The current turmoil in the west over race is simply a continuation of a history narrative that started with the exploration of Africa by European rulers in the 1400s, leading to slavery and colonisation, and then nationalism, and the fight for social and economic parity by minorities, especially blacks in the Americas and Western Europe.
The history of the black race is very much the history of the west, even though a great many whites will attempt to deny that reality. And the great suffering of blacks everywhere — including the genocide that was slavery — as blacks attempted to establish their dignity and social space in the midst of a virulently white and racist culture in the west, is simply a continuation of that history story: the march to true social and economic emancipation by blacks after freedom from slavery and Jim Crow.
‘Facts of history’
There are two facts of history. The first is that history is written by the rulers of the epochs where the narrative derives. The second is that history is not static. What may have been fact in 1400, 1500 and 1600 may be viewed as flawed hundreds of years later by new research. And what may have been morally acceptable in one age may become completely unacceptable in another.
And that is what is taking place today with United States President Donald Trump and the Republicans, the bogeymen for race change. Like Black Lives Matter and the black and socialist backlash to racism, the Republicans and populists in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are inadvertently drivers of racial change and upheaval, change that is unstoppable. It is a great paradox that the very people who try to block a movement make that movement stronger and inevitably successful.
Writers of history
Yes, as it was in the past, when rulers of countries wrote the history and established the values and cultures that governed human existence, at a later age a new class of ruler redefines the history of the past and re-establishes new values and cultures that govern the present. That is what is happening with BLM and the street revolt we are all witnessing this mid-2020.
Racism appeared acceptable in the 1950s and 1960s, just 100 years after an American Civil War that ended slavery. But the world has moved on from 1960. In 2020 what was acceptable in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is no longer acceptable. That is how social evolution works. There is nothing surprising or shocking about the BLM revolt.
Throughout history, change towards equality by the poor and downtrodden has only been achieved by violent upheaval and the deaths of the leaders of that upheaval. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by the white society that governed the 1960s who saw him as the unacceptable face of the equally unacceptable Civil Rights Movement at the time of Jim Crow. Today Mr. King’s statue stands proudly at the National Mall in Washington DC.
The ‘genie’ is out
In 2008 US President Barack Obama was the acceptable face of US leadership to minority blacks and a significant number of whites and Latinas who placed him in the White House. However, the culture and values of white society that remained dominant when Mr. Obama was elected could not accept a black president. The result was backlash and the election of a reactionary and racist president in Mr. Trump.
But the march for true social equality continued. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it cannot be put back in.
Black Lives Matter is simply the spearhead of a movement that today includes blacks, whites and various minorities of other races who understand that change will come whether we want it or not, and that it is better to move out the way or get crushed by the force and reality of history marching with the times.
Consequently, whites in the “old mould,” who may panic and view today’s “black anger” and a refusal by blacks to accept the status quo as a threat, are simply keeping back the inevitable. The wisest thing to do is to accept the movement of history and become a fellow change agent. If not, you will be severely disappointed. Change will take place in any event, whether you like it or not.
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