Skip to main content

Mary Seacole Deserves Her Recognition

Right so according to Lynn McDonald, a Canadian Sociology professor and Florence Nightingale enthusiast, Mary Seacole doesn't deserve to be recognised for her medical services during the Crimea war especially not with a statue that will tower over that of recognised white British nurses Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell. Writing for the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' page, McDonald ridicules Mary Seacole and her achievements favouring the legacy of Florence Nightingale.
I haven't heard such pretentious ignorance since David Starkey's infamous BBC Newsnight comments during the UK riots. What is with these 'distinguished' and 'educated' types asserting their ignorant, racist and classist views onto the rest of us?

McDonald believes honouring Mary Seacole is doing a disserve to Florence Nightingale and goes on to say that Seacole wasn't a proper nurse, she also brands Seacole as a opportunist who profited from servicing war soldiers and that the told history of Seacole is all 'whoppers'. To add further insult to injury she has the cheek to tell black people Seacole isn't worth commemorating as being mixed race (Seacole was half Jamaican and half Scottish) she didn't like to acknowledge her black roots!
This isn't true, there are many well documented historical examples of Seacole acknowledging and showing respect for black people. Though considering that Seacole was born during slavery were sickeningly the ability to 'pass off for white' would have allowed her to escape the horrid conditions of black (slave) life and offered economical opportunities, makes it understandable that she would down play her black lineage.

While yes Seacole was not a 'proper' nurse McDonald fails to mention that either really was Nightingale. Nightingale did briefly trainned in Germany though nursing was not a regulated or extensively trained profession since the role carried little credibility in Britian still Nightingale's stint in the Crimea. Also missed by McDonald was how Seacole who has learnt herbal medicine from her mother was rejected several times to join Nightingale's team of nurses and also rejected to work in the Crimea hospitals beacuse she was black.
Seacole, who had been a successful business woman in Jamaica, travelled to the Crimea at her own expense and established a hotel close to the front line selling food and drink to the British soldiers with which the finance was used to provide the medical treatment she offered the soldiers. While Nightingale is known as the 'lady with the lamp' for checking on her patients at night, Seacole provided a very personal and attentive care with many of the soliders referring to her as mother Seacole.

This it is not a competition, the two women’s accomplishments are very different much due to their race and social positioning, as a middle class white woman Nightingale had to overcome the social stigma of 'a woman’s place is in the home' where as Seacole despite hash racial inequality and set backs still managed to persuaded her ambition of helping people. Both women have contributed to British history making Seacole just as deserving of recognition as Nightingale.
As a black Brit, Canadian McDonald's article deeply offends me, who gave her the right to question a British institutes decision to honour a much deserving historical figure? The article clearly bias exposes McDonalds racial prejudices and lacked any academic integrity; while I was pleased to see from the comments that most disagreed with McDonald, sadly there were still a few comments that accepted her dribble using her academic background to validate her awful view.

Link to the offending article:
Statue of 'nurse' Mary Seacole will do Florence Nightingale a disservice,

* Written for & published by Black Feminist UK blog site. 


Popular posts from this blog

Music Review: The Weeknd Trilogy

Rarely do I buy new music these days, with it being even more of a rarity that I buy music from male artists. Reason being that I just can not stomach the lies and hypocrisy commercially viable male solo artists spin with their predictable music and unoriginal public image clashing fiercely with the reality of their private lives.

With music today being so limited in the topics sung about and (in making myself sound old - which I'm not) the lack of experience, soul and true artistry in today's predominately young artists, I was surprised and delight to find out about Canadian singer The Weeknd. I'm told that this artist has actually been around for a while, though it is only now that The Weeknd's music is reaching commercial heights with the song Wicked Games played regularly on the radio. While I have liked the song since hearing it, it wasn't until I had seen its music video that I really became interested in what this young male solo artist has to offer.


Rise Of The Beta Male

Interesting article in last week’s Shortlist discussing the demise of the 'Alpha' male and rise of the 'Beta' male.
In a nutshell, the article was discussing recent culture changes in male behaviour and attitudes which has contributed to the emergence of the Beta male.
Beta males are smart sensitivity men who invest in their appearance, they are said to have turned their backs on the old Alpha male ways of male domination, aggression and exploitation, instead they embody intelligence, charisma and are liberal thinking. According to the article beta males are changing the way we do business!

I was pleased to see that the article had made a connection with this new male attitude and behaviour to the adaption (for the better) to the feminist movement and the study's of masculinity, since the process of women demanding and slowly achieving gender equality has encouraged many men to relieve themselves of the emotional castration once promoted as the alpha male image of…

Book Review: We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity

We Real Cool take's a deep look at black masculinity and offers up a fantastic critical analyst of the pros and cons of being a black male in the US.
Hooks acknowledges early in the book that as a female her view point on this subject maybe subjective, though We Real Cool is written with much intellect and heart. It is with great passion for her black males that Hooks writes with, saying that the lack of critical writings on the subject by black males was the catalysis for why she wrote the book.

The book is a real eye opener on the issues and daily assault out black males face and easily related to black males in the UK. Hooks dicusses black male incarceration, Hip-Hop & gang culture, black male misogyny and absentee fatherhood. As a female reader the book spoke volumes to me, and in usual fashion Hooks drew from her personal experiences and relationships with black males when writting the book. This not only helped draw parallels between the black males in my life (i.e. fat…