The statues that are being taken down not only legitimize racist ideas, they also celebrate them. Statues and monuments are built and represented in honor of someone or something. While the creation of these statues may be explained by the changes in beliefs and ideals throughout history, representing them to the public in the present is not.  Some of these statues being taken down include a known slaveholder Robert Milligan  and Edward Colston, a slave trader believed to have sold 100,000 slaves from west Africa.  These people should not be celebrated as monuments in today’s society. Especially when there is still racial inequally interwoven in today’s society. Like the fact that if you are a Black man in England or Wales, you have a 40 times higher chance of being stopped and searched by police. Keeping these statues presented in the public eye takes away from the racism, not only in history but also today. Society should be presenting and working against the issues of colonial and imperial remnants of racism, not commemorating the men who were part of the cause of it. 
The statues do not legitimize racism because while the personal values of the people that are depicted by the statues were racist, the statues were created and intended to legitimize the good they did, not the bad.
Rejecting the premises