“Casual Racism” or Just Celebrating History? It Depends Who You Ask.

THE GUARDIAN – After comments were made by the delegate of the United Kingdom, it appears as though, while they never lived through it, the delegate of the United Kingdom looks back fondly on their country’s sometimes troubling past.

While observing the proceedings in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and asking questions of the delegates, the United Kingdom approached a group of nations – many of which are former colonies – and wedged their way into a conversation between the reporter from The Guardian and the delegate of the Dominican Republic and talked of their nostalgia for the times of the British Empire.

“We used to own half the world, and that’s exactly how it should be. That’s a quote,” said the United Kingdom.

This seemed to stir up some strong feelings from the Dominican Republic, a former Spanish colony themselves, who replied “That’s exactly the type of casual racism I’d expect from you [the UK].”

The UK did not immediately respond to these concerning allegations. However, they stuck around and continued antagonizing the Global South states, stating they “don’t understand why this is such an issue” when these states brought up concerns that ideas from other nations would put a monetary burden on less wealthy nations.

When later asked to comment on the statements made by the Dominican Republic, the UK replied “What racism? It’s not racism, it’s just history.”

Though in part, their statement was recognizing historical facts, as the United Kingdom did indeed at one point have a vast empire. Though, “half of the world” may be a bit of an overstatement, according to the world factbook, at its peak the British Empire spanned 24% of the world’s total land area.

The issue though was not the embellishment of facts, rather it way the way the United Kingdom spoke about their history. When expected to work with many nations that they formerly colonized, many of whom are still dealing with the repercussions today it is surprising that the UK would make statements that seemingly celebrate the bloodstained pages in their history books.

Though history can’t be changed, it seems that the way it is discussed will continue to cause controversy on all sides. For the UK, there is no course of action that will undo their wrongdoings, though “casual racism” may not be the way forward.