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Racist neighbours?

(51 Posts)
sallycinnamon Mon 11-Jul-05 21:14:29

I live on a newish housing estate where everyone is white. Recently a Pakistani family rented the house next door. They seem like a really nice family and I personally could not care less about the colour of their skin or their religion. When I returned home from work this evening I was opening the windows of the upstairs to let some air in when I noticed that people whose house backs on to our next door neighbours have attached a union jack flag to their washing line. Is this simply a bit of proud patriotism or is it as I suspect there to make the new family feel uncomfortable? It seems to me to have been positioned so that our new neighbours cannot miss it when they look out onto their garden. Strange how this patriotism hasn't surfaced before! I feel deeply uneasy about this but don't know if DH and I are overeacting. Any ideas anyone? Really don't know what to do

misdee Mon 11-Jul-05 21:15:36

it may be something to do with the bombings last week. lots of palces have the flag flying atm.

Angeliz Mon 11-Jul-05 21:15:53

I'm tempted to say it could be totally innocent and you've got it wrong.
Maybe they've washed it for someone??

fishfinger Mon 11-Jul-05 21:16:15

who knows
Id leav it

trefusis Mon 11-Jul-05 21:16:57

Message withdrawn

Marina Mon 11-Jul-05 21:17:09

If it is still there tomorrow, knock at your neighbour's door and without making an issue of the flag remind them that some of their neighbours welcome them

fishfinger Mon 11-Jul-05 21:17:36

id really leave it
ther are lots of flags here at the moment because of the london thing

sallycinnamon Mon 11-Jul-05 21:18:19

I know misdee. But if I wanted to show solidarity with those poor people that suffered in London I would be proudly flying it so everyone could see it.

starlover Mon 11-Jul-05 21:19:15

what's wrong with flying a union flag?

it doesn't automatically make you racist!

Angeliz Mon 11-Jul-05 21:19:26

If they are racist and you interven i think you'd make it worse TBH.
After all they aren't actually doing anything and it could be, as people say, a number of reasons at the moment.
And if they aren't racist they'll be deeply offended.

Chandra Mon 11-Jul-05 21:20:07

I would not put attention to it just yet. In a lighter tone, could it be posible that they have just taken it out in a moment of patriotism induced after last weeks attacks and then realised it needed a good wash? (me, here, trying to cover the sun with a finger probably in denial as I can't cope with more racism)

Talking about flags I always find interesting that British and AMerican alike do fly flags from burger vans, what doe that mean in those cases? Is not that I'm trying to be cynical but that I'm puzzled by that.

tillykins Mon 11-Jul-05 21:20:26

Isn't it awful that our national flag has now come to symbollise racism? Sally, I should do nothing unless anything else happens - its probably not a racist action

astonished Mon 11-Jul-05 21:20:38

I think you should leave it and just be a nice neighbour to this family, so any uneasiness they may feel is counterbalanced by your friendliness.

Done Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:04

if I wanted to fly a flag patrioitically I'd fly it at the front of my house so everyone could see it - not hidden in my back garden so only my neighbours could see it.

sallycinnamon Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:05

Of course it doesn't make you a racist if you fly a flag! Its just that my initial reaction was one of unease

Chandra Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:13

pay attention even...

Angeliz Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:32

I too think it's sad tillykins!

QZebra Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:37

The problem is that British racists use the flag like it's an exclusive symbol.

In the USA the flag is inclusive, the fact that somebody emigrated to my country means you want to be an American, too, so the starts & stripes in my garden is as much yours as mine, regardless of whether I was born in the US & you weren't.

I'd give your neighbours benefit of the doubt, sallyc.

sallycinnamon Mon 11-Jul-05 21:21:57

So would I Done

Blu Mon 11-Jul-05 21:27:43

I can understand why you feel uneasy, sallyC, but even if it is intended as an all out xenophobic statement, there's not much you can do about it - having a union jack on your washing line is hardly an arrrestable offence.

I agree with astonished and Marina - be friendly with your neighbours (and then if anything unpeasant develops they will feel they have friends in the street), and keep half an eye out for anything unpleasant. If bottles and rubbishe get thrown over the fence, keep a diary so that your neighbours have a witness.

But hopefully peace and goodwill will prevail!

sallycinnamon Mon 11-Jul-05 21:33:45

I hope so Blu. I really don't know know what to think. With the tragedy in London and the end of WW2 commemoration over the weekend there's every reason to fly the flag as a symbol of national pride and unity.

nightowl Tue 12-Jul-05 03:25:48

maybe they want to fly the flag but dont want to make it appear as some kind of huge "statement" by putting it on the front of the house? hence, the washing line instead. They might actually be scared of flying it at the front of the house in case they are considered racist!?

Freckle Tue 12-Jul-05 07:13:57

Why should your new neighbours be offended by the sight of the Union Jack? Your new neighbours are almost certainly British too.

nutcracker Tue 12-Jul-05 08:37:02

We had our England flag out on VE day. Not my idea , dp's.

We also live next door to a pakistani (sp?) family and I also felt uneasy about it but mine and dp do have extremely differing views about things like that so I wasn't surprised he put it out.

hatstand Tue 12-Jul-05 08:46:01

I agree with Blu and others - even if it is intended to make your neighbours feel unwelcome there's nothing you can do but try to provide a counter-balance, not overtly or anything, but just be friendly. Knock on the door and introduce yourself

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