Friday 13th May 2022

Problematic History Lecture




A review of the lecture by DG (Year 12) pupil Timi:

On 5 May, we were joined by Priyanka Raval, a journalist from Bristol with whom we had an engaging discussion surrounding the cultural importance of Edward Colston’s statue being removed in Bristol on the 7 June 2020. It was very interesting to hear first-hand from a Bristolian what the statue meant to the people of Bristol. Even before its removal, it had been a source of debate within Bristol for a very long time, due to the controversy surrounding the figure it paid homage to. The removal was particularly significant because the statue was actually removed during a protest by citizens of Bristol. This incident, catalysed by the horrific killing of George Floyd in the previous month, appears to be more of a symbolic triumph than a direct act to make our society more racially inclusive. It is something which challenges the societal norm of ignoring the actions of the rich and/or powerful because of how much we may have benefitted from them.

Ms Raval also spoke partially about the difference between performative acts to remove racial inequality and real practical ways of making us, as a society, more aware of the impact slavery and Britain’s colonial history has had on its success, something which is very rarely discussed. It became very apparent to us that a great deal of Great Britain’s development had unfortunately come at the expense of other countries.

So ultimately, what is the takeaway from Ms Raval’s visit? What can we as students take away from this talk and think about? Well personally, I think that this talk has definitely given us hope that it will be easier for our generation to connect with and understand each other, despite our apparent racial differences. The confidence and comfortability to discuss racial issues/spark debate around race-related issues is also increasing, allowing us to educate one another in ways that older generations may not have had the ability to do so, due to a greater racial divide amongst them. The events which have occurred in our youth have definitely aided in making us more socially conscious, hopefully improving our ability to connect with one another as we mature further. We have a responsibility to use this knowledge to better the world, making a more harmonious and positive environment for generations to come.


Timi, DG/Year 12