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Demetriou, Dan, Wingo, Ajume. The Ethics of Racist Monuments
, In David Boonin (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Palgrave .
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Dan Demetriou

Abstract: In this chapter we focus on the debate over publicly-maintained racist monuments as it manifests in the mid-2010s Anglosphere, primarily in the US (chiefly regarding the over 700 monuments devoted to the Confederacy), but to some degree also in Britain and Commonwealth countries, especially South Africa (chiefly regarding monuments devoted to figures and events associated with colonialism and apartheid). After pointing to some representative examples of racist monuments, we discuss ways a monument can be thought racist, and neutrally categorize removalist and preservationist arguments heard in the monument debate. We suggest that both extremist and moderate removalist goals are likely to be self-defeating, and that when concerns of civic sustainability are put on moral par with those of fairness and justice, something like a Mandela-era preservationist policy is best: one which removes the most offensive of the minor racist monuments, but which focuses on closing the monumentary gap between peoples and reframing existing racist monuments.

Comment: Frames debates about racist monuments (e.g., Confederate or colonialist monuments), categorizes arguments for and against removal. Suitable for an intro-level course.

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Ten-Herng Lai. Political vandalism as counter-speech: A defense of defacing and destroying tainted monuments
2020, European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):602-616
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous

Tainted political symbols ought to be confronted, removed, or at least recontextualized. Despite the best efforts to achieve this, however, official actions on tainted symbols often fail to take place. In such cases, I argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacement, destruction, or removal of political symbols—may be morally permissible or even obligatory. This is when, and insofar as, political vandalism serves as fitting counter-speech that undermines the authority of tainted symbols in ways that match their publicity, refuses to let them speak in our name, and challenges the derogatory messages expressed through a mechanism I call derogatory pedestalling: the glorification or honoring of certain individuals or ideologies that can only make sense when members of a targeted group are taken to be inferior.

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