Monday, 18 September 2017


The social construct of race—a figment though its derivative racism is very much a reality—was coined with the debut performance of the stage play Thomas Middleton’s The Triumphs of Truth on 29 October 1613 in which the character of an African king addresses the audience and remarking upon the amazement that beset the faces of all these white people.
At the time of the playwright’s career, the colour lines were already coming into sharper contrast but that sense of otherness had lied just as much between the English and the Irish or the Italian and the Sicilian and was without respect to racial identity. The language and concept of race grew out of tribalism (ancestry) as a way to justify colonialism, enslavement and secure international trade—but there was not always a time when such superficial and broad classifications of one’s complexion was accorded so much power. What do you think? Though as handmaidens of ideas that we’ve matured beyond, prejudice and bigotry no matter how unwelcome cannot be said to have outlasted their purpose—since one group will always want to claim dominance over another and needs divisive abstractions to these accomplish these ends—but perhaps by dint of the transformative and relatively very short histories of race politics we can again foster societies that don’t ascribe to such standards that foist affiliations on others by their outward appearance.