Conversation with F about racism and sexism and in the Armed Froces - and trying, on occasion, to make it cut both ways...

F:"I only once used my race." Her hair was plaited (braided) but short and neat. An officer commented, asking whether it was regulation. She answered, I came into the Forces when there were no women and now I'm a gender. There were no black people and now I'm an ethnic minority. He left it at that.

As she told me the story I felt strongly that she wasn't using her race and said so. It's not using your race, it's pointing out equivalence. It's not like she had massive dreadlocks. It was looking at the rules and working within the spirit (and possibly even the letter) of them. That's not using your race. It's equality in the real world.

I feel kind of sad that she saw it that way. Like no matter how strong she is, how well she has dealt with explicit, in your face, racist abuse in the Forces - some of it got in.

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