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How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US? Show more Show less
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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?

This discussion is a distraction from more urgent issues. Show more Show less

We should focus on more urgent issues of racial justice, like police brutality and over-incarceration, instead of pursuing purely symbolic acts of reform.
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There are more urgent areas that need reform

By hyper-focusing on a relatively minor issue, protestors waste time and resources that could meet more urgent needs for reform.
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The Argument

The statue removal movement is a distraction from far more important issues. Instead of rallying for statue removal, activists should focus on issues that actively harm the Black community. For example, there is considerable evidence that minorities are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and that the criminal justice system disproportionately sentences people of color to the death penalty. [1][2] Also, these protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, to name a few. Activists should be focusing on issues directly related to these injustices, like gun control and qualified immunity, which often protect police officers from facing legal consequences for their actions. [3] The statue removal movement is misguided because it hyper focuses on the minor issue of controversial monuments while there are more serious problems harming the Black community. In light of these problems, it is clear that the statue removal movement distracts public attention from more pressing injustices.

Counter arguments

Premises

[P1] Controversial statues do not pose the greatest threat to minorities. [P2] Other areas of society in need of reform are more urgent and more directly related to the injustices that sparked this movement. [P3] It is unwise to focus on a minor issue while there are more serious, and more pertinent ones that need solving.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html
  2. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-issues/race
  3. https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-qualified-immunity-and-what-does-it-have-do-police-reform
This page was last edited on Friday, 31 Jul 2020 at 16:32 UTC