There’s a thing I’m not mentioning

If you’ve been reading the posts thus far, you’ll have noticed that when I write about what I see in a pub, I make note of people’s ages and genders (at least, my best guess without actually asking them). I do so because it’s interesting, it’s useful data. They affect how I feel about a place, in the same way that the choice of lighting and music and beer would too.

But there’s another thing which I find interesting, for much the same reason, but which I haven’t yet mentioned. Because … well, there are Rules.

Race; skin colour.

Bedford is quite a diverse area: the 2011 Census showed that 17% of Bedford’s age 20-79 population were non-white. Which of course means that white, at 83%, was still the vast majority (and I’m sure it’s much same in 2017).

But have we been seeing that same mix in the pubs we’ve been visiting? Have we heck. I haven’t been keeping exact count of all the white folk we’ve been seeing (maybe 300 so far?), but there have so few non-white faces in our twenty-plus pub visits so far that I can pretty much remember each one. Fewer than 10, I think. So far at least, non-white folk are therefore under-represented in pubs, compared to the population in the town as a whole.

I did think about mentioning race/colour in the individual pub blog posts, alongside age and gender. But there are two obvious problems with that: (a) there are so few non-white folk, it would feel uncomfortably close to providing identifying information, which of course I want to avoid; and (b) what would I say when people are white? I don’t want to just omit it and assume “white by default” (ugh), and it would get repetitive to say “white” every time – but maybe that’s the point.

I really wish that it wasn’t relevant: but I believe it is. I’d love it to be as uninteresting and uncontroversial as writing about what type of shoes people are wearing: but it’s not. I at least wanted to say that I’m aware of the problem, and it’s an uncomfortable thing for me to write about. But by writing about it, by pointing out the problem – and I believe that it is a problem – it might be just one tiny step in the right direction.

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2 thoughts on “There’s a thing I’m not mentioning

  1. Obviously a delicate subject, but many people from ethnic minorities do not drink alcohol for religious or cultural reasons.

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  2. Go to the Vine in West Brom and you’ll see a genuinely mixed clientele that broadly represents the local Black Country population. That, and a fair few pub round there, are Asian-run but genuinely welcome to all.

    As Pub Curmudgeon says, if you don’t drink alcohol,why would you go to your average back street boozer (and bluntly, that’s what your wonderful posts are mainly covering). You may find a different picture in the remaining Wetherspoons, you won’t in the Wellington.

    I’d be interested to see if you find any of the reasonably large Italian and Polish communities in the pubs.

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