I have never written about racism as I didn’t feel I was qualified, having never experienced any form of discrimination in my life. But that is precisely why I feel I have to talk about it now, to show support for Black Lives Matter.
Racism has existed throughout human history. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another — or the belief that another person is less than human — because of skin colour, language, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person.
During the past 500-1000 years, racism on the part of Western powers toward non-Westerners has had a far more significant impact on history than any other form of racism. The most notorious example of racism by the West has been slavery, particularly the enslavement of Africans in the New World. This enslavement was accomplished because of the racist belief that Black Africans were less fully human than white Europeans and their descendants.
Hundreds of years since this type of slavery has been abolished it still casts an evil shadow over our society and is the cause for the continued oppression of the black community.
On 28 August 1963, Martin Luther king had a dream that his children would live in a world “where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Nearly 60 years has passed since this historic moment and perhaps racism has changed, but has not been cured and is still very prevalent in our society.
So why does racism exist? When the difference in having black skin or white skin is no different than having blue eyes or green eyes, brown hair or ginger hair? Madiba said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate”. So, where does this hate come from?
1) Race is a false classification of people, which is not based on any real or accurate biological or scientific truth. In other words, the distinction we make between races, has nothing to do with scientific truth.
2) Race is a political construction. Created by people; it is not a natural development; is constructed or created for a political purpose.
3) The concept of race was created as a classification of human beings, with the purpose of giving power to white people and to legitimise the dominance of white people over non-white people.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, there were 4 stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 black people. Do the police stop, search and prosecute people on the Kings Road, Chelsea at the same rate they stop, search and prosecute people on Electric Avenue, Brixton?
This is not a crack down on criminality, it is the systematic oppression of people living in poverty, and due to hundreds of years of inequality these communities, are communities of colour.
The Black Lives Matter movement exists, because the black community is suffering. The term “Black Lives Matter” does not mean white lives don’t matter. Of course all lives matter. This movement is specifically about the inequalities faced by the black community and it needs our support.
Educate people saying #AllLivesMatter, it devalues the movement and has been cleverly created to do so. Look at it this way feminists are not female supremacists; they are not anti-male, they are simply fighting for equality between Men and Women.
Racism is however a learned behaviour, so to complete the earlier quote from Nelson Mandela
“…and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
I believe and I hope that racism can be cured. But, we all need to acknowledge it, not just that there are racists but systemic racism exists in our society we need to deal with the hundreds of years of oppression with radical change at government level. Begin by teaching the darker elements of our history in schools. It needs all of us to stand up to racists, demand change and support Black Lives Matter.
Dedicated to the memory of George Floyd and all the people facing oppression.