I have kept silent throughout all the Covid 19 epidemic, and I kept silent throughout the current Black Lives Matter movement, not because I don't support, agree or disagree with it but because I felt that the opinion of a late 40s white male was probably not needed.
However, I can stay silent no longer.
The Black Lives Matter movement was created out of anger at the way American Police were treating those who aren't white, and rightly so, no one should be made to feel like they are being oppressed, targeted and under threat because of their skin colour.
Here in the UK many stood out in solidarity with their "black" American brothers and sisters and also began to protest, unfortunately as usually happens when people are angry and frustrated you will get those who see this as an opportunity to vent other anger issues and take it out on anyone deemed authority, in this case the Police.
I admit I haven't been following the whole situation closely and there are probably some things I don't understand or have missed along the way, but it seems that whenever a criminal is killed and they happen to be of a different ethnicity to the Officer there is an uproar.
There are conflicting stories floating around on Social Media, and I apologize if I have my information wrong but George Floyd was a criminal, this does not excuse the actions of the Officers involved in his death and in no way did his previous crimes warrant being murdered.
It did get me thinking about another man of colour who was killed, not by the Police but by a group of Asian men, Danny Ferguson was shot and hacked to death with a machete at the age of 32 in February 1994, Danny was a bouncer and friend of mine who worked at Esquires bar as a bouncer, he wasn't involved in crime (to my knowledge) and he was a very friendly and well loved person.
His killers were never brought to justice as the six men arrested were acquitted, and I remember that his funeral was so packed out you couldn't get into the church, my point here is that there were no protests or riots as a result of Danny's passing, we mourned for him and we celebrated his life with song and drink, we were angry, not at all Asian people but at his killers, yet we didn't go around shouting for justice and rioting.
Perhaps Danny's death isn't a good comparison as he wasn't killed by a "white" Policeman? however he was killed by men from an (allegedly) Asian background, two different races but no racial comeback?
During the 90's when I lived in Bedford I had a lot of friends from all walks of life and backgrounds, I would hang around with Geordie's, Glaswegians, Irish, Italian, Indian, Pakistani, Jamaican, Mongolian, Afro-Carrbian, white Londoner's, people of mixed race and anyone who I got on with.
Bedford is a multicultural city and at the time there was no difference in colour among friendships, it was all about WHO you were and no one was defined because of skin, at least no one that I knew until I began dating a Jamaican woman, I was called many names including "N" lover and other derogatory terms, now I imagine most of you are thinking "that is typical of right wing white racists who cannot accept mixed relationships".
You would be wrong in thinking this though as our relationship was accepted by all my friends, more so by those with white skin, it was always the afro-caribbean's who would treat me this way, and these were the same black men who dated white women? yet they hated seeing a black woman with a white man?
Racism is rife in the black and white communities, I have seen Asians picking on a white boy and calling him "honky" among other racial slurs and when the "white" boy retaliated with something just as bad he was singled out and called into the headmasters office and reprimanded, not the Asian boys who targeted him but the white boy who got into trouble.
There is racism and bigotry on all sides of the spectrum, this isn't about how I was treated as a white man/boy though, its about the Black Lives Matter movement, this movement is no longer about George Floyd, it has gone beyond that, it is becoming a "us and them" mentality among the protestors, yes there may be the odd bad apple among today's Police force who will target black people, but without educating those type of people there is no way forward.
I sympathize wholly with those who have experienced racism and been targeted by the police and there are many who do stand with the movement and agree with the principals of it, I can also see the symbolism of tearing down a statue of a man who made his money from slave trading.
What I do not agree with though is defacing military monuments, the historian within me is outraged that these "Children" as that is what many of them are (Physically or mentally) think that destroying historical monuments of figures who despite their shady past, did good things with the money they made and created the cities in which these rioters and protesters live in, is doing good for the movement.
You cannot erase history, no matter how much you try, remove a few statues and you will always be left with reminders of slavery, the Pyramids, anything built by the Romans, temple mount in Jerusalem to name but a few, to destroy history is to destroy life, without the past and the lessons it teaches us we are doomed to keep making the same mistakes.
By all means remove the statues of slave traders but place them somewhere in a museum specifically to teach our children what happened, replace them with true heroes in our cities and towns, no matter how many statues you destroy there will always be reminders of a time long past.
Very little offends me, but I do have strong opinions and I will share these no matter who it may offend if you don't like it move on past it, ignore it, don't read it, don't listen to the music, don't watch the News,films or TV series, just because it is there for others to see doesn't mean it has to affect you and your life, it isn't naming you it isn't targeting you personally it is purely entertainment.
It appears that some members of the Black Lives Matter movement want to eradicate anything white, they want to subjugate us by expecting us to kneel and apologize for the treatment "our" ancestors gave theirs. this is something I would never do, I apologize only when I personally am in the wrong not for others actions who I had no part or control in.
What they should be asking for is solidarity and unison among all creeds and races, not making demands to remove anything they deem offensive which was around long before they were a glint in their Daddy's eye, while they prance around in their "name brand" clothes and trainers which were probably made in a sweat shop in India by five year old's (where's the uproar for that injustice?), stop taking your anger out on the wrong things, research your history and you will find that although you may be targeted you are not alone.
There are many other people who live with the same fears and are profiled, maybe not for the colour of their skin but for how they wear their hair, the clothes they wear or music they listen to, in fact Facebook proved their ignorance recently by temporarily banning any group, profile or page that appeared to be a "skinhead or punk" related.
They targeted a group of people who are probably more diverse ethnically than any other because they wrongly assumed "Skinheads and Punks" were racists, this is a form of profiling is it not? and the people who are demanding the removal or change of anything "white" should be ashamed of themselves, it is not black vs white, it is not about this "snowflake" generation being offended by something that came before them, it is about coming together as one human race, it should be about equality and treating your fellow man/woman with respect.
Violence is not the answer, trashing and destroying history is not the answer, looking at where the largest of problems lay will begin to build the bridges needed to move past bigotry and racism, if the Police are abusing their powers then it is the Police force which needs rethinking.
Personally I believe that the British Police were much better off before they began letting people under 6ft to join the force, we have seen a rise in police officers that are either overweight and unfit to catch a cold let alone a criminal, short officers who have "little man syndrome" an attitude because they feel they have to make up for their lack of height, and youths who join up because they are power hungry and like to intimidate.
Gone are the days of the friendly Bobby on his beat, the kind of officer who would catch a kid stealing apples, give him a clip around the ear and then take him home to be reprimanded by his parents, or give them a good telling off himself, I am getting sidetracked here but the lack of humanity in the police force shows and has shown since they brought in the rule that people under 6ft could join, this could be purely a coincidence and we could also point the finger elsewhere.
There is a serious lack of respect with the younger generation (and I am pretty sure this has been said by all older generations about youths) however in this day and age the lack of discipline shows much more we feared and respected the Police when we were children, now kids will mock, provoke and in some cases even attack them as we saw recently in London.
They are offended by everything, want it all their own way and expect things handed to them on a plate, some of you may disagree with me but I have seen this first hand, when you get a 10 yr old threatening to "knock out" a man of my age there is something seriously wrong with the world, this happened to me after a young boy almost rode into me pulling wheelies in the middle of the road and I politely asked him to watch where he was going and be careful.
Okay this has nothing to do with the current situation other than to prove that there is a problem with the youth of today, in some cases it is understandable as they feel they have been let down by their peers and the Government, and in the current situation by the Police force and their heavy handed tactics.
I have also seen numerous videos of young men attacking Police just because the officer stopped them, I have been stopped by Police on numerous occasions, I was even arrested once because I fit the profile of someone that had been seen smashing a window (Long hair, leather bike jacket I was dressed just like 100s of us in town that night), but in all the times I have been arrested or stopped and searched I have been polite and given the officers no reason to treat me badly.
This doesn't seem to be the case with a lot of the youngsters today, they start with an attitude, refuse to give details and in some cases are verbally abusive because they feel they have been "unlawfully" stopped, drop the attitude and the majority of Police will treat you differently, if you have nothing to hide then why be confrontational about it? let the officer do their job then go on your merry way, unless the officer is determined to try and pin something on you or you are a criminal you have nothing to be afraid of, treat others how you wish to be treated is my motto.
With all this said I am in full support of Black lives, yes they do matter and something needs to be done about racial profiling within the Police Forces both in the USA and UK but too many are using this as an excuse to cause damage and be violent, think about what you are leaving for your children, a world full of lies and deceit where history is hidden or lost to the world ? is this really what you want?
I don't care what colour your skin is, I don't care what country you were born in, if you are only protesting to vent anger and destroy then you are part of the problem, if you are protesting to subjugate and persecute whites then you are part of the problem, if you are protesting about TV, music and comedy which highlight the subjects of racism then you too are part of the problem.
Support your causes peacefully, but at least understand what it is and why you are supporting the cause, it has taken me over a week to write this piece as I didn't want to come across as condescending or like I don't understand or care about what is happening.
The fact is I care too much and it scares me what this country is coming to, it worries me that my children may one day have to fight for theirs and my granddaughters lives because if this gets out of control like it is in some areas of the States it won't be the Police people are targeting it will be homes and businesses, I could go on and on about this subject but I feel I have said enough and I only hope that unity and love will prevail over bigotry and racism.
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