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We need to go beyond skin colour

08 Jun 2020 / 20:10 H.

BLACK, white or coloured, what does it matter? To most who can see the truth and reality and set them apart from mere perception, it does not matter, yet, to others the distinction matters a great deal.

What is this thing called race? Race is the most associated differentiation factor when it comes to colour. Race is a false classification of people that is not based on any real or accurate biological or scientific truth. In other words, the differences we make between races has nothing to do with scientific truth.

Race is a political construct. A political construct is something created by people and is not a natural development. It is created for a political purpose. The concept of race was created as a classification of human beings with the purpose of decimating the rights of weaker and minority races. Systematic and institutionalised discrimination legitimises prejudicial dominance, pitting humans against humans.

The history of the construction of racism is long and tedious and no matter what the reference is, there are bound to be ambiguities, and these obscurities were created by xenophobes of the relevant era.

Would you even believe that during the Reformation, a key question among one religious hierarchy was whether Blacks and “Indians” had souls and were human?

Skin colour is the basis on which slavery thrived and persisted through centuries in many parts of the world, particularly the United States. With the increasing importance of slavery, religion was used to justify racist divisions, classifying people of colour as “pagan and soulless”.

Owning slaves was often a measure of social and economic status in 19th century United States and black Africans and Americans were traded with ownership transferred at the free will of the masters, like the slaves were some commodity.

The slave-based economy in the American South necessitated a racist exploitative system, which led to the development of biological, zoological and botanical theories to “explain human difference and to justify slavery”.

It is interesting to note that despite the abolition law that was passed in the Northern United States in the 19th Century, slavery continued to thrive with the demand induced by the cotton industry, among others.

It was common for slaves who were released from their bond to be kidnapped from slave-free states and sold in “slave-states”

In India, pseudo-slavery practices went on for centuries in the name of a caste system, which is glorified even in this day and age, albeit reduced considerably. The predilection for light skin is common, and unapologetically, women are often their own enemies with a penchant for fair-skinned brides made known openly.

The point of the narrative above is to cast our vote on whether we should support the awakening in the United States going on for days now.

Agreed, that on any count, violence of all kinds should never be the basis to be heard, but when push comes to shove, the discriminated will use whatever means for their voices to be heard and acted upon. The superiority mentality remains, despite all the advancements we have seen, bringing up the fundamental question if it can ever be exterminated completely.

It is appalling to watch the video of a policeman with his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he gasps for life and finally gives up. No one should ever be subjected to such violence and cruelty.

As we try to grapple with the many possibilities (read as theories), none can justify how a policeman could have such intent to harm another human being.

The United States has come of age, or so we would think. Blacks and coloured people’s fight is far from over so long as we have leaders who act on the basis of who is right as opposed to what is right.

The solidarity shown by coloured people in the US in recent weeks is astonishing and is an indication that all is not well with the human rights being selectively propagated and practised in that country.

It was an obvious case of homicide, but the authorities took their time to act on the policeman who was responsible and those who abetted the crime.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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