Once upon a time, history was made by the people who were destined to become statues. The problem, over time, is their success nearly always involved some form of subjugation in the process, so heroism becomes less about being a good person and more about how you made people rich. Many interesting points emerged yesterday, the main one over why anyone would stick a racist on a plinth in the first place.
This is not commemoration. It is idolization, and to understand why you just have to look at the nutters who popped up with suggestions of who could now be erected in Colston’s place. Statues are the remembrance of a past other people feel needs to be recalled for centuries to come, except after a while the population will forget who that person was if history refuses to teach why they were put there.
The fact so few people know who Colston is outside Bristol remains significant.
The gaps in this country’s history are shocking: one might say they are intentional because if you don’t teach people their hands are covered in the blood of their ancestors, it is far easier to keep them subservient and willing to work. Reality for most of us sits between what history chooses to remember and what our families decide to forget.
What continues to be glaringly apparent however is the language that is used by those in power shows that their assertions this country is not racist is a lie. It remains a lie, and is perpetuated still from an early age. It is a very stupid leader indeed who chooses to consider those who desecrated the public property in Bristol yesterday as ‘thugs.’
I am utterly confident this man knows EXACTLY how that term is defined.
Suppression is still a thing, guys. We walked over the entire planet and destroyed a great many things. Giving land back to those we occupied does not absolve our blame. We still have a PHENOMENAL amount of work to do on that front, and eventually, if we’re lucky, these people might forgive those who held them down. However, don’t bet on it.
That’s right, we should be grateful that this isn’t about revenge, because if it was… white people would be extinct by now. What was built by others’ hands, and not our own, kept safe through decades of ignorance and wilful unseeing. If you ascribe to the concept of karma… this might be a pivotal moment.
That all depends on the guilty’s response to their culpability.