As a young person of colour living in a Western country I love to travel, but there are certain places I will simply refuse to visit for my own safety.
Similar to how jumping back in time would only be a good idea if Doc Brown's DeLorean took me no further back than the year 1980, I know that Amsterdam or Alicante will probably be fine, but if I head to Albania, for example, someone will probably throw a rock at me. I'd like to avoid that.
Of course, I'm overreacting somewhat. In the modern age, we're more tolerant of other cultures than at any time before, and I'll likely be accepted anywhere. But I also know that regardless of where I go, I (and other people of colour) won't have to travel far to encounter racism.
This unfortunate woman didn't even have to get off a plane before she was racially abused.
A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned a passenger on a Ryanair flight after he was caught on video hurling "abhorrent" racial abuse at a fellow passenger. Travelling to London from Barcelona, Spain, a woman now identified as 77-year-old Mrs Gayle was filmed getting abused by another passenger, with the video then posted to Facebook.
According to Gayle's 53-year-old daughter - who wished to remain anonymous - the altercation began when Gayle, sitting in the aisle seat, did not get up right away to allow a white male passenger to get into the window seat. Suffering from arthritis, Gayle got up slowly, but from there, things only escalated.
UK-based musician David Lawrence was the one who recorded the altercation, saying that he got his phone out once Gayle's daughter leapt to her defence. "None of the passengers were getting involved. There was no one in authority around," he explained. "And so, I thought, someone needs to capture this."
"I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not – if I tell her to get out she gets out," shouted the offending passenger, and it only got worse from there. When Gayle spoke to him in her Jamaican accent - she's part of a (now elderly) generation of Jamaican people living in East London - the passenger responded: "Don't talk to me in a f***ing foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow."
When asked to stop by another passenger, the man then saw fit to racially abuse Mrs Gayle, saying: "I will carry on as far as I can with this ugly black bastard."
In a statement made last Sunday, Ryanair commented on the issue, saying they "are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police", but refusing to comment further on the issue. Theresa May's spokesperson said that while she wouldn't comment specifically on the issue, the Prime Minister did not condone this kind of behaviour.
"When people are traveling and going about their public life, no one should be subjected to intimidation or any form of abuse. The Prime Minister has always been clear that racial abuse is abhorrent."
The incident has caused customers of Ryanair to call for a boycott on the airline.