Discriminating In Order To Stop Discrimination
The quite unnecessary treatment and particularly the killing of George Floyd has opened up a lot of wounds, heightened - no doubt - by the frustrations resulting from the imposition of lockdown due to the virus.
It has highlighted an on-going issue that we have been fully aware of for quite some time - the extreme treatment of blacks by the police in the USA in particular, including many other occasions when the unnecessary killing of blacks by the police has taken place in the USA.
And, of course, we in the UK are not without blame either. In fact, sometimes I wonder whether much has changed since I was a community worker in Brixton (London) in the 1970s, when the area was virtually a black ghetto, and where things sometimes got well out of hand. And in South Africa, Apartheid still ruled and it was the time of the Steve Biko affair - again a matter of a police force deciding that they had the right to determine whether a man lived or died.
While I was at Brixton, I worked virtually alongside a black gentleman named Herman Ouseley, when he was a manager within the Lambeth Community Relations Council, and who later rose to be Lord Ouseley after his work related to racial discrimination issues. Later still, he became head of Kick-it-Out, the organisation that has fought racism in football. But I feel from reading his words that he has been quite frustrated in his attempts to help worthwhile change take place.
Back in the 70s, the issue of stop-and-search was a hot potato - just as it is now. Now, this is an interesting matter - the police give more attention to stopping blacks because they say it is the black community (and also the Pakistan-sourced population) from which many troubles have stemmed. But does the police - or the government of the day - really ask the question 'Why is this the case?'.
Surely - as in the case of an unhealthy body the best cure is to find the cause and deal with it. In this case the "body" in question is the black community. To sort out unrest the cause of the unrest needs to be dealt with. But there have only been faint-hearted attempts to do so. And government austerity measures have only helped to bring matters back to a head in the UK
These days we see more black and Asian people in the government office, but I feel that in most cases they toe the white man's line. We - the whites - seem not to want to give up our control over the kind of culture we want rather than let it openly and naturally evolve. The kind of questions immigrants have to answer before gaining citizenship seems to be proof of that.
While I like the sentiments of this poem, it really is not, of course, about the use of discrimination in general. And that is really the main point about this article because we - perverse as it may seem - need to discriminate in our search for truth and in decision-making. Without applying a rightful form of discrimination, how can we determine what to do along desirable lines?
So, let us learn how to correctly discriminate to end the wrongful discrimination in all aspects of life. We - surely! - need to do this.
In this, we do have a problem because when black leaders get interviewed, they tend to say that it is the whites that need to be re-educated. They say it is we that are indoctrinated. The fact is, however, that although their main point is that historically it is the whites and their culture that has created this situation in the first place, they are in fact only partly right. Colonialism and slavery have long existed in all races - the Africans and the Arabs were as good at it as anyone else long before the whites came along. In fact, certain black tribes aided and abetted the whites in making it possible for blacks to be cruelly exported to the Americas.
Let us not also forget that it was the UK that was on the road towards abolishing slavery from about the time of the American independence - particularly through the effort of William Wilberforce and further enforced by Birmingham's Joseph Sturge's efforts later on.
As Michael Portillo summarised at the conclusion of his recent insightful series of trips to countries around the old British Empire, what happened during that period was the mentality of that period. We have made efforts to learn from such gross mistakes. But we still have a way to go - and as Blessings Mitembu has written (above), by remembering that we are all of one God we can solve the issue. First of all, however, everyone has to come to that point of agreement.
One thing must be certain: aggressive protesting does not work effectively. There have been at least two examples of constructive and successful protest: that standard set by Mahatma Gandhi and, going back much further, the unity and peaceful protest attained in Birmingham as part of that town's effort in achieving the 1832 Reform Act.
Thank you for reading this.