Saturday, January 22, 2022


Like many people, I have been considerably slowed down by the covid situation, so thank you for your patience. 

PS: I forgot to mention below the photos. Almost nobody described the photos. How is Colton dressed, what kind of street was his statue on, does the statue seem to be glorifying him? What kind of people do we see in the photo of the demonstration? Young, old, black, white? What are they doing? What attitudes are they showing? Etc .

Some feedback MEEF devoir maison

The story of the Bristol statue continues. See here 



The aim of the exercise is to show

- your English is good

- you understand both the explicit and implicit meanings of the documents

- you have a good knowledge of inclusion and diversity questions in Britain over the last century.

You must prove all three of these things. So if you do not give any examples of other antiracist activity or laws not mentioned in the documents, or other conversations about commemoration not mentioned in the documents, you have not demonstrated the third element.

A few important points:

  1. When presenting the documents, move straight onto elements which help in the interpretation. It is far better to write 

The third document is an indignant article from the very popular conservative newspaper, the Daily Mail. It uses very negative vocabulary concerning the Bristol demonstrators, calling them a “mob”.

Rather than

The third document is an article from the Daily Mail website, published on 3rd June 2021. The title is “[quotes complete headline].

It is far better to write

In the third photograph, the statue has been rescued from the river by the local authorities, thought it has not been cleaned, and is displayed horizontally in a museum.

Rather than

The third photograph shows the statue in a museum.

The first photo shows a statue of Colton, finely dressed, on a pedestal in a city avenue. 

  1. The centre of your work is the documents, what they are trying to do. The centre is not as such anti racism, British history or multiculturalism. The structure you announce will show this. 

This is good: First I will look at what the documents show about commemoration acts, then I will explore the strong feelings often involved in the national conversation around commemoration and racism….

  1. It is very important to think about the intentions and objectives of the different people and organizations involved. The documents are, or illustrate, attempts to change something or stop something changing. They do not simply portray or depict political events.

What were the objectives of 

Those who put up the original statue

Those who pulled it down

Bristol council

The museum

The artist who put up the alternative statue

The makers of the website with a lesson plan about Cable Street

The Daily Mail

Now, these intentions may not be easy to identify, which is why “hedging” is essential: that is, expressing uncertainty and probability. Here are some good  examples:

The museum may be trying to encourage debate about the statue.

The artist is probably hoping to get a message across about what role models he would prefer to be celebrated with public statues.

The local government, when they pulled the statue out of the river, may have been worried about the reaction of some local voters if they did nothing. The Bristol community must have been divided on this question.

The webmasters may well be hoping to encourage history teachers to include the events of Cable St in their lessons, since it is often forgotten.

The Daily Mail seems to be denouncing what they take to be the disrespect shown to Colton’s statue both by the demonstrators and by the museum, although for the sake of balance they also quote sympathizers of the demonstrators.

British context

These two conversations: how to deal, in history classes, with the events of Cable Street and what to do with statues which were erected a long time ago but celebrate people who are contested by antiracists today, take place in a context. 

When doing this kind of exercise, one of the most important questions is “How typical are the events, opinions and attitudes shown in the documents”. This question allows you to show you know lots of examples *which are not in the documents *, which is essential.

Recent laws in Britain have tried to reduce racism at work by making it an obligation of public bodies to fight indirect discrimination by “promoting racial equality”, a particularly British approach. A specific law was brought in to oppose religious discrimination, especially islamophobia. The Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Bristol can be seen as wanting to go further, and look at discrimination in symbolic public spaces.

At the same time, over the last twenty years, governments, in particularly Conservative governments, have been commenting negatively on multiculturalism, suggesting it causes separatism, or even that it was one of the causes of jihadist terrorism ( three of the four terrorists in the terrible 2005 attacks, which killed 52 people, were born and bred in England. Governments, partly responding to racist sentiment, have said that the most important thing is “community cohesion” and have introduced reforms such as the UK Citizenship test, allegedly to encourage such cohesion.

The referendum which led to the UK leaving the European Union involved significant amounts of anti immigrant campaigning, in particular by Nigel Farage.

So, we have a situation where both moves against racism and negative feelings about immigration are very much present.

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