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How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US? Show more Show less

Throughout the U.S., activists are calling for the removal of controversial statues, which most often depict individuals with slavery era ties or who expressed racist opinions. Although the presence of these statues has long been a subject of debate, the American public’s renewed attention to systemic, racially-motivated violence has brought this conversation into the forefront of public discourse. According to those in favor of removal, these monuments glorify individuals who supported racist institutions. They stand as relics to white supremacy and racial terror. Others argue that these statues must remain because they are a part of our history. Although this is a heinous aspect of our past, removing these statues would be an attempt to whitewash America’s history. So, how should we think about this debate?

"We must not remove these statues!" Show more Show less

Although slavery was a horrific institution, it is a part of our history. We must preserve reminders of our past, trusting that "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."
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Removing controversial statues erases history.

We must preserve all of our nation's history, even the horrific aspects of it.
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The Argument

Statues exist to remind current and future Americans of our nation's history, preventing widespread ignorance of the past. Collectively, we must remember all of our past, not simply the aspects that we deem morally acceptable. Although some statues force us to recall the horrific institution of slavery, this recollection is necessary. We must remember our history, even though it disturbs us because our nation's narrative must be preserved. Furthermore, if we fail to remember our past, we will not learn anything from it. We must preserve our nation's history, because history is important, regardless of the discomfort it causes us. Statues serve as reminders of our past and shape the public consciousness toward regret and a "never again" conviction. For these reasons, we must not remove controversial statues.

Counter arguments

Many scholars argue that Confederate monuments promote a false version of history through valorizing leaders who committed treason and supported racist institutions. These statues portray these figures as heroic but they were actually on the wrong side. If this is the case, we would best promote honest narratives of America's history by removing controversial statues.



[P1] Our nation's statues exist to remind us of our history. [P2] If we remove controversial statues, we will erase reminders of our history. [P3] For this reason, we must preserve controversial statues.

Rejecting the premises


Further Reading


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    This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 16:15 UTC