So Portsmouth has failed in its joint bid with Southampton to become the City of Culture 2017.
I know lots of hard work went into the bid, and I know that Portsmouth has a lot going on in the arts. But, at the risk of being shot down in flames, I’m not unhappy that we failed to win.
In fact, I’m thinking we should actually win the title of Uncultured City. Why? Well, to my horror I heard the most disgusting story this week about racist abuse being shouted at someone in Commercial Road.
And before you tell me that racism goes on everywhere, I don’t care. I’m talking about what happens here, in this area, where I choose to live and where my children are growing up.
Think that racism has nothing to do with culture? I don’t agree. Culture is defined as the manifestation of human intellectual achievement, and obviously the lack of intellect in some of our residents goes to show that we aren’t cultured, or not nearly enough.
Racism is something I’m aware of, but more as a concept rather than a reality. I hear and read about racism via the media, but it is a long way away from my white suburban reality.
The south coast is the least ethnically diverse place I’ve lived bar a tiny village in Scotland where I was in the minority as I was English.
So I know racism exists and I know it causes anguish, but it’s always been removed from me. Until now, when an acquaintance’s husband was verbally abused with violent threats on a Saturday morning.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that it’s okay to abuse someone later in the day. I’m simply surprised that the uncultured would dare to voice their abhorrent opinions without being fuelled by alcohol (which perhaps highlights my naivety).
It’s time that the silent majority stopped being so silent and started telling these idiots why we won’t put up with their behaviour any more.
We have phones to record evidence, we have CCTV, and – if we all agree – we have each other to turn to for back-up in pubs, on street corners, or wherever we witness racism being spouted by the ignorant.
When it’s stamped out, we might be able to tell people we’re a city of culture.