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    Jeremy Corbyn poses for photographers upon arrival at the GQ's Men of The Year awards, in London, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.

    'Let’s Think About Legacy': Lecturer on Corbyn's Plan to Teach UK Colonial Past

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    UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn plans to create Emancipation Educational Trust, aimed to teach English students the true history of Britain's colonial past, including slavery and colonialism. Sputnik has discussed this issue with Dr. Deana Heath, Senior Lecturer in Indian and Colonial History, University of Liverpool.

    Sputnik: The Labour leader also wants schools to give their pupils an increased awareness of the role black Britons have played in the country's history. Is this a welcomed move?

    Dr. Deana Heath: Oh God, yes! The history curriculum, as it exists, particularly as it's been redeveloped since five years ago, really is a curriculum focused on white British history. It's a history that certainly students from ethnic minority backgrounds and I would have to say most young women would not see themselves reflected in.

    READ MORE: Corbyn to Create Trust to Educate Students on Black History, Colonialism

    Sputnik: The slave trade, Colonialism and imperialism were essential products in building the British Empire. Why is such a vital part of history not being discussed in British schools?

    Dr. Deana Heath: We displace our past; we displace the ugly aspects of our past. For example, every British schoolchild learns about Hitler, Stalin, they learn about gulags and they learn about genocide in Europe. They know nothing about colonial genocides, they know nothing about state-induced famines, they know nothing about autocratic regimes perpetrated by the British state throughout most the planet.

    READ MORE: Twitter Chastises Melania Trump for Wearing 'Colonial' Headgear in Africa

    Countries like Germany have done a very good job in dealing with their violent past and we haven't on any level and that's represented in our curriculum. The fact that we haven't, as a country, dealt with the realities our colonial past; the violence, the exploitation and so on that went with that lead to very positive perceptions of empire particularly since it's not taught in schools, only so-called positive bits like we ended the slave trade and not we perpetuated it and lets think about the legacy — we don't do that. It's that perception that empire must be a good thing and Britain had this global civilizing role and we want that role back. The fact that we haven't negotiated on any level with that past contributes to things like Brexit and yes it would be great to see Brexit being taught in that framework.

    READ MORE: Mixed Legacy: Lisbon Museum of Colonial Past Stirs Up Debate

    Sputnik: Taking into account Windrush and Theresa May's hostile environment policies — could we see and overhaul of votes in the future to topple Theresa May's conservative party and shape British society forward? 

    Dr. Deana Heath: It would be wonderful — I think there are a lot of challenges to doing so. Those narratives and those particular national narratives and the way Britain is portrayed globally are very entrenched and we don't do a very good job about thinking about our global relationship and what that has been. Whenever politicians talk about connections with other parts of the world, the reality of that violent relationship is erased. It's always we ‘had' these connections with India, or China, or whatever the case may be and the truth of those is never disclosed. I think we are a long way from getting to that sort of thing.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    colonial past, colonial rule, British colonialism, Jeremy Corbyn, United Kingdom
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