• Sofia Eugeniou

Calls grow for Britain's highest royal honour to be resigned

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has written to the Royal Family over the 'distressing racist imagery' of the KCMG medal - known as The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.


The award is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. Individuals are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it.


The BASW is calling for a redesign of the medal which depicts a white angel standing on the neck of a chained black man.

Image credit: Change.org

The image is reminiscent of the killing of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.


The Black Lives Matter movement that has sparked into new life since Floyd's murder has set off a snowball of events and actions that are challenging systems which are institutionally racist - as well as the KCMG medal, imperial statues and Eurocentric higher education curriculums have been removed, re-thought and challenged.


With the medal in question directly concerning the Royal Family, on many levels, it can be read as a reward for colonialism rather than for service to the United Kingdom.


While the white Angel is meant to portray defeat over a black 'Satan', the image instead is an insidious reminder of the long racist and colonial roots of British culture.


Current progress toward racial equality and the abolition of racism that continues to damage society, especially for the black community, must be re-evaluated.


The petition by Change.org to change the racist image on the KCMG medal has reached over 17,000 signatures thus far.

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