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How do we think about taking down controversial statues in the UK?
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The controversial UK statues destroy the intellectual health of the public

The statues perpetuate popular ignorance in the false narratives they represent.

The Argument

What underpins this argument is the belief that the public has not been adequately educated on the intricacies of the acts that the depicted historical figures had carried out. There is a lack of awareness of and transparency concerning British history. Many of the men who are glorified through statues and monuments, such as Cecil Rhodes and Edward Colston, were fundamental in facilitating and profiting from slavery. Olusoga believes that statues revere the depicted individuals, which in turn legitimizes and attaches an element of greatness to their actions. The statues themselves are representative of how the figures positively contributed to British society and its prosperity. Yet, they also symbolize Britain’s colonial past which entailed countless human rights violations, fueled by discrimination and violence, to which the depicted figures contributed. That said, the monuments represent a complex history of which many members of the general public are unaware. We must encourage an honest account of British history which should go beyond romanticizing and glorifying it. We can do this by adequately educating ourselves and others on what the U.K. was built on and how this foundation contributed to its success. [1] How this education manifests is a matter still up for debate. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan suggests that we look into reforming the national curriculum. [2]

Counter arguments

The statues have an educational value. The mere presence of the statues and their place of erection can teach us about past attitudes and events, concerning topics such as race relations and economics, irrespective of whether they may be an unconventional source of knowledge. [3] For this reason, the removal of the statues would be contributing to our ignorance rather than combating it. That said, the statues do not destroy the intellectual health of the public but, for those willing to look deeper, contribute to it.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 09:17 UTC

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