Mercy Muroki: We don’t need to have endless conversations about cancelling historical figures

I don’t want to live in a dystopian world where humans are only either pure or evil

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The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has sought to distance itself from the man himself by removing images of the ex Prime Minister from its website because of his controversial views on race.

The Prime Minister has now come out and criticised the move, accusing the charity of trying to airbrush the achievements of Winston Churchill – who the Prime Minister, along with countless Brits consider a hero.

Now, to be honest, I’m not too interested in debating whether Churchill, or indeed anyone in history, was good or evil.

Its obviously the case that the hero-villain dichotomy is a completely false one.

Instead, I have a radical proposal.

How about we just accept the fact that it is possible for humans to be both good and bad at the same time.

Radical, I know.

How about we look at controversial historical figures and say: yes, that person did some incredible things, and yes, they also did some pretty cruel things.

Maybe, we don’t need to have endless conversations about cancelling historical figures because they had a bit of evil within the good.

Maybe, just maybe, everyone is a product of their time, and that’s the inevitable reality of existing.

If I was a white man living 400 years ago – in the deep South in America, for example – would I have been a racist? Probably.

That shouldn’t be controversial.

There’s a real arrogance in thinking that we would have been so much holier and purer than the people whose views from we seem to be so intent on criticising.

There are historical figures I admire who would have almost definitely have seen me as inferior – whether that’s because I’m African, or because I’m a woman … and you know what? I’m okay with that.

Why? Because humans are very complicated things. And good. Long may it stay that way.

Because I don’t want to live in a dystopian world where humans are only either pure or evil.

And I certainly don’t want to live in a dystopian world where we can’t fathom that people can be both.