Forum home Road cycling forum The cake stop

Edward Colston/Trans rights/Stamp collecting

17810121358

Posts

  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,215
    nickice said:

    We should stop venerating certain figures in the Bible and Koran because they held slaves. I look forwards to those campaigns.

    Anybody fancy blowing up the pyramids while they are at it?
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783

    Pross said:

    Let's just clear a few things up.

    People don't put up statues of bad people. Statues are always up there as a celebration.

    Ergo, statues of racists are essentially saying we are celebrating a racist.

    Nor is history written in statues, else we'd all have forgotten a whole bunch of nasty folk.

    Did the concept of racism even exist when the statues were put up? Even in the 19th Century the British Empire were waging war on 'savages' in Africa so the statues were erected to celebrate the achievements of people who did things in accordance with the social norm of the times.

    That's not to say the statues shouldn't have been removed in the intervening hundred odd years when the social norm has changed but to say they were put up to celebrate racism isn't really true.

    It's about time all those statues of Roman emperors and generals were ripped down and their names deleted from buildings and streets worldwide as they were all slave owners.

    Judging the behaviours of the past by today's accepted behaviour is folly. Yes, remove the statues from public spaces or leave them be with educational information rather than glorifying words but ultimately the wealth of the nation has been mainly built on behaviour we would mainly criticise today.

    Even now, how many of the companies you count as Clients in the big city meet your high standards of ethics? If they do, were they completely innocent in the way they initially amassed their fortunes? Should we give back all the wealth we plundered from the natural resources of countries that remain impoverished to the current day?
    So the racism we’re referring to here came into existence in the 19th Century.

    They were put up to celebrate the people who they were statues of. They didn’t care at the time about the whole mass murder bit.

    We now do, ergo they need to go.

    As for the Romans, as above, they are not specific race issues are they?

    As for modern firms - well, most of them didn’t exist until more recently.

    I mean, I think it is too far gone and it would be far too complicated to try to work our reparations for people who have since long died. It is too long ago and too entwined.

    It’s not practical or feasible. But maybe not having people at the heart of some of the worst practices of colonialism up as statues is a good start.
    I think it is a cop out to say “too long ago” why not liquidate everything from Colston and use it for good causes in Zanzibar or Sierra Leone or fund an organisation dedicated to fighting modern slavery.

    Pulling down statues and renaming roads and buildings is inexpensive virtue signalling. If people truly gave a censored they would do the hard expensive stuff.
    This is the same batshit argument against making environmental changes that says you shouldn't drive a bit less because you aren't vegan.
    Am I the vegan or is Rick?
    I think you'd be the one driving a 4x4 to the butchers and criticising cyclists for not being vegan. I'm not really sure myself.
  • masjermasjer Posts: 267
    I for one, feel no guilt for the actions of our forefathers and see no reason why I should. Should modern day Germans feel shameful for the millions that died at the hands of the Nazis? No, they didn't do it.
    I grew up in Jersey where nearly all German bunkers, gun emplacements and coastal fortifications (built by slaves for the Nazi occupation) remain- with many being open for tourism. These fortifications remain as a reminder of past atrocities, as do places like Auchwitzt.
    Isn't the tearing down of controversial statues a way of just hiding the past?
    Anyway, I feel we (as a species) have many more important obstacles to overcome than just symbolically removing statues for which we shouldn't lose focus- climate change, mass animal extinction, loss of ecosystems, human overpopulation etc.
    I'm not that sure future generations (if we still exist) will look back at our current actions favourably.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,762
    nickice said:

    We should stop venerating certain figures in the Bible and Koran because they held slaves. I look forwards to those campaigns.

    TBF, both books are quite strong on graven images, too.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here

    nickice said:

    Pross said:

    Let's just clear a few things up.

    People don't put up statues of bad people. Statues are always up there as a celebration.

    Ergo, statues of racists are essentially saying we are celebrating a racist.

    Nor is history written in statues, else we'd all have forgotten a whole bunch of nasty folk.

    Did the concept of racism even exist when the statues were put up? Even in the 19th Century the British Empire were waging war on 'savages' in Africa so the statues were erected to celebrate the achievements of people who did things in accordance with the social norm of the times.

    That's not to say the statues shouldn't have been removed in the intervening hundred odd years when the social norm has changed but to say they were put up to celebrate racism isn't really true.

    It's about time all those statues of Roman emperors and generals were ripped down and their names deleted from buildings and streets worldwide as they were all slave owners.

    Judging the behaviours of the past by today's accepted behaviour is folly. Yes, remove the statues from public spaces or leave them be with educational information rather than glorifying words but ultimately the wealth of the nation has been mainly built on behaviour we would mainly criticise today.

    Even now, how many of the companies you count as Clients in the big city meet your high standards of ethics? If they do, were they completely innocent in the way they initially amassed their fortunes? Should we give back all the wealth we plundered from the natural resources of countries that remain impoverished to the current day?
    So the racism we’re referring to here came into existence in the 19th Century.

    They were put up to celebrate the people who they were statues of. They didn’t care at the time about the whole mass murder bit.

    We now do, ergo they need to go.

    As for the Romans, as above, they are not specific race issues are they?

    As for modern firms - well, most of them didn’t exist until more recently.

    I mean, I think it is too far gone and it would be far too complicated to try to work our reparations for people who have since long died. It is too long ago and too entwined.

    It’s not practical or feasible. But maybe not having people at the heart of some of the worst practices of colonialism up as statues is a good start.
    Would you work with German companies that were involved in the Holocaust?
    Such as?
    What about Swiss Banks

    German banks too
    So I guess I work on the basis that companies are collections of people and they aren't really symbols in the same way statues are.

    I mean, having said that I'm fairly critical of the whole nazi gold stuff, but this is about the symbolism of statues, rather than the ethics of working with businesses, as I see them as fairly separate?

    I mean, if a company behaves according to today's standards now, is that problematic?
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619
    pangolin said:

    Pross said:

    The other thing to consider is that whilst the slavery of the times of Colston was predominantly black people taken from Africa to the plantations of the Caribbean, Deep South and South America slavery both historically and today isn't necessarily about colour.

    Hahaha
    Pross said:

    It's about exploiting the weak and vulnerable. Today it seems to be mainly Eastern Europeans and Asians being tricked, back in the days of the Roman Empire it was people from all other their conquered Empire black or white. Arguably much of the workforce on which the industrial revolution was based were little more than the slaves of the company employing them and were native to the country.

    Yes Pross our ancestors in factories were poor suffering slaves too. Get a grip.
    So are you saying slaves were taken from Africa because they were black rather than because they were the readily available source of free labour? That had the population of West Africa been white the likes of Colston would have gone elsewhere to find their slaves? Sounds unlikely to me but if you genuinely believe that fair enough.

    As for your second point you clearly don't know much about how the factories in the early stages of the industrial revolution worked. The workers were basically owned by the factory, they got paid a pittance and then all that money went back to the factory owners in rent and having to buy their food from truck shops. I'm not suggesting their conditions were as bad as those of plantation slaves but it's still an example of how the rich and powerful exploited the available labour force to get even more rich and powerful. 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in life threatening conditions just to have basic shelter and food to survive with no real opportunity to move elsewhere.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674

    I mean, if a company behaves according to today's standards now, is that problematic?

    Judging by what's going on right now, it soon will be. Which, as many have pointed out, is one negative and current consequence of all this presentism: the only way not to open yourself to being judged by the standards of the future is to race towards them faster than those around you. Not that it'll work, of course.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Pross said:

    The workers were basically owned by the factory, they got paid a pittance and then all that money went back to the factory owners in rent and having to buy their food from truck shops.

    No wonder so many flocked from the countryside to work in them...
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619

    Pross said:

    Pross said:

    Let's just clear a few things up.

    People don't put up statues of bad people. Statues are always up there as a celebration.

    Ergo, statues of racists are essentially saying we are celebrating a racist.

    Nor is history written in statues, else we'd all have forgotten a whole bunch of nasty folk.

    Did the concept of racism even exist when the statues were put up? Even in the 19th Century the British Empire were waging war on 'savages' in Africa so the statues were erected to celebrate the achievements of people who did things in accordance with the social norm of the times.

    That's not to say the statues shouldn't have been removed in the intervening hundred odd years when the social norm has changed but to say they were put up to celebrate racism isn't really true.

    It's about time all those statues of Roman emperors and generals were ripped down and their names deleted from buildings and streets worldwide as they were all slave owners.

    Judging the behaviours of the past by today's accepted behaviour is folly. Yes, remove the statues from public spaces or leave them be with educational information rather than glorifying words but ultimately the wealth of the nation has been mainly built on behaviour we would mainly criticise today.

    Even now, how many of the companies you count as Clients in the big city meet your high standards of ethics? If they do, were they completely innocent in the way they initially amassed their fortunes? Should we give back all the wealth we plundered from the natural resources of countries that remain impoverished to the current day?
    So the racism we’re referring to here came into existence in the 19th Century.

    They were put up to celebrate the people who they were statues of. They didn’t care at the time about the whole mass murder bit.

    We now do, ergo they need to go.

    As for the Romans, as above, they are not specific race issues are they?

    As for modern firms - well, most of them didn’t exist until more recently.

    I mean, I think it is too far gone and it would be far too complicated to try to work our reparations for people who have since long died. It is too long ago and too entwined.

    It’s not practical or feasible. But maybe not having people at the heart of some of the worst practices of colonialism up as statues is a good start.
    First point was what I was getting at and was dismissed as ridiculous by Pangolin and 'what is this' by you. Is it therefore acceptable to have a statue of Caesar on display in the centre of Rome as he ran an equal opportunities slavery empire? Is slavery less unacceptable if the slaves have the same colour skin as the slave owner? For obvious reasons slavery from the colonial days is inextricably linked with race and a symbol of oppression but surely the worst issue with slavery is that you are literally stealing the lives of other humans for your benefit rather than the colour of their skin?

    On the second point, are you 100% certain that none of your Clients are making their money from exploiting child labour in Asia? No-one making money from mining or oil operations in Africa? I'm sure they all have nice CSR and modern slavery policies on their websites but what happens a few tiers down the supply chain?

    Well on point one, it is entirely a race issue, which is why it has come up in the BLM movement.

    It's a reflection of the colonial past, which had racism deep at the heart of its entire justification (both for it, and the violence that occurred as a result of it).
    That's why it makes some of the residents of Bristol uncomfortable, and why it has become a symbol for them for what they see is the problem with racism in the UK - that too many people turn a blind eye to it.

    On the second point - you must have come across the modern slavery act? We won't (and I think are bound by our insureres) to not work with clients who do not meet the criteria of that.

    But what point are you making here? That it's hypocritical? That all critics of mass murderers must be, pun intended, whiter than white?
    See, that's the bit I'm not so sure about. Was racism really at the heart of colonialism or was it happenstance that the countries Britain colonised had black indigenous populations? I assume it's the latter and that the Brits were there for the natural resources originally then extended that to taking the people as well but you've studied it so if you're telling me we invaded the countries partly to kill and enslave people due to their skin colour I'll accept the point.

  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Pross said:

    Was racism really at the heart of colonialism or was it happenstance that the countries Britain colonised had black indigenous populations? I assume it's the latter and that the Brits were there for the natural resources originally then extended that to taking the people as well but you've studied it so if you're telling me we invaded the countries partly to kill and enslave people due to their skin colour I'll accept the point.

    It's reassuring to know that Cromwell's statue, at least, is safe, since what he did in Ireland can't really be ascribed to racism ;)
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here
    Pross said:

    Pross said:

    Pross said:

    Let's just clear a few things up.

    People don't put up statues of bad people. Statues are always up there as a celebration.

    Ergo, statues of racists are essentially saying we are celebrating a racist.

    Nor is history written in statues, else we'd all have forgotten a whole bunch of nasty folk.

    Did the concept of racism even exist when the statues were put up? Even in the 19th Century the British Empire were waging war on 'savages' in Africa so the statues were erected to celebrate the achievements of people who did things in accordance with the social norm of the times.

    That's not to say the statues shouldn't have been removed in the intervening hundred odd years when the social norm has changed but to say they were put up to celebrate racism isn't really true.

    It's about time all those statues of Roman emperors and generals were ripped down and their names deleted from buildings and streets worldwide as they were all slave owners.

    Judging the behaviours of the past by today's accepted behaviour is folly. Yes, remove the statues from public spaces or leave them be with educational information rather than glorifying words but ultimately the wealth of the nation has been mainly built on behaviour we would mainly criticise today.

    Even now, how many of the companies you count as Clients in the big city meet your high standards of ethics? If they do, were they completely innocent in the way they initially amassed their fortunes? Should we give back all the wealth we plundered from the natural resources of countries that remain impoverished to the current day?
    So the racism we’re referring to here came into existence in the 19th Century.

    They were put up to celebrate the people who they were statues of. They didn’t care at the time about the whole mass murder bit.

    We now do, ergo they need to go.

    As for the Romans, as above, they are not specific race issues are they?

    As for modern firms - well, most of them didn’t exist until more recently.

    I mean, I think it is too far gone and it would be far too complicated to try to work our reparations for people who have since long died. It is too long ago and too entwined.

    It’s not practical or feasible. But maybe not having people at the heart of some of the worst practices of colonialism up as statues is a good start.
    First point was what I was getting at and was dismissed as ridiculous by Pangolin and 'what is this' by you. Is it therefore acceptable to have a statue of Caesar on display in the centre of Rome as he ran an equal opportunities slavery empire? Is slavery less unacceptable if the slaves have the same colour skin as the slave owner? For obvious reasons slavery from the colonial days is inextricably linked with race and a symbol of oppression but surely the worst issue with slavery is that you are literally stealing the lives of other humans for your benefit rather than the colour of their skin?

    On the second point, are you 100% certain that none of your Clients are making their money from exploiting child labour in Asia? No-one making money from mining or oil operations in Africa? I'm sure they all have nice CSR and modern slavery policies on their websites but what happens a few tiers down the supply chain?

    Well on point one, it is entirely a race issue, which is why it has come up in the BLM movement.

    It's a reflection of the colonial past, which had racism deep at the heart of its entire justification (both for it, and the violence that occurred as a result of it).
    That's why it makes some of the residents of Bristol uncomfortable, and why it has become a symbol for them for what they see is the problem with racism in the UK - that too many people turn a blind eye to it.

    On the second point - you must have come across the modern slavery act? We won't (and I think are bound by our insureres) to not work with clients who do not meet the criteria of that.

    But what point are you making here? That it's hypocritical? That all critics of mass murderers must be, pun intended, whiter than white?
    See, that's the bit I'm not so sure about. Was racism really at the heart of colonialism or was it happenstance that the countries Britain colonised had black indigenous populations? I assume it's the latter and that the Brits were there for the natural resources originally then extended that to taking the people as well but you've studied it so if you're telling me we invaded the countries partly to kill and enslave people due to their skin colour I'll accept the point.

    The practices the UK engaged in in Africa were absolutely rooted in racism. It was racism that formed and shaped the entire interaction with the locals, which was by all accounts, brutal.

    Sure, there are many other instances of colonialism and slavery and all the rest, but this specific one, the one Britain had and celebrates, was the basis on which the entire racist discourse entered the UK in the first place.

    And some people whose ancestors once upon a time were African would like that recognised, and that means, in a small part, looking at who stands in public spaces today in statue.
  • ballysmateballysmate Posts: 15,628

    Why the leap from books to statues? They're quite different.

    I do really think going into bat for King Leopold II is not a good idea.

    Hbo have pulled 'Gone with the wind'

    You still confident books are safe?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here

    Why the leap from books to statues? They're quite different.

    I do really think going into bat for King Leopold II is not a good idea.

    Hbo have pulled 'Gone with the wind'

    You still confident books are safe?
    Yeah I am. I mean, I don't really know the film well or the reasons behind the film being taken down, so I can't really comment.

    In case it's not clear, just because I would like statues of mass murderers taken down, doesn't mean I want to ban swathes of art and literature.
  • pangolinpangolin Posts: 3,969
    edited June 2020
    Pross said:

    pangolin said:

    Pross said:

    The other thing to consider is that whilst the slavery of the times of Colston was predominantly black people taken from Africa to the plantations of the Caribbean, Deep South and South America slavery both historically and today isn't necessarily about colour.

    Hahaha
    Pross said:

    It's about exploiting the weak and vulnerable. Today it seems to be mainly Eastern Europeans and Asians being tricked, back in the days of the Roman Empire it was people from all other their conquered Empire black or white. Arguably much of the workforce on which the industrial revolution was based were little more than the slaves of the company employing them and were native to the country.

    Yes Pross our ancestors in factories were poor suffering slaves too. Get a grip.
    So are you saying slaves were taken from Africa because they were black rather than because they were the readily available source of free labour? That had the population of West Africa been white the likes of Colston would have gone elsewhere to find their slaves? Sounds unlikely to me but if you genuinely believe that fair enough.

    As for your second point you clearly don't know much about how the factories in the early stages of the industrial revolution worked. The workers were basically owned by the factory, they got paid a pittance and then all that money went back to the factory owners in rent and having to buy their food from truck shops. I'm not suggesting their conditions were as bad as those of plantation slaves but it's still an example of how the rich and powerful exploited the available labour force to get even more rich and powerful. 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in life threatening conditions just to have basic shelter and food to survive with no real opportunity to move elsewhere.

    Is it much consolation to that generation of black people if that's true? 'Sorry, if it helps it wasn't a race thing, you were just in a convenient place. It's a coincidence you're all black. Oops!'

    Fact is though Pross it was black people that ended up as slaves in America. And people didn't call them names or treat them badly based on being 'readily available source of free labour' they treated them badly because of the colour of their skin.

    I think it's nuts to compare the lives of workers in factories in the UK to the lives of black slaves. Were factory workers killed in their thousands on ships to get to work? Were they killed for fun? Were they regularly raped and beaten?

    And what is your point in the context of this thread? Are there statues of factory owners that we are worried might have to come down? Who cares? Is the actual worry here that we might over-correct and end up taking down too many statues of people because our barometer for what is right and wrong slightly too far to the side of right that to the side of wrong?

    Nobody here is saying let's forget the past. Stick it in a museum.
    Genesis Croix de Fer
    Cube Attain
  • floreriderflorerider Posts: 1,112

    nickice said:

    Pross said:

    Let's just clear a few things up.

    People don't put up statues of bad people. Statues are always up there as a celebration.

    Ergo, statues of racists are essentially saying we are celebrating a racist.

    Nor is history written in statues, else we'd all have forgotten a whole bunch of nasty folk.

    Did the concept of racism even exist when the statues were put up? Even in the 19th Century the British Empire were waging war on 'savages' in Africa so the statues were erected to celebrate the achievements of people who did things in accordance with the social norm of the times.

    That's not to say the statues shouldn't have been removed in the intervening hundred odd years when the social norm has changed but to say they were put up to celebrate racism isn't really true.

    It's about time all those statues of Roman emperors and generals were ripped down and their names deleted from buildings and streets worldwide as they were all slave owners.

    Judging the behaviours of the past by today's accepted behaviour is folly. Yes, remove the statues from public spaces or leave them be with educational information rather than glorifying words but ultimately the wealth of the nation has been mainly built on behaviour we would mainly criticise today.

    Even now, how many of the companies you count as Clients in the big city meet your high standards of ethics? If they do, were they completely innocent in the way they initially amassed their fortunes? Should we give back all the wealth we plundered from the natural resources of countries that remain impoverished to the current day?
    So the racism we’re referring to here came into existence in the 19th Century.

    They were put up to celebrate the people who they were statues of. They didn’t care at the time about the whole mass murder bit.

    We now do, ergo they need to go.

    As for the Romans, as above, they are not specific race issues are they?

    As for modern firms - well, most of them didn’t exist until more recently.

    I mean, I think it is too far gone and it would be far too complicated to try to work our reparations for people who have since long died. It is too long ago and too entwined.

    It’s not practical or feasible. But maybe not having people at the heart of some of the worst practices of colonialism up as statues is a good start.
    Would you work with German companies that were involved in the Holocaust?
    Such as?
    What about Swiss Banks
    IG Farben became BASF, Bayer, Hoescht and Agfa. Difficult to avoid the first 2, especially BASF given their global presesnce.

    If Bayer get the vaccine you would boycott it?
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674

    The practices the UK engaged in in Africa were absolutely rooted in racism. It was racism that formed and shaped the entire interaction with the locals, which was by all accounts, brutal.

    Sure, there are many other instances of colonialism and slavery and all the rest, but this specific one, the one Britain had and celebrates, was the basis on which the entire racist discourse entered the UK in the first place.

    Genuine request. Can you summarise for us (I am, err, working at the moment so don't have time for a degree course in Colonial Studies) the evidence that there was something qualitatively different in the racism of the British Empire to that of, say, the ancient Greeks or the Chinese (either ancient or modern)?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here
    I'm not sure what the arguments are against the taking down of the statue, other than 'it serves as a reminder of the bad things that were done', which I think i've made clear, I don't buy (and no-one right minded would, if this wasn't mired in some culture war).

    I don't buy into the thin-end-of-the-wedge argument because I think we should be able to take all instances in their own context. Churchill's statue is not going to be taken down. It is healthy that we've had the discussion about his problems with race which, let's be honest, hasn't really entered the public debate.

    I had a friend at uni who studied his attitudes towards the colonies and the locals there and I remember discussing how if we were to mention it in normal company we'd be shouted down. So that's why it's so remarkable it's happened the way it has.

    We can make sensible decisions to do with things like race without getting bogged down in culture wars.

    No-one wants a politically correct Taliban. Nor, hopefully, do people want statues venerating people who were mass murderers.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619

    Pross said:

    The workers were basically owned by the factory, they got paid a pittance and then all that money went back to the factory owners in rent and having to buy their food from truck shops.

    No wonder so many flocked from the countryside to work in them...
    Well the choice was to not have food or shelter in the countryside or at best be a labourer for the local landed gentry where you were in much the same boat.
  • Jeremy.89Jeremy.89 Posts: 457

    Why the leap from books to statues? They're quite different.

    I do really think going into bat for King Leopold II is not a good idea.

    Hbo have pulled 'Gone with the wind'

    You still confident books are safe?
    Yeah I am. I mean, I don't really know the film well or the reasons behind the film being taken down, so I can't really comment.

    In case it's not clear, just because I would like statues of mass murderers taken down, doesn't mean I want to ban swathes of art and literature.
    HBO have said that they will put it back up, unedited, but with some discussion around it. Presumably a talking heads bit that most people will skip through.

    Restricting media that people consume in their own home is an entirely different conversation to taking down statues in public places, and should be seen as such.

    Otoh, HBO have no duty to make a film that they disagree with available for you to watch.

    I don't remember much fuss on the old forum when Count Dankula had his issues with his racist dog, which seems to me, to be a far more chilling example of a so called mini cultural revolution, than dunking some bronze in some water.

  • floreriderflorerider Posts: 1,112
    Isn't Churchill the paradox though, and by implication the lack of debate on his attitudes evidence of widespread institutualised racism in the UK general population?

    I would speculate that racism was his bar to effectively seeing the Japanese problem in the 30s when he saw the German one so clearly, despite its effect on the empire he so loved.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619
    pangolin said:

    Pross said:

    pangolin said:

    Pross said:

    The other thing to consider is that whilst the slavery of the times of Colston was predominantly black people taken from Africa to the plantations of the Caribbean, Deep South and South America slavery both historically and today isn't necessarily about colour.

    Hahaha
    Pross said:

    It's about exploiting the weak and vulnerable. Today it seems to be mainly Eastern Europeans and Asians being tricked, back in the days of the Roman Empire it was people from all other their conquered Empire black or white. Arguably much of the workforce on which the industrial revolution was based were little more than the slaves of the company employing them and were native to the country.

    Yes Pross our ancestors in factories were poor suffering slaves too. Get a grip.
    So are you saying slaves were taken from Africa because they were black rather than because they were the readily available source of free labour? That had the population of West Africa been white the likes of Colston would have gone elsewhere to find their slaves? Sounds unlikely to me but if you genuinely believe that fair enough.

    As for your second point you clearly don't know much about how the factories in the early stages of the industrial revolution worked. The workers were basically owned by the factory, they got paid a pittance and then all that money went back to the factory owners in rent and having to buy their food from truck shops. I'm not suggesting their conditions were as bad as those of plantation slaves but it's still an example of how the rich and powerful exploited the available labour force to get even more rich and powerful. 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in life threatening conditions just to have basic shelter and food to survive with no real opportunity to move elsewhere.

    Is it much consolation to that generation of black people if that's true? 'Sorry, if it helps it wasn't a race thing, you were just in a convenient place. It's a coincidence you're all black. Oops!'

    Fact is though Pross it was black people that ended up as slaves in America. And people didn't call them names or treat them badly based on being 'readily available source of free labour' they treated them badly because of the colour of their skin.

    I think it's nuts to compare the lives of workers in factories in the UK to the lives of black slaves. Were factory workers killed in their thousands on ships to get to work? Were they killed for fun? Were they regularly raped and beaten?

    And what is your point in the context of this thread? Are there statues of factory owners that we are worried might have to come down? Who cares? Is the actual worry here that we might over-correct and end up taking down too many statues of people because our barometer for what is right and wrong slightly too far to the side of right that to the side of wrong?

    Nobody here is saying let's forget the past. Stick it in a museum.
    I'm not necessarily arguing against any of that. My original point is that the history of slavery (and modern day slavery) is based on exploiting people who are unable to protect themselves and that enslavement wasn't based on skin colour. Slave owners were just ruthless and often murderous people who used others to further their wealth and would have done the same had they experienced primitive white tribes they could bully into submission with more advance weapons and technology.

    Yes, in that particular era it was almost exclusively black and I have no doubt that the fact that most people at the time would have only ever seen a black person in the context of being a slave led to generations believing black people to be inferior and that the echoes of that are still felt today.

    Basically, slavery wasn't born out of racism as seemed to be claimed earlier in the thread but has played a huge part in creating it.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619
    Sorry, I meant to add on the last paragraph in your post. I agree and have said the same several times. However, the statue taken down yesterday was at the front of the Docklands museum so it seems that even that isn't considered acceptable.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 20,762

    nickice said:

    We should stop venerating certain figures in the Bible and Koran because they held slaves. I look forwards to those campaigns.

    Anybody fancy blowing up the pyramids while they are at it?
    They weren't built by slaves.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,070


    And some people whose ancestors once upon a time were African would like that recognised, and that means, in a small part, looking at who stands in public spaces today in statue.

    If they are British and their ancestors were African and not Caribbean, aren't they more like to have been slavers than slaves?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here
    edited June 2020

    The practices the UK engaged in in Africa were absolutely rooted in racism. It was racism that formed and shaped the entire interaction with the locals, which was by all accounts, brutal.

    Sure, there are many other instances of colonialism and slavery and all the rest, but this specific one, the one Britain had and celebrates, was the basis on which the entire racist discourse entered the UK in the first place.

    Genuine request. Can you summarise for us (I am, err, working at the moment so don't have time for a degree course in Colonial Studies) the evidence that there was something qualitatively different in the racism of the British Empire to that of, say, the ancient Greeks or the Chinese (either ancient or modern)?
    So in short, the idea of races didn't really exist in the same way until Darwin and evolution turned up. In fact, you can read lots of pre-Darwin literature from Europeans on Africans and if you deconstruct it you see that those racist assumptions aren't there. Academics tend to use literary deconstruction to work out what the underlying assumptions are in any given bit of writing, and lots of them have looked at this, and found the same.

    That (theory of evolution) then made the intellectual space for the idea that different groups of people, different *races*, were on different parts of the evolutionary development.

    That combined with the interactions of explorers with locals in Africa really cemented that idea. From that you then begin to get justifications for exploitation for things like the civilising mission, the white man burden etc.

    As the 19th century goes on, more countries get in on the act and the that process of interacting with the locals keeps reinforcing those racist ideas in some kind of vicious circle. That culminates in some of the most brutal behaviour imaginable by every European power in Africa, but notably Germans in Namibia ) and Belgians in Congo.

    There is also a theory which is considered credible (after a lot of initial hostility), that the kind of nazi thinking and behaviour was essentially just Europeans importing the behaviours and thinking they had been practicing and mastering in Africa. (Cards on the table, the guy who marked my dissertation was the guy who came up with this theory).

    This doesn't point the finger at Darwin (necessarily) by the way, but in the same way you don't get drink driving without cars, you don't get racism as we know it without the theory of evolution.

  • ProssPross Posts: 29,619

    I don't buy into the thin-end-of-the-wedge argument because I think we should be able to take all instances in their own context. Churchill's statue is not going to be taken down. It is healthy that we've had the discussion about his problems with race which, let's be honest, hasn't really entered the public debate.

    I'm not so certain about that. I heard very serious discussion yesterday about removing Nelson's Column as he owned slaves. At the moment it seems there's not a push for that but I can foresee a time where the narrative changes and people start pushing for it to happen.

  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here
    Pross said:

    I don't buy into the thin-end-of-the-wedge argument because I think we should be able to take all instances in their own context. Churchill's statue is not going to be taken down. It is healthy that we've had the discussion about his problems with race which, let's be honest, hasn't really entered the public debate.

    I'm not so certain about that. I heard very serious discussion yesterday about removing Nelson's Column as he owned slaves. At the moment it seems there's not a push for that but I can foresee a time where the narrative changes and people start pushing for it to happen.

    I'm all for discussion. Really important the discussion is happening. As long as it's been done in good faith on both sides.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,377 Lives Here


    And some people whose ancestors once upon a time were African would like that recognised, and that means, in a small part, looking at who stands in public spaces today in statue.

    If they are British and their ancestors were African and not Caribbean, aren't they more like to have been slavers than slaves?
    How far back are you going?
  • floreriderflorerider Posts: 1,112

    Pross said:

    I don't buy into the thin-end-of-the-wedge argument because I think we should be able to take all instances in their own context. Churchill's statue is not going to be taken down. It is healthy that we've had the discussion about his problems with race which, let's be honest, hasn't really entered the public debate.

    I'm not so certain about that. I heard very serious discussion yesterday about removing Nelson's Column as he owned slaves. At the moment it seems there's not a push for that but I can foresee a time where the narrative changes and people start pushing for it to happen.

    I'm all for discussion. Really important the discussion is happening. As long as it's been done in good faith on both sides.
    Quite agree Rick, but speaking as someone stuck at home shielding a very vulnerable son whose already had 7 weeks in hospital this year including 12 days ventilation, and 2 stays on wards with Covid, 2 tests etc, can they please not risk the rest of us via the R rate. There are some other matters of life and death associated with large gatherings.

    Why not get up to date and do it on line and via social media and not break the law? Its not Vietnam and the 70s anymore.
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,674
    This house believes that knocking down the statue of Colston has done more for the education of the nation than the 125 years it stood there.

    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
Sign In or Register to comment.