Tearful James O'Brien caller gives moving reaction to slave trader statue toppling

8 June 2020, 14:15

By Fiona Jones

This tearful caller opens up to James O'Brien about her reaction the slave trader statue being toppled by anti-racism protesters.

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol and was pushed into the harbour on Sunday.

This caller Chantelle gave an emotive response to James O'Brien about this anti-racism demonstration.

"I just told my children that this monument and loads of other monuments that stand around the UK is a symbol of white supremacy and oppression.

"To take those statues down would mean to acknowledge that this country was built upon the blood of our people and I'm saddened that they asked me the question because education should be there from primary school about slavery."

Chantelle continued, "To address this would mean that they would be acknowledging that black lives do matter and what they did in hindsight was wrong and cruel."

She told her children never to apologise for who they are and hopefully one day this country and other countries like it will do better and be better.

James observed, "If we don't do better it'll be your children's tears in 20 years time."

Chantelle said, "Everything begins with education. We've been fighting for education reform in this country for years...to teach black history not just in October but throughout the years.

"To acknowledge the enslavement of black people stolen from the African continent was one of the worst things that could ever have happened in the history of human beings...so far nothing, no change."

James posited that if we really taught children about slavery then the fortune still in place today would have very ugly and dark question marks hanging over them.

Chantelle agreed with this theory, "To admit it, to apologise for it, that may go a long way... to apologise for your ancestors' past means you accept your ancestors were wrong and also that black people are not property."

James said he did not feel guilt about slavery just immense sadness - he suggested that those who may feel guilt about slavery are those who may still be reaping benefits from the slave trade.