’t see many travellers actually treating others with outright suspicion whilst bounding round on the tube and buses this weekend, which might mean this all may be a figment of the receiving party’s imagination; they could be worried enough that they’re actively looking for hostility from fellow travellers and are merely projecting fear onto others, but if anything this is worse. Either way, it means that a significant number of people are now getting properly fucking scared of one thing or another,
which means that the terrorists are winning – sorry, I hate that phrase, I’ll go again – which is a horrible state of affairs that becomes very hard to remedy. What can we do about it?
Update: Whatever we do about it, it won’t be thanks to any ideas from the letters page of Metro (which makes the BBC’s “Have Your Say” look like The Moral Maze). Going Underground carries a selection for today, including one person who suggests fostering community spirit by having luminously-jacketed volunteers who would demand to inspect the contents other passengers’ bags. Nurse!