Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Black Country flag ‘offensive and insensitive' says leading racism campaigner

The Black country is a part of the English Midlands that was central to England's coal-based industrial revolution.  So much coal was burnt in its foundries and furnaces that the whole area  was black with soot -- hence the name.  There are also important differences in language, with Black Country speech harking back to Old English in some ways.  So people there are proud of their history, region, people and culture.  Attacking all of that is therefore deeply offensive to them.  But they reply with English moderation.  Nobody risks physical attack

The ignorant critic

The Black Country flag is offensive, says a leading racism campaigner who complains that chains made in the area were used to shackle slaves.

Political activist Patrick Vernon OBE described the flag as ‘offensive and insensitive’ and said its chains were a ‘disturbing’ image of an industry that profited from the transatlantic slave trade and colonial rule in Africa.

His comments - today dismissed as ‘political correctness garbage’ - came as thousands of people celebrated the region’s history over the weekend in The Black Country Festival and Cradley Heath’s Women’s Chainmakers’ Festival.

Mr Vernon, who grew up in All Saints, Wolverhampton, and is a former London Labour councillor, said the Black Country had shied away from addressing the role its industries played in slavery and that community leaders were trying to ‘pretend it never happened’.

“The chain being used as a symbol in the flag is insensitive,” he said. “Shackles and manacles that were made by chainmakers in the Black Country were used to incarcerate slaves in North America, on plantations and in colonial Africa.

The flag itself was designed by a 12-year-old schoolgirl, linking together our region’s proud glass-making heritage as well as its heavy industry and foundries, illustrated by the chains.

The colours signify the ‘black by day, red by night’ nature of our town’s during the industrial revolution.

The flag has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of people as a proud symbol of this area, popping up all over the world at football matches, cricket tests and even the Glastonbury Festival.

One of the many great things about the Black Country is that it is a beacon for integration, racial and religious tolerance that we believe is unmatched anywhere in Britain.

The flag is a symbol of pride in our region and its industrial heritage – but also one of multi-cultural integration so natural that people round here don’t really feel the need to talk about it.

Mr Vernon’s comments have caused outrage among MPs and top councillors on the eve of Black Country Day tomorrow.

Dudley North Labour MP Ian Austin said: “This is ridiculous nonsense. The Black Country Festival brings everyone from our diverse communities together. If he had come to Stone Street Square this weekend he would have seen people off all races and backgrounds enjoying the fun. It was an example of what makes our society something to celebrate.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Vernon is trying to import a popular industry from the U.S., namely, "Grievance Peddling". Perhaps he should turn his attention to where day-to-day slavery is occurring. But that would be too much work and why risk one's own neck to further a "cause"?

Bird of Paradise said...

Whine,whine,whine there they go again these liberals Whine,whine,whine

Anonymous said...

Apparently chains can only mean one thing to some people

Alpha Skua said...

Hey liberals do you know what offends me? taking the U.S. Flag(Old Glory)and defacing it with the 70's chicken footprint peace logo or using it as a b door mat

Moonbird said...

Song to drive liberals crazy CHAIN GANG

Anonymous said...

The "Black Country" must change its racist name to PIA "Post Industrial Area"!

Al DeFilippo said...

Thank you for the post. For more on the history of the Black Country, I would like to invite you to the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on the life of West-Midlands itinerant preacher, Francis Asbury, the young protégé of John Wesley and George Whitefield, opens with the book, Black Country. The opening novel in this three-book series details the amazing movement of Wesley and Whitefield in England and Ireland. The book also richly brings to life the life-changing effect on a Great Britain sadly in need of deliverance from addiction to gin and illiteracy. Black Country also details the Wesleyan movement's effect on the future leader of Christianity in the American colonies, Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is Again, thank you, for the post.

Anonymous said...

Someone else said :-

I have visited the "Black Country Museum" near Dudley in the English Midlands that's a "living village" re-creating the time and culture of the region where the World's Industrial Revolution was born, and where my Dad's forebears came from (some emigrating to establish an iron foundry in Anderson, Indiana).