Monday, March 5, 2018

Feeling Uncomfortable

Caught the last two thirds of a gripping episode of Hardtalk on BBC World today. The interview featured an elderly lady called Elizabeth Eckford who was one of the Little Rock Nine - a group of black children who attended what was then an all-white school in Arkansas under impossibly difficult circumstances. Her experience was part of the heroic civil rights movement of the period, and it was possible to watch the interview feeling good about that extraordinary culture-shifting heroism.

But the programme involved something far less comfortable and just as real: an overwhelming sense of the pain of those young victims of appalling racism, and the dreadful damage it did to them as individuals. Ms Eckford did not seek to hide that pain. At times the raw reality of it, even if in her old age, was very clear. The sheer honesty of it all made me feel privileged to be able to watch, and sort of helpless; but not hopeless.

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