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I hate people

Earlier, a woman at work remarked on how much cleaner the floor of the toilet was now that somebody else was doing it.

Yeah, real subtle.

But, as I looked at the floor and saw it, well, wet... and pretty much like how I used to do it, I wondered what her criteria for a clean floor was.
So I asked her.

It smells nice.

What I said: Oh.

What I thought: F :p k my life.

It's cleaner because... it smells better?



Allow me to add some extra context.
The product I was using to clean the floor was industrial grade disinfectant, one of Diversey's many variations of sodium hydroxide. Its instructions are basically: Manipulate this product using a face shield, chemical resistant gloves, appropriate clothing, and so on. Follow the appropriate dosage. If you get this chemical on you, tear off your clothing and shower endlessly while somebody else calls the emergency services and the regional anti-poison centre. If in your eyes, rinse endlessly and understand that you will suffer eye damage. If you get it in you, well, good luck, find a priest. Corrosive, deadly to aquatic life, deadly to non-aquatic life, deadly to any form of known life (except maybe tardigrades). Don't screw around with this stuff.
The product my replacement is using says: Put a cupful into a bucket containing 5 litres of water (double the dose if it's a really dirty floor), do not ingest, do not leave in the presence of children, may cause eye damage.

Mine can slaughter bacteria wholesale at fifty paces like blowing the things to bits with a machine gun. Make it a little more concentrated and it can probably do a pretty good job offing mammalian life too.
But my replacement's product is clearly "better" because it smells nicer.


I hate people.


White privilege

An ex-Tory MP has apparently threatened to sue Cambridge University over a historian made a reference to the person being a descendant of a slave merchant. The student, a third year history PhD, has spent the last twenty years exploring his family's history of slavery, and the wealth that came to those who enslaved them.

The historian mentioned the woman, a direct descendent of the slave trader Samuel Sandbach, often considered one of the most prolific slave merchants in Britain, pretty much as a footnote in a TED talk that he gave.
According to the article in The Guardian, the woman first communicated with the historian, and afterwards contacted his academic supervisor to ask for references to her to be removed claiming inaccuracies and that she was being unfairly singled out for being an MP.
The historian responded to his supervisor who agrees that the allegations of inaccuracies were unfounded.

The woman next complained to the University of Cambridge (which has embedded the TED talk on the website) claiming that it breached her right to privacy; and also claiming that she had a right to be forgotten as she was no longer a public figure.
The university's ICO looked into it, and rejected the request on the grounds of academic freedom.

So the woman has said she she is "instructing solicitors", which is a fancy way of threatening legal action, having also pointed out to the historian that a woman was chattel to her husband, and that marital rape wasn't abolished until 1991 because a woman was considered property of her husband. Which is a very peculiar argument from a woman who is a beneficiary of a slave trader's estate.

I'm not sure that I agree with the idea of making reparations. People today have a very different mentality to people in the 18th(ish) centuries, they also live very different lives.
Back in Dickens' day it wasn't unheard of to have orphan childen working in workhouses, down mines, and so on. Unmarried mothers would be locked away for life because of "moral turpitude", and many people were little more than serfs to whoever the nearest land owner happened to be. Whether the crown, the church, or some other fiefdom.
These days, people (in the west) are "generally" a lot more free. We can own our own homes, choose where to work, where to live, who to marry... I put the disclaimer "generally" as unfortunately we still have people's inclusion or exclusion being based upon family, finance, and - sadly still - skin colour. But most of us would rightly regard slavery as abhorent.
So, I'm not sure what the value would be of a person today making some sort of payment to another person today. The one who is guilty is long dead, as is the one who suffered.

That being said, this is something that happened. It is a historical fact, and it isn't something that should be swept under the rug.

I very much doubt there's any such darkness in my history. My father liked to claim that I was... what is it, Murray of Atholl? The important Murray clan.
Which given my father's grip on reality pretty much means I'm a bog standard garden variety Murray. So unbeliavably ordinary and unimportant that I couldn't even claim that my ancestors were puked out of the Loch by Nessie. Not that anybody would believe such a story.

But... if I did have something like that in my past, I think that I would want to know about it. I'd probably talk about it here even. Because it happened. It was wrong, but it happened. And understanding the mistakes of the past is a way of trying to avoid them being repeated in the future. After all, the only real difference between a black person and myself is how much melanin is in their skin. They, black people, aren't a different species. The Human Genome Project (completed in 2003) confirmed that humans are 99.9% identical at the DNA level, and that there is actually more genetic variation within a given race than between them, meaning that essentially there is no genetic basis for race. Not that some haven't tried to claim such things, mind you.

What I absolutely wouldn't do, as a presumably fairly wealthy person (think - where did that wealth come from?) is to cry foul and threaten to sue in order to keep a dark family secret hidden. Because, honestly, I can't think of a better example of white privilege than that.



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David Pilling, 1st September 2023, 22:52
The abolition of slavery was in 1807, 206 years ago. What is a generation, say 25 years, so that's 8 generations, and you have 2^8 = 256 grandparents in 1807, there's a high chance that one of them was involved in the slave trade. In 1807 the population was smaller. 
Some people undoubtedly have family wealth and advantage today that dates back to the slave trade. Others do not. Even if one of your forebears was involved the benefit can have been zeroed somewhere along the way. 
David Pilling, 1st September 2023, 22:54
I got the math wrong, 216 years ago. Call it 9 generations. Anyway you should date the calculation to further back. 
Rick, 2nd September 2023, 07:25
I think some people got extremely wealthy, a heritage that could easily live on, even today. 
Anon, 2nd September 2023, 08:35
I can sort of see where she's coming from. I'd be fairly livid if someone dug up something that my ancestors did (and I'm talking people who were long-dead before my great grandparents were born) and started using it as a smear campaign against me. 
The problem now is said former MP has caused a classic example of the Streisand Effect. (Google it if you don't know.) 
I'm also somewhat irritated (how British!) about the behaviour of certain people in Bristol, south-west UK. Firstly a statue gets destroyed. Now if it had been destroyed by people whose ancestors were directly affected by the slave trade I guess I could understand. But the individuals that actually destroyed the Edward Colston statue were white middle-class students. All of whom were acquitted of criminal damage. 
If that had been three black people from an underprivileged background, no doubt they'd have been convicted and be serving lengthly prison sentences. 
In the meantime, the city of Bristol is now trying to be ultra-woke and airbrush history. The Colston Hall has been renamed "Bristol Beacon". Colston School has been renamed "Montpelier School". There was talk of renaming Colston Street, however renaming a road is harder than renaming a concert hall or a school. 
My response to that would be that if you airbrush history you can't learn from history, and you are destined to repeat the same mistakes. 
Yes, I agree that the statue of Edward Colston should probably have been removed, however it should have been placed in the Bristol Museum, in context, with info panels saying 'he did a lot for this city... BUT - he also did some bad stuff involving slavery" etc. Not thrown into the harbour by a bunch of privileged white middle-class students who hijacked a Black Lives Matter protest in order to commit (and get away with) an act of wanton criminal damage.
John, 2nd September 2023, 09:50
I completely agree with Anon, but can't help wondering what it is that he has to hide? 
But there again I suppose that here we carefully destroy anything traceable before putting it in the refuse collection, and Rick even has cameras!.
C Ferris, 2nd September 2023, 10:45
It seems that the first slaves in the West Indies were white trouble makers from Ireland / Scotland. 
Shipping captured people from Africa to America was a big undertaking - paying for black people to capture their enemies shipping costs. Training them and forcing them to work on plaintions. 
Providing them food medical care housing etc. 
As apposed to making use of the Irish starving - paying their to get to USA working for next to nothing.
C Ferris, 2nd September 2023, 11:15
Perhaps Rick should have used Fairy Liquid with some Perfume :-))
Anon, 2nd September 2023, 14:55
John - I just re-read the first sentence. I'm not aware of my ancestors having done anything terrible. 
Probably should have read "I'd be fairly livid if someone dug up something that my ancestors hypothetically did"? 
Better? :-)
David Pilling, 2nd September 2023, 17:25
The Royal African Company (RAC) was an English trading company established up in 1660 by the House of Stuart...The House of Stuart, originally spelled Stewart, was a royal house of Scotland... 
the RAC quickly began trading in slaves 
Going to be a lot more statues get toppled. 
Rick, 2nd September 2023, 23:41
But is it a smear campaign, or a simple statement of fact given that *her* ancestor enslaved *his* ancestors? 
Why the "hypothetically"? She complained up the line, he defended himself with the research and, you know, facts and they agreed with him. That's why the legal threat, as the attempts to get it swept under the carpet didn't work. 
There's no hypothesis here, there's a pretty direct link. 
Makes me wonder - who is smearing who here? 
I thought the statue was being placed in a museum? And no, we shouldn't airbrush history. I was quite blunt on my opinion regarding that, see the 2023/02/22 entry. 
Rick, 2nd September 2023, 23:43
Ooh! The house of Stuart! 
Finally something that wasn't Queen Vic or Henry the Eighth (I am I am). ;) 
Anon, 3rd September 2023, 08:50
Just went back and read the 22nd Feb entry. Looks like I commented on that, and said much the same thing. 
My excuse? I've slept since then!
J.G.Harston, 9th September 2023, 16:26
It's highly unlikely that *her* ancestor enslaved *his* ancestor. Black Africans were enslaved by other black Africans, and sold to whoever wanted to buy them. (In East Africa is was Arabs enslaving the Africans.) Those that were sold to trans-Atlantic traders were sold to predominantly Eurporean traders, but the European traders didn't enslave them, the Africans enslaved them. It's actually highly likely that one of *his* ancestors enslaved one of *his* ancestors. 

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