Former West Indies bowler Michael Holding on Wednesday sent out a powerful message on racism and Black Lives Matter movement, saying the protest is about equality and not one-upmanship in society.
In the video that was broadcast by Sky Sports, Holding was speaking ahead of the first Test between England and the West Indies which got delayed due to rain.
Holding and former English women’s cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent reflected on the much prevalent racism in the society.
“At protests years ago, even when Martin Luther King was marching, you would have predominantly black faces and a few white faces. This time a lot of white people are involved in these protests and that is the difference,” said Holding.
“What they saw (happen to George Floyd) was disgusting and people thought to themselves ‘enough is enough’. Everyone is recognising it, coming alive and seeing the difference in treatment of people.
“We are all human beings so I hope that people recognise that the Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to get black people above white people or above anyone else. It is all about equality.
“Until we educate the entire human race, this thing will not stop.”
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“When people say ‘all lives matter’ or ‘white lives matter’, please, we black people know white lives matter. I don’t think you know that black lives matter. Don’t shout back at us that all lives matter. White lives matter, it is obvious, the evidence is clearly there. We want black lives to matter now. Simple as that,” said Holding.
“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,” said the former West Indies paceman.
“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.”
Rainford-Brent added that the society must come together and decide on a forward-thinking vision of equality.
“I think we have to be honest and we are starting to have those conversations now,” said the former England player, now director of women’s cricket at Surrey.
“Unless people in power connect with and understand and feel what it is like to be on the side of limited power, to not get access to opportunities, to know you are significantly less likely to be hired and significantly more likely to be stopped and searched, to be oppressed, we won’t progress.
“It can’t be a ‘black person’s problem’, it has got to be everyone’s problem. We have got to want a society that is representative and supports people from different backgrounds.
“That’s what it is for me. We need honest conversations, opportunities and people in positions of power. And then we can change the landscape.”