West Indies cricket legend Michael Holding has delivered a passionate speech on the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of cricket’s international return.
Speaking on Sky Sports during the delayed start to the first Test between England and the West Indies, Holding was overcome with emotion as he called for institutional racism to be ended through further education to future generations.
Holding used the example of Amy Cooper, the woman who called police and falsely accused an African American man of threatening her life in New York’s Central Park to drive home his point.
“Everybody has heard about this lady in a park in America who was asked by a black man to put her dog on a leash, which is the law,” he said.
“She threatened this black man with her whiteness, saying that she was going to call the police and tell them there was a black man threatening her.
“If the society in which she was living did not empower her or get her to think that she had that power of being white and being able to call the police on a black man, she would not have done it.
“It was an automatic reaction because of the society in which she lives. If you don’t educate people they will keep growing up in that sort of society and you will not get meaningful change.”
Holding stressed that education was central to changing the culture of institutionalised racism, using examples of how the creation of the light bulb was credited to Thomas Edison.
“This thing stems from a long time ago, hundreds of years ago,” he said.
“The dehumanisation of the black race is where it started. People will say that’s a long time ago, get over it. No. We don’t get over things like that and society has not got over something like that.
“I didn’t quite understand as a young man what brainwashing meant. I now understand what brainwashing means. We have been brainwashed.
“Think about religion. Look at Jesus Christ, the image they give you of Jesus Christ. Pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Where Jesus came from, who in that part of the world looks that way? That’s the brainwashing to show you what perfection is, what the image of perfection is.
“These light bulbs that are shining on us, you can tell me who invented the light bulb right? Everyone knows Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison invented a light bulb with a paper filament, it burnt out in no time at all.
“Can you tell me who invented the filament that makes these light shine throughout? Nobody knows because it’s a black man and it was not taught in schools, Lewis Howard Latimer, invented the carbon filament to allow lights to continually shine
“I was never taught anything good about black people. You cannot have a society brought up like that, both black and white, only teaching what’s convenient to the teacher.
“History is written by the conqueror, not those who are conquered. History is written by the people who do the harm, not by the people who get harmed.
“We need to go back and teach both sides of history and until we do that and educate the entire human race, this thing will not stop.”