Before our very eyes: the visual captures our imagination–race baiters and haters, Eastenders, and Tivoli Enquiry

Racists rear their heads all the time, as do many forms of ‘haters’. This week, we saw graphic proof of what many people have to suffer on a regular basis, simply because someone doesn’t like their colour or apparent race
–the aggressive, ugly, and blatantly offensive. Whether it’s words or actions, it’s deplorable. The so-called fans of Chelsea Football Club, did their thing on the Paris Metro, and a black man from Mauritania was their victim. There was a quick and loud cry of public outrage, including from other Chelsea fans and the club, which has a bad history of racism, and no doubt feel that embarrassment is high and needs to be managed. That’s set of responses is no surprise, these days.

What’s different, though, with the incident is that now almost everyone has the means to catch images of events and share them widely, in an instant. The haters can’t hide or pretend things never happened. That’s what happened in Paris: video taken by cell phone. That has allowed others to see and then react quickly.

One face was recognized as that of Josh Parson by his employer and now one young man has been suspended from his finance firm in London. One of the free papers carried this story today, and was glad to share that the ‘little boy’ had gone to a prestigious public school, Millfield, and his parents own a £1.5 million house just outside London. Now that he’s been named, the shame piles on, and those who, previously, had been caught on camera with him, are trying to distance themselves from him. Reports indicate that two others who were involved in the incident have also been identified and will face bans by the football club and sanctions from their employers.

That may not change the social state and make hate less, but it does what only the very brave can tolerate: put you into the heat of the public spotlight and make you as vulnerable to displays of personal distaste in the same way you thought you could without care.

A good Barbadian friend of mine lives just outside London, and is an avid fan of a British soap opera, ‘Eastenders’. All I heard from her yesterday was how she needed to see the evening’s episode, which was billed as that which disclosed ‘who killed Lucy Beale’. Well, she watched and the world can now know that it was her younger brother–a horrible idea and one wonders what messages will be taken from that. My friend informed the world today that in some neighbourhood the screams as this was revealed led to police arriving to check what had happened.

This was a big episode in many ways: serious betting was going on regarding who would be the killer; the episode was televised ‘live’ from the studios.


I’m no fan of serials. As my former sister-in-law puts it well, as she’s similar, don’t watch anything on television that obliges you to be in front of it at specific times every day or week. Interestingly, the papers in the UK today are pointing out ‘spoiler alerts’ for those who’ve not yet watched Thursday’s episodes–maybe, still catching up from weeks ago.

While visuals in the UK space hit me, I’m also trying to use them to keep in touch with Jamaica. I have to thank Jamaica News Network for streaming the Tivoli Enquiry live on its website. The coverage is full and quality of the feed excellent. Yesterday, had the added ‘bonus’ of replayed footage from news broadcasts in 2010 that showed the then-current reactions and available information. I’d not seen most of these and they are again disturbing reminders of why the Enquiry is important and must not become some trivial exercise.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)