Black Lives Matter

Politics is often about priorities and emphasis. Chris Loder's decision to focus on "a criminal minority" rather than the symbolic toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, his decision to water down the message of the Black Lives Matter protesters by emphasising the truism that all lives matter, and his decision to publicly support a similar statement from the Home Secretary sounds more like a nod to the Conservative 'law and order agenda' than a genuine acknowledgment of the prevailing prejudice experienced by the Black community.

Empty pedestal where Colston statue was. Photo by Caitlin Hobbs from statue of Colston has acted as a reminder of the slave trade to all who pass it. This was deeply offensive to Bristol's black community. It should have been deeply offensive to us all. That it had not been removed earlier is a disgrace. Its peaceful removal by BLM protesters should be seen as positive acknowledgment that we are not proud of our historic involvement with the slave trade, and that commemorating its main proponents by, quite literally, placing them on a pedestal, is immoral.

Social attitudes and prevailing prejudices will not be changed by statements such as 'all lives matter'. Stating instead that 'black lives matter' highlights the fact that on numerous occasions it would appear that for many people they do not. It is incumbent upon our politicians to first acknowledge this, and then do something about it. Choosing to focus on the regrettable behaviour of a small minority of protesters suggests to me that this particular politician will do neither.

Kelvin Clayton

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