Is it Wrong to Topple Statues & Rename Schools? (Part I)| Joanna Burch-Brown

Introduction

Social philosophers working in the black freedom traditions, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall and Sally Haslanger, have long held that if we are to bring about a more just society, we must transform culture.[1] Specifically, we must transform problematic ideologies, which often function as deeply entrenched barriers to social change. They also argue that social movements and contentious politics can potentially play a role in generating cultural change, at least in part by destabilizing accepted ideologies.[2]

Social justice workers are often acutely aware, however, of the need for wisdom, judgment and luck as they develop their strategies. This is because social justice campaigns can easily be ineffective, and can reinforce injustices in unintended ways. For instance, they can lead to political backlash, and can inadvertently enact injustices, themselves. Contemporary social justice campaigns across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe have employed a number of controversial tactics in common. In many places, campaigns have called for removing statues; renaming places; withdrawing or modifying participation in local rituals or ceremonies (as when NFL players have refused to stand, kneeling or linking arms during the national anthem); and protesting under memorable slogans aimed at revealing and challenging people’s tacit acceptance of social hierarchies, such as ‘Black lives matter’ and ‘Rhodes must fall’. These tactics have sought to change culture by disrupting accepted social practices and social meanings. Like the strategies of the 1960’s US Civil Rights movement, they have also been highly contentious, generating social tension, feelings of distress, protest and political mobilization from people who disagree with the actions being taken.

In this article, I examine the ethics of removing putative symbols of white supremacy, such as confederate statues. Are these campaigns well justified today? Should campaigns of this kind be pursued in the future? These questions should be of immediate and practical relevance for many readers. For instance, many readers will be positioned within universities or other institutions that historically benefited from African enslavement or colonial subjugation.[3] As Daniel Butt emphasizes, the majority of countries today either were colonial powers or were subject to colonial rule.[4] In many locations, this history will be reflected in institutional architecture, place-names, statuary or other symbolic features. Is there a duty to alter features that historically honoured individuals who participated in practices of colonial exploitation or enslavement?

Social Change through Protest

One task for social justice movements is to identify which elements of a community’s social practice are playing important roles in upholding unjust ideologies, and how.[7] Another task is to discern which of these practices a campaign can most successfully engage with, or put pressure on, in order to shift problematic social ideas and bring about wider cultural change.

In the US Civil Rights movement, for instance, campaigners challenged the social practices of segregation by staging ‘sit-ins’ at lunch counters. This strategy targeted a specific social practice – the practice of maintaining racially segregated public spaces. The practice of racial segregation depended on, and in turn reinforced, an understanding of some people as inferior on the basis of their perceived race. Refusing to abide by segregation laws was a way of changing social ideas by asserting and enacting one’s humanity both to oneself and to others. In a powerful collection of filmed interviews from the time, one demonstrator states[8]:

You do not request that the person who is sitting next to you get up and leave. You merely come in and sit down beside him, and any human being would do. You cause no violence. You have no angry words. You’re friendly, and it sort of helps to project the idea that here sits beside me another human being.

Another emphasizes that by refusing to follow segregation laws, he communicated an important message to himself.

Altogether it was a feeling moving within me, that I was sitting here demanding a God-given right. And my soul became satisfied that I was right in what I was doing. At the same time there was something deep down within me, moving me, that I could no longer be satisfied to go along with an evil system that I had to be maladjusted to. And in spite of all of this, I had to keep loving the people who denied me service, who stared at me.[9]

The sit-in movement led people to reconsider social ideas that they had previously accepted uncritically, such as the understanding that people of some races were inferior to others, and that people of different ‘races’ should not mingle.

At the time of these demonstrations in the 1960s, opposition to them was intense. One critic of the protests states that the sit-ins are a violation of cherished or even sacred social norms:

Breaking bread is essentially a family custom. Almost a sacrament. Now when you claim that you have been denied equal rights in participating in something that is regarded as a family custom or sacrament, and insist on being recognized, you’re getting into dangerous ground. And ground that can be misconstrued. And in which you can be wrong. Now the people in the South have always fed people who came and knocked at the back door, and asked for something to eat. But they have always reserved the right to eat only with invited guests.[10]

Another interviewee urges that sit-in campaigners are themselves violating people’s rights. ‘I think that it is in violation to my civil rights, if someone can say “You must serve me”’. She also argues that although the demonstrators claim to be non-violent, in fact they are ‘most violent’. In this she seems to agree with Fanon, who asserts that decolonialization is always violent, because it violates the system of right that has previously been the foundation of a social order.[11] For a subordinate group to refuse to follow the established norms can be perceived as aggressive, even if all other aspects of their action are designed to communicate respect. For this reason, many warned that white people would be alienated by the protests, instead of persuaded.

I would say that they should examine the white person very closely first to see whether or not they are going about it in the right way. Now if I am a businessman, and people that I don’t want in my business insist on either coming in, or boycotting, which is their perfect right to do … it is not going to make me love them.[12]

Others asserted that they had no intention of going along with changes.

Well it’s just not a thing we’re used to down here. I mean they come in, and they sit down, and we’re not use to them sitting down beside us. Cause I wasn’t raised with ’em, I never have lived with ’em, and I’m not gonna start now.[13]

The opposition to Civil Rights protests was deeply felt, and often violently enacted. Nevertheless, following in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and precipitating the Civil Rights Act a decade later, these nation-wide demonstrations led to profound re-shaping of culture, generating significant changes in racial attitudes in America and beyond. The 1960s sit-ins illustrate the insight that challenging a social practice can function to shift large constellations of social meanings and culture.

Sally Haslanger builds on this insight.[14] She argues that overcoming injustice requires changing ideologies, and that this in turn requires changing the social practices through which ideologies are learned. Haslanger defines culture as sets of social meanings and practices that ‘shape and filter how we think and act’.[15] Ideology, she proposes, is a subset of culture. Specifically, she proposes that ideology refers to sets of social meanings which a) function to stabilize problematic social hierarchies, and which b) do so through masking or illusions which make unjust social arrangements appear as if they are just.[16] By making problematic social hierarchies appear just, ideologies lead people to willingly accept these social arrangements, believing that in doing so they are acting in ways that are moral and fair.[17]

Haslanger argues that we absorb ideologies and other aspects of culture through social practices. Participation in social practices instils tacit understandings of ‘the way things are done’, and these social meanings shape how individuals perceive and interpret the world around them. To illustrate the idea of a practice, Haslanger gives the example of giving and listening to a public lecture.[18] She points out that members of the audience seamlessly come into the room and sit down in the audience seats, without needing to think about it. They become quiet when the talk begins, and none of them spontaneously come to the lectern to speak. Everybody present understands how things are done, and this knowledge of how things are done smoothly facilitates social action and interaction. Social practices help us acquire a framework of meanings and perspectives on the world. They equip us with social schema, the toolkits or repertoires that we use to negotiate our social interactions.[19] Being socialized is a matter of absorbing these social schema so that we can move relatively effortlessly through the world and coordinate with one another. We become fluent in social practices as we grow up, much as we become fluent in language. Unjust social hierarchies, Haslanger thinks, are reproduced through problematic social practices that generate widely shared unjust ‘social schemas’ and culture.[20] For instance, racist social meanings inferiorize some groups on the basis of ‘colour’ (racialized somatic or bodily traits associated with ancestry and geographical origin), just as sexism inferiorizes some groups on the basis of primary and secondary sex characteristics and gender; classism on the basis of ‘classed’ traits; and ableism on the basis of perceived markers of ability.[21]

Since ideologies are inculcated through social practices, one way to ‘loosen the grip’ of an ideology is to refuse to go along with the social practices that affirm and uphold it. Challenging problematic social practices is a way of stimulating what has sometimes been called ‘ideology critique’. Challenging social practices can reveal the occlusions or misrepresentations which mask injustices. In turn, it can lead people to perceive the unjust effects that are maintained by these illusions, and thus lead people to be unwilling to go along with unjust social arrangements that they previously accepted. In summary, Haslanger’s argument can be reconstructed as follows.

Premise 1) Existing race, class and gender hierarchies are unjust.

Premise 2) It is important to challenge unjust hierarchies, to create a more just world.

Premise 3) Social hierarchies are partly produced and upheld by ideologies.

Premise 4) Ideology refers to social meanings which function to stabilize power, and which do so by making injustices appear just.

Premise 5) Ideologies are generated and maintained through social practices.

Conclusion) Progressive social change can therefore come about by challenging the social practices that maintain unjust ideologies.

Toppling statues and renaming schools

Contemporary activists for social justice often advocate the removal or re-contextualization of cultural objects that are seen as symbols of white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, classism, ableism, heterosexism, indigenous genocide, or other forms of problematic social hierarchy. Like protesters of the Civil Rights era, they are targeting specific social practices in order to bring about wider cultural change.[22]

For example, indigenous activists and their allies, following Takir Mamani and Tupaj Katari, have long advocated using the name Abya Yala to refer to the land more widely known today as America.[23] Names and language shape understanding in deep ways.[24] Using a different name for the land reveals that America is constructed, and that this national identity is neither necessary nor natural. Refusing to use colonial place names is a way of asserting the authority of First Nations peoples’ relationship to the land, and of rejecting the idea that the descendants of European colonists are legitimate inheritors and governors of the place they call America.

Amongst the cultural objects that campaigners have sought to remove or re-contextualize are flags, statues, and place-names associated with colonialism and slavery. The rationale for removing such objects has several dimensions. One argument for removing statues and renaming places called after contested figures is as follows.

P1) Statues and place-names confer honour and esteem on their namesakes.

P2) They also express identity, and say something about who we are.

P3) Moreover, they send a signal to people about who in the community has power and authority, and who the community’s leaders are.

P4) It is inappropriate to honour and esteem people who have carried out grave injustices. It is also wrong to identify with them, build community around them, or give them power and authority.

P5) Person X carried out grave injustices, and so (from P4) it is inappropriate to honour them.

C) The places named after X should therefore be renamed, and the statues of X should be removed.

By arguing that it is wrong for these objects to play their current cultural roles, campaigners bring attention to distortions or occlusions that have made it appear otherwise. Thus the second rationale for these campaigns focuses on the epistemic dimension of ideology critique. This argument is as follows:

P6) The social practices or social meanings connected to Object X are functioning to legitimize unjust social arrangements, and doing so through some kind of masking or illusion.

P7) Removing or re-contextualizing Object X will help to reveal these illusions for what they are.

P8) Revealing these illusions for what they are will make it easier to motivate people to transform unjust social arrangements.

C) Therefore we should remove or re-contextualize Object X.

This rationale focuses on the ongoing harms caused by the ideology, the social practices that maintain it, and the power relations that it stabilizes. Removing prominent symbols of white supremacy or colonial domination can be seen as part of a wider project of reparation for the harms of colonialism, practices of enslaved labour, and later effects of racism. Taking down symbols of white supremacy can accomplish several important aims, including expressing:

  1. condemnation of the past injustice,
  2. a commitment to telling the full truth about this problematic history in the future,
  3. a rejection of its underlying rationale, and
  4. a commitment to preventing its continuing harms.[25]

There are several possible harms and injustices that may be addressed in this way. One is a harm done to the historical victims of enslavement and colonialism, by a failure to tell the truth about historical injustices. Another is the harm done to contemporary persons who are negatively affected by racist ideologies and social structures, and by living in environments surrounded by symbols of white power and black disempowerment – for instance, through stereotype threat and internalized messages about social hierarchy.

These diverse rationales can be seen in arguments related to the recent removal of Confederate monuments in the US. In the week following the removal of Confederate monuments from New Orleans, poet and educator Michael ‘Quess’ Moore published an article entitled ‘What the removal of New Orleans’s White supremacist monuments means to my students’.[26] He writes:

If ’Negroes’ hadn’t moved 12 blocks since slavery, it certainly was no coincidence. The city was literally gridded in the likeness of their once – and ostensibly still masters. A vast amount of public schools, institutions and streets were named after former slave owners.

Moore argues that this is intentional, by design; that there is a function of keeping these figures in the landscape, and this is to keep black people in their place. Living in cities with innumerable landmarks named after people who kept enslaved labourers has the effect of leading people to internalize racially hierarchical social images. It sends a signal to people of European descent, communicating that they will not lose status as a result of the wrongs enacted against blacks. It also inferiorizes people of African or indigenous descent, by signalling that the deep injustices suffered by their ancestors are not important enough to the community to cause it to repudiate their actions publicly. Pointing to a 16-foot statue of Robert E. Lee, on a 68-foot column in the centre of New Orleans, Moore asks his students ‘What do you think our city is trying to tell us when they make people like that monuments and put ‘em way up in the sky?’ His students reply ‘That, they are over us, like our parents’ and ‘That they have power’. Physical monuments and prominent place-names communicate important messages about the social world.

The shooting of nine church attendees at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina in 2015, led to a growing agreement amongst many that the Confederate flag, Confederate statues and other symbols of the Confederacy are not neutral symbols of Southern pride, but are instead serving to support a continuing racial hierarchy, and a mythologized view of the south. As the National Trust for Historic Preservation states,

Put simply, the erection of these Confederate memorials and enforcement of Jim Crow went hand-in-hand. They were intended as a celebration of white supremacy when they were constructed…[and] they are still being used as symbols and rallying points for such hate today.[27]

The Trust encourages open conversation and dialogue, as well as attention to local detail and decision-making on a case by case basis with open communication; but encourages people not to be overly influenced by ideals of preservation in all cases, saying ‘We should always remember the past, but do not necessarily need to revere it’.[28] Mayor Mitch Landrieu agrees, stating: ‘These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for’.[29] He argues that the presence of the statues lends credence to distortions of historical fact and moral reasoning, and that these have led to a mythologized self-understanding.

Joshua Zeitz contrasts the presence of Confederate monuments in the American landscape with the ways in which Germany has handled Nazi history since 1945.[30] Zeitz suggests that the case of the Confederacy is unusual, claiming that ‘When armies are defeated on their own soil – particularly when those armies fight to promote racist or genocidal policies – they usually don’t get to keep their symbols and material culture’.[31]  By contrast, following the World War II, Nazi symbols were removed from public spaces. Zeitz suggests that ‘in continuing to honour Confederate leaders and deny their crimes, we signal that the United States has not yet fully come to terms with its collective responsibility for the dual sins of slavery and Jim Crow’.[32]  He argues that removing Nazi symbols did not, on its own result in re-education and often met resistance, but that it was a necessary step. ‘If just removing statues and icons doesn’t force a change in outlook, venerating and fetishizing them, and refusing to be honest about their meaning, almost ensures that the country won’t fully confront its past’.

To be continued..


References

[1] See e.g. Patrisse Cullors, Robert Ross and Krista Tippett, The spiritual work of Black Lives Matter, On Being with Krista Tippett (May 25,2017) https://onbeing.org/programs/patrisse-cullors-and-robert-ross-the-spiritual-work-of-black-lives-matter-may2017; WEB Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Penguin, New York, 1903); Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic (Harvard University Press, 1995); Paul Gilory, Darker than Blue: On the moral economies of the Black Atlantic (Belknap Press, 2010); Stuart Hall, Resistance Through Rituals (Routledge, London, 1976); Sally Haslanger, Culture and Critique, 91(1) The Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 149-173(2017); Ann Kilkelly & Robert H Leonard, Performing Communities: Grassroots Ensemble Theaters Deeply Rooted in Eight US Communities, (New Village Press, 2006); Paul Taylor, Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics, (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016); Cornel West, Race Matters (Beacon Press, 1993).

[2] Haslanger, Id.

[3] See Universities Studying, (Dec, 10, 2017), http://slavery.virginia.edu/universities-studying-slavery/

[4] Daniel Butt, Colonialism and Post-colonialism, in Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013); Daniel Butt, Repairing historical wrongs and the end of empire, 21(2) Social and Legal Studies, 227-242(2012).

[5] Robert Beckford, Journey to Justice Exhibition Launch (recorded lecture), (Oct. 3, 2017) UWEBristol,  https://soundcloud.com/user-623177219/prof-robert-beckford-at-jtojbristol-launch

[6] This paper focuses on the former – the taking down or alteration of putative symbols of white supremacy.  However, this is not the only important form of symbolic reparation; instead, it can be argued that the creation of positive arts and culture is of still greater importance. Thanks to colleagues Cleo Lake, Edson Burton, Nicky Frith, Kofi Klu, Ros Martin, Olivette Otele and Madge Dresser for all sharing in conversation their views on the importance of positive, new arts and culture as part of symbolic reparation. In Bristol 2016-2017, these ideals have been exemplified in such events as the Afrika Eye: Best of Africa Film Festival; the Daughters of Igbo Woman memorial curated by Ros Martin;  the month-long Journey to Justice exhibition and programming curated by Madge Dresser; the Framing the Critical Decade: Black Arts Movement conference curated by Dorothy Price and Lizzie Robles; the African Connections lecture series; the Africa Writes literary festival; the Come the Revolution consortium ; artist Lubaina Himid’s Navigation Charts at Spike Island gallery; work of the African Voices Forum, the Trinity Centre, the Malcolm X centre, Ujima Radio, the Black Southwest Network and many other grassroots arts and education initiatives. The strategies I focus on in this paper do not occur in isolation and are best understood in the context of other arts and cultural work in their specific locales.

[7] Sally Haslanger, Culture and Critique, supra note 1.

[8] Whitecreatedit, Civil Rights Movement: The sit-in, (Aug. 16, 2011) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT9gILdTzWo&list=PL91099A308DD66179.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Lewis R. Gordon, Fanon and Violence, Histories of Violence (May, 29, 2012) https://vimeo.com/43036768; Lewis R. Gordon, What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to his Life and Thought (Fordham University Press, 2015).

[12] Supra note 8.

[13] Id.

[14] Sally Haslanger, Racism, Ideology and Social Movements, 94(1) Res Philosophica 1-22(2017); Haslanger, supra note 1.

[15] Haslanger, supra note 1 at 149. Sociologists have offered many competing accounts of culture.  For valuable discussions of divergent accounts, see Michele Lamont & Mario Luis Small, How Culture Matters: Enriching Our Understanding of Poverty, in Ann Chih Lin & David R Harris (ed.) In The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist, 76-102 (Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 2008).

See also Orlando Patterson, Making sense of culture, 40(1) Annual Review of Sociology, 1–30(2014); and Stephen Vaisey, From contradiction to coherence: Theory-building in the sociology of culture, Presentation for the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, Atlanta, (Dec, 02, 2017) http://stephenvaisey.com/documents/asacontradictiontocoherence.pdf

[16] Haslanger, supra note 1 at 150.  As Stuart Hall puts it, ‘ideology has especially to do with the concepts and the languages of practical thought which stabilize a particular form of power and domination, or which reconcile and accommodate the mass of the people to their subordinate place in the social formation.’ (Hall 1996/2006, pp. 24-5; quoted in Haslanger 149-50.) However, Stuart Hall follows a school of thought according to which ideologies can also be positive. Thus on his view, ideology ‘has also to do with the processes by which new forms of consciousness, new conceptions of the world, arise, which move the masses of the people into historical action against the prevailing system’. Sally Haslanger defines ideology more narrowly. She restricts ideology to a set of problematic social meanings. See Stuart Hall, The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees, in David Morlay and Kuan-Hsing Chen (eds.), (Un)Settling Accounts: Marxism & Cultural Studies (Routledge, 1996); Stuart Hall, Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (Routledge, New York, 2006).  See also Robin Celikates, From Critical Social Theory to a Social Theory of Critique: On the Critique of Ideology after the Pragmatic Turn, 13(1) Constellations, 21–40(2006); Tommie Shelby, Ideology, Racism, and Critical Social Theory, 34(2) Philosophical Forum, 153–88(2003).

[17] This idea has, of course, a long history.  See e.g. Karl Marx, The German Ideology, Lawrence Simon (ed) (Hackett Publishing Company; Raymond Geuss The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School  (Cambridge University Press, 1981). See also work on the theme of ‘white ignorance’ and ‘strategic ignorance’.  See Charles Mill, The Racial Contract (Cornell University Press; José Medina The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations, (Oxford University Press, 2013); Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, Epistemologies of Ignorance, (SUNY Press, 2007).

[18] Sally Haslanger, What is a social structure? (lecture) The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2 (Jan 29, 2017), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EvFF2B1FHI.

[19] This has been called a ‘toolkit-repertoire’ account of culture. See Ann Swidler, Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies, 51(2) American Sociological Review, 273-286(2014); Haslanger also draws on William H. Sewell, Jr, The Concept(s) of Culture in Gabrielle M. Spiegel (ed.), Practicing History: New Directions in Historical Writing after the Linguistic Turn 76–95 (Routledge, 2005). For valuable discussion of the strengths and limitations of the ‘toolkit’ account of culture, see Vaisey, supra note 15.

[20] Supra note 1 at 155.

[21] Sally Haslanger, Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them to Be?  34(1) Nous, 31-55 (2000); Paul Taylor, Race: A Philosophical Introduction (Polity Press, 2013); Albert Atkin, The Philosophy of Race (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

[22] It is beyond the scope of this paper to survey these contemporary campaigns, which in 2015-2017 have included campaigns to remove Confederate monuments and flags in the US; a carefully-argued and successful petition for the removal of a newly-installed statue of Gandhi in Ghana; campaigns at Yale, Princeton, Brown, University of Mississippi and dozens of other institutions in the US; ‘Rhodes must fall’ protests against colonialist Cecil Rhodes in South Africa and Oxford; campaigns to remove statues of Christopher Columbus in Trinidad; campaigns to change how Edward Colston is memorialized in Bristol, England, and many more.

For  just a few of these examples, See Southern Poverty Law Center, Whose Heritage? Public symbols of the Confederacy, (April 21, 2016), https://www.splcenter.org/20160421/whose-heritage-public-symbols-confederacy; Ampofo, Akosua Adomako, Akosua Adoma Perbi, Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, Obádélé Kambon & Mantse Aryeequaye, Gandhi’s statue at the University of Ghana must come down, Petition to Chairman of Council/Government Appointee Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi (Sept. 12, 2016) https://www.change.org/p/the-members-of-the-university-of-ghana-council-gandhi-s-statue-at-the-university-of-ghana-must-come-down; Will Heaven, Must Edward Colston Fall? Bristol’s struggle with the complicated legacy of a slaver, The Spectator Magazine, (July 22, 2017) https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/07/must-edward-colston-fall/; Achille Mbembe, Decolonizing knowledge and the question of the archive, (June, 30 2017), http://wiser.wits.ac.za/system/files/Achille.pdf; BBC Trending, Will Rhodes Must Fall Fail? (Jan, 18 2016), http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-35328444; Witt et al, Report of the committee to establish principles on renaming, Yale University (Nov. 21, 2016), https://president.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/CEPR_FINAL_12-2-16.pdfHarvard law school drops official shield over slavery links: University committee rules shield donated by family that build wealth through slavery does not reflect institution’s values, The Guardian (March 5, 2016), https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/05/harvard-law-school-drops-official-shield-over-slavery-links

[23] Escalante, Emilio  del Valle, Self-determination: A perspective from Abya Yala, e-International Relations (May 24, 2014), http://www.e-ir.info/2014/05/20/self-determination-a-perspective-from-abya-yala; Anders Burman, Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Bolivian Andes: Ritual Practice and Activism (Lexington Books, 2016)

[24] Edward Said, Orientalism (Pantheon Books, 1978); Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (Knopf Books, New York, 1993).

[25] These are drawn from Seana Shiffrin’s more general analysis of the expressive aims of reparatory actions. Seana Shiffrin, Reparations for U.S. Slavery and Justice over Time,  UCLA Public Law & Legal Research Paper Series, Research paper no. 15-46(2009).

[26] Michael Moore, What the removal of New Orleans’s white supremacist monuments means to my students, Artsy (May 15, 2017). https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-removal-new-orleanss-white-supremacist-monuments-students.

[27] National Trust for Historic Preservation, Statement on Confederate Memorials: Confronting Difficult History, June 19, 2017.

[28] Id.

[29] Mitch Landrieu’s Speech on the Removal of Confederate Monuments in New Orleans, The New York Times (May 23, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/opinion/mitch-landrieus-speech-transcript.html.

[30] Joshua Zeitz, Why there are no Nazi statues in Germany, Politico (Aug. 20, 2017) https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/20/why-there-are-no-nazi-statues-in-germany-215510; See also Yuliya Komska, Take a lesson: How Germany handles monuments from Nazi and communist eras, The Inquirer. (Aug. 17, 2017).

[31] Id.

[32] Id.


Dr. Joanna Burch-Brown is a lecturer in Philosophy at University of Bristol. This article was originally published in the Journal of Political Theory & Philosophy.

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