Racism not exclusive to the western world
While I respect and defend Keith Simmonds’s right to express his opinion, I would like to point out that his recent letter entitled “History, racism and wealth” perpetuates a great many incorrect ideas that have, unfortunately, begun to gain popularity. They need to be refuted, and I would like to take this opportunity to do so.
First, his implied contention that racism and domination is an exclusive product of the western world and of whites is false. (ex. Line 15 “Europeans looking for a way to justify raping, pillaging and enslaving the rest of the world.” ) Also, racism is not recent, and it is a universal problem. The concept that it is exclusively white plays into the hands of extremist critical race theorists who, unfortunately, have begun to dominate the academy, media and government. Critical race theory is inaccurate, inhuman (in that it implies whites are genetically deficient and congenitally racist) and historically incorrect.
Extreme exclusionary policies and racist practices exist in abundance outside the western world, often much more so than here where we at least have established laws opposing them. In fact, racism and discrimination is common in Asia where human rights legislation protecting minorities and political dissidents is often non existent. Ask the Uighurs, Tibetans and Ainu among others. How do I know this is true? Because I lived for many years in those environments and suffered racial discrimination at the hands of those societies. Space does not allow for me to relate those humiliating experiences.
Slavery was never exclusively practiced by whites as Mr. Simmonds seems to imply. In fact, it was the mainstay of many African, some Middle Eastern and some Asian societies. Eventually it was western legislation that brought an end to it, led by leaders like William Wilberforce and others. The drive to end slavery did not come from non western cultures, and slavery still exists in a subterranean form in many societies today.
Mr. Simmonds employs an illogical non sequitur when he equates racism with people’s contempt for the poor and unemployed. The contempt some feel for those unfortunate people who are poor, unemployed or underemployed has little to do with racism. That attitude is also not “doubly damned if they aren’t European.” Contempt for the poor and indigent stands alone as an unfortunate reality.
It might also be good to remember that the carnage that accompanied the Crusades was universal in former times. Tamerlane is estimated to have killed five per cent of the human population (not a western conqueror). The Mongols killed millions. Antique civilizations of the Middle East usually practiced absolute destruction in their warfare policies, levelling cities and carrying the women and children into slavery. These were not western societies, and today the Chinese Communist Party’s dangerously chauvinistic aggression is becoming obvious to all. I could go on, but it doesn’t seem necessary to do so. A simple examination of history will suffice.
Extreme violence and destruction are an unfortunate legacy of our common human heritage. They are not restricted to any one race or group such as whites or Europeans. Mr. Simmonds’s implication that they are, is inaccurate. Let us hope that in the future he puts forward a more balanced view.