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How do we think about taking down controversial statues in the UK?
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Having controversial statues in a museum sanctifies evil

Keeping statues in museums will not alleviate the problem. They need to be removed for good.
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The Argument

The removal of controversial statues has sparked much debate concerning whether the monuments should remain in public areas, be confined to certain types of public spaces or be completely removed. If these statues are to be erected, but not in public squares, then the question of in which location we display them remains. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer states that the statue of Edward Colston, that was unlawfully removed by Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol, should have been placed in a museum to begin with.[1] Museums are educational institutions that aim to preserve culture. So, the exhibition of statues would be one way in which the public could educate themselves on British history without it being the case that the controversial monuments are in blatant view or destroyed. What underpins this argument is the belief that the preservation of the statues, by displaying them in museums, approves and legitimises the evil acts carried out by the depicted figures. The statues are a way of glorifying the figures regardless of the specific public spaces in which they may be displayed. [2]

Counter arguments

While displaying these statues in museums can be interpreted as an act of glorying the actions carried out by the depicted figures, their display is also a way in which we can learn about their actions. Museums are educational establishments that can present factual information about the figures concerning their role in history so that visitors can learn about and debate their entire legacy.[3] That said, having the controversial statues in museums rather legitimises the understanding of evil than evil itself.


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 09:18 UTC

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