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sushi rolls and chopsticks

Just over a year ago, I took myself off to Aberystwyth Crime Festival. From the train station, I took a taxi up to my lodgings. As the kindly Welsh driver removed my luggage from the boot and placed it on the ground, with a nod and a wink he told me of the brilliant Caribbean restaurant in the town, of which he was a frequent diner, and that I should definitely book a table and, further, that I would not be disappointed.

Well, I was to be disappointed. For sure. Because I thought I’d save my Carib delights for my last night in Aber (as referred to by the natives). So as not to spoil my appetite for some good ol’ rice and peas, ackee and saltfish and jerk chicken, I had nothing to eat. All day. Not a cracker. So, come Saturday night, I decided on a take-away. I made the call. What? No take-outs? Tonight? Too busy? Rah!

My cuppa soup never tasted so good…

Anyways, why am I telling you all this? Remember the kindly Welsh taxi driver recommending the Caribbean restaurant? Would you think there was anything wrong with that? No? I wouldn’t either but, but …such talk could be troublesome and even find its way into the courts. What the heck am I on about? I hear you ask.

Here’s a case to tickle your fancies. A Japanese academic professor, Nana Sato-Rossberg, sued her employer, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) for racial discrimination on the grounds that her boss Professor Claire Ozanne, a white woman, told her she liked sushi. Well, Professor Sato-Rossberg took a dim view of that. She being Japanese, she felt that to be told by a white woman that she liked sushi amounted to racism. Stop laughing!

“You would not have said to a German person ‘I like sausage’,” stated Professor Sato-Rossberg in the particulars of her claim.

Now, pull yourself together, people, and stop laughing.

The employment tribunal heard that in September 2021 Professor Ozanne told Professor Sato-Rossberg about a sushi restaurant near her home which her family enjoyed.

So, the kindly Welsh taxi driver telling me, a Black woman, that he loved Caribbean food and recommending the local Caribbean restaurant… could amount to racism then.

But maybe not. Because the employment tribunal judge, Jillian Brown, presiding over the hearing, in her good sense, saw off the ‘far too sensitive’ Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg with a flea in her ear. A triumph for common sense! Where do some of these ‘learned’ professors keep their brains?

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