Sunday, 12 August 2007


From the most recent copy of the Lancet:

My young daughter needed to go to the toilet during a shopping trip in London during the last school holidays. While I stood next to the hand basins waiting for her, a woman came out of one of the cubicles and as she washed her hands, looked up and admonished me in no uncertain terms for the poor job I had done in keeping the toilets clean. Speechless, I watched her storm out. I am not an indolent cleaner; but I am Black, of African descent, and an Australian national. My daughter, having overheard, asked why I had not explained that I was a professor. But why do I have to?

It makes me ashamed of my fellows.


  1. Oh, that is absolutely shocking. I am white, of Scottish descent and of British nationality. I am ashamed of my countrymen/women that these attitudes prevail. I hope this is a small minority.

    And you are right - you shouldn't need to explain. (Mind you, I would like to have seen her face if you had done so)

  2. Oh. My. For this to happen in the 21st century... I'm not sure what else to say other than: soooo sad. :(

  3. I spent twenty six years in the military, during which period the employment of women in all roles grew. Yet until the day I left, people assumed that I was the spouse and not the sailor. Now that I am, shall we say, of a certain age, all sorts of other (incorrect) assumptions are made.

    I think the woman you cited should have said something.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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