Celebrated one of the most difficult and important things I have ever done in my life. Took the day off and went to Tea at Claridges - something I have wanted to do since arriving in this country 12 years ago - but never had the guts, or the sense of entitlement to actually do it.

It was amazing being waited on as if we actually are rich by this young white boy who didn't act as if we shouldn't be there: eating sandwiches with the crusts cut off and the most amazing scones I have ever tasted, etc. Of course, we had to cap it off with a trip to the bathroom (aside from drinking about 2 litres of tea) just to see what that was like.

I came back to my seat and said it was horrible. There's a woman in there who fills your basin with water and shows you the towels to use. Like she's a Mammy or something, I said. I just ran away because I felt so uncomfortable.
K asked, Was she black.
I said yes, how did you guess?
Because I was so uncomfortable with it, was the answer. I wouldn't have been that uncomfortable, that outraged if she had been white.
I had to agree. I did feel like it was some Apartheid, Deep South slavery thing. Until that moment, it was about class and my enjoyment of trespass, a feeling of privilege - but it suddenly became raced - and that felt like a whole different matter. Not so fun any more - a bit sick, really - despite the fact that some - a very few - of the other guests were black.
It's just that lowest of the low position - toilet attendant. It's kind of too symbolic.

<< | >>