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Re: Random Thoughts

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by medium13 » 11 Jun 2020, 20:50

Happy Name Day, Lavettye! It's so nice to have you back.

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Aeon » 11 Jun 2020, 20:56

Where has he been?

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by medium13 » 11 Jun 2020, 20:59

Jotunheim

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Aeon » 11 Jun 2020, 21:00

.... explains much.

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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 11 Jun 2020, 23:25

das_boot wrote:
11 Jun 2020, 20:03
Spectral, I’ve got to be totally honest— If the last few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that I have absolutely no time for apologist behaviour. When the message was that LGBTQ people were to be excluded from the Scouts of America due to concerns of the influence they might have on other Scouts, or that gay scout leaders would be a risk of sexual predation against the children there? Nope. Also, the UK Scouts, from what I’ve googled in the last half an hour or so, didn’t make a statement on it until after there was a fuss made in the US... and then when they did, I distinctly remember people going to the press at the time, saying that they were asked to leave Scouting due to their sexuality.

Apologies if it offends you, and I mean that sincerely... however, if you really think that the excusing fairly modern incidents of discrimination because “it’s an old institution and a product of different times”, then I’m calling that absolute nonsense on that. If an institution that actively has a hand in shaping the opinions and outlook of young people was, until 2013, openly anti-LGBTQ, that’s active discrimination.
It doesn't offend me in the slightest, primarily because I WASN'T excusing them. I think it's right that discrimination is called out wherever it is seen.

What I was trying to explain is that there are very few organisations with more than 100 years' history that don't have an unblemished record. It is absolutely right to call out prejudice and discrimination when found whilst still being able to applaud the wider positive record of the institution, not least so those positives are available to all. If you look at the Scout Association's current LGBTQ policies (available on their website) it seems, admittedly to a non-LGBTQ individual, that it is a fairly comprehensive and progressive approach to inclusion today.

https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportre ... oduleID=10
(There's also detailed guidelines on inclusion for many other minorities)

I can only speak from my own experiences of the SA (which ended almost half my life ago at that...!) but I can say from that inclusion was certainly a focus of the volunteers I encountered in over a decade's tenure. I remember many of the adult volunteers providing additional support to refugee members of the group for example (they organised whip rounds, provided taxi services and loaning of equipment etc.) to cover what would normally be expected to be covered by token contributions or simply day-to-day care by parents for kids and families who, to put it frankly, had sweet fuck all to their name in terms of possessions or cash), to ensure those kids could be included and didn't miss out. And their approach to inclusion of less physically abled members was leaps and bounds ahead of other services, including those which should have had a statutory obligation, such as the state schools I went to.

Does that excuse prior anti-LGBT policies? Nope, of course not, but if an organisation is changing / has changed isn't that a step in the right direction when viewed in the context of their overall record? That's not to say they should be applauded for not being discriminatory, more that the discrimination that did occur should be viewed and balanced against the good that Scouting has done in the past, and is doing now.

Of course this is still somewhat irrelevant to what I was posting about before. The aim of "toppling the racists", which is the campaign that threatened to destroy the statue in the first place, doesn't want us to evaluate pros or cons of an individual, or movements they've inspired. They want to dismantle those memorials without such a debate.

It's also daft as, much to the collective shame of the world today, much of the pre-modern world WAS prejudice and discriminatory, especially viewed in modern lenses, in which case as a logical conclusion would imply we should remove all memorials of the past, especially when allegations can be tenuous at best, and often missing in the wider context.

I mean the same campaign is advocating the removal of Robert Peel's statues - you know, the same guy that professionalised police and introduced the concept of policing by consent vs the unquestionable adhoc watchmen who had zero legislative oversight. Whilst it can be ridiculously easy to criticise the police in the UK (and often for their failure to follow the Peelian principles) surely the alternative would be far worse and his achievements should be celebrated, regardless of the actions of his father, not even his own actions!

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by EphemeristX » 12 Jun 2020, 00:32

The Boy Scouts of America has so many cases of litigation over childhood sexual abuse that it had to file for bankruptcy protection in the State of New York.

But yeah, the gays are the predators.
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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Crutey Anth » 12 Jun 2020, 08:48

Spectral Knight wrote:
11 Jun 2020, 23:25

I mean the same campaign is advocating the removal of Robert Peel's statues - you know, the same guy that professionalised police and introduced the concept of policing by consent vs the unquestionable adhoc watchmen who had zero legislative oversight. Whilst it can be ridiculously easy to criticise the police in the UK (and often for their failure to follow the Peelian principles) surely the alternative would be far worse and his achievements should be celebrated, regardless of the actions of his father, not even his own actions!
I'm assuming this is just a bit of confusion because both he and his dad are called 'Sir Robert Peel' or whatever. I don't think this will have much traction because more people want it up than down.

This whole thing is a massive discussion which needs to happen though:

1) These statues were put up because some (usually rich) people wanted them put up....if people now want them taken down is that not the same thing?
2) Maybe we should stop building statues of individuals and start building statues to commemorate events i.e. the principles of the police
3) I don't buy the argument 'it erases history' I didn't know there were any statues of Peel around (or the Scout bloke) but it doesn't mean their impacts aren't known about.
4) Tieing 1&3 together- Germany took down statues of Hitler, the UK took down Jimmy Saville statues because the majority decided they were unpalatable and having a statue celebrating an individual who so many people hate isn't right
5) The people who want them taken down in some cases are right...in some cases I think over reacting.....those who staunchly argue for them being kept up are being insensitive (or in some cases downright ignoring facts. I watched Piers Morgan argue that Churchill wasn't a racist and Hitler was much worse therefore we should love Churchill statues....I don't even think the Churchill statue should necessarily come down but you can't deny the man was a massive racist).
6) Again the arguments get lost in the weeds as soon as they go to the public and pundits. I just saw a clip of a TV journalist (I'd have to hunt out his name) telling a black woman that if she doesn't like some of the statues she should leave the country in a very thinly veiled bit of racism. I'd have personally said 'If you don't like the fact they're coming down, then you should leave'

My Uncle posted something on social media about a war memorial honouring soldiers better not be touched. I had t explain it isn't a war memorial- it was of a solider but the man it was of was a rich mine owner who owned the land, owned the mines, stopped education reforms because he wanted children in his mines, built a harbour/town not through philanthropy but to extend his own fortune (and actually said it was to destroy our home town, he hated Sunderland and wanted it erased from the maps so built a rival town) and the only reason we have a statue is because his family had it made and basically made Durham put it up (it already had its head cut off in the 80s during the miners strikes etc)...all stuff he was unaware of, he just assumed it was for soldiers and got very angry about the whole thing

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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 12 Jun 2020, 10:53

Crutey, the Peel thing was a presumed misunderstanding, but the campaigners who want it down have issued this follow-up statement:
With the legitimacy of current policing in question, the history of policing, its origins in colonialism and its role in suppressing dissent deserves greater scrutiny.

"Peel's statue belongs in a museum, as part of an exhibition for others to learn about the history of British colonialism.
I would tend to agree with the majority of your arguments re: removal if there is the public appetite for removal, all of which is fair IF there is majority consensus. If there was local surveying, or even an open forum etc, great, at least there's a token effort to get people's view - but this isn't the case in most of these cases. It is reactionary for many of the 'target list' - though I'm very much aware the Rhodes statue has been controversial for a lot longer than this flare up. But to answer your individual points:

1. If the OWNERS of any given statue or memorial want it taken down, that's completely up to them (i.e. privately commissioned and privately displayed), but when it's been benefited to the people or a community as a whole, then those acting on behalf of the community (i.e. anyone from local councils to city halls etc.) should action that following consultation of that same community, no?
2. Wouldn't this be as problematic? If you can highlight flaws with an individual, surely it is equally applicable to discuss the relative flaws of an institution or previously celebrated event?
3. You're right, it doesn't REALLY erase history, but then you have to question is the statues really do have an impact on day-to-day life to warrant taking them down WITHOUT consultation? How many people in Poole are sitting there saying this statue of an old fella looking out to sea is triggering them?
4. Actually, much of the Nazi-era memorials / art / cultural elements were removed or destroyed by the Allied forces post war and it was not by a decision of the German people. Denazification was instigated and primarily managed by the occupational Allied forces - essentially much of Denazification was aimed at encouraging collective guilt in the atrocities of Hitler, and the one of the ways to do that was to remove visibility of pro-Nazi propaganda whilst simultaneously embarking on a massive public education drive of the atrocities of the regime that could not be 'ignored'/'forgotten'. The Allies of course also prohibited publication of any criticism of the Allied forces, quelling remaining Nazi sentiments, and took huge amounts of publications and media outlets in post-War Germany under Allied control in order to control the narrative and steer the population away from a return to Nazism. Rightly, I would argue, but the idea that it was a sudden emergency of collective guilt spearheaded by the German people following VE Day is a fallacy. That isn't to say collective guilt didn't emerge in subsequent decades, or not felt to this day, but it was only after a considerable period of time and through education, and hatred of the Nazis by ordinary Germans wasn't the reason why those statues were removed (last parts of the ordinary German population were either Nazi party members or were complicit in the crimes of Nazi-era Germany). It would be totally inaccurate to say the Germans lead Denazification, it was forced upon them with no regards to their view.
On to Saville - you're right, his actions were deplorable, and critically they would have still been seen as deplorable if publicly unveiled during his lifetime. This isn't someone whose behaviours was standard practise amongst his contemporaries. Sex abuse was seen as utterly wrong and depraved throughout his lifetime. Where he had been memorialised, in many cases those who had commissioned or arranged the memorials were also those who arranged for them to be removed. This is a totally different as he was overwhelmingly hated by the community at the point the statues were removed.
5. You've hit the nail on the head - yes, historical figures were flawed, and the further back in time you go, the more flawed (generally) historic figures look to modern eyes. That's called social progression. Also that some celebrated individuals negatives would not outweigh their merits in a contemporary examination. The question then is IF any statues are to be removed, who should be assigned as decision makers and how should they be seen to represent the majority or should we just let that decision be made by those would commit (what would normally be seen as) criminal damage?
6. Oh yeah, totally. But to quote a certain E.Bischoff, controversy creates cash. Journalists and the media thrive on controversy and a he said/she said exchange without true dialogue or any real examination of the facts.

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by das_boot » 12 Jun 2020, 11:13

Okay, so I posted this on twitter a few days ago and I had people reach out publicly and privately about it. I asked British people, specifically, when in their education they were taught about the slave trade or our (as a colonising empire, historically) part in the perpetuation of it, and literally no one can remember being taught about it, even those who studied Britain as an Empire.

I asked because I had a really good think about it and could only remember three instances where I was educated about it: Once in GCSE humanities when we did a case study on Steve Biko and Apartheid (which was very sanitised and there was very little education on what started apartheid, just that it was a thing that happened), once in the same subject when we did a very sanitised case study on the life of Gandhi, and once where we examined why there’s a large number of black French speaking people, why huge areas of Louisiana speak French, and islands like Haiti speak French... and that was at French A-Level... and considering we were the second intake to do AS/A2, and languages are massively under-subscribed as option choices beyond GCSE, I was probably in the vast minority that received that level of education about that aspect of history during school— and that wasn’t even REALLY about Britain’s role in the slave trade, but France’s.

So, in a round about way, I guess what I’m saying is that to criticise the tearing down of statues, or people wanting to have them removed, we need to be able to say that people have been fully educated on the historical significance, right or wrong, of what those people did. There needs to be balance and not “THIS GUY WAS AWESOME FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY coughcoughitwasbloodmoneybecausehewasaslavercoughcough“.

Moreover, I kind of feel like if we’re able to phase out Gollies (not using it as a racist slur, Americans, I’m talking about the dolls and badges that were given away if you ate a lot of marmalade back in the day in the UK), then why not other symbols of institutionalised racism?
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Nu-D » 12 Jun 2020, 11:33

I think it’s important to consider why a particular person is being honored with a monument. Lee and his confederates are being honored precisely because of their war for white supremacy. That’s not something we want to hold up as honorable.

But you can go to Athens and find statues honoring Socrates, Plato and Aristotle for their incredible contributions to western thought and history. They were all a bunch of pederasts and misogynists. But we’re not honoring them for those flaws; we’re honoring them despite those flaws.

There will never be a flawless person. If we’re going to hold people out for honors, we need to accept that even exceptionable people have moral blind spots. If we can’t hold those two ideas in our minds simultaneously, then we can’t put anyone at all on a pedestal (literally).

I don’t know enough about Churchill to weigh in on his statue. I do think it’s possible to honor Washington and Jefferson, despite their active role in the enslavement of African people and promotion of the patriarchy. We honor them for their great achievements, while recognizing that they were not omniscient gods, but men of their times with both personal flaws and cultural limitations.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 12 Jun 2020, 11:40

See, we did a huge amount of study on the role of Britain and the Empire in the Indian sub-continent, including partition etc. (much less on the role of Britain in both Africa and the Americas). That might have been because in my local authority we had a lot more pupils from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and it was seen to be more relevant for our local community (if you look at the breakdown of Harrow, it's one of the most diverse in the UK).

Did we study slavery or Britain's role in it? Probably only at superficial level and to a degree related to other focus areas. I think some of our studies on the Industrial Revolution touched on it in partly. Much like we only studies most periods of history at a VERY superficial level, and primarily with a Brit-centric view. To my shame I know fuck all about the history of the far East or the Americas pre-colonisation.

From my experience, history as a subject is VERY poorly taught in UK schools for both how shallow it is and how little it relates historical events to the events and circumstances of today.

Even in discourse about the slave trade often there's elements missed that have continuing legacy today - the slave trade hasn't ended in Africa, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a horrific stain on collective humanity, but it only covers part of the (sadly continuing) history of slavery. It was only recently that I became aware most slaves captured in Africa during the trade were captured by other Africans and not by Europeans, and that African slaves had been transported to Arab lands for centuries prior to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. For some reason, probably introduced in the superficial coverage in schooling, I had the assumption that we introduced slavery as part of colonial rule.

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 12 Jun 2020, 11:40

Nu-D wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 11:33
I think it’s important to consider why a particular person is being honored with a monument. Lee and his confederates are being honored precisely because of their war for white supremacy. That’s not something we want to hold up as honorable.

But you can go to Athens and find statues honoring Socrates, Plato and Aristotle for their incredible contributions to western thought and history. They were all a bunch of pederasts and misogynists. But we’re not honoring them for those flaws; we’re honoring them despite those flaws.

There will never be a flawless person. If we’re going to hold people out for honors, we need to accept that even exceptionable people have moral blind spots. If we can’t hold those two ideas in our minds simultaneously, then we can’t put anyone at all on a pedestal (literally).

I don’t know enough about Churchill to weigh in on his statue. I do think it’s possible to honor Washington and Jefferson, despite their active role in the enslavement of African people and promotion of the patriarchy. We honor them for their great achievements, while recognizing that they were not omniscient gods, but men of their times with both personal flaws and cultural limitations.
Couldn't agree more

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by hotknives » 12 Jun 2020, 11:57

For me, this all comes down to a matter of education I think. If people know enough about the figures glorified in these statues and are able to make fair, balanced decisions on them - then I can see that the statues should stay up - removing them certainly isn't erasing history, but leaving them up does hopefully mean that there can be balanced discussions on them.
Judging people without historical context on their actions can be dangerous - and I feel we should be encouraging debate rather than silencing it.
Baden-Powell did a lot of good, but he did also strongly flirt with fascism. Yes, a large swathe of the english upper classes did that in the 1920's, but it doesn't excuse it - and his views on homosexuals are, whilst at the time completely acceptable, they don't sit well now. Should the statue be removed though? I don't know.
With Churchill my views are a lot stronger - most of us grew up being taught about Hitler as a cuddly, fierce prime minister who defended the world against the Nazis. He did - but he was also a rascist who engineered a genocide in India.
If statues are left up to provoke discussion and pay tribute to a particular time, place or event - then I'm fine with it. And if they are left up to memorialise a person who viewers are given context and background to their actions? Then I can see there being a reason for them to remain provided there is a discussion to be had.
With slave traders etc. then I see no reason for the statues to remain, and I'm glad the one in Bristol was removed so forcibly. I'm also glad it's being put in a museum -where context and background on the man will be given to allow people to see what kind of a man he truly was.
I guess my issue lies more with our education system than with the statues themselves - we're not given a balanced picture of history at any point in the curriculum - and I think that's why this statue debate has raised such heated remarks on both sides.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by P-90 » 12 Jun 2020, 11:59

Nu-D wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 11:33
I think it’s important to consider why a particular person is being honored with a monument. Lee and his confederates are being honored precisely because of their war for white supremacy. That’s not something we want to hold up as honorable.

But you can go to Athens and find statues honoring Socrates, Plato and Aristotle for their incredible contributions to western thought and history. They were all a bunch of pederasts and misogynists. But we’re not honoring them for those flaws; we’re honoring them despite those flaws.

There will never be a flawless person. If we’re going to hold people out for honors, we need to accept that even exceptionable people have moral blind spots. If we can’t hold those two ideas in our minds simultaneously, then we can’t put anyone at all on a pedestal (literally).

I don’t know enough about Churchill to weigh in on his statue. I do think it’s possible to honor Washington and Jefferson, despite their active role in the enslavement of African people and promotion of the patriarchy. We honor them for their great achievements, while recognizing that they were not omniscient gods, but men of their times with both personal flaws and cultural limitations.
That's exactly how I feel about the issue.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by das_boot » 12 Jun 2020, 12:22

I suppose my final thought on the matter has to be as simple as this: I don’t see that it’s as simple as saying “BUT ITS HISTORY”. Accurate. But the guy who’s statue was thrown into the sea is slowly being eradicated from being lifted up as a bastion of the local area, as someone who had dubious ties anyway: schools and public buildings that were named after him have been renamed etc. If they’re willing to go far enough to do that, they’re acknowledging that he’s problematic already, no? So, why not remove the statue and place it in a local history museum, and have a plaque where it once stood explaining that YES he did wonderful things for the community, but with blood money? Those things were paid for by literally trading lives.

It’s very easy to say that we should keep our history but when we’re being taught a sanitised and highly edited version, I almost feel like it’s pointless being taught it at all. Furthermore (and not to cast any aspersions here Spectral), but it’s only the white people that I have as friends on social media who have condemned or argued the point that the statues stay. Ultimately, as white people, it isn’t REALLY our place to say whether we find them problematic or not: it’s just noise. If we listen to BAME communities that are largely saying that they find it offensive and problematic that we’re hailing a historical figure as a positive icon when, actually, they contributed to the establishment of modern day discrimination, doing anything other than taking their side is passively allowing racism to continue.
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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 12 Jun 2020, 13:15

Trust me, I'm not advocating that Colston's statue should have remained...nor do I want it returned to where it was. If you'd asked me if it should stay, I would have said no. However as you said, through democratic consent, and without a breach of law, his merit was already being discussed and changes were taking place I would have much preferred if its removal was done in an orderly fashion and not dumped in water mind, as the costs to retrieve it to put it in a museum is out of public funds.

More than that, my annoyance is the blanket approach to the targets that I'm questioning.
das_boot wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 12:22
Furthermore (and not to cast any aspersions here Spectral), but it’s only the white people that I have as friends on social media who have condemned or argued the point that the statues stay. Ultimately, as white people, it isn’t REALLY our place to say whether we find them problematic or not: it’s just noise. If we listen to BAME communities that are largely saying that they find it offensive and problematic that we’re hailing a historical figure as a positive icon when, actually, they contributed to the establishment of modern day discrimination, doing anything other than taking their side is passively allowing racism to continue.
Totally disagree with you here for several reasons.

One is that denying people a voice because they are part of the majority is counter intuitive. If someone makes an allegation of racist tendencies without an opportunity for someone to refute said allegation or provide any sort of context that would otherwise not be discussed then we lose the ability to really make a balanced call. It is also disenfranchisement of an individual based on physical characteristics, which is fundamentally wrong.

Secondly is the assumption that a specific campaign group is representative of an entire community, with no evidence to say as such. If you look at the "Topple the Racists" website, it was formed not as a representative of BAME communities but as a Stop Trump coalition. Are there BAME members? Certainly I am sure, but it doesn't as a group represent BAME communities. That's not to say they as an organisation don't have a voice, but that they are not the only voice.

If you can't engage multiple groups you can't find a consensus and denying people a voice directly prohibits finding consensus and divides those who are allowed to speak from those that are not.

Finally this organisation is involved in patent lies and mistruths, including their own agenda. How can they possibly claim the below given that they call the campaign "Topple The Racists":
Monuments can find a new home in museums, or through art, and some might simply be removed. It is not our job to decide what happens
Of course it was their job to decide what happens given Colston being dumped under water... :roll:

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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by P-90 » 12 Jun 2020, 13:47

Spectral Knight wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 13:15
Trust me, I'm not advocating that Colston's statue should have remained...nor do I want it returned to where it was. If you'd asked me if it should stay, I would have said no. However as you said, through democratic consent, and without a breach of law, his merit was already being discussed and changes were taking place I would have much preferred if its removal was done in an orderly fashion and not dumped in water mind, as the costs to retrieve it to put it in a museum is out of public funds.

More than that, my annoyance is the blanket approach to the targets that I'm questioning.
das_boot wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 12:22
Furthermore (and not to cast any aspersions here Spectral), but it’s only the white people that I have as friends on social media who have condemned or argued the point that the statues stay. Ultimately, as white people, it isn’t REALLY our place to say whether we find them problematic or not: it’s just noise. If we listen to BAME communities that are largely saying that they find it offensive and problematic that we’re hailing a historical figure as a positive icon when, actually, they contributed to the establishment of modern day discrimination, doing anything other than taking their side is passively allowing racism to continue.
Totally disagree with you here for several reasons.

One is that denying people a voice because they are part of the majority is counter intuitive. If someone makes an allegation of racist tendencies without an opportunity for someone to refute said allegation or provide any sort of context that would otherwise not be discussed then we lose the ability to really make a balanced call. It is also disenfranchisement of an individual based on physical characteristics, which is fundamentally wrong.

Secondly is the assumption that a specific campaign group is representative of an entire community, with no evidence to say as such. If you look at the "Topple the Racists" website, it was formed not as a representative of BAME communities but as a Stop Trump coalition. Are there BAME members? Certainly I am sure, but it doesn't as a group represent BAME communities. That's not to say they as an organisation don't have a voice, but that they are not the only voice.

If you can't engage multiple groups you can't find a consensus and denying people a voice directly prohibits finding consensus and divides those who are allowed to speak from those that are not.

Finally this organisation is involved in patent lies and mistruths, including their own agenda. How can they possibly claim the below given that they call the campaign "Topple The Racists":
Monuments can find a new home in museums, or through art, and some might simply be removed. It is not our job to decide what happens
Of course it was their job to decide what happens given Colston being dumped under water... :roll:
I agree, once again you're able to express what I want to say but would struggle to put into words.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Lavettye » 12 Jun 2020, 13:54

Spectral Knight wrote:
11 Jun 2020, 17:35
I know you said that's enough time, but this article (also from the BBC) puts some of those claims in question. I'd really recommend reading this in terms of the claims being made against him and the context behind them.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-53007902
So I checked that link, despite my gut telling me not to.... and all I find is a weak attempt to re-phrase RBP's own words, by saying that he only found the parts that had to do with the outward bound life appealing. Yeah, I'm not buying that. It might apply to the health and education part of the quote, but not the rest.
The exact quote from his diary is: "Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation etc. – and ideals which Hitler does not practise himself."

The underlying theme of Mein Kampf is how jews are the root of all evil and in the book Hitler makes no attempt to hide that he favors genocide as solution to the problem he perceived. He wrote it 1925 while he was in prison for a failed attempt to forcefully overthrow the German government in 1923. RBP made this diary entry in 1939, at which point Hitler was already in power for full six years and had passed several laws that stripped jewish people of citizenship and the corresponding rights, and other laws that fully declared who was considered "jewish people". (like if one of your four grandparents was one, you were legally considered one too) These weren't some overseas people who looked and behaved differently; jewish people had been living in Germany for many generations since before there even was a German state and quite many looked as caucasian as the average non-jewish person.

As a person of his time, RBP must have been been aware of that, and in fact many people outside of Germany at the time ridiculed the writing style of Mein Kampf and/or voiced how appalled they were by the ideas in it, so don't give me any crap about social cultural norms of the past. RBP doesn't say "it's a disgusting book with some good chapter on...", NO, he called it "a wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation ".

It's obvious to see why Hitler was intrested in RBP (an organisation putting impressionable young boys in uniforms and putting a value on physical exercise), and Hitler obviously took things way too far for RBP's tatste, but he was surely was drawn to faschism himself as this quote and his also documented admiration for Mussolini demonstrate.
The statue in question isn't symbolic of Scouting - it's symbolic of RBP's role in starting the Scouting movement with the Brownsea camp, memorialising both the founder AND the location as the starting point of Scouting. Removing the statue from the location removes any context of the statue. (And he's sitting on a bench, not standing on a pedestal).
There already is a monument representing all that, and actually much clearer than the statue: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting# ... ownsea.jpg
Why do there need to be two monuments in close vicinity representing the same thing?

You said that there should be a public vote or debate wether or not to take down the statue. Question: was there ever such a vote or debate to put it there in the first place? To my surprise, this isn't an old statue that has been located there for generations... it was only erected in 2008, at which point the concerns regarding RBP's background should already have been an issue. I couldn't find online how the decision was made to put the statue there, I only disvcovered that funds of overall 35.000 British Pounds were raised to make it happen, which makes me a bit mad.

Not only could this money have been put to much better use, but you can't imagine how many times I have been called "Nazi" in the 80ies and 90ies by some (usually drunk) Brit upon them learning that I'm from Germany while vacationing around the mediterranian. And now I have to learn that the British people raised a small fortune to build a statue of a one of their own, who was much more sympathetic to Nazi ideology than I'll ever be!

As far as outweighing the positives and negatives of RBP, what "good" did he actually do? The only thing I've seen mentioned in this thread (and the described point of the statue) is his founding of the Scouts. He wrote these books on Scouting, he held public readings and then started this first camp, one thing sort of leading to the other, but apparently he never set out to build this huge movement for children and youths. It sort of happened, not that this is neccessarily a bad thing. But he never could have made it from holding that one camp to an international movement without the devoted help and volunteer work of thousands of others, and crediting all this to RBP alone diminishes their effort. RBP died in 1941. The Scout Association has moved on, evolved and changed, it has existed now for much longer without him than while he was part of it.

(BTW, sorry but I just can't use the abbreviation because the same two letters stand for Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary group that helped Hitler's party to get elected and stay in power. This is obviously a coincidence, but still unsettling in the above context)

The Scout Association that you have fond memories of is not the same one as it was under RBP, and it probably isn't the same anymore today. And despite having become more open and inclusive, it still isn't fully inclusive. After all, the members have to pledge an oath "to God and the Queen" or "to a Higher Power", like when someone comes from a non-monotheist belief system. But what about atheists, like me?

Additionally, I have a general problem with children having to pledge loyalty to some principles without fully grasping the concepts behind them, but this is not a Scouts-specific concern and they are by far not the worst example of this. Most churches are. For instance, I have been baptized as Catholic as an infant - I never gave my concent to that, I don't believe in it, and officially denouced the church. Officially I am of no religious belief and I don't pay taxes to any church. Yet, in the eyes of the church, there is no un-baptizing. It pisses me off that they still think they have a claim on me. I don't believe something because I was born into it or someone else decided for me over 40 years ago. No - I do my research, I think and listen to various sides and then I make a conscious choice what to believe.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Aeon » 12 Jun 2020, 13:55

I need Spectral to be my expressionist, so that no one is angry at me anymore when I post something.

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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Nu-D » 12 Jun 2020, 13:56

hotknives wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 11:57
For me, this all comes down to a matter of education I think. If people know enough about the figures glorified in these statues and are able to make fair, balanced decisions on them - then I can see that the statues should stay up -
I wouldn’t go this far. We would not put up a statue of Hitler and say it’s fine so long as people are educated about who he is. Monuments should honor people whose most significant contributions to history are honorable. We should remember they’re just people and know about their flaws. But the monument is not really to the person; it’s to what they stand for in history.

Monuments are about history; but they’re specifically about that part of history we wish to honor. They are not a form of record-keeping, but a form of valorization. Removing monuments does not “erase history,” because history is recorded in records, not monuments.

Now, a monument can become a historical artifact, when the culture and context in which it was erected becomes extinct. The statues of the Buddha that were destroyed by the Taliban were history, because they were the only records of that specific cultural moment.

But the monuments of the civil war generals are not history; they’re living homages to the idea of the Confederate States. We have a well recorded history of that idea in preserved documents, libraries, books and artifacts that are not intended as honors. We lose nothing of the history of the South by removing them, since that history is perfectly well documented. What we do, is remove the misleading narrative that the idea of the Confederacy is worth holding up with honor.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Anna Raven » 12 Jun 2020, 14:31

Generally I am in favor of taking down statues and renaming things that were to honor Confederate generals and politicians. However, if we start taking down every statue to someone who was racist or did racist things in history, there will be no more statues of anyone prior to the 20th century. There is very little difference between the Confederates and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson when it comes to their attitudes toward slavery. So we will need to remove the Jefferson and Washington monuments. And an argument could be made that Lincoln could have done more for the cause of slaves during the Civil War. For example he did not end slavery while the war was going on, in an effort not to antagonize the border states like Missouri and Kentucky and Maryland that had not seceded.

So I guess what I am saying is, is this an all or nothing proposition? Do we need to have committees who decide who gets to stay and who gets to go? Is it just court of public opinion at the time? These are not easy questions.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Nu-D » 12 Jun 2020, 14:39

Anna Raven wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 14:31
Generally I am in favor of taking down statues and renaming things that were to honor Confederate generals and politicians. However, if we start taking down every statue to someone who was racist or did racist things in history, there will be no more statues of anyone prior to the 20th century. There is very little difference between the Confederates and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson when it comes to their attitudes toward slavery. So we will need to remove the Jefferson and Washington monuments. And an argument could be made that Lincoln could have done more for the cause of slaves during the Civil War. For example he did not end slavery while the war was going on, in an effort not to antagonize the border states like Missouri and Kentucky and Maryland that had not seceded.

So I guess what I am saying is, is this an all or nothing proposition? Do we need to have committees who decide who gets to stay and who gets to go? Is it just court of public opinion at the time? These are not easy questions.
I think I answered this in my first contribution to the conversation above. The difference is why we chose to honor Jefferson and Lee. Jefferson is being honored because of his role in creating the American experiment, not for his views on slavery. Lee is being honored because he fought a war to maintain white supremacy. The statue is a symbol, and symbols have meaning. It is the meaning of the statue that matters.

Unfortunately, my view on this, which many of you have agreed with, necessarily entails a degree of subjectivity. If you need to ask what the meaning of a monument is, then there can be a disagreement. In the case of confederate monuments, I think the historical record is clear that they were always intended as a homage to white supremacy. If you’re unsure about that, I’d point to the dedication speech given by Julian Carr at the erection of Silent Sam on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

I also think this is a degree of abstraction that, quite frankly, many people are unwilling or unable to engage with. For better or for worse, there is a substantial slice of the population who look at a statute and see a person, not an idea. Those people are going to resist imputing meaning to monuments beyond the very literal—as a reminder that this person existed and was important to their community at one time in history.

So the test I’m proposing—looking at the meaning of a statue—is frequently going to spark controversy. It’s much simpler to conclude that people should not be honored with monuments if they had any notable character flaws, judged by the times of the viewer. And, of course, that essentially means no statues or monuments to people at all.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Blackcyclops » 12 Jun 2020, 14:44

One is that denying people a voice because they are part of the majority is counter intuitive. If someone makes an allegation of racist tendencies without an opportunity for someone to refute said allegation or provide any sort of context that would otherwise not be discussed then we lose the ability to really make a balanced call. It is also disenfranchisement of an individual based on physical characteristics, which is fundamentally wrong.
First, “denying people a voice” seems like a stretch, at least in the overall point das was making. What he appears to be saying is that given the long storied history (and present) of one group’s dominance of all institutions and structures (while at times leading to the direct death of other groups), if the oppressed/minority group speaks out about a topic and says the said topic either still causes them harm or is directly linked to that harm, then it is the “right” thing to finally let their voices be hard and taken at face value. It’s a challenge to the normative hegemony and so as a person who’s voice has not been traditionally silenced, as an ally to a more just society, you take them at word.

And since we’re talking about historical figures, and the evidence as we know it is presented, what else needs to be refuted? The person is called and a liar and then able to speak on it. That’s a different argument than what Das seemed to be talking about. Das wasn’t calling for an erasure but a contextualization (which usually only works in museums and not as monuments of praise).

And to call it disenfranchisement when that group still has overwhelming more power and the other so much less, seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the balance of power shifting more than an actual taking away of anything.

More broadly, I can quibble the details, but largely we can still have diversity of opinion and still omit ideas that we as a society largely view as morally, socially, and materially wrong or starting to. And to give voice to those fringes can at times in fact causing harm to the collective or to people within the collective. And I think that in most instances where those ideas aren’t directly related to a person, it’s much easier to be like “that’s wrong”...something like pedophilia. It’s with a topic like race, where some people still largely benefit (not just materially but culturally and socially) that I think the pushback starts. And I think that’s just part of the growing pains of becomi a more just society and righting past wrongs. Because no one is saying you’re silencing debate when we as a mainstream society don’t engage in conversation that says baby’s can give sexual consent...but do when we say things pertaining to race or gender.

Well there’s a really really big difference between Confederate anything and Washington and Jefferson. Both of them are parts of the actual USA history and so while we can get into the nitty gritty of their beliefs, they are a part of the establishment. And that said establishment has changed and so people can argue about them being a part of the continuity of the world they live in. But the Confederacy WAS an actual enemy combatant. I mean we don’t Al Qaeda statues or streets named for Timothy McVeigh.

Confederate anything is a part of essentially enemies of our republic. It’s like China keeping Japanese monuments commemorating the occupation of China.
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Re: Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Nu-D » 12 Jun 2020, 14:47

Blackcyclops wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 14:44
... normative hegemony ...
That may be the first time the phrase “normative hegemony” was published on a comic book forum! Well done!

(No disrespect to the rest of your comment)
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Re: Random Thoughts

Post by Spectral Knight » 12 Jun 2020, 15:01

Lavettye wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 13:54
Spectral Knight wrote:
11 Jun 2020, 17:35
I know you said that's enough time, but this article (also from the BBC) puts some of those claims in question. I'd really recommend reading this in terms of the claims being made against him and the context behind them.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-53007902
So I checked that link, despite my gut telling me not to.... and all I find is a weak attempt to re-phrase RBP's own words, by saying that he only found the parts that had to do with the outward bound life appealing. Yeah, I'm not buying that. It might apply to the health and education part of the quote, but not the rest.
The exact quote from his diary is: "Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation etc. – and ideals which Hitler does not practise himself."

The underlying theme of Mein Kampf is how jews are the root of all evil and in the book Hitler makes no attempt to hide that he favors genocide as solution to the problem he perceived. He wrote it 1925 while he was in prison for a failed attempt to forcefully overthrow the German government in 1923. RBP made this diary entry in 1939, at which point Hitler was already in power for full six years and had passed several laws that stripped jewish people of citizenship and the corresponding rights, and other laws that fully declared who was considered "jewish people". (like if one of your four grandparents was one, you were legally considered one too) These weren't some overseas people who looked and behaved differently; jewish people had been living in Germany for many generations since before there even was a German state and quite many looked as caucasian as the average non-jewish person.

As a person of his time, RBP must have been been aware of that, and in fact many people outside of Germany at the time ridiculed the writing style of Mein Kampf and/or voiced how appalled they were by the ideas in it, so don't give me any crap about social cultural norms of the past. RBP doesn't say "it's a disgusting book with some good chapter on...", NO, he called it "a wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation ".

It's obvious to see why Hitler was intrested in RBP (an organisation putting impressionable young boys in uniforms and putting a value on physical exercise), and Hitler obviously took things way too far for RBP's tatste, but he was surely was drawn to faschism himself as this quote and his also documented admiration for Mussolini demonstrate.
Lavettye, while I understand the concerning nature of the quote from his diary (and it is concerning to me, not being aware of it until two days ago), but if we believe that quotes from the man should serve as measuring sticks of the character, perhaps we should consider the below, not to mention his positive impacts on the world.
The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.
And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, "Which is my duty?" that is, "Which is best for other people?"---and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.]
But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people.
Brother Scouts. Differences exist between the peoples of the world in thought and sentiment, just as they do in language and physique. The Jamboree has taught us that if we exercise mutual forbearance and give and take, then there is sympathy and harmony. If it be your will, let us go forth fully determined that we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through the world wide spirit of the Scout brotherhood, so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among men
The reality is he was a flawed man, as we all are. I'm not arguing he was a saint, FAR from it, as per my first post on the topic...
Lavettye wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 13:54
[As far as outweighing the positives and negatives of RBP, what "good" did he actually do? The only thing I've seen mentioned in this thread (and the described point of the statue) is his founding of the Scouts. He wrote these books on Scouting, he held public readings and then started this first camp, one thing sort of leading to the other, but apparently he never set out to build this huge movement for children and youths. It sort of happened, not that this is neccessarily a bad thing. But he never could have made it from holding that one camp to an international movement without the devoted help and volunteer work of thousands of others, and crediting all this to RBP alone diminishes their effort. RBP died in 1941. The Scout Association has moved on, evolved and changed, it has existed now for much longer without him than while he was part of it.
Baden-Powell STARTED that movement. Of course others followed in his path, but the point was he started it - that is the commemoration. But maybe look at themes of the initial World Scout Jamborees; "Develop World Peace", ""World Citizenship", of course developing a youth movement staffed by volunteers that had fellowship as core tenets does run contrary to the quote above, but certainly the Carnegie Foundation certainly saw him as, on the whole, a force for peace in the world, given his award of the Wateler Peace Prize, and his numerous Nobel Peace Prize nominations would certainly indicate that his contemporaries viewed him as a positive for the world.
Lavettye wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 13:54
The Scout Association that you have fond memories of is not the same one as it was under RBP, and it probably isn't the same anymore today. And despite having become more open and inclusive, it still isn't fully inclusive. After all, the members have to pledge an oath "to God and the Queen" or "to a Higher Power", like when someone comes from a non-monotheist belief system. But what about atheists, like me?
That is exactly why they introduced the Alternative Scout Promise that removes references to religion entirely, and have done since at least 2013. Certainly it's progressed (which is a GOOD thing) but the influence of Baden-Powell still resonates throughout both the organisation and the movement. But if you look at the guidance on the alternative scout promise it is clear that it is an individual's choice:
...the decision as to which permitted form of wording should be used in any particular case lies entirely with the person concerned.
Lavettye wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 13:54
Additionally, I have a general problem with children having to pledge loyalty to some principles without fully grasping the concepts behind them, but this is not a Scouts-specific concern and they are by far not the worst example of this. Most churches are. For instance, I have been baptized as Catholic as an infant - I never gave my concent to that, I don't believe in it, and officially denouced the church. Officially I am of no religious belief and I don't pay taxes to any church. Yet, in the eyes of the church, there is no un-baptizing. It pisses me off that they still think they have a claim on me. I don't believe something because I was born into it or someone else decided for me over 40 years ago. No - I do my research, I think and listen to various sides and then I make a conscious choice what to believe.
This is something different though, firstly it's about whether children can or should make pledges, and at about relative maturities at being able to make those decisions, and is a wholly different topic.

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