Recently at a church service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade, protester Toyin Agbetu disrupted the service stating that the Queen and the church should be ashamed.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the collective hand wringing and back patting of white Brits about this issue. There have been a lot of events around the abolition of the slave trade but the focus has been on people like Wilberforce. Almost nothing has been said about those brave black men and women like Nanny and Toussaint who fought against slavery.
Toyin's protest and his feelings on the subject speak to this fact. I agree with him. He maintains that nothing has been learned from the experience and instead of being ashamed of their part in it and instead of trying to learn from their mistakes and come to understand black people, white English people see themselves as superior beings because they were the first ones to abolish the slave trade.
Unbelievable! Slavery was abhorrent and saying it is a positive that the perpetrators of it abolished the trade (note not the practice) is as ridiculous as congratulating a killer who is in the process of strangling someone, for stopping mid strangle becaus eit's obvious the victim has no cash.
I see no reason whatsoever for congratulating any white person for ending either the slave trade or slavery. At the end of slavery those bastards actually compensated the plantation owners with vast sums of money and gave the former slaves nothing to start out in life. This immediately put black people at a major disadvantage and it is only through our own collective efforts that just over 100 years later we are where we are. White people were never concerned with the betterment of our kind in getting rid of slavery - it just started to be un-profitable with the advent of mechanisation and a change in economies.
I also have no doubt that there were many white people who believed it was wrong but this is not why it ended. It ended in spite of them.
Even today white people here in the UK haven't a clue as to the ramification of slavery - they have little knowledge of what even went on at the time. The only people who do know are those old enough to have seen Roots which was shown in the late 70s and has yet to be re-broadcast! Why? Because it isn't taught in school here.
I agree with Toyin's sentiment, expressed in an article I read (can't remember where, sorry, try googling him). He posits that white people collectively never did nor do they want now, equality for black people. Any progress has to come from ourselves - by creating our own wealth and institutions, by supporting those mainstream institutions that behave properly and in educating ourselves about the truth.
Check out the story from the BBC about what happened and like I said, google this guy - very interesting. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6523327.stm