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Delingpole: Cambridge Appoints Grievance Archaeologists to Unearth Slavery Shame

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
JAMES DELINGPOLE

Cambridge University, formerly a distinguished seat of learning, is funding two grievance archaeologists to go through its archives in order to discover how guilty it needs to feel about slavery — and how much it owes in compensation.

Glasgow University, also formerly a distinguished seat of learning, has already done this. It has decided that it has benefited from slavery to the tune of £200 million — a debt it now plans to repay in a programme of “reparative justice” which includes setting up a centre for the study of slavery.

Who knows what evidence those Cambridge-funded grievance archaeologists might find?

If they’re really diligent, they might come across the name of one William Wilberforce, formerly an undergraduate at St John’s College. But if they’ve any sense they’ll keep it quiet: the point of the exercise is to lament white privilege, promote race-baiting and, no doubt, to create employment for favoured minorities. Bringing up the name of a white, wealthy, middle-class male Cambridge alumnus who did more than anyone to stop the trans-Atlantic slave trade would only confuse the issue.

The other historical evidence that the grievance archaeologists ought to be careful to avoid is anything concerning Africa’s role in the slave trade. As author Jeremy Black unhelpfully points out in this Standpoint article, Africa’s role was huge. So huge, he suggests, that if reparations are to be paid the first countries to stump up ought to be places like Mali, a slave-owning monarchy from the 11th century.

Though it’s true, he notes, that Western nations profited from actually shipping the slaves, the heavy-lifting was done by the Africans themselves, who captured the slaves in the interior and brought them, shackled, to the trading posts on the African West Coast.

This would raise the very interesting prospect of struggling, basket-case economies like Mali, as well as more prosperous ones like Ghana, being forced to compensate all those black Americans who have suffered so very badly since their ancestors were so cruelly transplanted from the African interior to the New World.

Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey — how bitter they must feel that had it not been for an accident of fate they could still be living in the mosquito-infested, Ebola-riddled hellhole whence their ancestors came…

The whole slavery reparations industry is, of course, merely a shake-down operation stoked by fake grievance mongers.

In his Standpoint article, Black quotes one Sir Hilary Beckles, an historian from Barbados who chaired the Caricom (15-strong Caribbean Community of states) Commission in 2014:

This is about the persistent harm and suffering experienced today by the descendants of slavery and genocide that is the primary cause of development failure in the Caribbean . . . The African-descended population in the Caribbean has the highest incidence in the world of the chronic diseases hypertension and type 2 diabetes, a direct result of the diet, physical and emotional brutality and overall stress associated with slavery, genocide and apartheid . . . The British in particular left the black and indigenous communities in a general state of illiteracy and 70 per cent of blacks in British colonies were functionally illiterate in the 1960s when nation states began to appear.

Yeah right. (And who, incidentally, decided this chancer was worthy of a knighthood?)

Also, Black goes on, it raises the awkward question of the concept of “hereditary guilt”. For centuries the Jews were unfairly blamed — all Jews, and forever — because a Roman had once executed a Jew called Jesus. This was ludicrous. But no more ludicrous than deciding that all white people — including, presumably, the descendants of William Wilberforce — must now be required to make reparations for slavery.

It’s bizarre that Cambridge should be lending its prestige in order to participate in this anti-intellectual, race-baiting, virtue-signalling, money wasting charade.

At least it would be, if Cambridge — with its enthusiastic embrace of such campaigns as “decolonise the curriculum” and its peremptory sacking of Visiting Fellow Jordan Peterson — hadn’t long since abandoned its claims to be taken seriously as proper university.

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