Sunday, 1 February 2009

A serious posting

I have always had the advantage of being in the majority group where I live. I’m white, I can trace English ancestors back to the 16th century and insofar as I have a religion I am Church of England. I am middle class. I live in England in the United Kingdom.

Yet nothing upsets me more than bigotry and racism. Having married someone of mixed racial origins and therefore having a son of mixed race has nothing to do with it. I felt this way long before knowing Jo. Nevertheless, hearing that either of them has been picked on or ostracised for their racial origins is the hardest thing to bear.

I am proud that I can trace an ancestor who was farming the soil in the Cotswolds in the 16th century but I hope I would be equally proud if I could show that they had been farming a particular piece of soil in Uzbekistan or Nigeria. It is the fact that I can trace someone that far back that pleases me.

I can understand (if not always condone) someone being ostracised for their actions, for things that they purposely do, especially when those things hurt others. But I get totally bewildered that someone can be ostracised for being born, And that is what racism boils down to – a hatred of the fact that someone is born different.

I remember a story I once heard about a little white girl who asked her mother in a loud voice on a bus “Why is that man’s skin all brown?” The mother replied without hesitation “Because God made everybody different and some people have different coloured skin. It’s a bit like flowers in a garden – it would be very boring if they were all one colour wouldn’t it.”

And what has caused me to do this posting – just reading Pondside’s posting about her mother. Even knowing that it was in the 1930s and that far worse things are still happening today to read that a teacher put her head first into a garbage barrel to demonstrate where ‘her sort’ belonged caused me such sorrow and, I have to admit, such anger.

Because the Western World is so much more politically correct such a thing would not happen nowadays without the teacher suffering repercussions but what worries and saddens me is the knowledge from my own family’s experience that the underlying racism has not gone away.

If I had one wish......


  1. I'm with you brother.
    I don't get it. I have never understood it. Any one of us could have been born someone else. We all love, bleed, laugh, cry, wish, wonder.
    The question of all time might be, why would one think he is better, more deserving, than anyone else?
    Is that the most important lesson while we're here?

  2. Good point, Shabby Girl! My wife, who is a psychotherapist, (among other things!) says I have high self-esteem. This doesn’t mean I’m cocky or think I’m better than anyone else but it does mean I don’t feel I have to prove anything to anyone (other than myself).

    Perhaps some people with low self-esteem feel the need to boost themselves by imagining others are less than they are. If they can pick on a whole group as being less than they are, so much the better from their perspective.

    Whatever the lesson I do wish it could be learned more speedily.

  3. Mmmm, all so sad when you get down to it, people hurting other people, and all for what? If we could all just stand alongside each other and learn to love more, the power seekers wouldn't stand a chance. Great post.

  4. Fabulous post. I could not agree more. Found you over at A Woman of No Importance.

    I happen to be a Spanish/French looking Anglo (tracing my roots back to England) living in suburban white America, who happens to have a Chinese daughter. Racisim makes my very bones ache.

    Now to see the post you mentioned.

  5. The mother's response to her child would be the view in my ideal world. Sadly, even in the western world racism - overt and hidden - is easy to find. First Nations people come to mind right away - then there is the racism that comes when peoples from one land immigrate and carry with them the old prejudices against one another. I don't know what the answer is, but taling about the problem is a good thing - keep it in the open air.

  6. I agree, John.

    People are all beautiful. To me it doesn't matter what they look like, their skin color, language, religion...or not, no matter how they chose to live...we are all in need of the same things within.

    (I tend to get a bit worked up about bigotry myself and it hurts me terribly when the "religious" people use Christ's name in such a hurtful manner. He did not come to condemn the world, He came to save it.)

    You know, it's not only racism being a problem and issue. People also shun others for choices they make about the way they live and things they've done in their lives. It is most definately good that you posted this.

    ♥ Heather


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