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  • Writer's pictureProfessor Sir Geoff Palmer

Racism must not be tolerated; we are one humanity

In 1951, my late dear mother left my brother, sadly deceased, and I with her sisters in Kingston, Jamaica. I waved her goodbye as her ship the Mauritania sailed to England. My aunts were strict disciplinarians and amongst the rules, attending Sunday School and Church were compulsory every Sunday. My mother supported this Sunday activity and in 1948 I was awarded my first prize. It was for Regular Attendance at Sunday School. In 1955, I left my aunts to join my mother in London as part of the Windrush Generation. However, it is a privilege to continue to give support for education to the children at my old Church and Sunday School in Kingston, Jamaica.

Religion has been an important part of my life as it is a part of the lives of many people who are associated historically with the British Empire. Religion gave me a sense of fairness. This fairness comes from my mother and aunts whose grandparents were chattel slaves: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. This is embodied in recent comments I have made such as: ‘We cannot change the past but we can change consequences, such as racism, for the better using education. A diverse society needs diverse management to be fair and efficient and, people are not races named and ranked by racists, people are people’. Race was an unjust invention, designed to justify injustices such as chattel slavery and colonialism. It has no scientific or religious validity. It is based on prejudices that are untenable. Therefore, we must ‘decolonise the curriculum’ in our educational institutions enabling better representation of all human beings.

History plays an important role in our understanding of the past. However, sadly, the cruel gradual murder of George Floyd in 2020, which took place for over 9 minutes tried to deny our ‘one humanity’, but the public worldwide are now saying that such history-based prejudices, as regards the so-called superiority of white people, must be eliminated. Indeed, many organisations worldwide are now involved in effecting this change. Historical excuses are being challenged and Interfaith bodies must not ‘pass by on the other side’ of racism. They must continue to confront the injustices that sustain racism. We are ‘one humanity’, nothing less.

Sir Geoff Palmer will be speaking at our 'Religion and Racism, Cultivating Anti-Racist Communities of Faith' event that we are hosting tomorrow(29/03/2022)at 6pm on zoom. To join the event click here:

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