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 Post subject: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:30 am 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education

I must admit I am in total agreement with the school's decision.It would be interesting to see what others think.There is clearly an intellectual movement which would disagree with the "The Rhodes must fall" campaign at Oxford.

http://www.historyextra.com/article/rom ... -gladiator

I have been watching the brilliant series on Rome on Channel 5.The second episode was on the slave revolt involving Spartacus.It seems to me we are harsher in our judgements of the two periods of history involving slavery.Maybe its because the second is more recent and involves our own society's history.

Slavery hasn't gone away.It still exists in many parts of the world. https://www.antislavery.org/

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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:28 pm 
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This is a more specific link to the Bristol story on the same site.

Let’s take a different example. Would you contribute to a charity set up by a rampant paedophile on the basis that the cause was still okay? Or would you donate to a different cause?

Should knighthoods be forever, because they recognise a time when decision-makers thought the person was ‘a good sort’ on the whole?

If a school is named after (or has a statue to) a famous person who turned out to be a paedophile or sex abuser, would you be okay with inaction?

In my view it perpetuates the standing of the culprit and seeks to minimise the injustice. “In the past, things were different...” Yeah. As if they couldn’t see the injustice they caused. I don’t believe it was done in innocence. Vulnerable people were exploited for the benefit of the ruling classes and decisionmakers. The victims and casualties were treated with contempt. Oh, wait. Plus ça change...

I know nothing about the school. At the very least, as a way to counterbalance their decision, I’d expect them to take a visible stand against modern slavery. To ringfence places for BME attendees and staff as a positive action to redress the balance. To actively support Amnesty International and human rights efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:36 am 
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Absolutely agree Stroller. I think as a society it is our duty to make a stand against things like this which took place in previous eras when people's priorities were different.

As a teacher of literature it's interesting to see how the reclassification of certain books/plays and so on have taken place. As an example: when I was at school (far too long ago!) we studied The Tempest which folk will probably know is about Prospero, the indolent Italian leader who is ousted in a coup, flees to a barren island in the middle of the ocean and brings peace and harmony to the savages therein.

Fast forward to the early 00s when I am teaching it for A level and marking the EDEXCEL paper it features on for a few years on the trot. Prospero is now a coloniser, enforcing his personal brand of culture and tradition on a reluctant society where he has no right to do so. He chains the indigenous people up and uses violence to enforce his will. It's a perfect reflection of the renaissance wave of colonisation which rampaged through Africa, the Indian isles and elsewhere.

I am pleased about the drive to alter the canon of English literature in order to be more reflective of diversity and different cultures. It's been a long time coming, IMO.

I also wish the song 'Land of Hope and Glory' could be either abolished or at least radically changed so it didn't read like some ghastly Rhodesian treatise on subjugating the kaffirs and lauding the glories of the white Empire. But hey, that's just naughty leftie old me. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:25 am 
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I am being intellectually lazy lying in bed on a Sunday morning. Rather than use my own words I wonder how you piggys and stroller would respond to the contents of the following article which has much to commend it ?


https://theconversation.com/history-is- ... that-53912

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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:39 am 
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Quasi, that article doesn’t change my original response. How would you answer the questions I posed?

Data strongly suggests that Oxbridge and its ilk institutionalises and perpetuates racism. Today. Keeping the statue of a white supremacist isn’t at odds with those views. They’re pretty slow to use their claimed intellectual rigour for self-examination.

The article from which I took the next sentence is worth reading.
Quote:
Giving undeserved honor to the evil is at least as grave an error as denying proper recognition to those who merit it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/vol ... monuments/

The question of whether the good a historical figure did in one area outweighs the evil that person did in another is legitimate. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that the balance was positive in the case of Rhodes and/or Colston.

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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:17 pm 
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I agree that history is complex and I also agree that, as the article suggests, nobody is perfect. Many recent socio-political or cultural 'heroes' and 'heroines' have been examined and found wanting, among them Mother Theresa, Churchill and others. That doesn't negate the good works they did. I think in some cases though, like blatant perpetuation of the slave trade or similar, people should take a stand.


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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:22 am 
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Stroller wrote:
Let’s take a different example. Would you contribute to a charity set up by a rampant paedophile on the basis that the cause was still okay? Or would you donate to a different cause?

Should knighthoods be forever, because they recognise a time when decision-makers thought the person was ‘a good sort’ on the whole?


Indeed. I'm guessing you may be thinking about Jimmy Savile? I believe that Stoke Mandeville hospital in Bucks, used to have a cafe and trust fund named after him because of the charity work that he did to raise money for the hospital. These names were swiftly change once his true nature was discovered after his death.

Does anyone seriously think that the hospital was wrong to change the names?


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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:26 am 
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Bristol would need to virtually re-name everything though, being a city whose growth originally was based on the slave trade. Including the Whiteladies Road which the students use to walk up to Black Boy Hill where their halls are. And yes, where the rich ladies lived and where the slaves were sold.

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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:33 am 
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mad? wrote:
Bristol would need to virtually re-name everything though, being a city whose growth originally was based on the slave trade. Including the Whiteladies Road which the students use to walk up to Black Boy Hill where their halls are. And yes, where the rich ladies lived and where the slaves were sold.


It would be wrong to try and erase all memory of the slave trade from history IMO, so personally I would see no need to change these street names. Where I think it is an issue is where there is something like a statue or building name which was originally set up specifically to honour a particular individual who is now known to be responsible for atrocities.


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 Post subject: Re: History and Slavery
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Perhaps the best idea is to stop naming things after people and sticking up memorials and statues and spend the money on something useful instead.

Presumably there is a naming committee and then now there will be a de-naming committee and then there will have to be a re-naming committee. A pragmatic solution is to leave everything as it is now unless it is in the name of one evil individual (rather than a culture which prevailed at a particular time) and then draw a line under the practice.


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