Never short of a headline-grabbing proclamation around a book-release date Richard Dawkins has frequently declared parental religious instruction to be a form of “child abuse”. An abuse he perceives to be arguably worse than actual child sexual-abuse and certainly worse than the traditional British public school “mild” paedophilic groping, of which he suffered.
The Evangelical atheist has been markedly less vocal on another form of child-abuse he endured – That of his white privileged upbringing. As a child he was immersed in the racist entitlement of the white-ruled British colony of Nyasaland (now Malawi) where he had black native servants to serve his white family tea from silver teapots on the lawn and subsequently as Richard’s father John claimed the “family inheritance” – the Over Norton Estate in Oxfordshire . This newly inherited wealth was originally amassed primarily by the “negroe” slave-owning Dawkins clan in the West Indies as they expanded their sugar-cane empire generation-after-generation.
Through this inheritance Dawkins’ own privileged lifestyle at Over Norton and later life-opportunities were assisted by the blood and sweat of the black chattel slaves who had been the property of the Jamaican Dawkinses before him.
The land-taking Dawkins clan’s history of black enslavement began in the 1660s and their racist exploitation proved so succesful that by the mid eighteenth century the family had amassed 25,000 acres and had become absentee enslavers. They migrated to Britain and Dawkins’ future birthright, Over Orton Estate was purchased.
The vast and immorally gained Dawkins family fortune was to increase dramatically (and immorally) again in 1833 in compensation payments following the abolition of slavery in UK. The Dawkins clan were forced to release the shackels of their human property. However, the slavers were to be handsomly compensated. The British Government was to pay a total of £20 Million pounds to the slave-owners, which today translates to £16.5 billion.
Today, in acerage alone, the 220 acre Over Orton is worth over $2 Million. The Sunday Times estimated Dawkins’ personal wealth at $135 Million (2012). There is also The Richard Dawkins Foundation whose largest donors (2013) came from Wall Street figures, historically no friends of the colonised and oppressed. This income is supplemented by Dawkins’ most obsessive of acolytes who commit to paying up to $5,000 yearly to be in the same room as him. No discounts are given to poverty-stricken Malawians with an average income of $250 a year. Both now and during Dawkins’ colonialist childhood circumstances exclude them from eating at Dawkins’ table.
We acquire habits of conduct, not by constructing a way of living upon rules or precepts learned by heart and subsequently practiced, but by living with people who habitually behave in a certain manner: we acquire habits of conduct in the same way as we acquire our native language.
Michael Oakeshott, British Philosopher
So can we draw a straight line between Dawkins’ development in colonial Africa where the white British man’s culture dominated over the inferior”savages” and the Dawkins of today who has gained a cult following making boorish and culturally-supremacist outbursts?
Would Richard Dawkins be obsessing over dismantling a white Etonian boy who had been already terribly wronged like he did with young Ahmed the “fraud”? Would he ever feel “visceral revulsion” upon seeing an item of “British” clothing like he does with the Burqa (which he referred to as a “bin-liner”)? Would his shriek of “To hell with their culture!” be out of place on his family’s slave plantation?
Most importantly, can Richard Dawkins acknowledge the devastating contemporary effects of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism instead of constantly agitating against the victims because of their religion/culture?
With your vast wealth, influence and foundation you are well positioned to help the victims of colonialism (irrespective of religious beliefs). Please do.
I believe you owe them an enormous debt.