Monday, 4 August 2008

redemption song

I was thinking about Bob Marley’s Redemption Song all weekend, this part in particular:

‘…But my hand was made strong, By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation, Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing, These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs;

Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time…’


The song reminds me of an altercation I had with an armed officer this year who thought I was ‘a nobody’ and didn’t know that:
· I am not afraid of trained officers holding guns because my father was in the Air Force.
· I wasn’t going to stand for his small mindedness or his patronizing and covertly racists remarks.
· My hand was made strong by the hand of the Almighty.


I am going to call him PC Plod (which is an big insult to Enid Blyton’s character... so I'm taking a moment here to apologise to the author... the PC Plod in this post bears no resemblance at all to hers).

PC Plod saw me and wrongly thought me to be ‘Noddy’; however, he failed to understand that ‘Noddy’ got into trouble because he never knew how ‘Toyland’ worked.

I do.

Below are various excerpts from a letter I wrote to his office and the regulators of his office. I confess that I've had to edit it quite heavily (it was over 4 pages long...); however, I've tried my best to make it read as a whole here.

At 8:19am …I left my car and started to exit the car park on foot. I saw I was being approached by a member of the constabulary from the gate. I now know this to be PC Plod. I stopped to listen to what he had to say.

He informed me that the speed at which I had come around the bend was a cause of concern. He said that seeing a car approaching at that speed automatically put the constabulary at the gates on their guard. I said I... acknowledged what he was saying and... would take his advice on board. He proceeded to point to where my car had been moving at speed when it had startled the constabulary. At this point I corrected him. I said that I had not been speeding because I was driving at about 30mph. He agreed.

He chose to repeat his statement and I chose to repeat mine; I had not been speeding. I decided to walk away and avoid an argument when I realised that neither of us would relent; however, I only headed towards my office building after I acknowledging his concerns again and thanking him for bringing it to my attention.

At approximately 10:00 my Company Director… came to tell me that I had visitors…two ‘armed policemen’… wanted to see me. I asked if he would accompany me and sit in on the conversation because I wanted a credible witness to what was to take place. He agreed.

As there were four people in the room I will only continue to highlight parts of the discussion that I believe were important.


I find it disturbing that after my Director mentioned that I had worked on a secure site, the conversation moved away from the incident that morning and centred on what I believe to be the PC Plod’s unjust and scornful ‘perception’ of my attitude.

I am a professional at work...I take serious offence to somebody saying they think that I have a
‘just got out of bed’, and ‘could not be bothered’ attitude. That comment made by PC Plod is unfounded and I take it to be real slight on my character... For the record I wanted it noted that the day before the incident, I had just been told that a close family relation had died... This was on my mind the morning I was approached by PC Plod. I have a text message I sent and phone records to family members in London and Nigeria to prove this fact.

PC Plod said I... walked away while he was talking to me
‘with a talk to the hand’ attitude. Please note he said this twice. At both times I said I took offence to that particular statement because I had never actually said those words and asked him what he meant by that. He did not answer... I never raised my hand at PC Plod or gestured inappropriately to PC Plod at anytime when he had approached me as I left the car park or entered the office building.

I do not feel it was correct for PC Plod to put me under additional duress at my workplace by saying things about me that are disparate to the initial incident that had cause him to approach me in the morning. Comments such as ‘just getting out of bed’, ‘not being bothered’ or my so called ‘talk to the hand’ attitudes are condescending, out of context and have not place in the discussion.

As long as I do not pose a danger to the public... I believe I should be able to drive to and from work with peace of mind. I do not want to feel that I am being targeted or harassed unjustly for correcting a member of the constabulary about the fact that I was not speeding if I felt he kept implying that I had been. I chose to walk away from him after I had agreed to take note of his point several times to avoid a heated altercation. The way I was driving...was not illegal or dangerous.

I want to make clear that if the speed limit approaching the gate is changed to 10mph, I would adjust my speed accordingly and drive at 10mph. As... stated several times, I have taken aboard the concerns of the constabulary at the gate because I also want to avoid any possibility of an accidental discharge of firearms aimed at a vehicle that I (or any law abiding citizen) is driving.

I got a 2 page letter in response with an apology.

33 comments:

Lighty 'neferet' Kopearl 4 August 2008 at 11:33  

speak to the hand attitude??? that is so racist because it is a black people thing.


wot kind of disturbance is this ay??? this people can really push one to the wall. i am happy you took action and not just let it slide.

ShonaVixen 4 August 2008 at 13:32  

Glad of the approach you took, stood up and made urself heard because u didnt do nothing wrong and all those racial implied talk to the hand..PC Plonker is watching too much tv! I hope you have a good week!And condolences on ur relative passing on. xoxo

Naapali 4 August 2008 at 14:08  

I love Redemption Song, even Majek Fashek's rendition.

Naapali 4 August 2008 at 14:18  

On seeing Flying Snow, Master Yoda commented; "The Force is strong in this one! She has parried the thrusts of the Emperor's Storm Troopers without spilling her latte."

Shubby Doo 4 August 2008 at 14:59  

@doc naps – ROTFLMAO… please don’t kill me with laughter… a Star Wars spoof on me ke?… I never thought it possible… that was 2 funny

p.s
your comment nearly did cause my chai tea latte to spill over me!!!

SOLOMONSYDELLE 4 August 2008 at 15:00  

I am unfamiliar with the "speak to the hand attitude". But, I take it that it is far from good.

I am glad you wrote a letter and received an apology. Far too often we fail to take appropriate action.

Oh, and BTW, you claimed the fursst spot!!!!

Esmeralda 4 August 2008 at 15:36  

I am sooo proud of u Shubby! proud that u didnt take that crap lying down. Good girl.

saying you had a "just out of bed look" is even enough to slap him with a sexual harrassment suit (i think...lol), well *says indignantly* according to Boston Legal!lmao.

as per the name change, it's actually still the same name, only in another language. it was german, now it's spanish with a picture to help pple understand.

KemiMamaLopes 4 August 2008 at 15:40  

A lady after my own heart ;)

OluwaDee 4 August 2008 at 16:12  

I am actually surprise they took time out 2 read ur letter n reply you.

You applied discretion to the whole matter, while maintaining ur stand.
Real good.

Zephi Fahrenheit 4 August 2008 at 18:15  

So f assertive.i love it..sometimes one needs to put these people in their place

Shubby Doo 5 August 2008 at 09:26  

@lighty – I felt so too especially as it is often considered to be a sarcastic, or obnoxious phrase, and is commonly associated with black youths/ or black women.

It took me a couple of days to calm down

@shonavixen – thank you.

Yeah pc plod didn’t stop anybody driving at over 40mph that day… he stopped just me… now why was that?! One of my oyinbo bosses agreed that he started something he should not have.

@doc naps – redemption song rules…it has a way of lifting my spirit.

With regards to this particular storm trooper… I noticed he’d been watching me for a couple of weeks…I knew it was only a matter of time…I was a girl guide… our motto was ‘be prepared’. When he approached, I was!!!

@SSD – no it is far from good… it originated in african american vernacular english as a contemptuous and urbanized way of saying that no one is listening

It is usually accompanied by the gesture of extending one arm toward the other person, with the palm of that hand facing the person being insulted, in the manner of the gesture to stop.

@esmeralda – thank you jare… it wasn’t funny then but I’m laughing @ the thought of adding sexual harassment to his list of crimes.

p.s
I want smaragd back… is there a pole to vote on preference? or do I have to find Mr Baroque and sort him out?!!!

@kemimamalopes – ‘An event …happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.’

I get that life is about learning from one’s mistakes… it is about growing based on the subsequent choices of such an event… so pull me up when I’ve done something wrong… if not then don’t.

@oluwadee – my old boss told me if the ‘person your dealing with can’t get it done, go over his head’. I’m sure one of the reasons they replied and apologised was because I wrote to their regulators as well

@Zephi – I don’t go looking for trouble but this one found me when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I became a woman scorned.

Jaguda 5 August 2008 at 10:55  

its good you made yourself heard, writing about it is the best way, shouting about it is the worst way. you did the right thing

Buttercup 5 August 2008 at 13:28  

1stly..sorry bout the loss of ur family member..may he/she RIP....

i love how u stood up to pc plod....he was probably just bored or frustrated that day n was lookin for a victim to take it out on..

Afrobabe 5 August 2008 at 14:21  

yikes...no 14, getting worse and worse..how did I miss this??? My blogroll thingy is just mad...

Afrobabe 5 August 2008 at 15:15  

You go girl..tell em naija people don’t take crap….




Even when we are wrong!!!
Not saying you were wrong but that we don’t take crap..

lmao @ naapali..yep, flying snow sure let fly!!!

Shubby Doo 5 August 2008 at 17:21  

@Jaguda – thank you… yeah he wanted to discredit me in front of my employers hence the overkill entry with guns.

he didn't know that I’ve sat in on their talks thingys b4… normally these guys are unarmed to keep it friendly… people r more receptive 2 them that way bcos don’t feel threatened by their authority…

I think PC Plod skipped that class or maybe he thought I wasn’t worth the effort…

I didn't want 2 drop to his level so I used due process to get his oga to slap him down.

@buttercup – thank you dearie…

wrt PC plod… it was in the cards… he’d been watching me 4 a while but because the turning into the car park is just b4 the gates, there was no way he could 'talk at me' unless he left his post... if it wasn’t that day it would have been another…

@afro – yeah 14th ke? this babe you’re slacking

Shubby Doo 5 August 2008 at 17:23  

@afro - hahaha…I let fly abi?! lmao …you and naapali are not serious…

erm erm… I’ll have you know that flying snow simply sang her redemption song… but I did it loudly sha… I wanted the mugu 2 hear to hear me well well… this one was a warning cry… if he tries me a next time my shrill tune will shatter him!!!

naijaleta 5 August 2008 at 19:05  

Pele dear, I have come to realise that the average oyinbo man is intimidated by a succesful black person and would try and use every opportunity to bring us down even lies. 'Talk to the hand attitute'. Imagine.
One day in the not too distant future I hope, I will write posts, yes posts, on my blog about the wahala i'm currently having with the Solicitors Racist, sorry, Regulation Authority.
My deepest condolences to you over your close relative.

Afronuts 6 August 2008 at 08:41  

I know this wasnt a revenge but man...vengeance is sweeeeet!!

I think it was PC plod who got out of bed and could not gather his brain 2gether

ibiluv 6 August 2008 at 16:42  

he jam hin mate...........
serves him right!!!!!!!!!!!

u go girl....i like the fact u got an apology cos u sure deserved it............

kay-shawn 6 August 2008 at 17:14  

Glad you showed PC Plonker, like shona vixen said, that an average Naija girl cannot be pushed around.

Trust you to do a little nursery rhyme on my blog. Lol.

Hmmm... you appear to be the only one who saw the post as some kind of parable. Almost everyother person just read it literaly.

rethots 7 August 2008 at 20:42  

...one word, COMPLEX. Guess 'tis high-time we took people (no matter who) to the cleaners. Whenever and as much as they deserve it.

Yes, there are sure sometimes to walk but, you can't afford to walk always. Kenny Rogers' 'Coward of the County'

Hope you fare well?

bumight 8 August 2008 at 00:17  

I would say I am more awed by the fact that you actually wrote the letter, than the fact that u recieved an apology. A lot of things slide by uncorrected when we dont take action. good job!
At first I thought u reside in nigeria (my first time on ur blog), read the comments and made sense of it.

badderchic 8 August 2008 at 00:33  

word.

proud o u babe, real proud.

Shubby Doo 8 August 2008 at 09:59  

@naijaleta - I agree with you which is why it was important 2 me 2 use the oyinbo system to beat him at his game.

p.s
I look forward to your posts

@afronuts – I think you give him 2 much credit… about having a brain that is!

p.s
I edited out this bit but my Director interjected during his rant and asked why exactly he had stopped me… PC Plod admitted that it was because of the ‘sound of my engine’ as I came around the bend (i.e. roundabout)… how stupid is that?!
1) There were no other road users
2) I was about 200m away at that point… & I was not revving the car anyhow

Talk about open mouth and engage foot!

@ibiluv – thank you jare

@kayshawn – Thanks dearie

p.s
hahaha…I couldn’t help including my version of a Jack and Jill nursery rhyme… especially since this post was about ‘Toyland’

@rethots – no it wasn’t complex. For me it was simple.

He stopped me when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I corrected him & I walked away.

Then he came to my office to embarrass me. I fought 4 my dignity...I fought against his injustice… I fought so hopefully next time he will think twice & not try such rubbish in the future

Every little step to arrest such incredulous idiotic behaviour counts!

p.s
I’m fine thanks. How is dubai?

@bumight – welcome and thanks. Yeah I’m still here in Toyland (i.e. England). Naija is what I call my real world

@badderchic – thanks ;-) and welcome 2 u 2

anonymous gal 8 August 2008 at 11:54  

good 2 know pple stand up for there rites. aN ENID BLYTON FREAK I SEE

archiwiz 8 August 2008 at 22:17  

I like the fact that you wrote a letter and received an apology. The phrases he used to describe you and his perceived attitude of you were quite condescending and alluded to a diva-ish behavior on your part. Good job girl...

*borrowing from naapali
Flying Snow, done well you have....The force should be used wisely you know, and done that you have.

Shubby Doo 9 August 2008 at 11:59  

@anonymous gal – I can’t say I am…famous five could never hold my attention… but I loved Noddy… go figure! lol

@archiwiz – PC Plod get away with it?... ‘Not if anything to say about it I have.’… LMAO

you too abi? do you know what? I can see the connection… this flying snow is a skywalker!

rayo 9 August 2008 at 15:01  

wow, i wish i could be so clear and assertive lyk that, me i just cry when i'm angry, sad, happy, wateva, nd i h8 it. but that was great, standin up to him

ebony 9 August 2008 at 19:08  

Talk about stereotypes! That just sucks. Glad you stepped up to the bully, he'd think twice next time.

Afrobabe 10 August 2008 at 14:53  

nothing to talk about...just checking out my new profile pic...

Afrobabe 10 August 2008 at 14:53  

yeaaaaaaaaaaa it worked...

Charie 17 August 2008 at 15:11  

chai...u gave it to them correct oh...na wa o you sure say you be engineeer or lawyer like this?

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