Well, John D rather "took his ball home", closing the previous thread after some racist comments were taken down.
But I think that thread highlighted to me that as a community we DO need to discuss this further. In particular, given some of the (frankly) ignorance displayed, I think we should discuss whether anything could be done to improve relations with the traveller community. For example I think it would do a lot to change perceptions if a local traveller (or perhaps somebody from a body that represents them) posted here about their community, explaining a bit about who they are, where they typically set up camp, the problems they face. Its amazing how much harder it is to be hostile to people once they have a face and a name.
Is that a good idea/bad idea? Am I being hopelessly naive? If its a good idea does anybody have any relevant contacts? Is there anything else we could do?
Conscious that there were some posters on the previous thread who seemed much more knowledgeable than me, so maybe they can help.
Bracing myself to be shot down in flames...
Link to previous thread.
There is in fact someone who would be very appropriate who used to be (and I think still is) based in Harringay. I met her in 2008 when we were both being presented with Catalyst awards by the Prime Minister. Liz and I for Harringay Online; Nathalie for Savvy Chavvy.
If I remember rightly, Natahlie McDermott and her Savvy Chavvy project took the big honours. I'm not sure if the project is still live. You'd have to ask her.
You could also approach the Travellers Times and see if they could suggest anyone. When I clicked on to their website just now, it was intersetig to see that the article at the top of their list is New research shows shocking extent of the ‘last acceptable form of ...
The other thread was about breaking laws, whether such laws are best described as ordinance, bye-law or regulation.
This thread has a premise I don't accept, which is that travellers are a "race". I don't see how travellors can be the subject of "racist comments" otherwise. That simply makes no sense, as the hallmark of race is an immutable characteristic, such as skin colour or national origin. These characterists cannot be changed (hence they are immutable) whereas a "traveller" can feasibly move into a residence and by virtue of that fact cease to be a traveller.
Finally, I didn't read all posts in the last thread as many were apparently deleted. The discussion I thought was limited to travellers camped illegally in one or two Harringay parks (thus their discussion on this site), not generalisations about all travellers in Britain or worldwide as this thread now proposes to discuss.
This might be useful information for you London Calling, it's from here
and gives the definition of race used in the Equalities Act, which is generally what people are referring to when they are concerned about racism, rather than the broader concept of the all encompassing human race. I guess ethnicism could be a more accurate description for some forms of discrimination but it's not a real word.
"What the Equality Act says about race discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because of your race.
In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. For example, you may have Chinese national origins and be living in Britain with a British passport.
Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. This means a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race.
A racial group can be made up of two or more distinct racial groups, for example black Britons, British Asians, British Sikhs, British Jews, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers.
You may be discriminated against because of one or more aspects of your race, for example people born in Britain to Jamaican parents could be discriminated against because they are British citizens, or because of their Jamaican national origins."
Even Travellers who live in a permanent home would (could) regard themselves as a Traveller. It's distinct in terms of way of life, culture and beliefs.
At HoL Admin, we generally talk about discriminatory comments (those made to disparage a minority group).
The only comments deleted by admin on the first thread were those that clearly made disparaging remarks referring to the whole minority group of travellers. We were at pains to point out that comments made about specific behaviours by specific people were acceptable as long as they did not imply that they applied to a whole minority group.
While maintaining that we are all of the same race, that is the human race, and ultimately we share the same place of origin that is Africa, I would disagree with you.
The majority of Travelers in the UK are of Roma, Gyspsy or Irish Traveler origin.
If you would concede that it is possible to be racist towards Asians in this country even though they have lived here for generations, or towards Irish people living in this country then it is possible to be racist towards Roma or Gypsies and towards Irish Travelers.
Roma or Gypsies have lived in the UK for 500 years following their migration from Northern India in the 11th Century. They remain genetically distinct and have maintained their own language and culture. Irish travelers have lived in this country for over 200 years and also maintain their own language and culture.
Many Travelers of either community are settled, that is they live in permanent housing, however they retain their language and culture and mostly marry 'in' maintaining their identity as Roma, Gyspsy or Irish Traveler under the umbrella term of 'Traveler'.
No. I took the previous discussion down because the travellers in question have left Chestnuts Park: nothing to do with racist comments being taken down, as you imply.
for the record they are still there. they came back on friday.
Thanks for suggestions Hugh. Will see what other responses I get over the next couple of days and then look into it.
I wait to be shot down in flames myself but I do think you're being hopelessly naïve. I went to school near the Westway traveller site and tried a dozen different ways of trying to engage with the travellers that attended our school. They fought, bullied, stole, destroyed school property, disrupted classes for those who wanted to learn, the girls were treated disgracefully by their male traveller siblings (which I took real objection to). You would ask nicely for them to stop their anti-social behaviour and they had the same mantra every time "f' off, the rules don't apply to us!" I heard the same comment over and over and over again. No matter how nicely you approached them or how reasonable you were. And therein, in my limited and subjective opinion, lies the problem. They had no interest in integrating into or conforming with mainstream society. Cue wave of accusations of racism, prejudice etc etc..... fire away.... I'm just relating my own experience.