I’ve had this niggling need to write this post for quite a while but have been reluctant to, because I know that it’s a topic I only know a little of and one which I could easily make a mess of. However it’s just kept niggling at me, getting stronger and stronger so I shall try my best.
I caught a little of the news this morning, it was something about someone being arrested for shouting anti-semitic and misogynistic stuff. What interested me was that the presenter was talking to some official and using all the right words but what he was saying reminded me of how I once tried to show my knowledge of classical history by using the right words but without any deeper understanding of what they actually meant.
It was the same sense of someone coming in with an ‘I understand’ attitude but no deep knowledge. As I say, I know I don’t understand much. I was recently reminded that there is a need for rights for Black culture as well as for the people but I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I even truly understand the concept of culture let alone one which I’m not a part of.
Actually my first thought at that time was to ask myself if I belonged to a culture and what that culture was. I guess it’s because, for me, it just is and I’ve never thought more about it than that.
Certainly it’s more than just cream teas and cricket or morris dancers vs mardi gras parades. It didn’t take much thought to realise that it’s as much a state of mind and a sense of roots as it is anything tangible.
But I digress.
You see what’s got me is that one day soon all the laws will be in place, all the statues will be gone and all the voices of hate will be silent.
Sounds good doesn’t it. Just about the right time for everyone to go home and pat themselves on the back for a job well done, right?
But the thing is that it doesn’t stop the voices in people’s heads.
You know the ones, the voices which say, “I’d have a job and money if it wasn’t for this group or that coming in & taking all the work ( which I probably wouldn’t be prepared to do anyway but… )”, or “It’s all their fault. They’re evil and are conspiring against me and my family” etc, etc..
I worry that those voices will whisper and people will get angrier in silence but no one will notice because all is silent.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for laws and stopping hate. It’s just that, despite what it seems like when you watch the news, changing the big stuff can’t be the end, or even the majority, of change.
At some point the change has to be to the image painted in the back of someone’s mind and to the words whispered in the depths of their brain. It’s why I didn’t just want statues torn down without new ones raised and it’s why a presenter paying lip service without the sense of understanding bugs me.
There has to be a point where we can proudly say, “this person was great. I recognize how we are different to each other but I can also stand a little taller knowing we’re from the same place and that they did so much good.”
I hoped that would happen first, before the laws began to come in place and people had the time to build up resentment for the fact that their hateful words were being silenced, but it’s not an easy thing to do, I would imagine.
Just so long as we don’t forget to do that because I’d really love to one day be able to know what culture is and know that a myriad of them are whirling around in harmony, and to know that people all over can hear a voice inside saying loud and clear, “be proud because of all who come together and the good in every one of them.”