Black Lives Matter is Driver of Culture Change

| July 18, 2020

Resident columnist Dickson Igwe

Culture change is unstoppable

The current turmoil in the west over race is simply a continuation of a history narrative that started with the exploration of Africa by European rulers in the 1400s, leading to slavery and colonization, and then nationalism, and the fight for social and economic parity by minorities, especially Blacks in the Americas and Western Europe.

The history of the black race is very much the history of the west, much as a great many whites will attempt to deny that reality. And the great suffering of blacks everywhere- including the genocide that was slavery- as blacks attempted to establish their dignity and social space in the midst of a virulently white and racist culture in the west, is simply a continuation of that history story: the march to true social and economic emancipation by blacks after freedom from slavery and Jim Crow.

There are two facts of history. The first is that history is written by the rulers of the epochs where the narrative derives. The second is that history is not static. What may have been fact in 1400, 1500, and 1600, may be viewed as flawed hundreds of years later by new research. And what may have been morally acceptable in one age may become completely unacceptable in another.

And that is what is taking place today with Donald Trump and the Republicans, the bogeymen for race change. Like Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the black and socialist backlash to racism, the Republicans and populists in the UK and elsewhere are inadvertently drivers of racial change and upheaval, change that is unstoppable. It is a great paradox and even irony that the very people who are the block in a movement make that movement stronger and inevitably successful.

Yes, as it was in the past, when rulers of countries wrote the history and established the values and cultures that governed human existence, at a later age a new class of ruler redefined the history of the past and re-established new values and cultures that govern the present. That is what is happening with BLM and the street revolt we are all witnessing this mid-2020.

Photo courtesy Vince Fleming

Racism appeared acceptable in the 1950s and 1960s, just 100 years after an American Civil War that ended Slavery. But the world has moved on from 1960. In 2020 what was acceptable in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, is no longer acceptable. That is how social evolution works. There is nothing surprising or shocking about the BLM revolt.

Throughout history change towards equality by the poor and downtrodden has only been achieved by violent upheaval, and the deaths of the leaders of that upheaval. Martin Luther King was killed by the White Society that governed the 1960s who saw King as the unacceptable face of the equally unacceptable Black Civil Rights Movement at the time of Jim Crow. Today King’s Statue stands proudly at the Mall in DC.

In 2008 Barack Obama was the acceptable face of US Leadership to minority blacks and a significant number of whites and Latinas who placed Obama in the White House. However the culture and values of white society that remained dominant when Obama was elected could not accept a black President. The result was backlash and the election of a reactionary and racist President in Donald Trump.

But the march for true social equality continued. Once the genie is out of the bottle it cannot be put back in.

Black Lives Matter is simply the spearhead of a movement that today includes blacks, whites, and various minorities of other races who understand that change will come whether we want it or not,  and that it is better to move out the way or get crushed by the force and reality of history marching with the times.

Consequently, whites in the ‘’old mold,’’ who may panic, and view today’s ‘’black anger’’ and a refusal by blacks to accept the status quo as a threat, are simply keeping back the inevitable. The wisest thing to do is to accept the movement of history and become a fellow change agent. If not you will be severely disappointed, but change will take place in any event whether you like the change or not.

Connect with Dickson Igwe on facebook and Twitter 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: African Caribbean, Commentary, Culture & Society

About the Author (Author Profile)

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.

Comments are closed.