Over the weekend, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the unfortunate mistake of saying that to remove the statues was to "sanitize history." But people are only going to have feelings and opinions about things they already know, and that’s why I think that things can’t end at sculpture. On Tuesday, Boston workers removed a statue that depicted former Pres. The consensus renders the commemoration process more meaningful and less political than it otherwise would be. There is nothing wrong with vehemently debating whether a historical figure deserves to be honored. If you start from the concept that all statues are bad and ought to be gotten rid of, what is there to object to in each particular statue? His disreputable actions reflected attitudes and practices common to his society. It is hard to explain on other than political grounds why so many more monuments and places are dedicated to John F. Kennedy than to much better presidents. Perhaps that is precisely why the standard is flouted by those who want to politicize everything. “As a historian, as someone who thinks the past is important, you are encouraged to look very closely at a … Jobs and the economy. Black lives matter, the Black experience matters, and Black quality of life matters. What is needed – BADLY NEEDED – is the legal REPLACEMENT of the statues. ... OK, I can understand there being statues to the white-supremacist traitor army in … As a Black man, you get used to being looked at with slight suspicion. By Ben Wright. The standard traditionally applied is as follows: When deciding whom to commemorate — by statues, place names, monuments, holidays, currency, or coins — we select individuals who performed extraordinary feats that, on balance, made the world a better place. I want to remove that weight and that psychological pressure, and show that if you’re a Black person being represented in sculpture, you don’t have to be an athlete, or strike a pose, or fulfil an expectation. Stupendous vision, energy, competence, and courage distinguished Christopher Columbus from others of his generation. In some cases, moreover, politics induces decision makers to ignore the traditional standards. Other examples are the decisions to name towns in New York State, Illinois, and Indiana after the Roman consul, Marcus Tullius Cicero. All the figures I make are fictional, because I’m trying to critique the whole concept of portraiture. Speaking to MPs, Sir Laurie Magnus … We disregard or discount those faults common to the individual’s time and place. A few days after protesters pulled down a statue of British slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, a statue of the Jamaican-born actor Alfred Fagon in the same city was vandalized with bleach. If we remove them, we’re simply rewriting history.” ... Rather, they are everything that’s wrong with America — and when we remove them, we’ll not be “rewriting” history but rather, “re-righting” it. These figures are imaginary people that do not conform to the expectations of dressing for success—they could be slouching, or they could be wearing a hoodie, like one of my pieces does, in reference to police shootings. And then there is the wider debate about what removing such statues achieves. Public sculptures and statues have been used to signpost, to exemplify what power looks like and to maintain the systems of power. EDITOR: It is despicable that the City of Wilmington displays two Confederate statues in such prominent locations. Tomorrow, a “white nationalist” majority might uproot monuments to Martin Luther King citing his adulteries and other indiscretions. Lee was distinguished from his contemporaries by an exemplary career, both in the U.S. and Confederate armies, of competence and honor. Nine out of the 11 people whose statues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to remove from the U.S. Capitol shared her political party. Pulling down Colston’s statue is not removing history — it is creating a historical moment, and at the very least it’s acknowledging the existence of a new contemporary thinking. On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a statement that the museum had decided to remove this statue of Roosevelt because “it explicitly depicts black and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior”. They’re part of history. If we don’t understand that, we can’t move forward. Tweet on Twitter. That’s not a coincidence. Bernie Sanders Mittens Memes Take Over Social Media, Google Threatens to Pull Out of Australia. Paid leave and child care. and Others) Readers discuss plans to remove the Teddy Roosevelt statue in front of the Museum of Natural History and controversies over other monuments. The immediate response to Colston’s statue has been to ask: who do we put there instead? Adolph Hitler gets none, although he was kind to dogs. Removing controversial memorials isn't enough. 2 My account does not support a duty to remove statues that critically depicts a wrongdoer performing a wrongful act, where the statue is clearly condemnatory. The Square Mile financial district set up a task force on tackling racism in June last year following the death of George Floyd in the United States that led to widespread … We need to look forward not back. Thus, logic would dictate we remove statues of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and all other slave-owning political leaders. The bad statues should go into a museum so people can learn from them and their country's history. Removing statues because their subjects do not stand up to our "current_year" moral standard is a mistake. Removing Confederate Statues from Capitol Will Send a Strong Message to Rioters If it wants to repudiate the violent mob that stormed the Capitol earlier this month, Congress should act quickly to remove eight statues that depict men who, like people in the mob, wanted to overthrow America’s constitutional order. Admittedly, the traditional consensus is not an infallible guide to deciding whom to commemorate. City of London representatives vote on Thursday on whether to remove from its Guildhall medieval ceremonial home statues of two figures that symbolise the financial sector's historic role in slavery . By. Rob Natelson is a constitutional historian and former constitutional law professor, serves as a senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at The Independence Institute, the Montana Policy Institute, and The Heartland Institute. It does not disqualify him that he selected a husband for his daughter rather than allowing her to select one for herself. GORDON-REED: I suppose, if people want to, everything can pave the way to some other point. For goodness sake, the Pyramids of Giza were literally built by slaves - should we destroy them because it celebrates the barbarism of that era? Image courtesy the artist; Image courtesy of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. It has been removed during and as part of a prominent protest against racism. A lot of people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a statue represents and therefore incomplete information as to why taking down statues like … You can’t hide behind words like “tradition” and “history” if they’re used to neutralize any kind of discussion about change. Healthcare. It's just blatantly wrong." Pulling down Colston’s statue is not removing history — it is creating a historical moment, and at the very least it’s acknowledging the existence of a new contemporary thinking. If we cannot see the irony in taking down a statue of a slave owner, and replacing it with work by an artist whose ancestors have benefitted from slavery, that’s an indication of even wider issues. Over the past few weeks, statues of Columbus been removed, pulled down, or otherwise defaced in cities across the country. A spokesperson for City Hall said the mayor was in favor of removing the statue and "willing to engage in a dialogue with the community about its future in … The system that installed statues of Confederate generals and violent police chiefs, and lovingly maintained and protected them, is the same system that built highways through black neighborhoods, invests more money in law enforcement than in schools, and created a surveillance state. Thread starter zorro_mfc; ... Firstly, you are wrong there were "people of colour" in the video I saw (there are quite a few doing the rounds on Twitter) Secondly, if there were no "people of colour" involved I would say that was a good thing. Removing the Statues (T.R. Under this logic, every monument ever could be destroyed. Confederate statues need removing. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in June that the way the Colston statue had been pulled down was "completely wrong" but it should have been removed "a long, long time ago". That's disgusting," Mr LePage told WGAN radio, adding that removing them is "just like" removing monuments to the 11 September 2001 … For one thing, it can be a close question whether a person’s extraordinary feats made the world a better place: Franklin D. Roosevelt is widely commemorated, even though scholars still argue over whether his leadership during the Great Depression actually improved American life. Nancy Pelosi is just giving us a half-truth to demand to take these things away But the traditional standard does help minimize political manipulation of history. Either remove it or put it in Statuary Hall over any other statue you would like to get out of there. It's just blatantly wrong." I don’t fear 150-year-old statues of old dead white men. Removing Statues Removes History. The protesters have been admonished, by the Leader of the Opposition, among others, for having done things the “wrong” way. Something went wrong. The Southern States should never have been allowed to erect statues to losers, or to display the disgusting symbol of racism – the confederate flag. If we really want to engage with history, and utilize sculptures in public spaces to do so, then there needs to be consultation with the public on a case-by-case basis. That’s a savior complex, and that exemplifies what is wrong, when even the solution doesn’t involve the Black experience. Thus, we honor Columbus by monuments, place names, and a federal holiday. 3331. Would you be okay with leaving the issue of removing Confederate statues up to the popular vote of their municipality, county, or state? For me, it’s not a zero-sum game. OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion. My initial intention wasn’t to create works about race, but I realized that there was power in the figurative, and there was power in representing people who looked like me, because I could give a real insight to that experience. The intent of these monuments isn’t to spread racism but rather to honor a key figure in the timeline of … All Rights Reserved. But so did tens of thousands of others similarly situated. We have an opportunity to create a more cohesive society if we choose to take it. But the verdict should be rendered by people acting through their government, not by vandals taking matters into their own hands. First, virtually everyone acts in ways consistent with contemporaneous social norms—norms of which later generations may disapprove. —, Stupendous vision, energy, competence, and courage, Author Ryan Girdusky: Ivanka Trump to face challenges in potential Senate run against Rubio, How one restaurateur is feeding the hungry and helping restaurants stay open during the pandemic, The Intercept bureau chief: Biden's top candidate for DOJ antitrust division previously represented Google, Meet the company that is revolutionizing e-commerce by conquering the mountain of packages outside your front door. Common faults are, by definition, common. They aren't erasing history, because there are museums for that. Cicero was a great orator, an outstanding lawyer, a spokesman for balanced government, and the single person most responsible for transmitting the Greek philosophical tradition to Western Europe. Removing statues is it right or wrong. ... Is It … The duty to remove a statue is a defeasible duty: like most duties, it can be defeated by lesser-evil considerations. But why do we have to remove the Confederate statues? Democrats felt that the optics were bad for downtown Boston. It has happened time and again through history. There needs to be an openness and more nuanced understanding of what it means to be Black, and that’s only going to happen when there are people in positions of power to commission who understand where our art comes from. But removing symbols and statues, fighting, killing or being killed to do so is completely wrong. My characters don’t smile because that is a demand that is placed upon people like myself in order to not seem threatening. And so to continue to kind of shift or offer a revisionist look at the Civil War is wrong. This would provide a lesser-evil justification for keeping the statue. Scenes in Bristol show protestors removing a statue of former a slave trader but where do you draw the line and is it right to remove items like this in this manner. Left: "Lay It Down (On The Edge Of Beauty)", 2018, Thomas J Price; Right: "Cover Up (The Reveal)", 2019, Thomas J Price. His explorations united a world previously divided by hemispheres. Portraiture is based on this idea of a person having the money to commission an artwork, or having done such great things that an artwork is commissioned in their honor. The fact is: what you wear as a Black man can get you killed. Thus, George Washington is memorialized in statues and place names, although he held slaves. But if we don’t as a society make that contract with one another to pursue something more radical, then the debate around statues is all just talk. Do we further ingrain the current system of choosing historical figures to represent the values we should aspire to? You can unsubscribe at any time. In this article we will explore the common arguments for and against the removal of the statues and how to write an argumentative essay on this topic.. April 30, 2017 April 30, 2017 by sassevn. An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. The bad statues should go into a museum so people can … The fact that a particular vice prevailed in a person’s place and time becomes an excuse for stripping recognition from people whose lives contradict the propaganda of those in power. Bernstein compares memorialized Confederate figures, such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, to slave-owning presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as well as British colonialists Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill. I think the most fair way to solve the issue of Confederate statues is to let the people who live where the statues are decide whether they should stay or go. There’s been a lot of debate around the issue of removing these statues recently. Why is Roosevelt’s statue problematic? If people aren't bothered by it then keep it up. Or a religiously-conservative majority may blacklist outstanding women who in private life opted for legal abortions. One of my early projects was a large-scale stop-motion animation projection of a small brown Plasticine head, based on someone I saw who happened to be Black. To me, the answer is no. We Need to Radically Rethink How We Celebrate Power. EDITOR: It is despicable that the City of Wilmington displays two Confederate statues in such prominent locations. The Southern States should never have been allowed to erect statues to losers, or to display the disgusting symbol of racism – the confederate flag. 0. Second, because almost everyone conforms in most respects to prevailing social practices, disqualification for such conduct is necessarily arbitrary and driven more by politics than by merit. Please try again later. The Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Emancipation Group […] If the states do not respond within a few days and promise to remove the statues posthaste, Pelosi, Harris, and other parts of the House and Senate leadership should ask the Joint Committee on the Library — responsible for the building’s artistic heritage — to treat them like Hampton’s statue and remove them from public exhibition. We would have statues only of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Aug 24, 2017. In this instance the statue has been controversial for years. Removing Confederate Statues Isn't Sanitizing History—It's Fumigating History. So why would you want Confederate statues in America where the confederacy … That's disgusting," Mr LePage told WGAN radio, adding that removing them is "just like" removing monuments to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. We’re not rewriting history, but rather restoring blacks to their rightful place, the place God … Education in this country needs to be looked at from the ground up in terms of how we teach what the U.K. was built on, what the U.K., has done and what it represents. In several cities, these tributes have been vandalized or torn down by protestors or removed by public officials. To re-write our history to suit today's context by removing statues, monuments and even satirical comedy skits is responding the wrong way around. And so to continue to kind of shift or offer a revisionist look at the Civil War is wrong. What do you want the president to prioritize in the next four years? The good statues should still stand as they did nothing wrong and did good things. What I fear is the hatred we see in real time in 2017 on social media and in our political rhetoric. But removing symbols and statues, fighting, killing or being killed to do so is completely wrong. We need an overhaul of how we commemorate history, writes Thomas J Price Public sculptures and statues have been used to signpost what power looks like. The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax. Pulling down statues is nothing new, however, nor is the changing of street names and even those of cities and countries. Removing Statues: The Wrong Way to Deal with History. "Numen (Shifting Votive 1, 2 & 3)", 2017, Thomas J Price. See Nevins (2017). ... in the best interest of the public for the argument to be resolved before Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s order to remove the statue is carried out. As a sculptor, I have always been interested in observing other people and trying to create empathy. Not all statues do this: some statues are intended, for example, to mock or degrade the subject. Coronavirus. British slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, Jamaican-born actor Alfred Fagon in the same city, Taking Down Statues Isn't Enough. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by … June 27, 2020 Share on Facebook. David Greene talks to Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut, about the recent toppling of non-Confederate statues like those of … Removing controversial statues risks the past being "torn away", the Historic England chair has said. To hide, deface or destroy the Columbus statues in Columbus is a wrongheaded reaction to the many protests that have gripped the nation following the murder of George … Or do we look for the commonalities we all share and embrace representations of those who have previously been stigmatized or invisible? In later years, Lee also distinguished himself as an educator: As president of the institution that is now Washington and Lee University, he was largely responsible for fashioning the modern college honor code. White artists are putting themselves forward to create replacement sculptures of slave owners with no sense of irony. The contents of this site are ©2021 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. There could well be a sculpture like that and we could find alternative figures from history, but I think that’s still playing the game of aggrandizing particular individuals and setting people apart. What is needed – BADLY NEEDED – is the legal REPLACEMENT of the statues. Confederate statues need removing. Statue-toppling, right and wrong Some monuments need to come down. Nothing wrong … Do you think it's appropriate for Mussolini, Hitler or Tojo statues to be in public squares in their countries? Thomas J Price is a London-based multi-disciplinary artist working across the mediums of sculpture, film, photography and performance to explore representation in its many forms. Rob as an archaeologist and someone who values history (for better or … Robert E. Lee has become a target among those seeking to obviate history allegedly because he held slaves and fought for his home state rather than the nation. Removing the Statues (T.R. Now, the public is looking at its representations of people and delving into history, instead of glossing over uncomfortable parts of the past and moving on. The American people need to keep memorial statues standing and keep controversial names of places. As well as celebrating our historical figures, I would like future sculptures to look like people that I recognize, helping to counter the endless stream of limiting tropes and identities for Black people, not just in the U.K., but in the U.S. and globally as well. Politics plays a role in answering close questions. There’s almost a sense of entitlement from white creators, to think that they have the solution. Climate change and the environment. The good statues should still stand as they did nothing wrong and did good things. I believe generally the removal of statues should come about due to a groundswell of support for the removal of said statue from the community in which it is based. If removing a statue would, for example, spark a violent riot that would risk unjust harm to lots of people, the duty to remove could be outweighed by the duty not to foreseeably cause unjust harm. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. In the U.S., they were intended to celebrate Confederate generals. In an interview with Trevor … Please attempt to sign up again. New Orleans recently, under the cover of darkness, removed several confederate statues. Quoting Donald Trump, Bernstein asks: “Where does it stop?,” a question Hays echoe… There are at least two reasons for not permitting contemporaneous vices to disqualify historical figures from favorable commemoration. He argues that all have complicated histories, all did bad as well as good, and therefore there is no logical reason to remove statues of some but not others. It’s a very pointed comment and shows there’s clearly a lot of feelings and emotions attached to the idea of what these individuals represent. We do not erect monuments to people who performed extraordinary feats that were unquestionably evil, even if their characters included some virtuous traits. There’s currently a petition to instate a statue of Paul Stephenson, the leader of the Bristol bus boycotts. Apparently they had become an unwelcome symbol of the ugly past of slavery. While most Americans watch helplessly, our stateside Taliban vandalizes and removes long-standing public monuments. This may hit some buttons, but I am a European immigrant born in 1950, in the aftermath of with WW-II and WW-I, and thus think a little bit differently. 'A lot of upset' Image courtesy of Stephen White / Frieze. That is a belligerent, aggressive, conscious act, because it normalizes a racist mentality and psyche. Black artists should be looked at first to replace many of these sculptures that may be removed. We have to look at what these sculptures are and what they were intended as initially. The American people need to keep memorial statues standing and keep controversial names of places. Parental selection of spouses is anathema today, but in Cicero’s society, “everybody did it.”. ... Is it inherently wrong to honor Civil War heroes or historical figures if they stood for violence, hatred or racism? ? We need to get a sense of what people feel. View all of The Quest for Racial Justice. George Washington is one example of the traditional standard in action. Does removing statues of Columbus or Confederate officials pave the way for action against monuments honoring those who helped create the United States? Many argue for it, while there are those who oppose the decision. ’Removing Confederate monuments because they honor people who acted in ways that were gravely morally wrong means we’d have to remove almost all monuments, and that’s absurd.’ ... Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh raises this type of consideration when discussing her decision to remove four Confederate statues. I really hope we have some bravery and courage, and show a genuine desire to learn from and look into our past, and to incorporate those new understandings into our strategy for inclusion. Historical figures if they stood for violence, hatred or racism statue that depicted Pres..., suggest that these monuments removing statues is wrong individuals whose actions and legacies should not be or. 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