Monday, 11 November 2019

The Challenge of Racism in America

“We just need to open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.”
— Barack Obama speaking in Selma on March 7 2015 at the fifth anniversary of the famous march


"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their pain."
— James Baldwin

“We were eight years in power. We had built schoolhouses, established charitable institutions, built and maintained the penitentiary system, provided for the education of the deaf and dumb, rebuilt the ferries. In short, we had reconstructed the State and placed it upon the road to prosperity.”

W.E.B. Du Bois
— Thomas Miller, South Carolina Congressman, 1895



“If  there was one thing that  South Carolina feared more than bad Negro government, it was good Negro  government."

—W.E.B. Du Bois

“Yet, the harsh fact is that in many places in this country, men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes. Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right.”

— Lyndon Johnson,Voting Rights Act Address, 1965

Sunday, 10 November 2019

The Dream of Political Racial and Economic Equality in South Africa

"There's no such thing here (in South Africa). The facts may be correct but the truth they embody is always a lie to someone else. Every inch of our soil is contested, every word in our histories." 
– Rian Malan, The Lion Sleeps Tonight 2012

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
– Nelson Mandela




Truth and Reconciliation Commission
“Having looked the beast in the eye having asked and received forgiveness, let us shut the door on the past and not forget it but to allow it not to imprison us.”
– Archbishop Tutu

Monday, 4 November 2019

Colson Whitehead: The Shredder of Illusions

Colson Whitehead photographed by Chris Close


Most of us do not harbour a benign view of slavery, namely the belief that the owners of slaves were reluctant masters who generally cared for the well being of their human property. There are, however egregious exceptions. In 2016 a curious children's book appeared, A Birthday Cake for George Washington, that portrayed happy slave children baking a cake for the first President, a whitewash of slavery that produced a swift and sharp backlash prompting the publisher to withdraw the book. More disturbing is that Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate for Alabama in the 2018 election and subsequently lost in one of the America's reddest states, publicly stated that America was great when slavery prevailed because black families were kept together, a grotesque misrepresentation of the historical reality when families were frequently and viciously torn apart.