Yids – Bringing People Together
Having been brought up in the 1970s and 1980s in Hackney in east London, it was easy to get caught up in racism.
Skinheads, Punks and rude boys were the main groups to become a part of and these all had their own set of beliefs that you had to support.
I was a scrawny short white boy and also painfully shy when I went to my secondary school. It was built over seven floors and there was around a thousand boys (no girls unfortunately) at this school and they were from all over the world. We had West Indians, Pakistanis, Indians, Africans, Irish, Scots and Cypriots all in the same class. And there was a scouser.
Each group however seemed to find themselves grouped together ethnically (much like an American prison community). Safety in numbers became the order of the day.
I found my way into the skinhead culture of the time where the love of Jamaican Ska music was only matched by the hatred of the people who created it.
I did all the things you’re supposed to do, Union Jack badges, red laces in your boots and the hanging around street corners looking aggressive to anyone different to you.
The truth is it gave me my first feeling of belonging, being part of something.
It didn’t seem wrong at the time, and my dad didn’t try and dissuade my views. The truth is he had deeper racist views that me, and a genuine feeling of being treated unjustly by his government in his own country because of immigrants.
In 1978 a couple of my school mates took me to White Hart Lane for my first game.
There I was in the cage in the shelf feet barely reaching the floor when the crowd was jumping, singing and swaying.
As I was jumping about just along from me was another boy from my school who I recognised. He too was giving it, singing and loving the atmosphere. As the game went on we started to talk and join in the songs together. After this game we became best mates and went on to travel all around the country to all home and away games. Together.
There’s nothing strange about this story really other than my mate was black and I was white. Without Tottenham we would never have met, and stayed stuck in our little isolated groups. And then very quickly we were no longer black or white, but we were Yids – the future of the Tottenham fan base.
The fact is football brought us together and gave us a common identity. It allowed me to meet one of the best friends a man could ever have. It also enabled me to realise that the colour of a man’s skin or his religion doesn’t make him my enemy or the cause of all my problems. Football showed me that we had common ground; we loved the same things we had nothing to fear from each other.
We have been at football matches where we have been abused as ‘dirty Yids’ and had the gas chamber noises made at us. The Tottenham fans took this prejudice and threw it back at them. We became the Yid Army, all in it together, standing up for the Jewish community who had and still do support our team. We wear that badge with pride, there is nothing wrong in being Jewish and the 36,000 people along side me agree. Your hissing sounds will not intimidate me as I have the rest of the Yid army by my side!
So here we are today with the Society of Black Lawyers claiming that we are racist… racist for standing up for our community against bigots?
As a twitter person I have people from all over follow me. Black white Asian Arabic Jewish Christian Muslim Male Female.
But we are all as one, one community we are Yids together.
[author name=”Lee Taylor” avatar=”https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/2825217795/2891139da356c25ff8adfb98b94aac58.jpeg” twitter=”HackneytoPoole” tag=”LeeTaylor[/linequote]
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