James Howson, who became the first black Heathcliff in the latest film version of Wuthering Heights faces prison after racially insulting his Asian girlfriend, highlighting a serious trend within black and minority ethnic communities of a colonial mentality which has its roots in European ideology.
Twenty-four year old James Howson hit the limelight when he applied for the role of Heathcliff in a local Yorkshire jobcentre, attended an audition and got the part.
He became the first black Heathcliff and his performance was praised by critics.
Howson was in a three-year relationship with his Asian girlfriend and mother of his baby daughter, Shakira Ramdihal, 23, before they split up.
The Magistrates Court heard how Howson sent threatening and racially insulting text messages to Shakira.
When Shakira and her parents refused to make him see his child, he shouted at them calling them, “fucking Paki bitches”. (MailOnline: ‘I think I’ve blown my acting career’: First black Heathcliff facing prison after racially abused pregnant lover: By Paul Sims: 14 January, 2012)
He also sent Shakira a text calling her a “…little Paki slut…”.
The latest news regarding the case is that Howson has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act in Newcastle and was under observation for 28 days, therefore the case has been adjourned.
Dealing with the roots of racial prejudice within black and minority ethnic communities
Dowson’s sickening and shameful racial abuse of his ex Asian girlfriend highlights a growing trend amongst black and minority ethnic groups rooted in European colonialism.
In March 2011, I covered a story about England Striker, Carlton Cole after he was caught up in a race row following comments he wrote on Twitter following England’s draw with Ghana.
Cole wrote “Immigration has surrounded Wembley. I knew it was a trap! The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey.” (Read Carlton Cole’s colonial mentality shame)
In the same article I also mentioned former Arsenal striker and BBC sports commentator Ian Wright who was accused of calling an African traffic warden a “monkey” and told him to go back to his own country for giving him a ticket.
I mentioned the growing hostility and prejudice amongst black and minority ethnic communities born in the UK towards new immigrant groups, to the point that Black and Asian communities are now parroting the same phrases and comments usually associated with the far-right.
It was disturbing to find that a poll commissioned by Searchlight Educational Trust regarding attitudes towards immigrants and immigration, said that 43 percent of Asians and 17 percent of Blacks believed that immigration had been bad for Britain, and 39 percent of Asians and 21 percent of Blacks believed that immigration should be halted altogether.
When Black and Asian communities first came to this country there was a shared racial experience and to an extent history in regards to colonialism. The Civil Rights Movement in America with its message of resistance to white racism and European racist ideology united these groups across religion, race and culture against the same struggle to overcome racist oppression.
Sadly, this message has been lost and many individuals from Black and Asian communities are behaving like the colonial subjects of the British empire, even displaying similar racist behaviour as members of the far-right.
Black Nationalist, Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” (http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/28955.Marcus_Garvey:)
Black and Asian people in the UK have lost their knowledge of the common struggle against racism, and as a result they have no roots, blindly spouting racially prejudiced venom which would make far-right supporters smile with a sense of accomplishment.
Civil Rights leader Malcolm X, once said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” (http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/17435.Malcolm_X)
This message still rings soundly today as Black and Asian people born in the UK begin to put on the mantle of the oppressor and even speak in the same manner.
What provoked Howson to blurt out racist insults towards his ex Asian girlfriend was a lack of knowledge and an ignorance of how far Black people have come to overcome racism. In a sense Howson is still trapped in a colonial mindset, as indeed are many of us who spout anti immigrant statements and beat our chests patriotically when the British government decide to invade the countries of our origin.
Howson’s case reflects a shameful trend within Black and Asian communities which does an injustice to the historical struggle against racism.
For further research: