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Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

I was a BNP bigot until I fell for my Jamaican colleague

2013-11-08 23:44:55

Kaye Dawkins
Kaye Dawkins and partner Peter (Pic: Neville Williams)

Pete's Story:

If someone had said to me in the 80s that I'd marry a black woman, I'd have said "Never in a million years!"

You see, I dread to think how many years I'd been active with the BNP.

I was in my late teens when it all started. Growing up I didn't really have black friends or know any other cultures apart from my own.

I was always looking back to the "good old days" of England. I was worried about immigration and I couldn't see where it would all end.

Then I read a BNP magazine called Identity, and I thought, "I agree with that all the way." That's when I got active doing leafleting for them, and eventually I progressed to regional organiser.

I was blinded by it. They said what I wanted to hear. I was involved right through the 80s, when BNP founder John Tyndall was in charge before Nick Griffin, who I also became friendly with.

I wouldn't go on marches, I couldn't see the point. But I'd go to Red White and Blue conventions.

Then in the summer of 2005 I was working as a manager for Royal Mail in the Northampton depot when I met Kaye. She'd just taken a part-time job and I thought she was beautiful.

We got talking and we just clicked. She dressed beautifully, she was just incredible. I couldn't believe she hadn't been snapped up. I was attracted to her immediately and I was surprised at my feelings towards her. It was scary, too.

People knew me as "BNP Pet" - they still do. And I thought about what people might think and say because of what I'd been involved in, to suddenly go the other way.

I knew something had to give. I couldn't carry on being involved with the BNP and be with Kaye. It took about six months before I realised I wanted to be with Kaye full-time, and then I didn't renew my BNP membership.

People asked me why and I told them it was because I was with Kaye. They might have thought things if they'd seen us walking down the street together, but only one person ever said anything negative to my face.

This guy I used to work with, an original skinhead, asked if I was still "sh***ing that black b****". I told him we were a couple and to refrain from calling her that. He apologised, and then sent a Christmas card to us, which was a surprise.

Kaye moved in with me in October 2006 and we had our daughter Ruby in May 2008.

I've got a 20-year-old daughter Elizabeth from my first marriage who knew about my BNP days and is glad I'm out of it. She used to tell me, "You don't like anything" - I was anti-this and anti-that. The only thing I wasn't anti was myself.

Kaye's daughter Dahlia, 11, lives with us too and we're bringing her other daughter Jaysia, 16, over once she's finished her exams. I can't wait for us all to be a family.

I was at the immigration court the other day, putting in our application for her to come over.

Before, that would've been unheard of - me trying to bring someone from Jamaica here.

In a way, I'm clearing my conscience about my past. When I look back on my time with the BNP, I just think I was blowing a lot of hot air about nothing.

I find it sad reflecting on what people must have thought about me back then. There are some beautiful black women but I'd never have even thought about getting married to one, it would never have occurred to me. No one agreed with mixed-race relationships in my BNP days. They'd be horrified about it - the older ones more than the younger members.

The BNP's perception of Jamaicans? Selling drugs. And if a mugging happened they'd blow it all up. Being with Kaye has educated me about what Jamaicans are really like and it also puts closure on my past. It's a whole new world to me.

I've now got friends from Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan which people would've said wasn't possible before. And they'll all be coming to our wedding on May 29.

I'm glad I'm out of the BNP. I'd tell any people who are thinking about voting for them to think very carefully. I won't be voting for them again.

And I'd say to them, "Look at me and my family - would you vote against this?"

Everything's rosy for me now. And it's all down to Kaye.

Kaye's story:

Although I liked Pete deep down when we first began working together, I've always been very shy.

But we got close and then in July 2006 we went for a drink and I realised I had fallen head over heels for him.

As we got closer, people at work started gossiping. Then one day someone came up to me and asked me if I knew that Pete was in the BNP. At the time, I didn't even know what the BNP was - so she told me it was a racist party.

I came to England in 2000 from Jamaica to be my uncle's carer. I'd been brought up to respect people no matter who they are or whatever their skin colour. So I wasn't used to anything like the BNP.

At first I just thought it was another political party. But as I did find out more about it, I wasn't worried it would stop me and Pete getting together because I felt we'd had a connection straight away.

I've always followed horoscopes and we were a perfect match. Once I realised how compatible we were, I thought, "That's it, I'm not searching any more. I've found him,
The One."

As time went by I saw more about the BNP on television and I thought, "Are they really like that?" I'd like them to realise that it doesn't matter what colour or culture you are, we're all one. If we're cut, we all bleed the same. But at the end of the day that's their beliefs, and I can't change it.

The only problem we've had is when someone Pete used to work with asked him if he was still going out with that "black b****".

Pete was really upset when he came home and told me about it. I could've put a complaint in but I thought about the man's wife and children - they didn't deserve to suffer for what their dad had said.

Knowing the Pete I know, I can't believe he has ever been racist. To me, he's just lovely Pete. He's my world - he's loving, gorgeous and generous. He means the world to me.

I’ve never been as happy in a relationship as I am with Pete. All my family love him to bits, too. I get on really well with Pete's mum and he loves spending time with my auntie in London. The first time my auntie met him she told me, "He's the man for you, look after him".

Most importantly, he treats my children from my first relationship as though they're his own.

Our wedding in May is going to be amazing - a real mix of English and Jamaican culture. It will reflect both of us. Behind the main table Pete will have two flags, a British and a Jamaican one, and to eat we'll have curry goat, rice and peas as well as roast salmon. Pete's got really into his spicy food now, he puts spice on pretty much everything!

My family will be coming over from Jamaica for the wedding and it will be a real mix of cultures as we'll have guests from all over the world. It will be the start of a new life together, united.

I know what people say about the BNP, but I don't care. They can get on with their life and I'll get on with mine.

Still, I'd like to think our relationship sends out a message and lets people realise that being in a mixed relationship doesn't matter - it can work and you can be happy.

There's no room for racism and small-minded views in this country.

Source: mirror.co.uk

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