Re: I believe there is some misunderstanding/errors here
Apr 11, 1997 04:22 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain
In message <334E3BA6.7D9C@sprynet.com>, Bart Lidofsky
> My uncle used to live in an Indian section of London, and people called
>it "the nigger area". In Victorian England, it was a commonly used term,
>certainly racist, but not always derisive (for example, those who had a
>"white man's burden" form of racism used it, as well). And note that
>"white man's burden" racism also existed in a number of prominent
>Theosophists, including Alice Bailey and Clara Codd.
I used to live in London, and my parents are Londoners (going way back
in my mother's case, though my Dad's family came from Scotland
originally). I was brought up recognising the term 'nigger' as applying
to African, West Indian, and occasionally Asian Indian people, though it
was usually used for the first two. I was told it derived from 'Niger'
as in 'Nigeria' on account of the slave trade.
The term was not usually used in a derisive way, but certainly in a
'racist' way, as the the belief of the common people (blame Darwin) was
that Africans etc. were a 'lower' kind of human being.
This was reinforced by the fact that blacks had little or no hope of
getting a decent education in England, except in the very few cases
where someone had enough money to pay highly for it, as happened with
Krishnamurti and Nitya.
Chinese were called 'Chinks' and Vietnam and countries in that part of
the world were generally unknown quantities, and their inhabitants
stayed at home.
There was little malice among ordinary people towards those to whom
these terms were applied, and there was a kind of unspoken and mutually
agreed 'apartheid' in effect. The Limehouse (East End) area of London
was known as Chinatown (viz. the jazz number "Limehouse Blues") and the
different racial types kept to their own areas by and large.
Maybe this was partly due to probable English hypocrisy, in that slaves
were not allowable in England or the UK, but *were* shipped via English
ports to the Americas, where as we know too well the Southern States
did, and some of their inhabitants still do, persecute, denigrate (and
worse) anyone of a different color.
Alan the Pinky
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