Dunoon is in the news, for all the wrong reasons.
The story is now being picked up by national newspapers, but long term followers of this blog may remember a number of previous posts reflecting on the presence of this rock on our foreshore and the history it may or may not connect us to. Here are a few links if anyone fancies a retrospective review;
This on the importance of sugar to our area;
Then there was a debate I had via the letters column of our local paper;
Despite the fact that the rock was repainted as recently as last week, I continue to hope that eventually, we in Dunoon would start to engage with the murky history of this rock in a more thoughtful and engaged way. Certainly, thanks to the spotlight focused on Jim Crow by Dr Lawrence, we have a new opportunity to do so and for that, I am grateful.
Despite the persistence of (some) local opinion that Jim Crow is just a ‘bit of local colour’, with no racist connection whatsoever, the wider scale counter reaction is growing. I understand that it features as part of the teaching material for understanding racism in Scotland at Stirling University.
There are powerful voices at present who rail against an evil called ‘political correctness’. The rhetoric they preach means that all sorts of attempt to challenge injustice can be set aside with a scornful ‘that is just political correctness gone mad.” Dr Lawrence might tell you a different story about what happens when casual prejudice is allowed to fester in the shadows. This is why people like Trump are so dangerous- they legitimise injustice and inequality. They claim to be the voice of reason, the voice of ‘the people’ even, whilst in fact defending elitism and prejudice. To hell with that, and to hell with them.
I think that ideas matter- even if the ideas are not fully understood; even if they are buried beneath two centuries of history. This is all the more important when the ideas make victims out of people who are singled out as some how different and ‘less than’ you and me.
One final thing- when I started out writing about this bloody rock, I wanted to get rid of it, but I have changed my mind and here is why; If we get rid of it, we potentially get rid of an object that allows learning and reflection.
Let us make a spectacle of the rock. Lets put a board there explaining what we know of the history.
Let us make another piece of art next to it that tells the story of oppression as well as the story of prejudice.