Black Lives Matter and the Removal of Racist Statues
Perspectives of an African
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests have been accompanied by calls for the removal of statues of racists from public space. This has generated debate about the role of statues in the public sphere. I argue that statues are erected to represent a chosen narrative about history. The debate about the removal of statues is a controversy about history and how we relate to it. From this perspective, the Black Lives Matter movement is not a drive to remove or topple statues, but a call for an honest examination of systemic racism and the residual effects of slavery. This call can be a kairos to engage in a constructive dialogue about the societies we aspire to live in. The result of this dialogue, which includes a re-examination of dominant narratives, will decide which statues and monuments can occupy public space and represent our societies.
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