Tuesday, May 04, 2010

#175: Ebony And Ivory


'Master and mistress, and neighbors, and negroes assemble, and black and white are seen strung along the great table, like the keys of a piano, and, like the aforesaid instrument, the black keys make fully as much noise as the white; all mingle for a while in the utmost harmony and good feeling....' Rev C F Sturgis, 'Duties of Christian Masters to their Slaves', 1849.

Stirring words indeed.  Sadly though by the 1970s you could still buy Little Black Sambo on 45 and Nigger Boy at Royal Shows dotted around the country.  I do wonder though, with all the talk about racial tolerance, have we really learnt anything?  Are we a racist country?

Of course we aren't.  However we are a country that does have it's racist sections, and those sections are, sadly, the ones that gain the most publicity.  After all in this day and age of sensationlism and artificial news gernation (William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pullizer would have thrived today) a story about some cretin who refuses to sell their house to a Muslim is more 'newsworthy' than someone who openly embraces equality for all.  We have people who hate others in all walks of life, and it scares me that some of them are in positions of power.

Not that I've ever believed in racism.  To me we're all one race - human.  To be racist, in my eyes, is to hate your pet galah - after all he's a different race to you and I, or, at least I hope so.  To hate another human due to colour, religion or creed is merely discrimination at best, hate and bigotry at worst.  That includes those who despise others because they're not Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Islamic, Buddhist, Jew or Satanist.  Once we're all dead then we'll all be in the same places, up, down, or wandering the earth as a Casper.

So, you're not a racist, you're a hate filled bigot.  Get used to it.  Let loose the poisoned chalice and embrace your own flaws and weaknesses.  Then discard them, and love your fellow human beings.  It's all one big race and if we hate each other so much, well then it's no point being in the race, surely?

After all, it's what Buddha would want us all to do.  That, and eat lots of food and become as fat as he is.

And should Little Black Sambo be banned?  In my eyes, no.  I don't believe in the banning of historical literature, no matter how offensive it can be, and that includes volumes such as Mein Kampf.  We don't ban the Bible, or the Koran, and, frankly, more people have been killed by people hiding behind those two volumes than anyone has by hiding behind Sambo, Lady Chatterly's Lover , 1984, Golliwog or Noddy for that matter. 

To my knowledge no-one has lynched another from a tree in the name of Big Ears, but I'd love to stand corrected.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Little Black Sambo is the story of how an Indian boy outwits a couple of tigers. How it came to be considered a racist epithet for African-Americans could be quite a story in itself.