History is not being erased by those seeking to topple the statues of slavers and murderous white supremacists; it is being remembered. That is the real sin as far as the protesters’ detractors are concerned.
What protesters are doing on both sides of the Atlantic is compelling entire nations to confront their present through a new understanding of their past. Our new history teachers are explaining that the vast wealth of western societies – unjustly concentrated in so few hands as it is – was generated through slavery, colonial violence and theft. This oppression required the dehumanisation of the populations who suffered the consequences – its legacy is the embedding of racism in institutions and entire societies.
As more statues fall, a new history is remembered – each one casting a disturbing new light on the present. Understanding this threatens our iniquitous status quo – that is what detractors truly fear, not the toppling of bygone racist tyrants.
excerpted from Owen Jones’ opinion (The Guardian, 11 june 2020)