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 remove these statues!"
These monuments support white supremacy and racial terror. They propagate a false version of our nation's history by romanticizing slavery, the Confederacy, and colonialism.
These statues venerate people who supported the dehumanization of others.
These statues depict people who supported horrific institutions. We should not honor them in our public spaces.
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.
Removing controversial statues erases history.
We must preserve all of our nation's history, even the problematic aspects of it.
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.