RACISM has hit the headlines hard. Sadly, it's only one of the subjects that coronavirus has amplified. Like a blade of truth, it has sliced through our self-delusions and exposed faults in the way we live.

We have savaged our planet’s environment in just 200 years but for much longer we have colonised and enslaved indigenous populations, creating gross inequalities while we have worshipped at the altar of Mammon.

We've rubbed salt in the wounds of the people whose ancestors were enslaved by erecting statues in honour of their slave-masters.

Worse still is the fact that the vast sums of money, titles and property ownership resulting from that evil business are still being passed down through families whose ancestors were involved in slavery.

What we need more than ever is less pious 'hand-wringing' and some real effort made towards correction and atonement.

We have been carefully hiding these 'skeletons' in our mental ‘cupboards'. The fact that Britain isn’t alone in respect of historical slavery is no panacea.

There's hardly a nation in the world without its own unsavoury history. It seems that old habits die hard; we still 'enslave' workers in zero-hours contracts and pitiful wages. Asian ‘sweatshops’ of children still manufacture our clothes for a pittance and their ‘proxy slave masters' here sell on the ‘branded’ goods at ridiculous prices. The benefits are hard to justify since our own children increasingly starve while the nouveau riche flaunt their wealth at every opportunity.

It may be upsetting for some people to see statues redolent of the past pulled down. However, today's events and decisions will become the history of tomorrow. Personally, I'd like to see the wholesale changes needed if society is to cope with the problems facing us. This government seems determined to sweep things 'under the carpet'. If we want a better, fairer and more just world, our first step is to face up to our pasts since these are what made us what we are.

Mike Joslin

Garfield Avenue