The news has been spending a lot of time on the empty spaces left behind by the confederate statues that have already been removed, while other battles rage on to get others taken down. And I have to say... I think there is an easy solution.
Replace them with nothing.
I have been saying this since the controversy began. We cannot predict what people are going to be offended by in 5, 10, 15, 20 years. And these replacements cost money, especially when people vandalize the statues - and the state tells them it's alright to do so - to make a point only they get.
People laugh when I say these things, but I had my point proven last weekend while talking to attendees of the feminist training.
A local college campus here has been under fire because of a confederate statue the students want taken down. "Silent Sam" has been big news for a very long time, and as of today, he still stands on the campus.
Somehow, "Silent Sam" became part of the break discussion, and one of the students was there. She told us a new statue was erected on campus. A giant spider.
This made me laugh, at first thinking they were kidding. Once it was established they were not, I looked it up. Truth be told... it's a spider, alright. But it's actually not a bad looking one. I think the artwork on it is actually very creative and it's sort of natural looking.
My first thought was, of course, that this was an excellent idea. Having natural looking artwork of wildlife is the most non-offensive thing I could think of, and maybe this would be a better idea than replacing statues with nothing. I mean, it still gives some decoration to the areas, and it would employ local artists. We have a bad track record with "art" around these parts, plastering areas with the most hideous sculptures you could imagine, creating eye sores that no one wants to call out in fear of being called uncultured. But if they could keep on the same track as this spider, it would really add something to the grounds!
Then my ears heard what I didn't believe they would ever hear. A lot of the attendees were offended. By this big, benign spider. They would like it removed.
One woman suggested moving the spider so it looked like it was eating "Silent Sam." And for the pure humor of that concept, I was 100% behind that! That's funny, right there!
But no. The other women wanted to remove it because the campus is a safe space, and those who fear spiders won't feel safe there.
Never mind that the campus has a lot of open, natural areas... and there are actual spiders everywhere. Heck, a lot of those spiders are venomous. I don't think the giant spider sculpture is what they should be afraid of! He's friendly, non-venomous, and doesn't eat much. And he's a statue.
I suggested flower pots to replace the statues but was reminded about people with allergies. So I am back to replace them with nothing. In Durham, where they tore the statue down, I'd blast the words off the stone and then leave it. Open alcoves where statues were removed... remove the others and leave all the alcoves empty. Remove all the statues. All of them. Don't care who or what they are. Leave empty spaces, barren pedestals, and bald lawns. Approve no artwork or sculpture to be put there at all, for any reason. Any put up without approval should be removed immediately. And when people ask, be honest. We can't predict the ever changing landscape of deep offense, and to save tuition money/tax payer dollars/etc., we have decided to leave these spaces completely barren to avoid the cost of appeasing everyone's sensitivities.