Some Afro-pessimists even believe that the colour black is "cursed"! If you dispute it, they trot out a whole list of cliches to try and convince you that this nonsense is the gospel truth. "What colour was Idi Amin, who killed so many people in Uganda?", they ask. But they won't listen if you tell them that Amin was created by the British! And Hitler was not black.
Will an "Afro-pessimist" shut up if you give him such facts? Not in the least. One of them even went as far as to ask me: "Have you ever seen a black star in the sky?"
Well, I told him: "You can't see a black star in the sky because the universe--or what you call the sky--is almost entirely dominated by black material. It is called 'dark matter', and like the air we breathe, we can't see it, but it is there. There are other things in the sky that can eat up the brightest of your 'white' stars. And guess what they are called? 'Black holes'."
At this stage, an Afro-pessimist may come down to earth and effect one last throw of his racist dice. "Okay--blacks did not invent the wheel, which is accepted as the most important step in mankind's move towards civilisation."
But one can give him the mother of all knockouts by saying: "There is only one species of home sapiens in the world. And he evolved in Africa and migrated northwards to Europe, America and the other parts of the planet. So the achievements of mankind belong to all mankind. Man invented the things that helped him to survive in the new environment in which he found himself when he left Africa. If you don't believe it, go with a white man to a science laboratory and ask for a DNA test on both of you. The result will show that both of you originated from the same dominant genes, which only branched out much later to evolve genes that differentiate you by your colour or the nature of your hair, both of which occurred to accommodate peculiarities in the environment in which your forebears found themselves.
"The dark skin of the African, for instance, is entirely due to the presence of a substance called melanin, which is needed to protect him from the sun; it isn't an ordained metaphysical 'mark of Cain' that denotes that the black man should be a hewer of wood and drawer of water- as the racist doctrines of apartheid and other skewed myths would have us believe."
Will that finally convince an Afro-pessimist? Not necessarily. Racism is like a disease. When it strikes someone, he or she needs to take strong medicine to cure it. This is why what happened on Sunday, 2 November 2008, was so significant. On that day--three days before Barack Obama was elected president of the USA--a major blow was struck against the bigots who doubt that black people can be as good as white people in anything they do. A young and black racing driver, Lewis Hamilton, became World Motor (Formula One) Racing Champion!
At 23 years of age, he is the youngest man ever to win the title. His achievement has a rare quality about it because motor racing has, hitherto, been not only a white man's preserve, but the preserve of rich white men. Hamilton is black and was raised from a not very rich background, on a council estate in a small English town called Stevenage.
His victory was seen on television by a gargantuan audience, and the demonstration effect it transmitted to the world--namely, that a black man had invaded and conquered a sport formerly reserved for whites--was so visibly strong that it struck a heavy blow for racial equality. Certainly, the relentlessness of the racists among motor racing fans--mostly from Spain and Brazil--recognise it as such: They have set up a special website entirely devoted to lofty notions such as "Lewis Hamilton sucks".
Hamilton himself told Black History Month magazine that outside of F1, his heroes are, foremost, his father, "then Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Being black is not a negative. …