“Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room

This week, the cancel culture became a royal pain with the removal of the portrait of the Queen by Oxford students at Magdalen College because her image is threatening to some students and “represents recent colonial history.” The decision follows King’s College formally apologizing for sending out an email after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, which showed a picture of Philip opening university’s Maughan Library with the Queen in 2002.

It appears Magdalen College has come a long way since it was a Royalist stronghold in the English Civil War. Indeed, the school’s own historical account refers to its own victimization as the result of a type of 17th Century cancel movement: “During the English Civil War of the 1640s, we were solidly Royalist, and had to endure a purge of our President and many of our Fellows after the victory of the Parliamentarians.”

Now, a committee has called for the removal of the image of the Queen because, as one student explained, “patriotism and colonialism are not really separable.” The Committee found that the portrait made some feel “unwelcomed” because the Queen represents “recent colonial history.”

By taking down the portrait, the committee hoped to make Oxford “a welcoming, neutral place for all members regardless of background, demographic, or views.”

It is truly a sad moment for an institution that is so heavily steeped in history.

In the case of Prince Philip, it was considered a mistake to even email his image after his death. King’s College sent out the photo of the man who was the governor of the university since 1955. The email simply said “As the nation marks the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, we thought you might like to see this photo of the duke at the official opening of the Maughan Library in 2002, which some colleagues will remember.”

Given the Duke’s long governorship of the university, it is absurd to bar any image of Philip but the University apologized after some objected that Philip engaged in “historical racism.”  The complaints were made to the university’s Anti-Racism Community of Practice, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Associate director Joleen Clarke issued an apology and explained that

“[T]he picture was included as a historical reference point following his death. The inclusion of the picture was not intended to commemorate him. Through feedback and subsequent conversations, we have come to realise the harm that this caused members of our community, because of his history of racist and sexist comments. We are sorry to have caused this harm.”

Phillip had a history of controversial and insensitive comments, including comments denounced as racist like his comment in 1986 to British students visiting China, “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” He also was criticized for sexist comments like stating “I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing.”

Philip was correctly and regularly criticized for such comments. They tarnished his legacy and were legitimately referenced in discussions of his life. However, this was just an email acknowledging his long connection and service to the school.

As with portrait of the Queen, such imagery is part of the rich history of these schools. They are part of a broader context. Indeed, the point of higher education is to consider such images and legacies in their historical and political contexts.  We can go through life removing images that trigger us or discomfort us. Alternatively, we can place such images in their proper context and learn from the history that they represent.

None of us are hermetically sealed from history or its imagery. Oxford students should celebrate that history even as they change it. Indeed, many of these students embody the changing face and values of Oxford.

99 thoughts on ““Patriotism and Colonialism are Not Really Separable”: Oxford To Remove Queen’s Portrait From Common Room”

  1. I fail the see the evil of colonialism. Man searching out new frontiers has been going on…since…man. Who is worse off because of that expansion?

  2. Patriotism is a stand alone quality and practice in a community.

    That said, diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism, sexism, ageism) is an integrated belief and practice under the Pro-Choice religion. That said, take a knee, beg, purchase your indulgence from nominally secular rackets, and participate in planned parent/hood for social progress.

  3. The Queen has proven herself to be a great person, better than those ignorant, blood twits being churned out by our decaying educational system. God Save The Queen!

  4. Constantly caving to snowflakes or even the possibility there may be some snowflakes. We don’t need to take down pictures and symbols. We need to teach these people to learn to accept diversity and tolerance.

  5. “Racism,” “sexism,” etc. are powerful political weapons used by Marxists. They are effective because we let them get away with it.

    1. Diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment), not limited to racism, sexism, ageism, and other class-based bigotry, normalized with gay pride under a nominally secular religious institution (i.e. Progressive Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple, agency, corporation, clinic, etc.) and a banner of inclusive exclusion.

  6. @Foggy World,
    Hear! Hear!
    Registered Independent, always have been. But I did donate to Tulsi Gabbard during her campaign. She clearly would of been a better president or vice president. If she were to run in 2024 as an Independent, I would vote for her.

    I recall a poll taken by The Hill that showed a sizeable number of Democrats would vote for a 3rd party or Independent candidate vs one of their own. The GOP had smaller percent.

  7. Where are these two schools located? Address, province or state, nation
    Somewhere in England?

  8. Let the student body decide if the portrait should stay or go. These minority groups have to be put in their place or they will be controlling everything.

    1. I don’t like giving students such control. But, if I did perhaps a secret ballot could be taken to see if the picture should be placed in storage or left out for everyone to see. There could be a space made available for written pros and cons perhaps right in the spot the painting would have been. A new vote could be taken every semester. The discussion would be educational.

  9. Nothing here mentions that a Matthew Katzman from Bethesda, Maryland and a graduate of the $48K per year Sidwell School is the person who removed the portrait of the Queen. Also went to Stanford and an issue being discussed at the DM is just what sort of people are these expensive schools turning out. Matthew’s point is that the Queen is responsible for colonialism though he doesn’t seem to have learned that Queen Elizabeth II has not colonized anything. This is just another wealthy, spoiled American kid who needs to grow up and learn to respect other cultures. But he won’t.

    1. Katzman is a member of the ruling class in the U.S. His father is a partner in the D.C. Steptoe and Johnson law firm. Don’t blame Americans in general. Most Americans suffer from misrule by these characters.

    2. It seems Katzman is an instructor at Jesus College at Oxford University – what’s next on his agenda ? Changing the name of Jesus College?

  10. This is what happens when colleges stop teaching classics in the great Western intellectual tradition and replace them with the nihilism of ‘critical theory’ and the oeuvre of Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols. The responsibility lies with the administrators who have abdicated their duty to educate the students under their charge.

  11. Not that I particularly care what happens in Oxford or anywhere else in the UK other than Wales, but it would be very interesting to know the percentage of students so offended. Another example of tail wagging do or the squeaky wheel

  12. The changing face of values? Groan, not again! I refuse to believe the Professor is this passive in his thinking. Those values are being *imposed*, and by a minority who just happens to be incapable of reasoned, critical discussion or debate. Pretending this is some kind of natural evolution is lunacy; it is the direct result of very deliberate choices on the part of the people that created this tsunami. These things don’t simply ‘happen’.

    Take the picture down if you want, but only if that is what is decided by ALL involved, and only AFTER reasoned discussion.

    1. “a minority who just happens to be incapable of reasoned, critical discussion or debate”

      It’s ironic that you invoke ad hominem, which undermines reasoned debate.

      1. Was there discussion and debate? Did the community make the decision, or was the decision made by a few that had loud voices and depended on the backing from the cancel culture that uses violence along with ad hominem?

        You call the statement ad hominem, but based on what we know, that particular statement rings true.

  13. Question is, Turley…, what do we learn from these images and who gets to determine the lesson?


    1. It’s up to you to think, reflect and learn a lesson, unless you want others to think for you and tell what to believe. You sound like a whiny snowflake.

      1. Rhetorical question, that stangely hints at what your response gets to. You sound like a whiny moron.


  14. Would you make the same argument about portraits of Hitler in Germany? If not, then admit that people’s views of the appropriateness of a portrait in a general setting can change over time. (No, I’m not saying that it’s exactly analogous. But it’s still relevant to the point that people’s views about these issues can change over time.)

    ” we can place such images in their proper context and learn from the history that they represent.”

    Arguably, the proper context is a museum or historical institution (like our National Archives). They can be placed there, and people can learn from them there.

    England was a colonial power and colonization often harmed the indigenous populations of the areas they colonized. Some descendants of those who were colonized are now addressing this past in England.

    1. Aninny:

      “Would you make the same argument about portraits of Hitler in Germany? … England was a colonial power and colonization often harmed the indigenous populations of the areas they colonized.”

      Ah, yet another apologist for Stupid. You’ve outdone yourself. The Queen isn’t Hitler in Germany or England or anywhere else. Imperialism helped as much as it harmed by bringing third-worlders into a better world of medicine, government and commerce even as it took its toll on their natural resources. Even the American colonists had to admit that much You may not like it but you weren’t there and are hardly an expert on … well .. anything. So forgive the boulder of salt I put with your historical “analysis.”

      Do you ever tire of your unlettered, woke, anti-historic histrionics? For the record, lots of us do. And by the way, do you have a real job? You’re either an intellectual affirmative action hire at “Correct the Record” or you have some sinecure courtesy of some leftist think tank. You surely haven’t met a payroll, run a business or done anything remotely approaching productivity. You just spew nonsensical talking points from relative anonymity and get battered by many of the posters here who exceed your room temperature IQ by orders of magnitude. Personally, I’m done correcting your blathering. Spew away. You’ve just entered my unreadable Natacha Zone and here’s my elegy for you.

      1. Mespo is feisty today and has categorized his blathering as an ‘elegy’. We’ve all been put on notice.

      2. I’d love for you to ignore me, mespo. Your endless ad hominem is a bore.a

        “The Queen isn’t Hitler”

        Duh. Which is why I said “No, I’m not saying that it’s exactly analogous.”

        “Imperialism helped as much as it harmed”

        I’d love for you to produce a measurement system that lets us determine whether that’s true, but I doubt you can, and I’m certain you won’t.

        1. “Duh. Which is why I said “No, I’m not saying that it’s exactly analogous.”

          There you go again being fuzzy and then parsing words. It’s pure BS and is not a substitute for intellect.

      3. Not to mention the progress of human and civil rights violations, anthropogenic conflicts and abortion fields, catastrophic anthropogenic immigration immigration reform and collateral damage, poverty and disparity, social contagion, under the doctrine of social justice and imperative of social progress, left in the wake of woke and [morally] broke. Diversity, inequity, and exclusion breeds advetsity.

    2. “. . . often harmed the indigenous populations of the areas they colonized.”

      The famous expression was: “The Empire on which the sun never sets.”

      Then it began to set, to the everlasting harm of those darkened territories. Just ask India.

      1. LOL. The British colonies in North America were among those territories. According to you, were we “darkened” by exiting the British Empire?

        If you were to ask people in India whether they’d have preferred not to have been colonized by the British in the first place, I bet most would say “yes.”

        1. “LOL.”

          Thank you for using, again, one of your countless fallacies — a particularly vicious one called the argument from intimidation.

          For me, it’s a discussion ender.

  15. Turley: “We can go through life removing images that trigger us or discomfort us. Alternatively, we can place such images in their proper context and learn from the history that they represent.”

    Should the German government have defaced all Nazi engravings etched into stone in buildings after the war? Or perhaps, you believe that the Swastika should have remained unblemished but properly contextualized?

    Turley chastises those who claim to be “triggered,” but predictably chickens out telling us where he would draw the line.

    1. Jeff Silberman:

      Astute observation, but the German case is mixed. In some cases, things are as they were, and in others, images are altered. I believe Prof. Turley would opt for no alteration.

      1. Steve Brown thinks “I believe Prof. Turley would opt for no alteration.”

        I sincerely hope you are NOT correct that Turley would defend those Germans who will not forgive the Jews for the Holocaust by refusing to erase their Nazi legacy. I’d like to think he would NOT argue that Jews are simply “cancelling culture” or discount their claim of being “triggered” by the Schutzstaffel.

        1. Jeff Silberman:

          What I have in mind by alteration, is what I saw, for example, at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. A swastika on an artifact was welded over. I do not think I was suggesting Prof. Turley would defend Nazis.

    2. There is an old parking garage in the town where I live, and one day after court as I was walking to my car, an older lawyer acquaintance showed me something interesting. Embedded in the walls of the entrance to the garage that had mostly non-glossy terra cotta tiles were small, glazed tiles. Some of them were swasticas and some were the German cross like Nazis displayed on their tanks and airplanes. I doubt they’re going to tear down the old parking garage because of these decorations, but they also don’t advertise them, either.

        1. I don’t consider it prudent to disclose too much information about myself. Trumpsters are notorious for death threats and retribution. Anyway, before the Nazis appropriated it, the swastica was a common decoration, as was the German cross.

  16. It is action like this that will finally end the cancel culture. People of good will, the majority, will be so incensed that they will begin to rise up and say “enough”.

    1. Steve Brown,

      “Enough” was what got Trump elected by a minority. Trumpism was the high-water mark of conservatism. From now on, it’s all downhill and Republicans realize that they have to finagle the election laws in order to have a chance of winning the electoral count in a country in which they are decidely outnumbered by Democrats.

      1. Try reading Patrick Byrne’s _The Deep Rig_ and maybe rethink. Patrick is not a Republican and neither am I. Just that he has been investigating what went on. Oh, and the Sidwell School is not home to a slew of Trumpers. That’s where the portrait remover went to high school.

  17. It’s more than passing strange that millions of Brits live in small houses on very small lots, yet cheerfully? pay taxes so that a large number of so-called Royals can live in splendor on huge estates, have everything done for them, and get paid to make appearances.

  18. “… many of these students embody the changing face and values of Oxford.” is not true. Just like in the US, the Left is loud, violent, and obnoxious and represents only a small, almost minute, part of any population. The Left has throughout history used violence – physical, mental, and emotional – to oppress and shut down the majority, who already fully understand the context of history while the majority is intelligent enough to decipher history in context and respects values and tradition.

    The question for the majority is whether we are just going to stay silent in the face of Leftists … as did so many Germans, Chinese, N. Koreans, Venezuelans, Cubans, etc who stayed silent as their leftist leaders ruined their countries. I say it’s time to speak up and tell these Leftists (and here unfortunately our co-opted Democrats) NO!

    1. Suburbanwoman,

      We’re not going anywhere, so you had better get used to us Democrats. We outnumber you….

      1. “We’re not going anywhere, so you had better get used to us Democrats. We outnumber you….”
        True enough. My guess is we’ll part at the narrow gate as most Dims continue on their way down the easy road towards the wide gate.

      2. I am an Independent and sorry to tell you but we make up over 40% of the voters. We as a rule don’t plan on getting used to either party moving in forever.

      3. The numbers of Democrats that approved of slavery was great enough to keep slavery and then take away the civil liberties of black Americans.

      4. I doubt it, but even if so you will see how fast your party disintegrates when you run out of other people’s money to buy votes with.

  19. This is another demonstration that the purpose of critical theory is not to build but to destroy. It clothes itself in platitudes but its heart is nihilism.

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