Sunday, 23 November 2014
Our Future Free From Racism
“Our Future Free from Racism” - I’m only slightly embarrassed to confess that in recent months I seem to have adopted Twitter as my new home from home. When I recently posted - I mean 'tweeted'- about the St Andrew's Day March and Rally on November 29th one of my followers, based in the USA, replied with the following (what seemed to me at least) rather flippant statement: “The day racism ends is the day the right-handers start killing the left-handers. Or vice versa.” I admit I am still not entirely sure what he meant by this less than 140 character riddle but I refuse to believe that our future cannot be free of racism. To believe otherwise would be fatalism and cynicism personified, as well as a crime against humanity. But, to make this future a reality we do need to be vigilant and challenge racism wherever and whenever we see it – whether in the street, at our workplaces, in football grounds, on the pages of newspapers or in Parliament. The author Brian Niro (2003:1), in his book Race, argued that this concept and idea was a monster. He went on to say that “Race… is a monster because of the manner in which it has been employed for the justification of a systematic oppression and for the wholesale murder of huge populations.” And indeed, from the slave trade to the Nazi death camps, this notion of ‘race’ has been employed in the most murderous of ways. And yet it is still not consigned to the vaults of a shameful history. From the deportation of Roma in France and Italy, to the ‘everyday’ racism captured on mobile phones on public transport, we have a duty to stand-up and make ourselves heard, as citizens of a world that can be free of racism. We need to say loudly, and with purpose and intent, "not in my name".
Professor of Sociology and Social Policy
University of West of Scotland &
Board Member of CRER