Before I begin, let me say that my own hands are clean. My family background is mostly Swedish and none of my known ancestors was ever involved with slavery of mistreatment of darker-skinned people. I have nothing against black people per se and judge individuals more by the content of their heads than by the skin covering them. Indeed, I have known a number of blacks whom I considered friends.
But what a mess the George Floyd incident, as unfortunate as it was, has grown into! It seems that every time one turns around, there’s another protest incident involving not only black people but also whites and others who think (wish?) they were black. The slogan of the day has become, “black lives matter,” as though brown, yellow and white lives did not count for a fraction of a ha’penny. To me, LIFE matters, although I see rather less than no hope that that will ever become a slogan.
Such things are not new. Is anyone besides me old enough to remember who Stokely Carmichael was? The purported founder of the “black power” movement that cast such a pall over the 1960s, that’s who. Among other things, their clenched fist / raised arm salute was frighteningly reminiscent of what was symbolic of a certain other group only some twenty years previously.
The difference is that now all non-blacks seem to be running scared, falling all over each other in a rush to issue (hopefully) conciliatory statements and, astonishingly, to change the way they run their own lives and businesses. Even the Uffizi gallery in Florence, home to many acknowledged art masterpieces, is setting some of those aside in order to make way for a “black presence” display. Even the producers of The Simpsons TV program have announced that they will no longer have black characters voiced by white actors. (Just wondering: does this mean that some white actors will lose their jobs as a result?) To me, such fear-inspired overreactions are just plain wrong! So far as I know, such things do not constitute any part of the political demands of any black groups. I suppose much may have to do with wishing to avoid having masses of unruly people who just happen to be black gathering in front of ordinary business places and defacing those premises with graffiti or whatever. I fail, however, to see that as much of an excuse for cowardice.
So much for real democracy!
Worst of all, various groups have taken to pulling down or destroying statues, including some with no apparent relation to slavery, and other monuments. Whatever could they be thinking? Even here in the USA, where many statues in the South are likely to represent Confederate officers, they still reflect part of our history. Yet even a certain University is now backing down and removing the Rhodes statue, notwithstanding that a fair number of blacks have benefited from the scholarship that still bears the Rhodes name. Will the removal of such pieces somehow make blacks’ lives better? Or is this all intended to make the perpetrators merely feel better, being out of sight equating to being out of mind, at least for those with weak minds. Forget about any artistic value that statuary may have! Why not destroy all statues and plunge us into Muslim-type aniconism?
I can’t help thinking that, if there are any living descendants of the subjects of such destroyed statues, they should sue the destroyers thereof. My own reaction to any who dared to threaten, destroy or deface any property in which I have an interest would be rather more harsh.
Investigation of police misconduct and regulation of police action is another matter for another day.