July 4th, 2005

Ingrained and Unthinking

A lot of people have been pointing out how few black stars there were on stage at Live 8, but how all the white stars came equipped with black backing singers and musicians.

An image comes to mind- Henry Morton Stanley in his pith helmet with an elephant gun under his arm, fording some pest-infested African river with a long line of native bearers behind him.

As a last minute adjustment a concert involving African artists was laid on to run simultaneously with Live 8- at the Eden Project in Cornwall- about as far from London as one can get without dropping off into the sea. This seemed perilously close to adding insult to injury.

No-one involved in Live 8 is a racist, but the picture we were presented with- honkies in the spotlight, black folk someplace else- said a whole lot about how ingrainedly, unthinkingly racist our society still is.