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< Back to question How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US? Show more Show less

Throughout the US, activists are calling for the removal of controversial statues, which most often depict individuals with slavery or colonization ties. These statues have long been a subject of debate, but the American public’s renewed attention to systemic, racially-motivated violence has brought this conversation into the forefront of public discourse. According to those in favor of removal, these monuments glorify individuals who supported racist institutions. They stand as relics to white supremacy and racial terror. Others argue that these statues must remain because they are a part of our story. Although this is a heinous aspect of our past, removing these statues would be an attempt to whitewash America’s history. So, what are the opinions around this debate?

"We must not remove these statues!" Show more Show less

Although slavery was a horrific institution, it is a part of our history. We must preserve reminders of our past, trusting that "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." The historical figures facing this backlash were not completely evil and efforts to remove their statues are led by angry, violent, and irrational mobs.
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This movement is led by violent, angry mobs.

We should not consider this movement credible, because it is led by an angry, violent mob. Protesters are not toppling statues because they want racial injustice to end. They simply want to be destructive. Another variation of this view argues that this is an intentional attempt to attack Western democracy.
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The Argument

Although the statue removal movement is presented as an attempt to rid our public spaces of racist symbols, it is actually just the work of angry, violent mobs. Since the movement lacks any meaningful leadership or organization, it is likely that people are using it as an excuse to be destructive. It is wrong to assume that this movement operates from a cohesive principle or ideology. Rather, it is comprised of frustrated people who want to express their anger. If statue removal reflected an organized social movement, protestors would rally for these monuments to be removed by their elected officials in a legal, appropriate way. Instead, they take matters into their own hands and destroy public property. Given society's recent suffering because of the coronavirus, it is likely that this movement is simply a means of expressing anger and unrest. People are scared about the future. They are angry about the government's handling of this crisis and want to express it. Tearing down monuments is currently an acceptable outlet for violence and anger, so people are seizing this as an opportunity to blow off steam. A variation of this view argues that this movement is indeed led by angry, hedonistic mobs, but they have intentional, malicious purposes. They do not actually want to remove racist symbols, and they are not looking for an outlet for their anger. Instead, this mob wants to destroy liberal democracy and Western civilization.

Counter arguments


[P1] The statue removal movement is led by angry, violent mobs. [P2] These mobs lack any unifying principles and are using indignation at racial injustice as an excuse for violence.

Rejecting the premises


    This page was last edited on Monday, 13 Jul 2020 at 00:57 UTC

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