Monumental Racism

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: December 2, 2020) — This week on the program, we air a panel on the push to remove monuments and statues linked to the history of racism and colonialism in the United States. While the issue has deep roots in American discourse, last year’s countrywide demonstrations over racial and civil inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd have highlighted the ongoing struggle over the meaning and legacy of these public monuments.

Central to this discussion is whether these statues—often dedicated to confederate and colonial leaders—serve to highlight the problems of the past or whether they glorify and reinforce cultural supremacy that has marginalized people of color. Similarly, other monuments have been criticized for their depiction of people of color and have been charged with distorting the past.

This week’s panel digs into these topics and offers expert perspective on the role these monuments play in the culture of the U.S. The panelists include Lisa Blee, associate professor of history at Wake Forest University; Kevin Bruyneel, professor of politics at Babson College; and Jean O’Brien, distinguished professor of history at the University of Minnesota. Moderating this week’s discussion is Edmund Fong, chair of the Ethnic Studies Department and professor of political science at the University of Utah.

This forum was put on in partnership with the School for Cultural and Social Transformation, with a special thanks to Claudia Geist for helping organize this event.

This forum was recorded on November 16, 2020.