October 15, 2015 7 Comments
I had long been a fan of journalist and author Gary Younge but after attending his speech at Canada Water library, my respect for him has grown.
Reading passages from his book, telling us anecdotes and answering the audiences questions with depth left a room of people feeling enlightened.
His book focuses on the ‘most famous speech in the world, that no one really knows’. It covers the myths surrounding that day in August that has gone down in history as the day things changed.
And there the myth begins, that Doctor Martin Luther King abolished centuries of racism with a selection of well delivered words.
But he didn’t and he couldn’t. Because racism is, and will, continue to be an eternal blight on society. His speech merely made bigots realise that their persecution was no longer acceptable in public, so they merely found other ways to keep the non-white population in their place.
Younge discussed the education system in America and the systematic racism that is inbred within that system. Did you know that two thirds of young people in prisons in Chicago were arrested while at school? It is standard procedure for schools – even primary schools – to have armed security guards at the gates. Imagine navigating that entry to your place of education as a innocent five-year-old child.
As Younge said: “As long as you keep people uneducated, you can maintain the story that they are less intelligent.”
It just becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that ingratiates itself so deep that it travels from one generation to another.
Fifty-two years after MLK and 200,000 people stood for freedom in Washington, racism is still rife although it’s manner has changed.
In the 60’s the aim was clear, non-white Americans simply wanted the same rights. To be able to sit where they wanted, go to a restaurant without being turned away or not be denied a job because of the colour of their skin.
But now, in 2015, what is our fight? Do we have a specific result that we want to see? The systematic racism is so covert now, that it is hard to focus on one particular issue.
Stop killing innocent unarmed black men. Stop the negative propaganda that encourages people to believe the stereotype. Stop abusing beautiful women of colour because their skin is too dark or their hair is too natural. Stop ridiculing our heritage while copying our ways.
Will we ever be able to navigate this maze with our lives intact? The only difference from 50 years ago is that they shoot you instead of hanging you from a tree.
We all know the truth, but we cannot give up the fight. To walk away now would be disrespectful to those who came before us.
But we have to find a new way to overcome the various challenges we face, otherwise there is no point