Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Well, patience is a virtue 
when it comes to our Shaving Foam technique!
Remember yesterday, 
I left the second piece overnight, and didn’t blot it,
so we could see what would happen?

The shaving foam completely disappeared by itself,
leaving a perfect and permanent print.

I recall a very striking piece I did a couple of years ago using the shaving foam technique.
Very fitting today, the 11th November, Armistice Day.
I woke up this morning to a disturbing Facebook message from my daughter Grace, who was the victim of a verbal racial attack on a New York subway yesterday. The other woman mistook her for a Mexican and behaved pretty abismally. 
Grace was shocked. It was the first time in 5 years of living in New York that she had experienced this kind of direct racism. 
I don’t often think about racial incidents in my life.
Being a white English woman, 
you wouldn’t expect too much of it, right?
I remember during the first week of grammar school in Rochester,
somebody scratched a huge swastika in the side of my beautiful brand new leather briefcase with a compass when they found out my Mum was German.
My parents had given it to me for passing my 11+.
I remember being mortified.
I remember being turned away from a restaurant in Nürnberg with my mixed-race American husband, 
not being allowed in although it was half empty.
I remember being furious.
I remember being called an Ami-Nutte across the street; 
this is a slang German expression for a woman who goes with American soldiers. 
(Nutte = Hooker, not Nut. I could have handled Nut !!!) 
I remember being speechless.
I remember not being able to find a flat to rent because he was  black American Military. 
(By the way, he was a young lawyer, a Doctor of law)
I remember reeling.
We moved away to California, because Grace had been born, 
and the racism in Germany was even worse after the Iron Curtain came down.
Then that realisation that we had jumped 
from the frying pan into the fire…
I remember Grace not being invited to a 2 year old friend’s birthday party because her Dad was black,
“..because the grandparents wouldn’t approve…”
I remember rushing round my white friend’s house, to tell her.
Her response was, “are you surprised?”
Her husband said, “That’s what you get for marrying a N****r”
and I remember grabbing Grace and running home and sobbing for hours.
We moved to Sacramento. By this time we had left the military, and my husband worked in a Law firm. I worked from home, Mark had been born, and Claritystamps were already born too. I would occasionally get out for an hour and go sit in the sunshine outside our neighbourhood Starbucks, and share a coffee with a few locals, who always sat there.
I remember one day, my husband parked up and strolled across the carpark towards Starbucks.
“F**king N****r’s coming this way” said one of my coffee drinking buddies.
“Well, that particular F**king N****r happens to be my husband,”
I responded. Left my coffee and ran, 
so that my other half wouldn’t walk into it. 
I remember a terrible scene at Sacramento Hospital too, when Grace had split her forehead wide open one Sunday morning –
there was blood everywhere, but the receptionist assumed that we didn’t have insurance because of her father’s skin colour, 
and refused to let us in.
Her dad went berserk. 
Yes, I remember that morning very well. 
I’ll stop there.
I could write a book about the racial bigotry 
I have experienced and witnessed over the years. 
It’s everywhere.
Had I stayed in Kent and married a local white lad, 
I am sure things would have been different.
But I am not sorry to have lived those things.
 – I am the sum of my experience.
Oh. And I also have two of the most beautiful, bright children a mother could wish for. 
These memories are like tiny pebbles in my shoe.
Every now and then they shift and get between my toes.
They are not huge boulders, but they cause discomfort nonetheless.
I remember my ex father-in-law. He died last year.
He was a very angry man; I never could get on with him.
But then again, he was the sum of his experience too.
He watched his best friend be lynched by the KKK as a lad.
Just rode up to the two boys. Hung one from a tree and told the other one to go tell what had happened.
Pebbles and boulders, eh.
My son Mark called me the other day from San Francisco.
He was surprised that some of his friends had voted for Trump.
Ironically, he has felt the bigotry more here in England than there, 
which is why he went back.
He put it well.
“Not everyone who voted for Trump is a bigot. 
But everyone who is a bigot voted for Trump.”
Old Father Time could tell a tale, and the wheels just keep turning. 
I remember being called irresponsible for bringing 
mixed-race children into the world.
On the contrary – it’s the only real way to fight racism.
Put the lid back on Gray.
You’ve said enough.

116 thoughts on “Pandora’s Box

  1. Barbara I'm saddened to read about Grace being verbally attacked. I don't understand why people are like this. I remember a neighbour of mine , the kids were all friends and played in each other's gardens. One day my 2nd eldest brought her school friend Patty and her young brother to play (black kids) and my neighbour ordered his kids to get out of my garden as they don't play with f….g N…..s. I can still feel my shock today! Thankfully all my kids respect all races and creeds . There's no point otherwise is there! X

  2. Barbara, my heart hit my boots while I was reading this. Appalling how people are so small minded. I read once, 'We are who we are for a reason', God created all of us in His image. You and your children are a blessing to be cherished. Keep the faith. Love and hugs. Xx

  3. I'm sorry to say I'm not surprised, my husband is Spanish he has lived and worked in England for 40 years longer than he lived in Spain, he is a taxi driver and is verbally abused nearly every day, we live in the north east of England and have a lot of eastern refugees my husband because of his accent is told to go home ect, he shrugs it off but it enrages me that in this day and age we can't just all live together as humans in stead of being judged by our skin colour or the country we originate, sorry Grace had to have this happen to her xx

  4. Oh Barbara, I'm so so sorry. I know all those individuals would/will never feel sorry, or remorse, for what they have done, so I would like to sincerely apologise with all my heart on behalf of the human race for all those unwarranted and horrific experiences you and your family have had to, and are having to, endure. Reading your experiences have really got to me, I'm too upset to say anything else. Love you xxxx
    Grace, walk tall with your head held up high, you are valued, and have so much to be proud of yourself for xxxx

  5. Barbara I was really upset when I heard about Grace being verbally abused. There are some small minded people in the world. You have brought up two wonderful children who I know ,you are very proud of. Love to you all xx

  6. The world today is in some cases as bad as it was decades ago. I can thank my mum for bringing me up to be open minded + see past the surface of a colour, sexual preferences, disability etc to the person underneath. I have friends of all colours + nationalities+ my son was born in Berlin, yes he's experienced coments due to this but as those wonderfully dedicated staff ensured he had best care my very early tiny bundle survived. I'm sorry Grace had a bad experience but am sure the values you instilled in your kids meant she deals with it in a healthy way. Why does being different mean you have to put up with various crap well sod it we all bleed breathe and hearts beat inside of bodies that are made of the same basic stuff x hugs hunni xxx hugs for all who need one too xx

  7. Barbara, what an emotive piece of writing. I don't have the words to say how I feel for you and Grace and Mark. So pleased you felt you could share part of your life with us. You know these things go on but until you hear it personally it doesn't always hit home. Thinking of you and the emotions it must have stirred in you.xx

  8. Dearest dearest Barbara, wow… I thought my life was hard, but it…. no.. not going to compare. THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH for sharing this with us. I wish I could be with you in person to talk with you (probably many want the same 😉 ) I hear you, I bless you and your dearest family and HOPE for you and yours are going to be fine whatever happens in future. I can tell it will be better – Never Give Up and Stand for your Rights. Thank you for being you !!!!!!!

    Kind regards

  9. Aww Barbara how awful that your beautiful Grace was subjected to a verbal racial attack, I was brought up to respect others no matter what their skin colour, or religion was.
    Now a days there are so so many small minded people that think it's big to verbally attack or bully someone just because of their skin colour or religion, yet if the shoe was on the other foot they wouldn't stand for it, but it's ok to dish it out to others.
    You have a very beautiful family Barbara who are a credit to you

  10. That is disgusting Barbara. I hate ALL kinds of bigotry. I don't tolerate it. Be it racial, religious, political. FFS!!!!! WE ARE HUMAN. It is such a shame that in this the 21st century, that we feel that there are very few real humanitarians. I too would have run from those situations you mentioned but…..they would have been wearing the coffee first. ( yes I know it wouldn't solve anything)
    I remember standing at a bus stop with my newborn son in my arms…off to visit my mum, when an elderly lady standing next to me in the queue, slapped me across the face and called me a slit! I was appalled that firstly I was holding an infant and secondly I knew I wasn't.
    I was then put through a tirade of verbal abuse for being a " gymslip mum"……the other people at the bus stop came to my aid( thankfully) one holding my baby for me. I then proceeded to shove my left hand (ring finger) in front of the woman and told her I was a happily married woman and it wasn't my fault she looked like an old crone when I looked 12!!!
    She apologised but I wouldn't accept it because I had been holding my baby. I put her straight on a few things I can tell you and judging someone by how they look was on the long list. After my round of applause from onlookers and the return of my son I then burst out crying!!!!
    I had never stood up to an adult until then and I vowed never to become someone like that.
    I feel for Grace, there is nothing wrong with being a Mexican but to be put into a situation because some idiot no brain thinks you are is utterly appalling. You will of course send her my best of wishes along with the support from all of us here. Virtual hugs too.
    P.S. you are such an inspiration to us all including your beautiful children. All made of strong stuff. Xxxxxxxxxx

    1. Hi Emma,
      That was awful for you! There are some horrible people in this world, but thankfully there are a lot more good, tolerant, respectful and bigotless ones. Lovely ve and hugs Alison xx

    2. Thank you ladies. I am happy to say that since that day I have never judged a book by its cover or tolerated bigotry in any form from others. When I say hugs to all…..I mean it Xxxxxxxxxx

  11. I am really sorry to hear that about Grace and what you had to face yourself in the past.

    Well… with millions of people voting for that disgusting excuse of a human being things like that will happen in the future more and more. He stands for racism, sexism and everything else what falls into that category. And now we know how millions of people in America really think.

    It is beyond me how people with at least 5 grams of a brain can vote for someone like him. I would not be surprised when in a few months time – or even already few weeks – people will ask that very question. It will be the same as with MacDonalds… nobody goes there, but everybody knows where one is. And lots of people will say they didn't vote for that dumbass *pardon my french*, that nobody did THAT. Dann will es keiner gewesen. Sometimes the English language fails me and I can only say it in German.

    I nearly got a heart attack as I saw that result, still can't believe it. Welcome America in the last century! God bless the rest of the world and keep us all safe.

  12. Hello Barbara

    Well what a blog from you today! I had no idea that your life had been made so awful at times, by people who say and do things that make THEM feel good.

    Personally I do not have any issues with any race or creed and this is due to my mother who brought me up to speak out (kindly) speak up (sensitively) and stand up for what I think is right, as she did.

    My mother had a hard life too although not as a result of colour or creed. She, like you brought up her kids to rise above the small minds and voices of others who would mock and make awful comments about us and our family.

    With love and hugs to you and your children.

    Barbara W xx

  13. Oh Barbara! How dreadful…. poor lovely Grace! What a 'can of worms that Trump guy has opened!' I thought the world had improved, and that we'd all moved away from racial prejudice. I was born in East Africa, and brought up in the Middle East, so I never notice people's colour!

  14. Wow, its crazy isnt it. I dont get it. People are people thats all, doesnt matter what you look like and i think in this day an age there doesnt need to be any of that. The world is turning into a crazy place and its not good crazy either x

  15. Having just returned from our local memorial garden where I watched 4 to 8 year olds of every creed & colour pay 2 minutes of respectful silence so beautifully your powerful blog makes for sad reading. Thankfully what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend xx

  16. As I was reading this I was getting angrier and angrier, unbelievable in the 21St century!! But I don't hold out any hope for the the human race learning to accept and live with one another. In fact, I think we are going backwards again. Why?? Why can't people live and let live?
    Grace will get past this. She is strong, like you, and at the end of the day, what else can you do? What's the alternative?
    I have to say that I am truly sickened by the amount of bigotry, and racial abuse you have had to contend with in the course of your life. I had no idea. Just awful, and I'm so sorry, but it has made you who you are today, strong, resilient, capable, hugs xx

  17. What a disgusting thing to happen, but sadly, given recent events unsurprising. No one has the right to judge others based on their heritage, religion or looks. The only thing which matters is how we treat others and that should be kindly and generous. I feel sorry for the bigots who have probably been brought up knowing no different, parroting what they have heard. I am thankful that I was brought up to believe that everyone has value. Grace is a strong woman, thanks to her family and heritage. Love and hugs to her.

  18. What a disgusting thing to happen, but sadly, given recent events unsurprising. No one has the right to judge others based on their heritage, religion or looks. The only thing which matters is how we treat others and that should be kindly and generous. I feel sorry for the bigots who have probably been brought up knowing no different, parroting what they have heard. I am thankful that I was brought up to believe that everyone has value. Grace is a strong woman, thanks to her family and heritage. Love and hugs to her.

  19. Wow such alot of hate, makes me so sad,I too have been brought up to be open minded and to treat people no matter what as I find them. Let's spread the love and positivity. Sorry for Grace's negative experience and even more sorry for Mark's too, some places are going backwards,I refuse to give in to the negativity, love to all xxx

    1. So sad to hear of Graces bad experience, my heart goes out to her. These bigots are just pure bullies who probably have a sad life and have done nothing worthwhile in their lives. In Scotland we don`t have colour issues but religious issues are definately there. In the 1960s we moved from Dundee in the East Coast to South Lanarkshire, south east of Glasgow. We painted out back door green and were asked what church we went to, Catholic or Protestant issue. It was never an issue in the east . However it is a minority thing. We have to believe there are more sensible and good people than stupid idiots. Doesn`t take away the hurt at the time though. Blessing to you and yours.

  20. How awful for Grace to be verbally abused like that and you don't expect it in our day and age! It must have been so upsetting for her. People like that should be treated with the contempt they deserve! Having never been in this position Barbara, I can only imagine how this sort of behaviour must make you feel. We none of us had any idea until now what you have had to cope with in your past and can only apologise for the stupid people that feel and act this way. These things will have shaped your personality and made you what you are today, a clever, sensitive and beautiful lady. x

  21. Oh Barbara, I had no idea you had been through all that hatred. It makes me ashamed of the human race. Why can't we all live together in harmony? Grace and Mark are a credit to you and I know they mean the world to you. Grace will be ok. She has the love and support of a close knit family. Keep smiling, Barb, and as always thank you so so much for all the lovely ideas you share with us. Lots of love, Rachel

  22. I am so sorry you and your family have had to endure such hate. That is so wrong and no one deserves that. From all of it you have been able to show your kids how to stand tall and be proud of who they are without being disrespectful…you have instilled grace, respect, love and strength into your children. Showing them that despite all of that, you still pursued your dream of your own business.
    You are an amazing business woman and love your tutorials.
    What a legacy you are building!

  23. I often wonder why this is so. This racial hatred.
    Just because of the skin color.
    Unfortunately, many people are so predisposed and believe different-looking people are poorer people.
    Liebe Barbara,
    ich wünsche Dir und Deiner Familie alles erdenklich gute.

    Liebe Grüße sendet

  24. Oh dear Barbara, feel for you and your family with what you have had to contend with through your life. I respect all colours and creeds, they are flesh and blood the same as I am, that's the way I was brought up. I admire you for how you have dealt with things and not gone down to their level with your actions. Bless you and your family too, there's no need for this racism. You've come through it all and are a probably a more understanding and considerate person because of it, you should feel very proud of who you are. Great artwork and yes, I remember the Rememberance card from last year, very poignant. Love and hugs, Pam xxx

  25. Afternoon to my lovely bloggy friends, hope you are having a good day and have been able to play with your crafty goods. Love and hugs to you and all on Barbara's

  26. Hey Barb,
    I totally agree with what Mark said about bigots & Trump. I think the most worrying thing with this outcome, same as the Brexit vote, is that the racist/bigots amongst us think they are now within their rights to make public their opinions & feelings by verbally attacking people in the street. This happened to a lovey asian friend of mine, shortly after Brexit – it's appalling & horrific. Please send Grace my love – she's a strong lady, just like her Mum, so I'm sure she will find the strength to hold her head high & rise above these ignorant comments. Horrid state of affairs, though…
    Lovely to see you on Saturday at the NEC,
    take care, lots of love,

    Liz M xxx

  27. I don't understand why we can't live on this planet in peace. But there will always be bigots and hatred. Your post brings back memories of when hubby and me were posted( we were both army nurses) to Belfast in the early 80s, the military unit was based in a civilian hospital just across from Andersons Town which was/is a staunchly republican area, we were spat at on numerous occasions and called some rather choice names. We didn't talk when we first went into Belfast we felt so English and we didn't know who we could trust. But we loved our 3 years over there, especially as our eldest son was born in Lisburn.
    My view is if we need to keep our own house happy and hopefully it will spread.
    Hugs for You all. Xx

  28. Disgraceful behaviour all of it.I am not surprised. our world is a beautiful place to live. its the way people treat each other that has made it an ugly unloving world and I fear it will only get worse. Love to all your lovely family. Xxxx

  29. Poor Grace. Sadly a reflection of the world we live in. So sad to hear of your experiences during your life. Thankfully it is more of a reflectionbon those poor deluded folk rather than your choice of husband. Besides you have 2 gorgeous children and I know you are very proud of them as you should be. Xxx

  30. Hi Barb,
    How awful for poor Grace! I also feel extremely sad (&angry) having just read what has happened in your life. I can't understand why people can't just live and let live. Why there is such a need for hatred and racism just defeats me. I just pray that one day soon we all learn to live in peace and harmony. I remember you doing that card last year and it still feels as poignant today. I love how your piece from yesterday turned out as well. Sending love and hugs to you, Dave, Grace, Mark, Steve and your parents, Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Hope you're all having as good a day as possible. Had a bit of a shock this morning – the doorbell rang followed by a hell of a noise! Went to answer the door to find that the doorbell chime cover had fallen off the wall( don't ask me how!) . The postman wondered what was going on too. Anyway he brought me a lovely Clarity parcel with a box of mini Artistry inks in it. Been out to get a new tileto fit in the chime cover and now waiting for the glue to set before putting it back up. Love and hugs Alison xxx

  31. Barbara I'm so sorry to hear about Grace's experience. Please pass my love onto her. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour and I pray she doesn't have to face anything like it again. Your experiences and Mark's too are heartbreaking. I pray that one day we can all live in peace. Hugs xxx

  32. How awful for you and your family. How wonderful that it hasn't stopped you from being the thoughtful, generous person you are.
    When she was in her late teens/early twenties my daughter went out with an Afro Caribbean boy for some time. They got many racially motivated comments addressed to them both, but interestingly the majority were from the black community. Her friend had an Asian boyfriend at the same time. A couple of times the four of them were sitting in the car and were approached by the police who asked them if these boys were bothering them!
    I am sure you are very worried about Grace and Mark at the moment and I feel for you, hugs to you all xx

  33. Oh Barbara,
    only sad stories today but what can we do than always fight against racism???
    Maybe when times in the USA will become worse Mark and Grace will come to the UK again.
    I thought of visiting the USA maybe next year. I remember beautiful vacations in Florida, California and New York. But now I´m not interested in…
    By the way my mum turned 80 last march, lost a lot of kilos and in may they found out that she has cancer. Operation was not possible because of her age we´ve been told. She (and we three children too) didn´t want chemotherapy. She is to weak for that. So she will pass away the very next future.
    Another reason why I struggle with 2016.
    Sorry, for my very private words but I had a feeling to write it down.
    Rolf xxx

  34. Bravo! Barbara for letting us into that part of your life. Racism is a horrible thing and completely unnecessary in life, what good does it do. People who are racist having nothing in their sorry little lives. I've seen those lovely photos you put on the blog the other week of your lovely daughter – Grace. She is a stunner! I didn't even notice that she was mixed race, all I saw was her beauty. I do hope this hasn't had too much of a bad effect on her and that she can rise above it. I'm sure with you as her Mother, she can. As usual, loving the artwork xxx

  35. I am so sorry to hear about Grace's awful experience. Also your dreadful racist experiences in your life. It beggars belief. But sadly I think it is getting worse not better. I feel people think they can say what they want and can hide behind social media. It doesnt help matters after all those abusive remarks were made for the world to see and hear he is now to be President. Sending love to you and your family, we must all stay strong and hopefully love and peace will shine through. Xxx

  36. I am so sorry to hear about Grace's awful experience. Also your dreadful racist experiences in your life. It beggars belief. But sadly I think it is getting worse not better. I feel people think they can say what they want and can hide behind social media. It doesnt help matters after all those abusive remarks were made for the world to see and hear he is now to be President. Sending love to you and your family, we must all stay strong and hopefully love and peace will shine through. Xxx

  37. He!lo Barb,
    I could spit at this and would love to give you and the family a big cuddle. We have chi!dren of almost every creed and colour in my granddaughters' schools and to my knowledge there has never been any problems, only between the white native children!!! When my daughter was about 6 she asked if she could marry Ike. I said if she still wanted to when she was grown up when she suddenly said that she couldn't. I asked why and she said that he wasn't a Catholic. Ike was a refugee from Rwanda in the 1970's and black, my daughter is a blue eyed blonde but she just didn't see his skin colour and I think children take their lead from their parents.
    We must pray that bigots learn to love.
    Maureen xxx

  38. I am so very sorry to hear that Grace has had this awful experience and hope she is okay. Racism is such an awful thing to deal with and thank you for sharing with us today, how sad that it still goes on and will do for a long time to come. Sorry to hear about all the abuse you also suffered too in the past. Stand proud you have 2 beautiful smart children and sending you lots of hugs.
    Best wishes
    Linda xxx

  39. Like your children I'm of mixed race and my parents were loving and wonderful too. Sadly some people are so insecure they feel threatened by anyone who isn't a mirror image of themselves. I try to remember they are the problem not us but that doesn't mean it's easy does it.Thank you for explaining so eloquently to others what it can be like. Sending you big hugs xxx

  40. So sorry to hear about Grace's experience yesterday, and your own experiences over your lifetime. There is no excuse for such behaviour and I'm deeply affected by your stories. I'm so thankful to have friends of every colour, creed, religion, age, sexual orientation and a wide range of backgrounds, and my life is richer as a result. Some people have small minds and small lives, and I feel even sorrier for them.

  41. Its so distressing that people can say these things to another person. I was brought up by my Mum to respect other people, after all we are all humans living on the same planet and no one is born feeling hate. I fear for how things will go forward after a man like Trump gets voted in with his openly racial views during the election campaign. My heart weeps for anyone who endures these things. Xx

  42. Dear Barbara…. I felt very angry and saddened when I read the post by Grace this morning! I just wanted to hug her and see she was ok! Grace is a beautiful young vibrant woman and on the few times I've been lucky enough to meet her her beauty is not just in her looks but it comes from within!

    There are some vile people in this world and racists are amongst some of the worst!
    I am sending you all hugs and huge amounts of love as I know an attack on Grace opens old wounds and it hurts!

  43. You and your children are fully aware of the rasism around the world and although it's hurtful and ignorant and totally unacceptable it will not disappear while men such as Trump in site others to express their feelings and think they are above certain races within the human race and can insult them and revel in their own importance as if they are supreme for some reason. The world is a troubled place and needs intelligent leaders who strive for equality in all people's. Many Americans and yes the English too, have got nothing better to do with their time than abuse and critisise skin colour, race or origin. I was saddened to hear of your life experiences of racial abuse and feel your anger knowing how you can't change these ignorant beings. Families are bred and follow their parents thoughts unless they are compationate and can sit in the other person's
    chair and really understand how it affects the ones who tolerate this rubbish of abuse, hatred and ignorance. God help the world when USA President is a business man with no political expertise can influence people like this with untruths and deal making that he wants and convinces the uneducated it's best for them. You Barb and you're children and also family members are lovely normal people with feelings like all of us. Rise above it, there are so many on the other side who identify these wrongs and support all mankind xx

  44. What a dreadful thing to happen, I am so sad to hear this. I have heard similar stories from the UK since the Brexit vote, which I think, like the American election, has brought nothing good into our communities that I can see

  45. You are the amazing woman you are today because of s… like this but how sad that your daughter had to experience this! Your children are beautiful and worthy of their place in the world. we are all better than this.

  46. I was a nurse and midwife working for 30plus years and looked after all nationalities exactly the same.It should not matter what colour or religion people are We are ALL human and should have the same care and respect xx

  47. From an outsider 'looking in ' the vitriol and abusive rhetoric which characterised this campaign ( as with ' brexit') panders and almost legitimises racism/ sexism/ homophobia/ misogyny -this is totally unacceptable and is strongly reminiscent of film footage from hitlers Germany ! Innocent people ( like lovely grace) are then subjected to abuse ( and worse) . In my view politicians need to act more responsibly and the vast majority of right- minded members of society need to stay strong to ensure that our lives are not polluted by this hatred and our 'freedoms' that so many gave up their lives for are protected !!

  48. You have been through so much your book will be a good read but made you a lovely caring lady. Really felt for poor Grace earlier when read her FB sending her big hugs and lots love. I was once invited In bedford to a church coloured church mainly Africans I spoke to a friend about it who was colouredwe agreed to go that evening that night I felt rashual abuse we walked in I was only white person didn't shake my hand or my friends she laughed said am I white often walk joke about her colour the look I got felt really uncomfortable by the end of the evening some spoke but was horrible cannot believe how people can be like it to each other what ever colour etc we are we are all same inside anyway lots love Barbara and Hrave xxx

  49. Hello Barbara
    My husband and I were taught a very valuable lesson by one of our daughters. She had just started her secondary school and had made friends with a girl called Mumpta. We, in all innocence, asked her where her friend came from as it was a name we had never heard before. The reply was the town we were living in. 'Yes but where did her family come from originally?" we asked. "I don't know she just Mumpta" our daughter replied.
    Although more than 20 years ago it is a valuable lesson we will never forget – accept people for who they are. I am sure once Grace has got over the shock she will rise above it with her beautiful smile intact.

  50. Oh Barbara, it's so upsetting to hear of anyone having to go through these experiences. I know it's a cliché to say they are bigoted narrow minded people but THEY ARE !! My niece is marrying Sunil (an indian man) in October. They already have two of the most handsome liitle boys , Zac and Theo. I can't agree with you more when you say that inter- racial families are a very positive thing . X

  51. Hello Barbara
    I can only imagine your pain this morning reading Grace had been racially abused, any mum would want to go and give their child a big hug and tell them everything will be ok. I know how much you miss her and this must have made you so upset. Grace if you are reading this sending you a big hug. I know from previous comments you have had a tough life but oh boy you have been through so much. You are such a lovely caring person and you dont deserve any of this, no one does. Sending a big hug to you and all your family.
    Love Diane xxx

  52. I find all this racism so sad I judge people by how they behave not the colour of their skin. It is not relevant. So sorry Grace had to put up with abuse such a wonderful girl and you must feel so sad. Sending you all hugs xx

  53. that sounds awful. but being a foreigner doesn't help me fare much better here. i am surrounded by bigotry constantly. and then people claim not to be racist… yeah, right. better put my lid back on it as otherwise i will never finish, hugs xx

  54. I am a dedicated luker on your blog. I find your posts and tv demos so inspiring and helpful. This is my first comment and. I just wanted to thank you for sharing. At times I feel worn down by people- I yearn for more empathy and compassion in our world and also in myself.

  55. I'm disgusted by what you have written and it has made me realise how much of a sheltered life I lead. I don't give a toss about the colour of people's skin, their sexual preference, the language they speak or anything like that. What matters to me is if they are good, kind people and are nice to me.

  56. When I was 9, coming out of primary school, I was stopped by a small gang of boys who asked me if that was my school. I said yes. Then they said "so you're a Catholic?" I said yes. They beat the shit out of me. That was Glasgow in the 1960s. And somewhere else in the city, no doubt some poor wee Protestant girl was having the same problem with Catholic boys…

    I still consider myself very lucky – I feel so sorry for your experiences, Barbara, and for your ex-father-in-law. How sad for him, and for you. And now, how sad for Grace! I've always said if I'd been born black I'd be in prison by now because I couldn't have stood by and taken what some white people feel entitled to dish out – people like the KKK, cowardly psychopaths hiding behind masks.

    Your son is right, and that's a very good way of putting it. All we can do in our own small way is stand up to be counted AGAINST the bigotry and hatred, and try to bring some balance back into this poor world. Sending love to you all. Love is always the antidote to hate.

  57. Well said Barbara! 2016! So much has changed! Sad ,very sad! Our humanity ?!!! So for example if we witness a person being verbally abused we need to take courage and occupy their space and say hello! Diffuse the situation! Emblem ( safety pin was tried after Brexit) . Sad times! Mariax

  58. No words, just tears for a while. Now, admiration for your strength, gratitude for your personal painful sharing, confidence that your beautiful, independent, Grace-ful daughter will come through this, and hope as I read the loving and outraged responses of so many. Love and enfolding hugs to you, Dave, Grace and Mark xxx

  59. So sad to read your blog and angry at those people who abuse others because they are different.
    Eight years ago we were in Washington just before the election and you could feel it in the air that Obama would be elected and I naively thought that America was at last leaving behind its racist past.We stood on the steps of the Lincoln memorial and remembered the "I have a dream " speech. Sadly the world seems to be going backwards. Xx

  60. You know what Barbara it's the people who fling this mud who have the problems. You are a lovely lady with a beautiful family . I pity these people who are so full of hatred and bigotry it must be exhausting being so angry all the time. Margaret xx

  61. Hello Barb, sorry to hear what happened to Grace, and everything that has happened throughout your life. It is hard to cope with, and I know that all too well, coming from South Africa, everyone thinks you are a racist. Everybody bleeds and the blood is the same colour. Bless you for your strength. Bx

  62. Dear Barbara I just want to hug you lm so sorry beautiful grace had to go through such an ordeal I hope my prayers can comfort you I know you must be upset just now ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Xxxx

  63. WOW Barb!!!

    To read this hurt me and my heart went out to you and your beautiful children and your ex-husband. Poor Grace, to be subjected to that racism!

    There are far too many bigoted and evil people in this world!

    June x

  64. Wow Barbara, how terrible. I always look upon this sort of behaviour as a serious failing in those dishing out the hurt and dirt.

    Grace is a beautiful young lady, I met her some years ago at the NEC on your stand. I pray she can put this sort of behaviour behind her.

    I don't know what is wrong with people these days. If you don't like something keep your mouth shut and move on. There is absolutely no excuse for this sort of behaviour now or ever.

    My husband and I have experienced ignorance from others as we travelled the world with his work. First in Dubai, after leaving South Africa and then in the UK after working in Saudi Arabia. Ignorance. People would rather believe the media than those who have lived in these countries. These days with social media it is even worse.

    I also experienced hate from a lady 45 years ago because my mother came from Ulster!!

    You have Dave and two lovely children, be proud of them and ignore the ignorant in our society.

    Love to you all

    1. Barbara that nearly brought tears to my eyes to think what you have had to contend with. I say nearly as I am unable to cry these days as I cant produce tears, but believe me they were there. You have come through that as a very wonderful and strong woman. Good on you!

  65. It has been a terrible week. I stayed up all night to watch the results of the election come in. I felt like I was watching some terrible nightmare. I still can't believe that it has happened when I see the news. I live in my little "white" bubble but my awareness of bigotry is still way up there because of my poor mental health and a son who is now unable to work because of mental health issues. My first job was working in a long stay hospital for people with a learning disability and I can remember the time I took a group of the residents out into nearby Croydon. The verbal abuse we got really shocked me – all I could reply was "there but for the grace of God". I was once spat on when standing at a bus stop and called "white trash" – I was just standing at the stop doing nothing. I have always had a lot of friends who are gay and been there too when they have been verbally abused. These incidents happened to me nearly 30 years ago thought and I had thought that the world had moved on and was older and wiser. Why do people have to be so small minded and discriminatory. Why do they feel if something isn't in their same image they have the right to abuse them. I was shocked to see that someone who could spout such hateful venom as Trump could be elected by the American people – that so many of them would agree with his viewpoint. I am heart broken actually and feel so foolish that I believed the world was becoming a more enlightened place – at least in more educated countries. My fear is that race wars will break out after this shocking election result. My heart goes out to Obama who has been such as dignified, eloquent President who has worked for the better of the American people rather than for his own betterment and prestige. The clock seems to have been turned back by Trump but now I realise that all this bigotry was still there just waiting for that someone who would give them the outlet to voice it. My heart goes out to you and to Grace – these type of people are not worth wiping your feet on. Grace is an intelligent beautiful human being and they are bigoted scum of human existence.

  66. Barbara dear, I am so sorry that your Darling Grace has had this disgusting experience I hope she can bounce back from it quickly. I understand exactly how much your heart will be breaking for her. I know only too well what it's like to be discriminated against and to watch children and grandchildren going through similar experiences. The worst thing is not being able to do very much about it, except being as supportive and loving as possible. Sending you all enormous hugs and love xxx

  67. OMG. Barbara. Will this world of ours ever change Not in my or your lifetime I am afraid Barbara
    hopefully in the future human kind will change.
    Big hugs to you and your beautiful family xxx

  68. I am disturbed to read your post Barbara but what you have shown people is this current outbreak of vileness is nothing new. We all need to be the change we want to see and keep moving forward. I hope Grace is ok and can shrug it off, hopefully this is a horrid blip and common sense will begin to prevail. xx

  69. I don't usually comment here but just had to let you know I really feel for you and your children. Ignorance is no excuse for appalling behaviour but these people are so ignorant and stupid they don't know how to be a normal caring human being. Suffice it to say your child has Grace by name and grace by nature which only comes from values taught to her by intelligent, caring and altruistic parents like you. You and your family are amazing and inspirational……… what a shame those bigots don't know that before the mouth is in gear. I'm sure Grace has your strength and fortitude to carry her through life…..she will be successful like you in spite of them. Xx

  70. We all have our stories.

    I'm a white woman who was "attacked" verbally and somewhat physically in Charlotte, NC a couple weeks ago by a black male. The provocation? I stopped my vehicle at a red light and yielded to the person in the crosswalk. I was leaving the homeless shelter where I've been serving in the soup kitchen for 10 years; he was in the vehicle in back of me. The timing, I suspect, was as much a trigger as anything; we had just had another round of race riots – wrong race, wrong place, wrong time. The immediate trigger was that he simply didn't want to be held up long enough to let the pedestrian cross; in his mind, I was to blame b/c I yielded.

    My point is that such ugliness works both ways. It's not something to be pinned on any one race or culture; it's a matter of individual behavior.

    Being one of the people that others here are have called "ignorant, stupid, idiot, etc.," b/c I voted differently from you, I just would like to say that I pray that I'm able to continue to treat all people with the dignity they deserve as individuals. For, in the end, no matter what slime is thrown at me, I am responsible for only myself.

  71. Unfortunately I can believe just how horrible people can be. I remember as a teenager in a racially mixed inner city comprehensive and being told by an aunt that if I came home with a black boyfriend that I'd be thrown out! I retorted that if I got a black boyfriend I wouldn't bother coming home….couldn't believe it. Quite recently when I met my decidedly middle class partner's family for the first time, they were quite shocked that my parents weren't married and that I was brought up on a high rise council flat by a single mum. I carefully explained that we were the sum of our experiences, but that doesn't have to define who we become, and that although I could hold my own amongst the worst of society. That as a law graduate who is also a magistrate I often find that the worst are actually those middle class bigots who feel entitled to make judgments about others based on what they look like or where they come from rather than their character, and the best are those who have had few opportunities or bad luck and bad health but are kind, generous and thoughtful non-judgemental people who happen to live in poorer parts of towns and cities.

  72. How awful for Grace, but sadly still too common and, as you say, it seems to be a base instinct for some people across all the races, creeds and other disparities. As a teenager in the early sixties I brought home a new German boyfriend, which caused my parents a shocked double take, but they were open and grew to like him very much. Lucky me with my parents.
    I'm sorry my comment is late but I actually spent yesterday evening singing in a concert including Beethoven's 9th with the magnificent Ode to Joy. Our other piece, brand new by a young composer, was called No man charting the journey from No Man's Land of war to No man is an Island and hinting at the Ode to Joy. What an experience but with over 200 years between the two, how sad that we still need to fight off such bigotry.
    Love the treescapes. My favourite stencil.
    Carol x

  73. I was very sad to read of your experience Barbara. I am married to a South African when I had my first son one of my relatives said…he is not very black is he, I was heartbroken and didn't realise until many years later the rest of my family referred to my lovely children as half castes. My husband had a terrible time in England when he first arrived and was told many times 'go black home' he was called bwana and other racial taunts. We have survived all this and have been married 56 years. Well done to Grace for ignoring the remarks but it still hurts doesn't it

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