To a picture of the Dukes of Hazzard, with Daisy sprawled over the car roof, a friend recently said:
“Back in 1979, the most shocking thing about this programme was how short those shorts were … “
This is my reply.
No, the most shocking thing was how unaware we all were about the offensive meaning of that flag.
The fact that we weren’t shocked back then doesn’t alter the fact that it was actually shockingly crass to large parts of American society.
BLM is a movement aimed at getting American Society to the point where all lives matter equally, and to address the systemic racism that the majority of us simply don’t understand – witness some of the discussion points on this thread.
I am 100% against people making everything they can into an issue, particularly when it leads to a whitewashing of history (I chose those words deliberately, as it is the whites who are washing racially-based slavery out of history), and I am all for recognising the simple truth that for most of human history slavery has been the norm, but that doesn’t mean we can simply dismiss it out of hand: we need equity (the same fair chance at success, with help to compensate a little via things like free healthcare, free education), not direct equivalence (we are all different, and we start from different places: diversity and variation are surely to be celebrated?) No, we have to work at being better, and not hiding the past, but showing that we are continually improving on it.
For the record, my forebears are working/peasant class as far back as history records them. Almost certainly some were slaves, their descendants serfs, and later generations were hard working and poorly paid. Greater social mobility and educational equity meant my parents were the first in either of their families not to rent, I.e. to have a mortgage and eventually to own a house outright, and I was the very first to toddle off to higher education and get a degree. None of that is because I am white and (now) “middle class”, just the result of greater equity in our society. The same is also true for many of my BAME friends (most of whom shudder at being labelled that way) but they have had to overcome obstacles – including from amongst their peers at school – because of their skin colour.
That’s what BLM is trying to achieve: not the re-writing of history (see Nelson Mandela’s comments about things like Rhodes Scholarships) but greater sensitivity and the opening of doors rather than the closing of them.
I got off my soapbox, and gave it to the short kid. Unfortunately he fell off, and now I am being pursued by lawyers for an injury claim… 😉