I was called a ‘fucking paki’ on the bus and no-one did anything

Even though I was on crutches

Gabriella was hobbling off a bus on crutches, following a visit to the doctor. She slipped and caught an older man, who then called her a ‘fucking paki’ – to resounding silence from everyone else.

Gabriella Ahmed, 22, was coming back from a series of blood tests, as well as being on crutches, when she bumped into an old man as she was getting off the bus in her hometown of Northampton.

“As I was coming off, I slipped a bit into this old guy, which was of course accidental, as I’m on crutches! I went to say sorry but before I could he just went ‘fucking pakis everywhere’. I just gave him a dirty look instead and hobbled off. I really couldn’t be bothered to as it’s not the first racist thing I’ve had said to me in my life.”

Despite the number of people on the bus, not one person spoke out against the old man: “There were only about 15 people on the bus, all old people and all of them didn’t seem to care.”

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Graduate Gabriella says she would have kicked up a bigger fuss, but she was in no real state to do so, as she was feeling weak having her blood taken. She did say that she finds it unsurprising: “Considering 59 per cent of Northampton voted for Brexit it’s not shocking. A lot of my mates from small towns have seemed to notice more racist incidents in their own town too.”

And Gabriella is right – police revealed recently that reports of hate crimes have spiked by more than 400 per cent following the Brexit vote. A German women phoned into James O’Brien’s LBC radio show to share her story of having dog poo smeared on her windows. Three men who abused a man on a Manchester tram were later arrested by police. A petrol bomb was thrown at a halal butchers in Walsall. In Nottingham, where Gabriella went to university, a man stopped a pregnant lady in a hijab and demanded to see under her hijab, to see if she was hiding a bomb there.

Gabriella, who has just finished her degree in Politics and International Relations , says she’s now looking to move: “I’ve been here [Northampton] my whole life essentially, honestly, I’m looking to move to Nottingham again, I feel safer in a city. It’s just annoying how someone like me, who’s third generation in this country, still has to deal with stuff like this.

“But I’ve had fruit hurled at me and jeers calling me a paki in Nottingham too. Although I was walking in a rough area of Nottingham, whereas here where I live isn’t so rough and it still happened.”

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Gabriella, who’s already got a graduate job, says that it makes her uncertain about the future: “Honestly, it’s made me feel a bit more cautious to live in this country. Luckily I have a grad job, but I can imagine if it came to it, I could be getting discriminated against in the workplace, or when applying for jobs. I can imagine a lot of people/graduates are going through that.

 “Racism has always existed, but Brexit has just given a shittier excuse for people to be racist with some crappy justification. If I didn’t have a job, I’d definitely be looking abroad to work/study for a masters – which a lot of my mates are now doing.”
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