Okay. So, I was struggling with the letter X. Until I just thought of Xenophobia.
Xenophobe - A person who is fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or people from different countries or cultures.
It made me think of Emily’s dad and how disgustingly rude and prejudiced he is about the fact that his daughter is in a relationship with a gypsy traveller. He knows nothing about Dylan, but the fact that he is a gypsy seems to override the need to find out anything else. It completely and immediately clouds his judgement and he incorrectly assumes so much, based on ludicrous discriminatory and blinkered thoughts and opinions. Gladly, thoughts and opinions that Emily does not share. I felt angry writing a particular scene where Emily’s dad is especially hostile towards Dylan. Credit where it is due, my parents brought me up to believe that we are all equal and people ought to be treated so. They taught me that although we are all different, we are also just the same. People who don’t believe this basic truth leave me bewildered. I will not tolerate any form of narrow-mindedness in my own life. Intolerance, injustice, chauvinism and discrimination are things human beings should have grown out of long ago.
Here is an excerpt from Black Eyed Boy:
“He’s one of those dirty gypsies, isn’t he? Disgusting,” Dad said, shaking his head at Dylan, who seemed surprisingly still relatively calm. I don’t know how he could be, because I was ready to explode.
“Says the man whose jumper smells of whisky and whose trousers smell of piss.” The words rushed out through my gritted teeth before my brain could engage and realise what I was doing.
Dad’s hand flew and slapped me, hard, across the face, the force of it making me stumble backwards and bang my head on the flagstones. I was bleeding. Both Dylan and Mrs Bishop rushed to my side.
“Come inside now, Emily,” said Mrs Bishop. “I need to see your head in the light and make sure you’re okay.” Her hands were trembling.
Dylan’s eyes had never been darker, and his face was set in a vaguely controlled frown. I sat up and grasped his hand. I felt a bit woozy and so I hung on to his side.
“You’re not seeing this dirty little bastard again, Emily, so you had better say goodbye.” Dad spat the words out, and the hatred in his eyes was frighteningly real.
“Dad, I’m nearly sixteen, don’t be stupid,” I begged him.
“You’d better not have touched her,” my dad said. His eyes were wild and menacing.
“He hasn’t,” I shouted. “Stop it.”
“Don’t even look at her,” my dad yelled at Dylan.
“But I love her,” he said.
I was shocked, silenced and I looked up to see if he meant it. As awful as this situation was, there was still the time for my heart to sing and rejoice at those most perfect words.
“Love her?” my dad laughed, cruelly, riling Dylan who was struggling to maintain his composure. “This isn’t love! You’re just a filthy pikey, lad, out to fill your boots. Well, it’s over, you won’t be seeing Emily again.”