Dr Jocelynne Scutt
Speech given at the Say No to Racism Rally and march in Cambridge January 21 2017.
MIGHT IS NOT RIGHT – RACISM, TRUMPISM, MISOGYNY OUT
Might is not right. Yet the abuse of might, and the assertion that might is right, is what stands before us today.
All over the world, the notion that abuse, racist epithets, misogynistic expression and conduct, the despising of ethnic minorities, the deriding of persons with a disability, the disparaging of anyone who is perceived to be ‘different’ is on the rise. This notion underpins the worst ravages of humanity – of man’s inhumanity to man, of human’s inhumanity to human – that the world has ever seen.
In the United States, a man who denigrates women, derides persons with a disability, slanders ethnic minorities, disparages African Americans and Latinos, has just taken the White House.
This man urged violence against his rival. This man threatened to ‘Lock her up’ and urged others to shout ‘Lock her up’. This man won against the woman whom we were sufficiently naïve to believe should become the first woman ever to hold the officer of United States’ President.
That the most powerful country in the world now has at its head a man who:
- Engages in and promotes abuse, oral and physical;
- Hisses out racist epithets;
- Explodes into Twittering misogyny;
- Shouts to the winds his insults against ethnic minorities;
- Stigmatises and insults persons with a disability;
- Insults, defames and depreciates anyone who is different …
IT IS DISTURBING. IT IS FRIGHTENING. IT IS TERRIFYING.
We in this country must renounce racism. We must renounce misogyny. We must renounce Trumpism – TRUMPISM: the philosophy which threatens to become the new reality – If you agree with me, Trump, you are right; If you disagree with me, Trump, you are wrong. In other words, according to this reactionary philosophy, if you do not comply with Trumpism, you deserve the worst.
Defending an African American in a 1926 trial, the great advocate Clarence Darrow said:
I would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man, and forgets his colour or creed. We will never be civilized until that time comes.
Today, we must add, that the time must come when the love of humanity overcomes invidious distinctions based on sex and gender, class and status, race and ethnicity.
As Clarence Darrow concluded: ‘I do not believe in the law of hate. I believe in the law of love.’
We should endorse those words, repeat them: I do not believe in the law of hate. I believe in the law of love.
In celebrating difference, embracing equality, we take heed of the words of the writer and President of Czechoslovakia who on 1 January 1990, with the liberation of his country, said: ‘We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact.’
We in this time, We in this country, We in this world – must never become accustomed to the regime that threatens us now, a regime of intolerance, racism, misogyny. Always, always, we must remember, Might is Not Right. We do not believe in the law of hate. We believe in the law of love. Might is Not Right. We believe in the law of love.
JAS © January 2017
Dr Jocelynne A. Scutt is a County Councillor for West Chesterton, writer, barrister and human rights lawyer. Her latest publication is Women and the Magna Carta, A Treaty for Control or Freedom? (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) available in hard copy and as an EBook. Forthcoming is Women, Law and Culture (Palgrave MacMillan 2017).
Presentation of the speech can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi9Iryl54NY . The print link is: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/hundreds-take-cambridge-streets-call-12487530