Tag Archives: white privilege

A memorial to a lie

Happy New Year. I come on to a topic I’ve meant to blog about for ages.

In June 2020 Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol was pulled down, rolled down the street and dumped in the River Avon to huge controversy. Why was the statue there in the first place, though?

The statue was erected in 1895 to falsify history. A plaque on the plinth described him as “one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city”. But he wasn’t. Bristol had been a major slave trading port, and Edward Colston had been at the heart of it.

I attempt to imagine that my skin pigmentation is black. The history I was taught at school was the history of the white-skinned people, omitting the history of the ancestors from whose DNA the hypothetical me’s skin pigmentation comes. Those ancestors, or kin of theirs, were kidnapped, enslaved, sold, classed as subhuman and as property, whipped, raped, exploited, even killed, with impunity under laws created by white-skinned people for profit.

Even Queen Elizabeth the First profited from slavery. How many people know that? I can’t recall a history lesson or popular depiction of Good Queen Bess mentioning that fact.

As this hypothetical me, I go to Bristol and I read that plaque. How can I not be indignant?

Other features of the hypothetical me are probably that:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 36 Comments

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