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07.04.2008 Opinion

The Black Star is racial

By Accra Mail
The Black Star is racial
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Dear Editor,
I hope this concern of mine finds a place in your esteemed publication to begin a national discussion and orientation as we evolve as a nation.

In the world now there is alert on anything that discriminates people especially minority from the majority, race, sex, social class and many others. There is the need for a true integration of all peoples. The 40th anniversary of the killing of Martin Luther King brings to mind what he stood for and died fighting it.

In the world of sports; individuals, groups, teams, and even countries are punished on any slight racial provocation. There are people who have fallen from grace to grass because of racial comments, gestures or symbols that they are associated with. Africa and the whole world fought apartheid in South Africa because it discriminated against people because of their race. Africans, especially in the Diaspora continue to raise alarm at the slightest indication of racial discrimination.

Racism can be in the form of direct policy by governments, companies or groups as well as an individual. Racism can be a comment directly or indirectly to discriminate against other races. Gestures and symbols can also be racially abusive as black footballers suffer in some parts of the world.

It is in this light that I raise this sensitive issue of our own Black Star which we have adored for years thinking it represents us as a nation. This is the Black Star in the middle of our national flag which according to the designer represents our emancipation from colonial (white) domination. This is the same Black Star we have named our national football team which we are proud of with. I also remember the Black Star Line, the former national shipping line which made Takoradi very famous with sailors. Ghana seems to be proud of this famous Black Star and this is exactly the problem I am raising for an honest national discussion.

In the 1972 deportation order, it was discovered that some of the Asians who were in the country had actually obtained citizenship of the country. Again, there are many Ghanaians who married other races and brought their partners to Ghana to make them citizens of the country. There are also some other people who have acquired the citizenship of the nation from the other parts of the world.

These people with other colours other than Black and are Ghanaians, how are they represented under the umbrella of the Black Star flag, or how are they going to be patriotic to support this Ghana with its black star? The people we are considering might be a tiny minority of the population but if they feel discriminated against the nation would be committing racism.

My stake in this is that we as a nation should not promote any symbol that is racial or tends to represent the majority over and above the minority. We should do our possible best to welcome everyone especially those who love our identity and want to join us to build our nation. In this era that the world is becoming a global village, we cannot isolate our nation with a national symbol based on race.

Kwamena Wallas, Accra

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