The New York Mayor ordered a statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by a Native American man and an African man, to be removed, arguing it feeds into racial stereotypes.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Sunday.
De Blasio noted that the city authorities sided with the museum, calling the idea to get rid of the “problematic” statue “the right decision” taken in the “right time.” The NYC mayor was apparently referring to the Black Lives Matter protests, which have seen activists taking their anger on statues they see as celebration of the legacy of racism.
The museum noted that it does not plan to “cancel” Roosevelt altogether – after becoming president in 1901, Roosevelt, known affectionately as Teddy, championed the nation’s conservationist efforts, providing federal protection for over 230 million acres of public land. Instead, while his statue would be razed, the museum will seek to cement his legacy by naming one of the halls after him, the museum’s president, Ellen Futter, told the Times.
The statue’s looming removal has been backed by the 26th president’s descendant, Theodore Roosevelt IV, who heaped scorn on the statue, which was unveiled back in 1940, saying it does not reflect his ancestor’s values.
The announcement has triggered pushback as well as praise online.
Teddy Roosevelt has nothing to do with the Confederacy.None of this has to do with the Confederacy or racism.They want to rewrite America’s history.Soon they’ll be teaching that an androgynous, pansexual, gender-fluid humanoid named “Pat” was the first President.
— Errol Webber For Congress (CA-37) (@ErrolWebber) June 21, 2020
Some cried foul over the move, noting that there were other historical figures far more deserving the “honour” of being knocked off from their pedestals.
Again! And notice the pattern: No one is smashing FDR or LBJ statues even though they were far greater bigots than Teddy Roosevelt https://t.co/OqeUGiYiki
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 21, 2020
Others suggested that by removing the Roosevelt statue, the NYC authorities are taking a step down a slippery slope.
Now they’re removing a statue of Teddy Roosevelt.Remember when President Trump was mocked when he suggested removing statues and monuments was a slippery slope? https://t.co/Mjkwd1qbYA
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 21, 2020
“We have officially entered French Revolution territory. If the radical left mob takes full power the heads of statues will be replaced with the careers of those who dare counter them,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country, opined.
So now Teddy Roosevelt will be taken down. We have officially entered French Revolution territory. If the radical left mob takes full power the heads of statues will be replaced w the careers of those who dare counter them.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) June 21, 2020
Others, on the contrary, argued that the decision made on the back of the ongoing protests, was long overdue.
I can remember walking by this statue as early as middle school and thinking “Wow, how has this not been replaced?” It’s not because it’s Teddy Roosevelt it’s because…well look at it https://t.co/sZSYnGRgE1
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) June 21, 2020
While the majority of early “victims” from the protesters’ holy war on historical monuments were confederate generals, the crusade has recently expanded to include not the most obvious suspects, such as 18th US president Ulysses S. Grant, who led Northern Union soldiers in the Civil War and helped bring an end to slavery.
The Grant statue was toppled in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Juneteenth along with that of Francis Scott Key, the lyricist behind ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’
Both sculptures were defaced with graffiti, denouncing the men as “slave owners.” While that may ring true for Key, who owned multiple slaves, many netizens were baffled as to the treatment of Grant. While the general did own one slave, who he had been “gifted”, he freed him shortly afterwards.
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