The Statue Problem

The statues some people find objectionable are typically those of men who exploited and extracted, at least in the Americas. We usually don’t get excited about the statues of Jonas Salk (he should have one) or P.T. Barnum (maybe he shouldn’t). The objections run like this: he killed us, he robbed us, he raped us, he enslaved us…….. all the usual complaints of crime victims except in these cases the crime of genocide pretty much covers all the above.
A few malcontents might decide the statue to Harriet Tubman should come down because she stole their ancestors’ property. I guess that is a point.
But everyone could have their statues if a couple of conditions are observed: they be put on private land and paid for by private funds and the basic truth of the founding of the U.S. and all the countries of the continent be taught in public and private schools as part of state standards.


  1. 伟思礼 says:

    I understand the argument about history. But you don’t need a statue for that. A plaque saying what he/she did (the good AND the bad) is sufficient. In fact, that would be better than merely hiding them completely. Can’t learn from history if the history is censored. Also, removing the symbols doesn’t change the attitudes.

    1. Pat Barrett says:

      Your approach to this removes the impact of symbols. The Confederate statues and symbols were put up specifically to tell everyone just who was in charge. That is why they did not go up until Whites felt threatened by Black advances. If you attend a school as a young person and there is a statue glorifying someone who – what word to use? Oppressed has lost its meaning thanks to the reluctance of many to recognize oppression, so maybe – someone who has done you dirt. Someone who stole your land, for example, maybe a banker. Whoever puts up that statue is rubbing that in your face.
      Now if all that were evenly distributed, perhaps we could call it a wash, but it’s not. Non-men, non-Whites, non-Christians, non-European heritage, non-upper class, and so on and on are continually confronted with the glorification of people who did them dirt. So it is likely the institution might see the glorified as the default whatever (American, Christian, capitalist, etc.) and you as the interloper.
      So far, OK. We just have to suck it up. But then where is ours? I guess getting streets named after MLK will do, as long as Whites have to drive down it, put it on their letterhead, etc. Recall the uproar here in the Phoenix area when they wanted to rename Squaw Peak Piestewa Peak after a Hopi woman killed in action in Iraq. I grew up hiking Squaw Peak and not thinking much about what “Squaw” means or who it demeans. We liberal types see it as poetic justice that that mountain was renamed for a Native American woman. Lots of people just don’t get the significance.
      Our granddaughter attends Ohio State U. in Columbus, named for the butcher of the Caribbean or The Navigator or the Discoverer of America. Does that affect her? No. But Native Americans might feel differently. What to do? Just accept that most Americans believe what Columbus did was great or pee on his statue?
      You raise interesting questions.

  2. 伟思礼 says:

    Oh, I don’t in any way support glorifying evil. I just feel that we shouldn’t hide the fact that it happened. How many Americans know that Hitler only took two months to get from Chancellor to Fuehrer, much less how it was accomplished? Three or more times recently, I’ve seen Facebook posts alleging that Hitler wrote the way to do it is tiny little changes over time.

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