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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 remove these statues!" Show more Show less

These monuments support white supremacy and racial terror. They propagate a false version of our nation's history.
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These statues romanticize the Confederacy

These statues promote a false narrative about the Confederacy, ignoring its ties with slavery.
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Context

The Argument

The Lost Cause is a counter-narrative about the Civil War, which gained popularity immediately after the war's end. [1] According to this view of the conflict, the South fought to protect states' rights and dispel Northern aggression, not to preserve slavery. [1] The Confederacy's soldiers were heroic figures, who sacrificed their lives in service to family and liberty. [1] After the war, proponents of this view (like The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans) began constructing memorial statues throughout the South. [2] These statues were meant to preserve a false narrative about the South's involvement in this war, ensuring that future generations absolved their loved ones from guilt and continued to affirm a romanticized view of the Confederacy. The individuals who constructed these statues affirmed a false version of history. They aimed for these monuments to cement this fake narrative in the public's consciousness because they depict Confederate soldiers as heroic and glorious. If we are going to promote the real story of the South's involvement in this war, we must remove these symbols that were meant to affirm a lie.

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

[P1] These statues are a result of the Lost Cause narrative, which is a romanticized account of the Confederacy. [P2] These statues promote the Lost Cause narrative, which is historically false. [P3] In this way, these statues promote a false history. [P4] For this reason, we should remove them.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/lost_cause_the#start_entry
  2. https://www.ncpedia.org/lost-cause

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This page was last edited on Monday, 29 Jun 2020 at 21:39 UTC