These tokens imply an individual or an organisation is ‘woke’. They are aware of issues like unconscious bias and communicate their racial epiphany on all social media channels-including Tik Tok where they create a ‘woke dance’.
For some ‘wokeness’ is a veneer for deep sleep.
So it is with this air of scepticism, or some might say ‘a slight boulder on the shoulder’ that one wonders just how we take the latest move by the Horniman Museum and Garden.
Based in Lewisham the museum has taken a ‘bold’ step to return the 72 treasures stolen by the British forces in 1897.
The stealing of treasures by the British Empire is well-documented. In truth it is the modus operandi of all invading nations. Absolutely blitz the country in each and every way brutalising the country by eradicating all evidence of their existence.
Physically you demolish all important structures, monuments signifying that country. The Islamic State (IS) attempted to do this in Iraq. Then you pillage what is left to display to your country men and women. For the British Empire displaying these treasures from those countries was evidently a way of revelling in their overthrow of that country-‘look what we did’.
Mentally raping the country evidently leaves emotional scars that will impact the country and its inhabitants for many generations to come.
Eve Salomon, chair of the Horniman museum, said: “The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria.”
Horniman made their decision following discussions with London’s Nigerian Community after activists added the museum to the “Topple the Racists” of sites and monuments linked to colonialism.
Countries like Barbados (more recently) are making the moves to relinquish their ties to the Queen. In that attempt countries oppressed by nations like Britain are finding their voice and identity outside of that colonial shadow. It comes as no surprise that these countries are taking positive action.
For some maybe the fact the museum needed to be dragged into this decision as they clutched their stolen booty might be an issue. For me however I say who cares. As the first museum to take this step it is a pivotal and lays the path for more requests to return these objects.
And while that word ‘woke’ in truth is so damn irritating and it is ‘en vogue’ for an institution/organisation/ person to champion black issues, one cannot help but see this move by the museum as just doing the right thing.