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jca2's avatar

Regarding removing statues from public places: What would be your criteria?

Asked by jca2 (8625points) 2 days ago

All over the US, there have been recent discussions about removing statues of historic figures, such as explorers, politicians and military officials, from public places. Some examples are Christopher Columbus, Teddy Roosevelt, and a bunch of military officials, based on their being slave owners or supporters of slavery, among other things.

If it were up to you, what do you think should be the criteria for removing or moving statues? Do you think the statues, or some of the statues, should remain and if so, why?

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19 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

Asking what should be the criteria unnecessarily complicates the issue. I think it’s safe to say that an oppressed people should be able to decide whether they want their government to officially celebrate a person and put that celebration on public display.

I’m also of the opinion that statues of people are completely unnecessary and will bring up all kinds of sh*t for the people funding these and having to look at them every day.

snowberry's avatar

They could be moved to a building in the same locale detailing the life of that person, and also the contributions of others who were notable citizens in the area. The collection should include people of all sorts- Asian, black, Indian, wealthy, poor, etc.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@snowberry: “The collection should include people of all sorts- Asian, black, Indian, wealthy, poor, etc.”

Nice sentiment, but how would this work. And more importantly – why?

This is similar to public displays of religious symbols. In an effort to make them inclusive, people suggest other religions being represented. But there are so many religions that it becomes difficult to include everyone.

What is more inclusive is to not publicly fund and display these in the first place. Can you imagine the trash heap of crappy metal statues that would happen if we attempted to make a statue of someone inclusive?

kritiper's avatar

If any offend, put them on private property, or, better yet, in a museum.

ucme's avatar

I’m going with Humpty Dumpty on this.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Statues of MLK should come down too. As great a man and liberator as he was, he had numerous extramarital affairs. He was a great civil rights leader, but not a good an honest man to his wife.

The problem with the “who qualifies for a statue?” question is that everyone is human and has human failures. So there’s no objective way to decide who is good enough to be honored.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Clearly Jim Crow era statues depicting confederate figures can come down. Allowing free license for people who just hate America and use the current climate as an excuse to take down or deface statues of our founding fathers is where I would draw the line.

gorillapaws's avatar

It should be evaluated under the criteria: “Should this person be celebrated, today?” If the answer is “no” then relocate to a museum or something.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Should religious statues be removed too? What was Jesus charged with to warrant crucifixion?

Demosthenes's avatar

The criteria should be that the people of a community have voted for the statues’ removal. That’s it. They should not be torn down by mobs or removed due to some kind of inconsistently-applied moral judgment.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Demosthenes voting doesn’t work. Suppose the people in 2020 disagree with the votes that people took in 1920? Are we stuck with the bigoted votes of a century ago, when the KKK was active?

johnpowell's avatar

If your state takes in more from federal funding then you pay into the pot we should bulldoze your loser statues.

But if you aren’t a welfare state then sure. Keep your monuments to losing in your fight to own slaves.

Jeruba's avatar

I understand the impulse to tear down symbols of oppression. But I think scapegoating statuary is a troubling distraction from disempowering the real, live dolts and criminals who are acting against the pubic interest right now and who richly deserve to be . . . retired.

I also don’t want to see figures like these hidden or destroyed, even if they might not have been everyone’s favorite rulers. Whether or not they should be celebrated today is irrelevant.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ None of that is relevant to the issue. It’s not a distraction. The movement is about current day and a true understanding of our past. And museum pieces are not relevant in any way.

josie's avatar


elbanditoroso's avatar

@josie what’s the difference between referendum and @Demosthenes idea of a vote?

josie's avatar

Not much I guess
Should I have stayed out of it?

kritiper's avatar

@johnpowell Hey! Not everybody could afford to own slaves…

JLeslie's avatar

Confederate statues in prominent places in towns and cities should be moved to museums and the declaration of the confederacy posted with an explanation of the times.

Statues at battlefield sights should be left alone, that is a museum to me.

Confederate statues in the capital building in DC make no sense to me, the confederacy wanted to break apart the union.

Leaders in history who owned slaves, but also fought to free slaves or had significant contribution to our country should probably be left up in most cases, assuming there is no significant record of them being particularly abusive or violent towards slaves. Although, I do acknowledge keeping someone as a slave is abusive and violent on its own even without any physical bruises. I think it’s really tricky. We have to listen to the feelings of those who were harmed.

I try to put myself in the place of the other person. If my people were enslaved, abused, and killed how would I feel? Hitler or one of his known right hand men who killed many people. I would not want any statues representing those people in any place of prominence. I do think we need some to remain In museums as a reminder that the statues existed. It’s not just remembering the actual person existed, it’s also that money and hours were spent to honor these people, and the South continued to honor these men. It’s a lesson in how history can be twisted and how hard it can be for people to accept that a bad thing happened in a place that they want to feel proud of. Southerners still today are taught the civil war had nothing to do with slavery, and many of them believe it.

In Florida they are talking about changing the county name where Ft. Lauderdale is, which is Broward County. Broward’s statue (The County is named after him) was removed a few years ago, but the county has not been renamed so far. I think he owned slaves, but I don’t think he was part of the confederacy. I think his tenure was way after the civil war. I don’t know the full history.

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