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What is the intellectual framing of the UK statues debate?
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We are experiencing a long overdue political resistance

For too long, we have allowed institutional racism into our politics and society. We must create alternative routes for positive change. Taking down statues shows an emerging resistance to this problem. It's a call for action, which is the first step to reimagining an equal future.


In the summer of 2020, the statue of Edward Colston (a British slave trader) was toppled in the city of Bristol.

The Argument

For many years, British people (and people all over the world) have fought for racial and social justice. In the 2010s, the people of Bristol petitioned for the removal of the Colston statue, but their request fell on deaf ears.[1] In June of 2020, protestors forcibly removed the statue. This act was a sign of overdue political resistance to the lack of change in the United Kingdom. Statues are public art that often depicts a historical figure. Yet far too often, these statues do not convey a person’s full story. Colston became a local hero in Bristol as people overlooked his questionable past as a slave trader. Colston day and Colston buns are features in the city.[2] However, as people began to look into their town’s history, they realized their celebration for questionable people might be unjust. Britain, like the United States, is ill-adept at coping with its history of slavery and colonialism.[3] The removal of statues is a sign of a long-overdue political resistance.

Counter arguments

Toppling statues does not exhibit effective political resistance. Removing historical figures does not change history. If people want political change, they ought to go about it democratically. British Prime Minister also noted the criminality of these acts of vandalism – political resistance can’t work from behind bars.[2] People need to engage in political resistance on issues that are more than symbolic. They need to use their vote to make changes.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 00:33 UTC

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