Racial problem is like a disease tearing the society apart. It has no cure because history and society have succeeded planting the seed of discrimination and hatred into the minds of people, including children, so they grow up with it. I have said many times that “there is no child born a racist, adults contribute to both good and bad of child behaviors.”
Racial stereotypes based on nationality, colour, race, religion and other factors; create hatred and racism, often leading to death. A black can be a racist, but the most recorded bloody racial problems were started by a class of white people, such as the Ku Klux Klan, that think Whites are better and superior to other race. Slavery, the Holocaust, and McCarthyism were all inspired by racism.
Racially motivated crimes take place daily in our society, but are often ignored, until when innocent blood is shed, before the authority steps in to investigate. In Antwerp, Belgium, 2006, an 18-year-old high student named Hans Van Themsche, with head shaved, combat boots and a black leather outfit, went berserk on a killing spree to gun down foreigners, especially Africans, after purchasing a rifle from a gun shop in Antwerp.
After overpowered by the police, the investigation revealed that the racist killer’s aunt, Frieda Van Themsche, is a member of parliament for the ‘Vlaams Belang’ party, a party which originates from Antwerp, known for their hatred towards foreigners, opposing Muslim integration and against a multicultural society. Did the ideology of this party influenced and inspired Hans Van Themsche to carry out such atrocity?
Hans Van Themsche shot three people; a veiled Turkish woman, a two-year-old Flemish toddler on a tricycle and a black woman taking care of the child. The Turkish woman survived the shooting but the child and her nanny died. Being an African writer and a resident of Antwerp, I know perfectly well that, the authorities took this racially motivated killing as a serious crime, due to the Belgian child that died, because in Antwerp whatever happens to a black man is never considered an important case which needs attention.
Months after the death of Oulematou Nangadou, the decision to compensate the Malian babysitter’s family was challenged by the court, owing to the fact that the victim was illegally staying in Belgium. That was meaningless and unfair judgment orchestrated to promote or inspire more racism and likely to spark new racial violence or killings in Antwerp, but that didn’t happen.
In America, African-Americans still recovering from racially motivated killings were greeted by fresh racial motivated violence, when a young man of 21, identified by the FBI as Dylann Roof, opened fire on an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, killing 9 people. According to the police, the motive for the killings was to spark racial violence.
Both Oulematou Nangadou, the Malian woman and Luna, the little girl she was looking after, died from gunshots by Themsche.
According to the Post and Courier newspaper “the emotional weight of the ordeal also brought local activists, Charleston’s police chief, and South Carolina’s governor to tears as they fought to find words to ease community members who fear further violence in a city with a long and complicated history involving race.”
While all these racial problems are tearing our society apart, what lessons are we learning from them? “I am so pleased that we were able to resolve this case quickly … so that nobody else is harmed by this individual,” said Mullen, the police chief, after Roof was captured.
I’m very pleased with the way African-Americans, including the victims’ families, proactively dealt with that situation, avoiding any further racial violence. ‘I had a dream that one day, the struggle of the African-Americans for freedom and equal rights will be a reality.’ Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. United we stand, divided we fall.