Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Colour, class and race

Published:Monday | December 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

A few days ago, a New York grand jury refused to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo after he and other officers were caught on video July 17, 2014 chokeholding an unarmed black man. Eric Garner was heard gasping and saying, "I can't breathe".

A Missouri grand jury declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 with his hands in the air.

A Florida grand jury declined to indict Officer James Harris, who used his patrol car to run over Marlon Brown on May 8, 2013 after Brown fled his car after being stopped for allegedly not wearing a seat belt. Harris' dashcam recorded the incident.

A Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty after killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.

Lest we believe the issue of colour, class and racial prejudice is a uniquely American problem, let me mention the Green Bay Massacre, Agana Barrett, Michael Gayle, the Braeton Seven, Mario Deane, and, yes, the 2010 Tivoli attack.

The issues of colour, class and racial prejudice and injustice are still with us, Jamaica, as it is in America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and across the globe.

In this regard, the pronouncement of Emperor Haile Selassie to the United Nations in 1963 is as relevant now as it was then: "That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; that until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; that until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes; that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; that until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained, ... until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and goodwill."

ORVILLE PLUMMER

oaplummer@yahoo.com

Kingston