Blood Legacies: Confronting our Colonial Past
When the statue of Edward Colston was symbolically toppled from a plinth, dragged through the streets of Bristol and hauled into the River Avon last year, historian Professor Olivette Otele said, ‘It was like, finally, finally something is happening that is forcing people to reconsider’. Last year’s Black Lives Matter protests focused the world’s eyes on the ongoing, systematic racism experienced by people of colour across the globe. It seems almost inconceivable that, until then, statues and street names of prominent slavers simply resided placidly in our cities and towns uncontested. Except they had been contested. For decades, historians and activists campaigned against these monuments – which for many glorify the violence, oppression and exploitation underpinning our ‘enlightened civilisation’. What, if anything, has changed? This series explores how the West’s traditional narratives around race and colonialism are increasingly agreed to be toxic and unacceptable, and the legacies such rhetoric continues to have for people in Scotland, the UK and across the world today.