Across the United States and in other parts of the world protestors are bringing down the last vestiges of sculptural racism etched in marble or bronze. Statutes of slave traders and confederate generals have been pulled down from their pedestals. Even Christopher Columbus lost his head in Boston this week. So yes, heads are rolling.
It’s not a moment too soon to have this conversation, to listen to others, and to confront the idea that we should revere and immortalize with monuments those who were not human enough to treat other humans fairly. The demonstrators protesting against racism and police violence are having an impact in our daily discourse on matters of race, violence against minorities, and police brutality. It’s not about time, it’s been time.
Bristol, a seaside city in the United Kingdom saw its own symbol of racism toppled down by protestors this week. It involved the monument of Edward Colston, a Tory Member of Parliament and an English merchant who profitted from the slave trade and died in 1721.
Bristol also gave us street artist Banksy, who looks to inject levity even in the darkest moments. He has come with an irresistible and clever idea about what to do with the monument that was thrown into the harbor at an anti-racism protest on Sunday, and has since been retrieved from the waters. Having already offered his serious commentary on the #blacklivesmatter movement on his Instagram account he decided to give us his humorous take on the fate of the statue.
“What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol?
Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t.We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.” Bansky