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How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US?
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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.

The Argument

Activists calling for the removal of controversial statues have a good reason to do so. These statues depict individuals who openly supported racist ideologies, or fought for racist institutions. For example, a statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia has drawn significant backlash, because he was a commander of the Confederate Army, which fought to preserve slavery. Another prominent example of this includes Fort Benning, a famous U.S. army post. This post gets its name from Henry Benning, a Confederate general and supporter of slavery. [1] Although these people supported treasonous, horrific institutions, they still hold a place of honor in public spaces. Although these are only two examples, they illustrate the basis of criticism toward controversial statues. These people supported racist institutions. They do not deserve places of honor in our public spaces. Furthermore, it is wrong to venerate people who supported the dehumanization of others. For this reason, we should remove their statues.

Counter arguments

Statues do not necessarily honor the individuals they depict- they simply portray them. In this way, they serve as impartial, innocuous reminders of our history. It is irrational to argue that we honor problematic figures through preserving statues of them.



[P1] Controversial statues depict people who supported racist institutions. [P2] Statues honor the individuals they depict. [P3] Thus, these statues venerate people who supported the cruel and horrific treatment of fellow human beings. [P4] It is wrong to venerate people who supported such morally reprehensible institutions because they don't deserve this honor. [P5] Therefore, we should remove controversial statues.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 13 Jul 2020 at 01:10 UTC

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