A 34-year-old man from Southend has admitted that he is OUTRAGED after spotting a sign outside James Paget Hospital in Lowestoft that ‘discouraged him’ from going inside as he feels that it is racist and discriminatory.
Derek Malcolm, whose grandparents settled in the UK in 1959 after coming over from the West Indies, believes that the declaration that the hospital is ‘smoke free’ is unacceptable due to the way that the word ‘smoke’ can be interpreted to mean ‘black person.’
He told Southend News Network’s Chief Reporter that he intends to take his fight to the very highest level.
He said: ‘The word ‘smoke’ is just another horrible word that can be used to describe a black person, and while it is nowhere near as commonly-used as other terms in modern society, it is still an unacceptable insult to someone over the colour of their skin.’
‘Although the hospital wants everyone to know that smoking is forbidden on the site, which we all agree is a great idea, I feel that in 2016 it is time to use wording that cannot offend anyone. What would be wrong with saying ‘cigarette-free’ or ‘no tobacco zone?’
‘My biggest fear in all of this is that a seriously ill black person will arrive there, see the sign and look elsewhere for urgent medical attention. They have the same signs at lots of other hospitals as well – I shudder to think how far they will have to travel before they get the help that they need.’
‘I have written to hospital bosses and given them 28 days to consider my request before I take it to a more legal level. I am delighted with the funding that I have secured through a generous donor.’
Mr Malcolm’s lawyer Dennis Di Mennis QC told Southend News Network that this could be a ‘huge moment’ in the fight against racial prejudice in modern British society.
He said: ‘If this case goes to court, it was throw up some fascinating and difficult questions that will need to be answered. One of my clients at the moment is a distraught Mexican domestic cleaner who works for a London company that has just changed its name to ‘Spick and Span Cleaning’ – he is just one person who could benefit from the outcome.’
‘I also represent a group of 240 Italians who live in Wapping in East London – they are watching the situation with interest.’