Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

What is the intellectual framing of the UK statues debate? Show more Show less

In June 2020 Bristol protestors rioting against the murder of George Floyd tore down a statue of Edward Colston. Having hauled it from its plinth, they eventually abandoned the statue in the city's harbour. Hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch, viewing this as a momentous step in the fight against racism. Colston is known as the man who built Bristol. He bequeathed his enormous fortune to the city upon his death. 300 years on, the scale of his legacy is visceral in Bristol's landmarks and architecture, and the names of its schools, concert halls, streets, restaurants, pubs and cathedral. Yet, his fortune was built on slavery, leading many to argue that the statue props up institutional racism in the UK. Since Colston's toppling, activists have circulated lists of hundreds more controversial statues they say must be removed to end racial inequality. Others call this type of campaigning problematic. They view the destruction of monuments as historical whitewashing. For them, this trend is an affront to British history that does not confront the real issues at play. So, who are these groups, what do they think, and why?

"Taking the statues down is an 'iconoclasm of the Woke!'" Show more Show less

We should not celebrate the destruction of our history. Taking this approach is reductive. Blaming statues for perceived "injustice" is unproductive.
(1 of 4 Positions) Next >

The statues crisis typifies the rising tide of cancel culture

We must see this movement for what it is: the latest vitriolic attack on the "right" from cancel culture activists. The statues are simply the latest victim to be deemed offensive. That is to say, they do not conform to the exaggeratedly "woke" ideals held by a violent, iconoclastic minority desperate to shut down free speech. Proponents include Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and UnHerd journalist Giles Fraser.
< Previous (3 of 6 Arguments) Next >

Context

The Argument

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

    Explore related arguments

    This page was last edited on Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 08:46 UTC