Fandango Provocatively asks:
Do you feel that the removal of statues of historic figures whose deeds or actions are considered, from today’s perspective, to be inappropriate, offensive, objectionable, or even traitorous, is justified? Why do you feel that way?
Ha! I laughed when I saw this because this question must stem from a conversation we had the other day.
I think you solve this problem laterally. I’ll use slavery as an example. What is the very worst outcome here?
The worst outcome is that people believe it never happened.
So what’s the best way to ensure we don’t get to that point?
By keeping reminders such as statues in place.
Absolutely, we should embellish the statue with our own narrative. For example, in Bristol, not far from me, the statue of a guy called Edward Colston was pulled down. Colston became mega rich in the 16/1700s… by trading slaves. At the time, the city erected a statue to honour him. In Bristol city centre.
My preferred route would be to have had a plaque saying why he was commemorated back then. So everybody knew. Not least it gives a history lesson that this kind of nonsense was celebrated in 1700. And it was. Slavery was very acceptable in 1700. So it gives a further lesson about the standards of that time.
But crowds pulled the statue down two years ago and dumped it in the harbour.
Give it a few generations. Nobody there will know who Colston was; that’s fair enough. Give it a few more generations, nobody will believe that people traded slaves out of Bristol; it must have happened “somewhere else”. Give it a few more generations, nobody there will believe that slavery ever happened.
Put Them in museums?
What’s the footfall of an average museum?
What’s the footfall of a city centre?
That’s why you leave them on general display. Display it where there’s the greatest footfall, so the most people will see it. It boils down to numbers. By removing it somewhere, you’re sweeping it under the carpet.