There is currently revived interest across disciplines and educational institutions to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ (Arshad, 2020). There are many layers to this, from diversifying reading lists to unpacking racist underpinnings of key concepts, from deconstructing representations of history to hiring more Black and Minority Ethnic staff.
On 8th September 2021, a crowd gathered on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, USA, near the base of its iconic statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The atmosphere in the crowd was jubilant as workers positioned a crane, wrapped the statue in a harness, and finally–after an hour of preparation, a year of court cases, and 131 years of racial terror set in stone–pulled the statue down from its plinth.
In October 2016, as the US election loomed, Farage (2016) wrote in an opinion piece in The Telegraph, a symbol of his media prominence: The similarities between the different sides in this election are very like our own recent battle. As the rich get richer and big companies dominate the global economy, voters all across the West are being left behind.
For my part at least, I have been provoked by Du Bois to reflect on how the spectacle of white supremacy also relies on white privilege, in the way the latter helps cultivate a social production of moral indifference which can facilitate the former. I appreciate this is not straightforward, but I think it is an error to adopt an overly formalistic position to deny it in a way that negates the linkages. One example is the suggestion that we can only describe systems of racism, but cannot attribute any agency to individuals that benefit from and preserve such systems.
On April 15, 2013, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon, killing five and injuring 264. In the absence of information about who the bombers were, Salon.com published liberal commentator David Sirota’s piece ‘Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American’.