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Berlingske - Denmark | Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Museums should not whitewash history

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has renamed works of art whose titles contained terms like "negro", "dwarf" and "Indian". The centre-right daily Berlingske warns against misrepresenting history: "The problem isn't that the museum is distancing itself from insulting terms as such. Of course not. But it is a problem when real or presumed insults are no longer seen in their historical context, and are instead styled as absolute statements which for that reason must be apologised for, hidden and eliminated. Once you've started down that path you change history retrospectively. If we allow history to be treated this way we will start to resemble a society that we would otherwise oppose. Rather than accepting history for what it is, we would be whitewashing it. And that would really be a catastrophe."

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