Tearing down statues is all good — at least according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Protesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups are marauding through cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, and some are pulling down statues — it doesn’t matter which statues, just statues. Cuomo says that all “healthy.”
“It’s a healthy expression of people saying let’s get some priorities here and let’s remember the sin and mistake that this nation made and let’s not celebrate it,” the Democrats said Tuesday on MSNBC.
The attacks on monuments celebrating Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and World War II veterans are also “good statements,” the governor said.
“People are making a statement about equality, about community, to be against racism, against slavery, I think those are good statements,” Cuomo said.
The governor’s comments came a day after the American Museum of Natural History announced that it’s moving its famed statue of Teddy Roosevelt inside the museum.
“The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down,” museum president Ellen Futter told The New York Times.
“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” Futter said. “We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.”
“Simply put,” said Futter, “the time has come to move it.”
The Times said the statue has “come to symbolize a painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.”
Actor Ben Stiller offered an idea. He starred in all three of the “Night At The Museum” movies along with co-star Robin Williams, who portrayed Roosevelt in the films.
Stiller thinks maybe it’d be a good idea if the statue honoring the 26th president should be replaced with one of Williams, who committed suicide by hanging himself in 2014 after struggling with Lewy body dementia.
The 54-year-old actor wrote on Twitter: “How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one.”
How about replacing it with a statue of Robin Williams. He deserves one.
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) June 21, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with the museum, calling it “the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”
“The statue has representations that clearly do not represent today’s values,” de Blasio said at a press conference Monday. “The statue clearly presents a white man as superior to people of color. And that’s just not acceptable in this day and age.”
“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,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The City supports the Museum’s request.”
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