'Material being produced today to mark the anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade makes it appear that white people liberated black - the assumption being they could not do it themselves. In reality, slaves rose against the trade from its inception. This broke it'.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone makes a very important point which can also be summarised when one compares the way in which Whites laud white slaves as self-freeing; eg, the Hollywood movie Spartacus. This, compared to the racially-inferior manner with which They fail to laud Black; eg, automatically assuming that because slavery was lawful it was OK (& the Hollywood movie Amistad). Or, worse, claiming that Blacks were mostly responsible for the slavery They experienced and that They therefore deserved it somehow.
'After abolition of the trade, slavery in British possessions was abolished following revolts in Barbados in 1816, Demerara in 1823, and Jamaica in 1831, in which 60,000 slaves participated. For this reason Unesco officially marks August 23, the anniversary of the St Domingue rebellion's outbreak, as slavery's official remembrance day.
'No one denigrates William Wilberforce, but it was black resistance and economic development that destroyed slavery, not white philanthropy'.
All too true, I fear. The result of the White Racial Guilt that secretly acknowledges that to refuse to acknowledge the crime of slavery is the only way to avoid having to admit that one is a product of a racist culture. This can't be made to work because such a refusal is a tacit admission of the very thing it attempts to deny; otherwise why refuse to apologise. No‑one can evaluate the sincerity of such an apology except the one apologising.
(The one aspect of Wilberforce's campaign to abolish slavery was the fact that his primary goal was not its abolition but the conversion of Negroes to Christianity because only free men can be called true Christians. Thus, Mr Wilberforce is not the altruist some make him out to be since this fact implies that if Mr Wilberforce had not had religious motives he would not have cared a tinker's damn about slaves.)
'The British government's refusal of such an apology is squalid. Until recently, almost unbelievably, it refused even to recognise the slave trade as a crime against humanity, on the grounds that it was legal at the time. It helped block an EU apology for slavery.
'Two arguments are brought forward against official apology - not only by the government but by David Cameron. First, an apology is unnecessary because this happened a long time ago. This would only apply if there had been a previously apology - there hasn't been. Slavery was the mass murder of millions of people. Germany apologised for the Holocaust. We must for the slave trade'.
Again, more White Guilt. However: 'A Britain that contributed Shakespeare, Newton and Darwin to human civilisation need fear comparison with no one. A British state that refuses to apologise for a crime on such a gigantic scale as the slave trade merely lowers our country in the opinion of the world'. The use of Charles Darwin's name here is a little unfortunate since, in his Descent of Man, he claimed that Blacks are more simian than human and, thus, less evolved.
Article copyright © 2007 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog (http://franktalker.blogspot.com/) is included: E‑mail notification requested. All other rights reserved. Frank TALKER is also the author of Sweaty Socks: A Treatise on Toe‑Jam (East Cheam Press: Groper Books, 1997) and is University of Bullshit Professor Emeritus of Madeupology.