Fandango’s Provocative Question (14 September 2022)

Prompt image for the Fandango's Provocative Question prompt

Fandango Provocatively asks:

Do you feel that the removal of statues of historic figures whose deeds or actions are considered, from today’s perspective, to be inappropriate, offensive, objectionable, or even traitorous, is justified? Why do you feel that way?

Ha! I laughed when I saw this because this question must stem from a conversation we had the other day.


I think you solve this problem laterally. I’ll use slavery as an example. What is the very worst outcome here?

The worst outcome is that people believe it never happened.

So what’s the best way to ensure we don’t get to that point?

By keeping reminders such as statues in place.

Absolutely, we should embellish the statue with our own narrative. For example, in Bristol, not far from me, the statue of a guy called Edward Colston was pulled down. Colston became mega rich in the 16/1700s… by trading slaves. At the time, the city erected a statue to honour him. In Bristol city centre.

My preferred route would be to have had a plaque saying why he was commemorated back then. So everybody knew. Not least it gives a history lesson that this kind of nonsense was celebrated in 1700. And it was. Slavery was very acceptable in 1700. So it gives a further lesson about the standards of that time.

But crowds pulled the statue down two years ago and dumped it in the harbour.

Give it a few generations. Nobody there will know who Colston was; that’s fair enough. Give it a few more generations, nobody will believe that people traded slaves out of Bristol; it must have happened “somewhere else”. Give it a few more generations, nobody there will believe that slavery ever happened.

Put Them in museums?

What’s the footfall of an average museum?

What’s the footfall of a city centre?

That’s why you leave them on general display. Display it where there’s the greatest footfall, so the most people will see it. It boils down to numbers. By removing it somewhere, you’re sweeping it under the carpet.

15 comments

  1. That wouldn’t work here, as we have masses of white people who don’t want to talk about slavery or even teach children anything bad ever happened here. That’s why I’m in favor of getting rid of reminders that upset descendants of slaves. But we could put it to a vote (leaving white people out) and see what they actually want…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sorry, Paula, I flatly reject that you take things down because some people would sooner pretend it never happened. These need to be in-your-face reminders that it did happen, to make sure it never happens again.

      Like

  2. Your museum idea is okay. I don’t like the removing of reminders of past history, even if it’s not pleasant. What’s that saying … if you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Pete, this question definitely came out of our discussion a few days ago, and based upon the comments I’ve read so far, it seems that more people are embracing your views than mine on this topic. I concede. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeah but this is only a few WordPress bloggers. I can certainly understand the sentiment of not wanting them around; they bring back uncomfortable memories after all. I just think that we (people, generally) sometimes need uncomfortable memories to remind us to do better.

      Liked by 1 person

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