Imagine there were no people from Africa as one region on the planet. Or rather, imagine everyone with a little bit of race that was not the same as your own left this, our host planet, in one migratory movement. If I as one person could leave planet Earth such that every single person on the planet might feel a little more comfortable in their negative sentiment towards me, I would. Unfortunately, I cannot as the present does not allow it. I can move countries, or go back to Africa which as always is an option. The only thing with that is, freedom, rights and ethnicity, each of which are inherently bound within a three-way interrelationship, all came about through racist negativity. By racism, I don’t mean the modern form of name calling and occasional violent riots in streets, social movements, police harassment, targeted and biased attitudes from every member of society within specific social circles or even just intolerance.
It takes a lot to be anti-racist but perhaps it is simply just an act. In high-school, I learnt the one word every African hates (or should) despite not fully understanding the connotations for the past, future and present of myself, my family and anyone I once knew to be of an ethnic persuasion (that is to say, who had a little colour as opposed to being called ‘black’ or ‘coloured’ or the N bomb – which is the accursed word). One of my friends asked me as one person, do you mind if I call you that name (as opposed to my actual name). I replied, being young and ignorant as with us all, “yeah sure!” and from that point on, something in my life became abnormal to the point where I was desensitised to the effects of racism, intolerant to all things racist; except, I failed to note something very important. I am not a member of the African community in Scotland. Neither am I a member of any community in Scotland.
What does racism mean to me? War(s) that I wasn’t involved in, in which my country of birth had nothing to do with (outside of enslavement post-1600), and I note this as my birth country as opposed to where I live now didn’t exist until after the 1950s. I went back (some people say, “go back to where you came from etc.” which I did once, and was baptised in Zambia despite having a church in Edinburgh. I was racially abused in the airport in Johannesburg, something I didn’t think much of despite the journey to visit my father’s grave with my family). Then, everywhere I went I saw the effects of racism, poverty, child poverty, homelessness in minors under the age of 10 on a regular basis. Not starvation, but roads with potholes. Building that are poorly constructed and not maintained. A lack of toys for kids. Food that would not be eaten or consumed in five-star hotels etc.; and more than anything, the elitism that I was raised with (and this might sound funny but I will explain as this essay continues).
Imagine travelling to a country on holiday, and then the army of that country, (ill-equipped and ill-trained in how to hold a rocket launcher on a non-strategic bridge) corrupt and very much in need of dignity, pride, self-respect and a little honour, takes a bribe in order to allow a member of the public passage on the same bridge to watch a dam release water. This is the effect of colonialism. A world in which despite the struggles for freedom, the same freedom(s) that are taken for granted such as the privilege of a house or flat in a bad area of town surrounded by lots of really good people in a country with a lot more infrastructure in comparison than you could imagine.
This is mostly meaningless, and “sorry” doesn’t fix the problem, whilst it addresses an issue, it doesn’t fix the problem (which is why I believe in Global Disarmament in favour of Education and Healthcare). It might not matter, but xenophobia, racism and the burning of an individual are a normal thing to happen in many African states, where that would be an atrocity to the shame of most, if not all, Western nations of a civilised nature. Money doesn’t help either (due to the fact that it would take a lot more than simply a few countries or a few organisations, or a handful of charities and charitable giving from a public to turn the clock back). So, why am I writing this personal statement and why should black lives matter? or rather do they matter in the modern age? i.e. is there a single nation that uses equality [as an ideal] and then enshrines the very same in its history, it’s truth and belief structure? In my own eyes there is not one, despite the laws and the changing attitudes. Equality requires all inhabitants of a nation or rather the planet to be equal, otherwise it doesn’t exist.