I’ve been spending A lot of time on social media lately defending the removal of certain types of statues from public places. This is not my big hot button issue, it’s just that the few conservative friends that I have left are posting more about this issue than about anything else. I suspect it’s because of all the talking points that the right is spewing about race these days, this is the one that is easiest for them to defend (“You’re erasing history!” “It’s vandalism!”)
- There are no public statues of Nazis in Germany. Germans and the rest of the world still learn German history during WWII.
- There are many reasons that statues of the Confederacy should be removed. The most relevant one would be that they were originally elected not as monuments, but as public statements of white supremacy during times of racial unrest, meant to threaten and intimidate Black Americans.
- The Slippery Slope fallacy in this case does not apply. What is happening is that the false history that racists have perpetuated about slavery and it’s generational aftermath are being more thoroughly challenged. The “Gone With the Wind” fantasy fades, as the truth of systematic torture, rape, and murder are exposed. The atrocities against people of color (Tulsa, etc) that have previously been kept out of mainstream history books are coming to light. As a country, we must look at the figures we look up to in the context of these centuries of ongoing oppression and abuse.
The removal of statues of confederates, known slave owners, and Columbus are not just for symbolic purposes. Children of color grow up with their history books, the shows they see on TV, billboards, and our very society telling them—in ways subtle and not subtle—that they are less human than white children. These statues are blatant and public (approved by local governments) reminders of this. The Slippery Slope fallacy here is just an excuse that racists in power are using to get their constituents to continue to resist Black Americans’ progress toward equality.