Jump to content

UK Politics: Black Lives Matter Here Too


mormont

Recommended Posts

13 minutes ago, SeanF said:

 Upthread, you mentioned Queen Nzinga, who is a national heroine in Angola, and defended her kingdom successfully against the Portuguese - but also sold African slaves to them.  She is celebrated for fighting against foreign invaders, not for selling slaves. 

Yes, her statue is up because it's a powerful symbol of fighting European encroachment. I can understand why the people of Angola see her as a powerful symbol of their nation, even considering some of her less savory behavior.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

I think in assessing these figures, I think you need to start with 1) Why is this person's statue up? And 2)  does history support that reason?

I keep using the Civil War, but I think it's a fertile ground for thinking about these issues. So in that case, the alleged reason for putting up statues of Confederate leaders was because they "were defending the Southern way of life" or something like that. But, any fair and objective reading of the historical record does not support those reasons. So the reasons given don't hold water.

I've no dog in that fight.  But, tentatively, I'd say if something is genuinely a war memorial (even if you disagree with the cause) it should stay.  If it were put up to show the black population who is the master (I can't think of statues to Nathan Bedford Forrest, who murdered black POW's in any other way) then it should go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, SeanF said:

I've no dog in that fight.  But, tentatively, I'd say if something is genuinely a war memorial (even if you disagree with the cause) it should stay.  If it were put up to show the black population who is the master (I can't think of statues to Nathan Bedford Forrest, who murdered black POW's in any other way) then it should go.

A good deal of it was to re-write the history of the Civil War and its causes. And was put up exactly for the reason to intimidate African Americans. And Nathan Bedford Forest is particularly appalling because not only did he do the stuff you point out, he also helped to found the KKK. And as far as I know there was at least one statue of him in Tennessee. And most likely in other places. It wouldn't surprise me if there were several statues of him in Mississippi.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

A good deal of it was to re-write the history of the Civil War and its causes. And was put up exactly for the reason to intimidate African Americans. And Nathan Bedford Forest is particularly appalling because not only did he do the stuff you point out, he also helped to found the KKK. And as far as I know there was at least one statue of him in Tennessee. And most likely in other places. It wouldn't surprise if there where several statues of him in Mississippi.

Actually, on checking, there are 36 memorials of various kinds named after him in Tennessee, including a county.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, SeanF said:

Actually, on checking, there are 36 memorials of various kinds named after him in Tennessee, including a county.

Thanks for verifying. I was too lazy to Google. The reason I know about it in Tennessee is because I saw one once while driving through it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The desire to rename things has hit Canada as well. There's some guy from the UK named Henry Dundas who fought against the abolitionists and delayed the end of legal slavery in the British Empire by 15 years. Maybe slavery would have been abolished as early as 1792, or at least 1796, instead of 1807. Apparently there's a statue of him in Edinburgh that people would like to take down too. eta: not a statue, a giant freaking monument, looming over the city. Just rename it, it's a lot harder to topple than a statue.

Here in the province of Ontario, back when it was Upper Canada, the main road running across the southern part of the province was named in his honour, the Dundas highway, as well as the town of Dundas. Actually, it seems first the town of Dundas, and then the roads leading to it. The road runs right across Toronto, straight through downtown. I have no idea who this dude is. I was never taught anything about him in my Canadian history classes, he was just a politician who had something named after him. Presumably some British official in the province owed him, as a sponsor or mentor or something like that. The street has been Dundas Street all my life and the lives of the last 5 or 6 generations of people who lived here. But now we're supposed to change it. eta the Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe, was a good friend of his. He did the naming.

This is one of those cases where something was named after him, but it wasn't because of anything he did or stood for.  Nobody even knows who the guy is. Do hundreds of thousands of people really have to change their address because he was an asshole? Just wipe his name off as the person who the road was named for. I'm sure there were lots of people named Dundas in Scotland. Pick one of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Dundas,_1st_Viscount_Melville

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Heartofice said:

I have to wonder who thinks removing episodes or Fawlty Towers, Mighty Boosh and League of Gentlemen was a good idea.

This was particularly stupid because absolutely no-one was asking for it, and I've seen a lot of anger from people supporting the movement because it has attracted attention away from the actual reasons for the protests (the statues as well, although that's a more involved issue).

The Fawlty Towers thing was annoying, because Fawlty was clearly shown to be wrong in the episode, although apparently the reason they took it down was because of a few casual racist things the major says elsewhere in the episode which weren't as obviously flagged as being wrong. I also gather that this episode might be restored with some kind of content explanation at the start, since it its older (mid-1970s) and can be placed in a more historical context. Fawlty Towers also has that reputation as an all-time comedy classic so young people will be looking it up, which isn't the case for some other shows from the same time period.

League of Gentlemen and Little Britain are both much more recent shows and they should have known better, although LoG has the defence (dubious as it is) that Papa Lazarou wears blackface to represent his demented, evil nature (sort of a reverse clown) rather than because he's supposed to be an actually black character. Still, those guys are smart enough to be aware what the connotations were. Little Britain was cringe when it aired, and Walliams and Lucas seem really embarrassed by those aspects of it now. I wouldn't ban or censor either show, but I can see the problem with putting some kind of historical context on them: "Well, this episode was made in 2005 and the lily white creators decided to dress up as British Asians because, erm, reasons."

It is annoying because although the UK had some tone deaf programmes on racial issues that definitely needed to be flagged (and this isn't new, some of these shows have had a lot of discussion about them for decades), we also had some shows that were pretty progressive like Red Dwarf, with its 50% black cast in 1988 which apparently no-one in production noticed until the Mail posted a racist screed about the first episode.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

The desire to rename things has hit Canada as well. There's some guy from the UK named Henry Dundas who fought against the abolitionists and delayed the end of legal slavery in the British Empire by 15 years. Maybe slavery would have been abolished as early as 1792, or at least 1796, instead of 1807. Apparently there's a statue of him in Edinburgh that people would like to take down too. eta: not a statue, a giant freaking monument, looming over the city. Just rename it, it's a lot harder to topple than a statue.

Here in the province of Ontario, back when it was Upper Canada, the main road running across the southern part of the province was named in his honour, the Dundas highway, as well as the town of Dundas. Actually, it seems first the town of Dundas, and then the roads leading to it. The road runs right across Toronto, straight through downtown. I have no idea who this dude is. I was never taught anything about him in my Canadian history classes, he was just a politician who had something named after him. Presumably some British official in the province owed him, as a sponsor or mentor or something like that. The street has been Dundas Street all my life and the lives of the last 5 or 6 generations of people who lived here. But now we're supposed to change it. eta the Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe, was a good friend of his. He did the naming.

This is one of those cases where something was named after him, but it wasn't because of anything he did or stood for.  Nobody even knows who the guy is. Do hundreds of thousands of people really have to change their address because he was an asshole? Just wipe his name off as the person who the road was named for. I'm sure there were lots of people named Dundas in Scotland. Pick one of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Dundas,_1st_Viscount_Melville

 

Dundas has a street named after him here (of course he does).

I actually didn't know about obstructing the end of slavery, but to be honest, that's not why he gets remembered or commemorated. He was basically Pitt the Younger's resident Political Enforcer - a guy who, love him or hate him, defined that era of Scottish political history.

Example: here is a period cartoon satirising Pitt's dominance over the House of Commons. That guy in the kilt holding up his right foot? Dundas, 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The removal of tv shows has the air of moral panic and terror by execs of facing any potential criticism because I don’t think anyone was calling for the removal of these shows.

The Fawlty Towers episode contains the N word amongst others, which I hear is why it was pulled until it can be reviewed. Make what you will of that, but even when it was made that scene is written in a way to show that the General is a crazy old racist bigot who is madly out of touch. I don’t see the value of pretending people like that never existed.

As for Mighty Boosh and League of Gentlemen, I find those being pulled particularly egregious because it totally misses the point those shows were making. Clearly someone who’d never really watched those shows and didn’t ‘get’ them was the one making the decision there. Taking everything at face value there is quite lazy.

Little Britain I think is a slightly different case. I watched it a few months ago and was really amazed at how cruel it was, which I think is part of the appeal. I’m more understanding of anyone being upset at that show, though it is strange that it’s so recent and there wasn’t a huge uproar about it before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok, so my (European) newspaper tells me that more or less no-deal Brexit happened yesterday (the Britisch goverment telling the EU that there will be no extension of the transition period).

It is quite a good timing, with corona and totally important statues removings  and all the other stuff no one cares any longer what is going on? I do not think that the Brexit vote would have been won when the people were told that there are custom checks and tariffs and no free movement not only on people but also on everything else. I hope we may find at least ways to  continue a good, non-administratively and tariff hindered  trade with Scotland.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what other older shows may be in trouble?

Star Trek had actors blacked up as Klingons. Even later iterations did this to some extent, albeit also used masks and wigs.

Only Fools & Horses has homophobic scenes early on.

Blackadder has some stuff they woukdn’t do now.

But I think they should be left alone, and people can be aware they were made in a time when values were different

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a whole lengthy discussion which is to some extent a distraction from bigger issues. But I do feel that Fawlty Towers, which is undoubtedly excellent in general, is held in too high a reverence from people of our generation and so people tend to leap to its defence by instinct. And that one of the show's biggest failings is in relation to Basil's racism, which the writers include as a negative aspect of his character but never really get to grips with in the way that, say, Rigsby's racism is tackled in Rising Damp. (I know. I could write an essay on sitcoms of the late 70s/early 80s. It's a bit sad. :p)

Wrt that episode, it is indeed the Major's remarks that are the issue - he drops not one but two really serious racial slurs in one sentence. These slurs would never, under any circumstances, make it onto the air in a program made today. The scene honestly adds nothing to the episode and, with all due respect to John Cleese, doesn't make any point that isn't already made much better elsewhere in the episode - without the slurs.  It's absolutely unnecessary and cutting it is justifiable.

Having said that, it's not the biggest issue in the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree it’s a distraction and unhelpful. In the same way the discussion about statues is a distraction and unhelpful. None of this is doing anything to engender public support for anti racism causes, instead it will more than likely create a backlash against this over reach.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Agree it’s a distraction and unhelpful. In the same way the discussion about statues is a distraction and unhelpful. None of this is doing anything to engender public support for anti racism causes, instead it will more than likely create a backlash against this over reach.

The statue discussion has, as I and others have already noted, demonstrably done a great deal for anti-racism causes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, mormont said:

The statue discussion has, as I and others have already noted, demonstrably done a great deal for anti-racism causes.

Well it doesn’t seem to have any real support from the  from the poll I posted. Now we have scenes in London which could lead to clashes of violence , all over a statue. A statue!

Nobody is talking about the actual reason the protests happened in the first place. Nobody is discussing actual solutions to inequality between certain ethnic groups. 
 

I’d suggest the statue stuffs main effect has been to further divide the country and to draw a set of lines in the sand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, mormont said:

This is a whole lengthy discussion which is to some extent a distraction from bigger issues. But I do feel that Fawlty Towers, which is undoubtedly excellent in general, is held in too high a reverence from people of our generation and so people tend to leap to its defence by instinct. And that one of the show's biggest failings is in relation to Basil's racism, which the writers include as a negative aspect of his character but never really get to grips with in the way that, say, Rigsby's racism is tackled in Rising Damp. (I know. I could write an essay on sitcoms of the late 70s/early 80s. It's a bit sad. :p)

Never really been a fan of Fawlty Towers. 

Also problematic now is the episode where Basil keeps accidentally groping a female guest’s breasts. 

A woman being repeatedly sexually assaulted (albeit by accident) is played for laughs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Never really been a fan of Fawlty Towers. 

Also problematic now is the episode where Basil keeps accidentally groping a female guest’s breasts. 

A woman being repeatedly sexually assaulted (albeit by accident) is played for laughs.

While Fawlty Towers has the odd bit of sexist scenes in it, not unusual for the time, it’s also worth noting that it’s a show where the Male characters are depicted as moronic buffoons and the female characters as strong powerful women. Something of a trope in many sitcoms 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is going to be published next week, but I'm curious to know why it wasn't published on the 2nd with the descriptive quantitative study ( which mostly confirmed what we already know)

Hopefully someone will clear that up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...