05 July 2022 - Article
Dame Linda Penelope Dobbs, DBE, was the first non-white person to serve as a senior judge of England and Wales, from 2004 to 2013.
She experienced discrimination when she was a pupil for her ethnicity and gender. For example, she discovered that her clerk would sometimes tippex her name and give her brief to one of the male pupils. Some clients specifically said to her: “I said I didn’t want a woman”. She suspected that “it may also have been that I was a person of colour, but they were too embarrassed to say that.”
A notable experience was when she was booked to represent members of the National Front. When she asked the clerk if it was a good idea, the clerk told her to do an “Al Jolson in reverse”, by which he meant: “get a bit of tennis white and do that to your face and they won’t know the difference”.
Dame Linda Dobbs admitted that it was not very good for her self-esteem but she powered through despite the prejudice and chose to rise above it. She inspiringly noted that “I could stamp my feet and make a fuss, or put my head down, work hard, and prove my worth. I decided to do the latter”.
So while she may not be a superhero in the movies like Chadwick and Black Panther, she is definitely a superhero to me.
Find out more about Dame Linda Dobbs and her inspirational work in this video about her life and career.