Tuesday 23 May 2017

Leave the statues alone: they're part of our history

We should face down the historically illiterate young ideologues

Vandals: Students at a US college are demanding the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, plastering the statue with sticky notes with phrases like 'racism is a choice'
Vandals: Students at a US college are demanding the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, plastering the statue with sticky notes with phrases like 'racism is a choice'
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

At William and Mary College in Virginia, students are demanding the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence who is regarded by many as America's best president. As an interim measure, they've plastered it with sticky notes saying things like "Racism is a choice" and "How dare you glorify him".

Closer to home, Cherwell, a newspaper for Oxford students, has an article from a member of the 'Rhodes Must Fall' movement, which is demanding that Oriel College take down a statue of its benefactor, Cecil Rhodes, on the grounds that he was a racist. Charlotte Ezaz, who tweets that "'diversifying' won't address the racism and Islamaphobia I encounter at this institution", tells her readers: "If a community of students of colour stand in solidarity with allied support, demanding that a specific statue they believe to represent a colonial legacy that marginalises and alienates them should be taken down, is their suffering and their personal experience not sufficient enough 'evidence' for its removal?"

Nope, Charlotte. Sure, Germany doesn't want to be littered with statues of Hitler, but statues are our history and should mostly be left alone.

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