As an occasional reader of the UK s Daily Mail, I was utterly shocked to read some statements made by columnist Melanie Philips.
According to what I read and if I understood well the points the journalist named above wanted to make, one should consider that slavery was evil, but a mea culpa from politicians and church is a little bit over exaggerated.
Melanie Philips also implied that, besides white slave traders, there were also black and Arab traders, so victimizing black people is a little bit too much of an exaggeration, as far as she is concerned.
Really? Do you really have a sense of proportion, Mrs Philips? I agree: there might have been a minority of black and Arab traders, but do you know how many white people participated to evil slave businesses?
Should I mention that Melanie Philips is white? Does her skin color matter? Yes, it does matter, because the columnist belongs to that category of white persons who think from their comfortable all white point of view.
In conclusion to what is supposed to be a brilliant demonstration of literacy and history, Mrs. Philips, extra poles on the current gang related problems that black people encounter in our contemporary society. Of course, those problems are not slavery related. Or maybe yes, they are.
If you consider that black people were leaving peacefully in Africa, in a simple, nevertheless organized society and demanded nothing to no one.
All of a sudden, huge crews of invaders from America, England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and many more countries came to capture those people, put them into chains, made them travel in most inhuman conditions, sold them for money and used them as free working forces in their plantations, raping their wives and daughters, murdering the men that rebelled against their detention condition in a very merciless manner.
What is the link with today s society? You don t see the point? Here it is: the descendants of the many slaves are living here. Should I mention that your country built most of its wealth on those slaves sweat? Or this that just another unimportant detail of history to you?
The slaves descendants didn t ask for anything: they were born here and have the same rights as you!
If there are gang related problems, it is because those people don t have the same chances as you. Have you considered that black people are often singled out in dirty ghettos and have less chances to access a better education? That s the reality, but some of you middle class white persons seem to be blind to such problems!
As a white woman, I am advocating black people s cause, because I know how it feels to be singled out by your color. I have lived such situations through my bi racial kids. However, I am happy to have educated them to never be ashamed of their color, nor of their heritage from both sides.
Do you realize, Mrs Philips, that when you step out of our house, you will never be singled out because of your skin color? People will never describe you as a white woman, while they will single out a black woman because of her skin color. She won’t be described as a person, a woman, but most people will talk about her skin color first, which will never happen to you when you will step out with your comfortable middle class mentality.
Maybe Shilpa Shetty was right when she stated that middle class racism was the thing to fear in Great Britain.
Unlike France, contemporary Great Britain doesn t seem to have a big racism problem- in appearance only.
Racism is officially banned and you cannot be discriminated against in as a job seeker because of your color. However, having lived there now for 8 months approximately, I could observe that racism wears a phonier garment in the UK: people live side by side, but secretly hate themselves by communities.
Most white British people cultivate a secret hatred for Indians who can t stand Blacks, most of the time, and the list goes on.
In conclusion, I don t think we will ever erase racism from the roots of our earth.
But we can fight against it with our whole heart and apologize for history s evil mistakes, for the next generations to learn the lessons.
It is because of people like you, Mrs. Philips, that some people are encouraged to deny the Holocaust or other similar crimes.
Give a sincere apology when an apology is due. No matter if the prejudice goes back to two centuries, the new generations continue to carry the scars of their ancestors sorrows-in other forms of modern slavery.
Copyright Â© 2007 by Isabelle Esling
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