When the statue of Edward Colston was toppled from a plinth in central Bristol and pushed into the River Avon, historian Professor Olivette Otele said, ‘it was like, finally, finally something is happening that is forcing people to reconsider. It’s a moment to recognise, to pause and to see what to do next, but it’s not the end of everything.’ The UK’s first Black female professor of history, Professor Otele is also the Vice President of the Royal Historical Society, and in June of this year she was appointed Chair of Bristol’s Commission on Race Equality.
In her new book, Superior: the Return of Race Science, journalist Angela Saini writes about the disturbing re-emergence of scientific research into biological racial difference, and the effect of social and political forces at work to perpetuate inequality and discrimination.
In conversation with Anita Sethi, journalist and historian come together to reveal the ways in which the history of racism and an understanding of the legacies of slavery have converged with contemporary politics and trends in scientific racism to create a moment of reckoning. An urgent insight into how politics and memory in post-colonial Europe have formed a narrative of race and power that is only now being unpicked.