Villainy personified

A bit of news from the Old Country: Statue of Egerton Ryerson on university campus toppled, police say. Here are the details:

A much-maligned statue of Egerton Ryerson was toppled in Toronto on Sunday. The statue, prominently displayed on the campus of Ryerson University, has come under renewed scrutiny after the discovery in Kamloops, B.C., of what are believed to be the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school. Ryerson is credited as one of the architects of Canada’s residential school system.

For background Residential School System

In Canada, the Indian residential school system was a network of free boarding schools for Indigenous peoples. The network was funded by the Canadian government’s Department of Indian Affairs and administered by Christian churches. The school system was created for the purpose of removing Indigenous children from the influence of their own culture and assimilating them into the dominant Canadian culture, “to kill the Indian in the child.” Over the course of the system’s more than hundred-year existence, around 150,000 children were placed in residential schools nationally. By the 1930s about 30 percent of Indigenous children were believed to be attending residential schools.

As for this chap Ryerson, after whom Toronto’s version of RMIT was named, this is who he was.

Adolphus Egerton Ryerson (24 March 1803 – 19 February 1882) was a Canadian educator and Methodist minister who was a prominent contributor to the design of the Canadian public school system and the Canadian Indian residential school system. After a stint editing the Methodist denominational newspaper The Christian Guardian, Ryerson was appointed Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada by Governor General Sir Charles Metcalfe in 1844. In that role, he supported reforms such as creating school boards, making textbooks more uniform, and making education free. Because of his contributions to education in Ontario, he is the namesake of Ryerson University, Ryerson Press, and Ryerson, Ontario.

An obvious villain.

FURTHER UPDATE: Also from The Star: Toppling of Egerton Ryerson statue doesn’t end colonial atrocities, but signals an end to celebrating them. Such sanctimonious bilge turns my stomach. These people will never achieve anything personally of any significance that will ever cause anyone to raise a statue in their memory, but are in fact completely empty-ended buffoons. These are people who can only make the world worse than it already is.

Even if we grant an impossible innocence to the people who venerated the man enough to erect a statue in his name, and we assume that they didn’t know better then, it is untenable now: we know better. Why would we continue to memorialize a person whose presence is a reminder of violence inflicted on our fellow humans?

This really is astonishing that she is as publicly ignorant as she is but she will die self-satisfied in her smug certainties as the world around her slips deeper into the mud.

Last summer’s protests for Black lives fundamentally shifted public opinion on how historical figures linked to colonialism and racism are commemorated in public spaces. The immediate months of protests saw the felling of statues of the genocidal Christopher Columbus in dozens of places across the States, of Confederate hero and slavery defender Robert E. Lee in Alabama, of King Leopold — the butcher of Congo — in Belgium, of the slave trader Edward Colston in London, of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, in Montreal.

Not all statue toppling can be judged by the same lens, of course. It was for shame that the Taliban in 2001 destroyed two majestic statues of the Buddha carved into the sandstone cliffs in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. Theirs was a fundamentalist rage based on intolerance against idolatry in other cultures and religions.

A writer this ignorant is a phenomenon but she knows what she likes and which statues deserve to be overturned and which do not. Even Sir John A. Macdonald! I am truly repulsed by such people.

FURTHER THOUGHTS:

Just came across this which seems very related: An analysis of the wrongs visited on Caliban in Shakespeare’s Brave New World. Caliban as the object of white supremacy! Go to the link to see what is said, but here I will just stick to the invective, which in this and all instances seems quite restrained.

How is such madness possible?

The answer is to be found in the current manic race-obsession, which has rendered large sections of the population as mad as the Nazis.

Seeing everything in terms of race has turned “liberals” into puritanical bigots. Blinded by their hatred and their prejudice, they call for witch-hunts against those deemed to be racist, which seems to be anyone born with the wrong-coloured skin, in the past or the present. To critical race theorists, race is much more important than rape, and the racist much worse than the rapist. Indeed, if the rapist is seen as the victim of the racist, it is crucial to empower the rapist at the expense of his victim. This, at any rate, is the fate that has befallen poor Prospero and his hapless and innocent daughter.

Mad beyond insanity. 

2 thoughts on “Villainy personified

  1. Pingback: Villainy personified - The Rabbit Hole

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