It took me a long time between leaving my teenage years and on into my adulthood to recognise that even as a child there had been inherent racism about. There were no African people living where I lived, there were no Asian people either. In other words, there were no people living within my scope who were anything other than pink in colour. We were not taught in school that black people, or brown people, or people with sallow complexions were bad people, nor that they were lazy, untrustworthy, or of a criminal mentality. Nor of course were we taught anything to the contrary either. Yet, there was still an inherent racism across the country.
Of course, you see I say Asian, African ( black, brown, sallow). I do not say French, German, Australian, American, or Greek. I do not mention Polish either. After the Second World War many Polish people settled in Britain, we were glad to help them, they had been a tremendous ally during the war. So had the people of Jamaica and India, and many other places too. But for them we were not so willing to help, proving that it was entirely about colour.
For now though we have moved on and we find ourselves in a different, more complex set of circumstances. To a degree we seem to have overcome our stupid, stupid reaction to people’s skin tone, but find ourselves at odds over religious issues instead. One religion believes that all people who do not believe as they do are probably irredeemable heathens, another, that people not following their religion should be dammed to eternity. Whichever God or collection of Gods is in the Heavens, quite possibly thinks we are all irredeemable fools, but, oddly, loves us anyway.
We must face the truth though and recognise that when a vicious and murderous act takes place we should blame the perpetrators of the act, not the religion. Down the ages many acts of heinous savagery have taken place that have been perpetrated by people following many different religious credos and many innocent victims have gone far too early to their graves. It is sad that we are travelling at break-neck speed through the twenty-first century now and yet still seem to be as barbaric a species as ever we were. Other mammal groups don’t behave anything like as badly as we do…we should be ashamed.
Obviously no one religion or religious group should try to dominate another and yet to that end we find ourselves constantly in conflict. The truth is that we are all Charlie in one capacity or another and the violence must stop or a Third World War will surely arrive and take us all by surprise.
©Joe Wilson – We are all still Charlie…2015