The Misguided Justice of Black Lives Matter | Calvin Robinson
The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 freed over 800,000 slaves of African and Caribbean origin. It was a momentous triumph for liberty, continuing the work of the 1807 Slave Trade Act, Tory legislation that prohibited slavery within the British Empire. Both of these acts were instrumental in applying pressure on the rest of the world to put an end to slavery. For all the admittedly dreadful sins of our past, this must go some way towards resolving them. At the very least, it’s an accomplishment to be celebrated.
However, you will not hear any of this from the social Marxist activists parading themselves as a faux black civil rights movement, under the banner of Black Lives Matter. BLM is presently fixated on the money spent abolishing slavery, rather than the act itself. While it is true that until five years ago we were still paying the absurd interest on loans used to pay off plantation owners in order to shut then down, was that not money well spent? Would detractors prefer to have kept the slave trade in business?
Campaigners are currently petitioning for the UK Government to “Pay Slavery Reparations to all Caribbean & African Descendants”. Whether that means all Black Brits or every African/Caribbean person worldwide is unclear. What is certain is that this petition stemmed from a place of ‘whataboutery’. The argument being made is that plantation owners and their descendants benefited from a pay-out, so why shouldn’t we? They’re missing the key fact that we all benefited from the abolition of slavery.
The rest of the argument seems to be coming from a place of victimhood mentality, typical in these leftist movements. It’s a self-perpetuating prophecy – we’re told that racism is everywhere, and so we see it everywhere we look. It’s a morally corrupt argument that simply isn’t true. Racism absolutely exists, and still needs to be stamped out, but it’s not a systematic problem. We don’t have the levels of institutional racism that can be seen in the United States, for example; A country that didn’t abolish slavery for another 56 years after Great Britain. It’s high time we stopped importing their drama.
I’m not entirely convinced the organisers of this petition understand that there’s no such thing as ‘government money’. What they’re essentially asking is for the government to dip its hands into taxpayers’ wallets and to write out cheques to people based on the colour of their skin, regardless of their financial status. Then they have the audacity to suggest this will create “a more equal society”. Discrimination based on the colour of one’s skin never leads to equality. Those calling themselves the anti-racists have yet again turned out to be the very people stoking racial division where there is none.
This obsession with the “injustice the British Empire caused” is unhinged. The British Empire wasn’t perfect, but I’d struggle to find any nation with a completely clear conscience. The British Empire did, however, play a significant role in the global abolition of African and Caribbean slavery. That’s something to be proud of. This single-sided view of history is an attempt to erase positive British influences, from law and order, to democracy, language, education, and Christianity. Discuss the negatives of the Empire, sure, but some balance on occasion would be a fine thing. British history belongs to all of us, not just ‘the whites’.
Rather than chasing ghosts, these activists would be better off fighting instances of slavery still plighting the modern world. Enslaved people are suffering in North Korea, Eritrea, Burundi, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran. Slavery is prevalent in Africa, to this day; The people of the Central African Republic would benefit from more advocates. If someone wants to fight racism and slavery, where it exists, I’m entirely behind them. However, challenging the UK government to dole out cash to black people based on an argument of victimhood and the presumption of white guilt is neither fighting racism nor slavery, so let’s not pretend it is.
Photo by Ernest Adams on Flickr.