Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Woman jailed for racist rant on subway train

A woman who made a racist rant while drunk on a London subway train has been jailed for 21 weeks.

Forty-two-year-old Jacqueline Woodhouse from Romford had launched an expletive-laden rant at passengers on the Central line, telling those seated near her, "I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations."

In the seven-minute video which was uploaded to YouTube and viewed more than 200,000 times, the woman can be heard insulting fellow passengers and insinuated that 90% of the passengers were illegal immigrants.

"Sense of shame"

At a hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London, District Judge Michael Snow, condemned her behaviour. "Anyone viewing it would feel a deep sense of shame that our citizens could be subject to such behaviour who may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people," he said.

The judge told Woodhouse she would serve half her prison term behind bars and imposed an order banning her from London Underground stations and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), or using the Tube or DLR, while intoxicated, for a five-year period.

Woodhouse handed herself into police after authorities sought to find her following the upload to YouTube [Link / Link]. The woman claimed that she felt "deeply ashamed" of her behaviour, but the judge rejected her pleas for clemency saying he found them "very difficult to believe."

"Foul-mouthed and aggressive"

Judge Snow was damning in his summing up. He described how Woodhouse had boarded the train on the evening of the 23rd of January and launched into a tirade of abuse. "The train was packed with people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds," he said. "The people included children. She became loud, foul-mouthed and aggressive. She targeted her behaviour at those who weren't white. She directed it at those who were close to her, on occasions directly into their faces. She threatened violence against more than one person and it took place over a prolonged period."

After sentencing it emerged that Woodhouse had been fined following a similar offence on the DLR in December 2008 [Sky / Guardian / Daily Mail / Telegraph / Evening Standard / The Sun]

The case is by no means isolated and on many occasions people have filmed the abuse [YouTube / YouTube ].

Xenophobia elsewhere

Such views are not confined to Britain however. As highlighted recently foreigners are experiencing a mixed reception in other parts of the world, partly incited by the bad behaviour of a minority. A Russian Cellist caused outrage in China recently after insulting people on a train to Beijing while a British citizen also drew condemnation after allegedly sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in the street.

The incidents have created a backlash amongst many Chinese with calls for "foreign trash" to be expelled from the country and a tightening of visa restrictions [VCStar]. The cellist Oleg Vedernikov later found himself sacked [CNN] while the man who assaulted the girl is believed to have been charged and faces a hefty jail sentence.

Meanwhile there is a dark mood in Beijing as attitudes towards foreigners begins to sour [CNN / CNN - Video]. The vigilante justice seen being met out on the Britain has drawn applause by many Chinese, but they too may find themselves in court for assault. One blogger comments that the scenes were particularly sad to see, most disturbingly because they reminded him of Britain, a country whose reputation is being further sullied by such incidents.

While anger towards those breaking laws or exploiting the system might be understandable, such instances are becoming an excuse to target foreigners, immigrants and others. And such racist attitudes do no good for the image of any country whether it be Britain, China or elsewhere.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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