“Everyone’s Racist Sometimes” | Romesh Chats To James Acaster

“Everyone’s Racist Sometimes” | Romesh Chats To James Acaster


Netflix recommended you to me
today. Oh, really? Got an e-mail. “Got a documentary
for you to watch.” I was like, “Oh, a documentary?
I can… Oh, no. “Not going to learn
anything from that. What were you like as a kid?
As a kid? I think everyone’s naive as a kid. It didn’t matter how many times
I got a rake in the face, I’d go into everything just
completely open to it. Oh, really? Very innocent.
So you changed as a kid, cos you’re not like that. You don’t have a naive, innocent
sort of charm about you now. So when did that…when did that
change? Just gradually. I remember, before stand up, kind of assuming that everyone is,
essentially, a good person. Yeah, I mean, that’s bullshit.
And now I don’t think that! I went through a phase of not
liking white people. That’s all right, that’s fair,
though. Not, no, no, no, no… But, but, let me just…
I need to explain this. I’ve already agreed with you, it’s
fine. You don’t need to explain it
at all. I was very young. Yeah. It’s the
first time I’d started to be allowed to go into town on my own,
do you remember this? Oh, yeah. When you were first, the early days
of being allowed to go into town on your own?
Yeah. 17. And I was walking along, and this
bloke was walking behind me, and he said, “Move out the way,
chocolate boy,” or something… Yeah. ..Something racist,
right? Yeah. It was more offensive than that.
You were eating a chocolate cake? No, I wasn’t. If I had have been, at least it’d be something to blame
it on. Yeah. It is way more understandable to
hate white people than it is anyone else.
Do you think so? Easily! Even the good ones are still
benefitting from all the bad stuff that’s happening to everyone else.
Yeah, that’s true. Even the ones… The most saintly
white person is still… Yeah, but, but, but,
I’m brown. Yeah. Right? My parents came over here. Yeah. So I am a brown person that’s benefitting from the bad shit
that white people did. Yeah, but that’s OK. That’s not OK. Yeah, of course it is. Is it? Yeah, you’re in credit. Oh, OK. All right.
Yeah, yeah. Wicked. Just from being brown? Yeah. This is really interesting! You should become a politician! I think everyone’s racist
sometimes… Mmm-hmm. ..and then some people are racists. Yeah. I do think there are some
instances when it should be allowed, like… Yeah. ..if you take
somebody’s parking spot. Because if I’ve got
a parking spot… Yeah. ..if I’ve got the last parking
spot and it’s like, we’re at Ikea and it’s really busy… Yeah. ..and
I pull into the last spot, and I
nick it off you, call me what you want, mate.
I’ve still got the spot. Not to your face, though.
Yeah! I don’t mind. You’d be fine with that?
I then become impervious to it cos I think, “I’m now parked, “so what could you possibly say
to me that’s going to change…?” Sure. “You can’t take this to
a level where I no longer have that
parking space.” I mean, I’m going to say,
as a white person, that I would not take that risk… in the moment, and think that… You’d-you’d not go, “I wonder
if this guy’s philosophy is that, “in this instance, it’s OK.” “I’m pretty sure that, cos you took
the last parking space, “I’ve got carte blanche on anything
I want to say. “I can just…” Yeah.
No, there is a risk that people… Although, what I’m thinking now is,
if this, when this goes out… Yeah. I’ll just be walking through
Ikea and they’ll go, “Oi, brown
boy!” Straight in there, “Chocolate boy!”
or whatever. “No, you said it’s all right.”
Yeah, yeah. Looking round at their mates,
at all the shoppers. “It’s OK. He said it was
OK on his TV show.” We had to bring our own
towels into school. OK. Why did you have to bring your own
towels into school? For PE? No, for every day,
because there wasn’t… We didn’t have any hand-driers or
paper towels at my primary school. I lived in Banbury for one
year of my life. Right, and what’s going on in
Banbury, mate? It sounds like
Beirut or something! No towels! Like, you had to bring an
actual towel from your house every day. I thought it was normal
until I was an adult. So like I, one day,
forgot my towel. I had soapy, wet hands… Yeah. ..and I asked a kid called
Simon, who was in the cloakroom, the only kid in the cloakroom, “Simon, who do you hate
the most in our class?” He said, “Siobhan,” I dried my
hands on her coat, I was like, “There you go, mate,
a little treat for you.” But then Mrs Andrews the teacher
said, in registration… “Siobhan’s coat…” Yeah. “..brand-new coat…” Yeah. “..has
streaky, “soapy hand marks all over it.”
Right. And Simon put his hand up,
“It was James Acaster.” I burst into tears.
Named you in full. Full! Yeah. I’m crying. She said to me,
“You should know better.” Which, even as a five-year-old,
I remember thinking, “I’m five. “The reason why I messed up is cos
I don’t know any better.” Yeah. That, it was actually my own
undoing, that I don’t know any better. He’s my accomplice and
he’s dobbed me out. Yeah. And afterwards, I said to him,
and like, he says… He was five as well and he said
this to me. I said to him, “You said she was your least
favourite person in the class.” And he looked at me and he went,
“Second least favourite.” As a five-year-old!