Several Asian women were allegedly racially harassed by a group of teenage boys on a London bus on July 11.
A Japanese British woman, identified by her Instagram handle @saimiyamura
, and her friend were on board the number 46 bus towards Lancaster Gate station when a group of teenage boys joined them.
“Half way through 4 teenage boys came onto the bus and immediately were really loud but I didn’t really think anything of it,” she tells NextShark. “They came towards the back of the bus (second row from the back) and my friends and I sat right at the back.”
According to the female passenger, the situation escalated when the boys reportedly began harassing another Asian woman sitting near the front of the bus. “An Asian woman sat in front of 2 of the boys and one of the boys touched the woman and she immediately told them to stop but they did it again and the woman got annoyed and went to the front of the bus and told the driver about what had happened,” she said.
While the bus driver is said to have intervened after the woman made a complaint, it wasn’t enough to calm the group down:
“He wasn’t exactly clear on what he wanted them to do. He said ‘which one of you was it’ and all of the boys denied doing it. The driver told the boys to get off once but only one boy got off.”
This, however, had the opposite of the desired effect. The teenage boys’ actions became bolder as they allegedly started mocking the woman for her East Asian heritage.
“Once the boy got off, the boy wearing red started to say that he knew a really good song on YouTube and sat next to his other friend on the other side,” she recalled.
“He started to play a racist song about ‘Hong Kong’ (not really sure about the song name) he started singing along and making fun of the woman. They turned around and looked at me and saw that I was Asian as well and burst out laughing.”
As the boys were not formally asked to leave the bus by the driver, it appears the intervention of other commuters proved to be futile:
“They played it for a while and a woman on the bus told them to stop the music because they were already in enough trouble. But they continued to make fun of the woman and play the music. They constantly kept turning around sniggering.”
Aside from the two East Asian women on the bus, the boys also began targeting a South Asian passenger, “They also looked at my Indian friend and started playing Indian music and making fun of that as well,” she told us. “The bus driver just kept looking through the mirror and didn’t really say anything else after the first boy got off.”
For a country that likes to repeatedly remind its citizens that they rank among the least racist countries in Europe statistically, the UK has experienced a large volume of racially motivated hate crimes and harassment of ethnic minorities, especially since the 2016 EU referendum
The country has largely normalized racism and racial stereotyping targeting East Asians, which has even led to CBBC green-lighting a television sitcom titled “Living with the Lams”
which was reportedly riddled with racist clichés and terms like “chongers” according to critics. An NUS report from 2012
also found that Chinese students were most likely to become victims of racial harassment in the UK.