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Focus on substance of racism and less on symbols, Boris Johnson suggests

Saturday, June 20th 2020 - 10:05 UTC
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Asked about the Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song, Boris Johnson said: “I certainly don't think there should be any sort of prohibition on singing that.” Asked about the Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song, Boris Johnson said: “I certainly don't think there should be any sort of prohibition on singing that.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday (Jun 19) that people should focus less on symbols and more on the substance of racism, adding that he saw no reason for any ban on the rugby song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”.

The Rugby Football Union is reviewing the use of the song as it was believed to have been written in the 19th Century by a black slave.

“Frankly I think what people need to do is focus less on the symbols of discrimination ... all these issues that people are now raising to do with statues and songs and so on - I can see why they're very emotive, I understand that,” Johnson told Sky.

“But what I want to focus on is the substance of the issue.”

Asked about the Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song, he said: “I certainly don't think there should be any sort of prohibition on singing that.”

He added that he was curious about why so few people knew all of the words of the song.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • DemonTree

    Do tell us which of these statues are symbols of racism:

    Is it the WWI fighter pilot, the lifelong socialist football player and manager, the Irish Chartist and land reformer whose brother fought with Simón Bolivar, or the abolitionist MP? Or did you mean Robin Hood, famous for carrying out an early form of wealth redistribution?

    I was talking to my policeman friend today. He's been accused of racism after stopping cars where he couldn't even see the occupants beforehand. He also knows of a couple of genuine cases, but said they get buried by the spurious complaints. And he told us British police are trained not to keep suspects facedown on the ground for any length of time, because it could be dangerous for them. Apparently US cops are not.

    Jun 20th, 2020 - 06:00 pm +1
  • Pugol-H

    Any statues of Julio Argentino Roca in Argentina??? He was certainly on a bank note.

    Better not be any statues of Invaders of the Falklands, WHOOOOSSSHHH, BANG, rubble.

    I was talking to a Prison Officer very recently, apparently they train (at least in part) the Police, instructor called a halt to the training exercise (restrain and cuff a prisoner in one cell then move him to another cell, first the POs move a copper pretending to be a con, then vice versa) and sent the Police back to basic training, that bad.

    In the Floyd incident he said they basically did everything wrong, kneel on the neck, cut of the airway, hands/arms stretched behind him, more difficult to breath, knee on back, prevents lungs being able to expand, sustained over any length time any one of them could have killed him.

    In the US they probably didn’t have to practise “restraining” people much in past, just shot them.

    As we saw in the most recent case, couldn’t restrain him so they shot him, knowing he was unarmed and no threat to life.

    Not just White police officers either, this happens with Black and Hispanic officers in towns like Baltimore with a majority black population and Police officers, black Mayor and Police Chief.

    Jun 21st, 2020 - 11:45 am +1
  • DemonTree

    “I can understand a song written by a slave trader, like Amazing Grace, being objectionable, but not one written by a victim of slavery.”

    Yeah, I don't understand that either. It's one of those things that feels like people are going out looking for reasons to be offended, rather than focusing on the real and obvious problems. Which obviously exist, but economic problems, drugs and broken families that cause young men to turn to crime and disproportionately affect black people in America are a much bigger problem IMO than racist cops. Add in the crappy training the police in America get, plus the attitude on both sides of demanding respect and using violence in response to perceived disrespect, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    As for statues, I think it's a much bigger issue in the US, where the civil war 'heroes' in the South are being honoured for exactly the (racist) actions and attitudes that other Americans object to. Whereas in the UK, it's mostly the case that historical figures are known for and being honoured for the good things they did, but some also did bad shit or espoused dodgy beliefs. In those cases it's more a matter of judgement. And contrary to what Think says, there aren't reminders popping up around every corner.

    Jun 21st, 2020 - 03:01 pm +1
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