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British Pubs Are Off-Limits For Many Older African Women – But Should They Be?

The British Pub! The Bastion of the nation’s social identity! A place that conjures stereotypical images of brawling, brawny, white machismo and under-dressed floozies in garish makeup and peroxide blonde hair, puking by the side bushes amid raucous chants of “Rule Britannia” by their equally intoxicated, foul-mouthed and football-crazy male compatriots! 

Aahh! Those heady days of Dirty Den and Alkie Angie at The Queen Vic showing the nation and its immigrant community what life in a stereotypical British pub involves! Sadly, the BBC played down their Black and minority actors, quickly relegating their sole Black family in the soap to obscure irrelevance. It is little surprising therefore, that the immigrant viewers following the popular soap have since reached the conclusion that pubs are a place reserved for white, working-class British people with vile tongues and viler temperaments, cruising for a fight or an assault. In fact, as one of the African women I spoke to asked, “Sister, if I go to a pub and the white men get drunk and want to touch my body, who will defend me?” With such a haunting question as this, one can understand why black women, especially African women of a certain age, religion, culture, and persuasion, are reluctant and even fearful to venture into the dreaded realm of the British Pub.