Goodbye to the racist statue of Roosevelt and two people of color outside NYC's Natural History Museum

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This sucks–not because they’re taking down this statue but because people are going to hear “they’re taking down a statue of Teddy Roosevelt!1!!” and not bother to look at the fucked-up statue at issue. This is a fucked up statue!

And it sucks because there’s no reason a statue of Roosevelt in front of the natural history museum needs to be fucked up in this particular way. A statue of TR sitting by a campfire with John Muir would be awesome, but I guess wouldn’t tickle the fancy of folks who need their iconography to contain blatant racism, I suppose.


For those who’ll complain about not honouring TR’s contribution to the museum’s founding, there’s a much less racist statue inside.

The equestrian one outside has been a familiar sight in NYC, but it’s long past time it was removed.


More like good riddance, but sure.


So what’s going to be done about the monument to the Roosevelt who sent 120,000 minority Americans to internment camps?


That will be dealt with in time, along with all the other whataboutisms.


That is pretty much going to be the crux of the arguments against the action. People complaining without bothering to look at it for themselves. TR has a long history with New York City and natural history. There is nothing objectionable with extolling the man in this context. Just not this way.


Context and history aside, the statues are well done. Would there be any value in dividing the statue into 3 parts that could be repurposed and moved elsewhere? Up-cycling?


Donate money to the people looking to restore the internment camps as historic monuments.


Just out of curiosity, what point do you think you’re making with that question?


Or how about a museum dedicated to statues that celebrate outmoded thought? No joke, it could be really instructive to see these statues and then have a plaque explaining WHY they are fucked up. Not a celebration of history, but a testament to what history is, and why it matters. These statues ARE important because they illustrate how history is (mis)used to shape the present. People would leave this museum and look at current memorials that aren’t in the museum (yet) and give them the thought they deserve.

We really have no idea what modes of thought we currently espouse are going to be absolutely abhorrent centuries from now. Some huge scientific achievement - some social discovery - it could (and will) change EVERYTHING. And we are going to look like giant assholes who just didn’t get it.

We operate on the assumption that we are the apotheosis of human achievement - that millions of years of evolution - both physical and sociological - have brought us here. We’re it! We’ve finally figured it all out!

No, it will continue. People thought that 1000 years ago, they thought it 100 years ago, and they will continue to think that as long as there are people.


Yeah I was at first like, “Teddy Roosevelt? Why?” Then I look at the statue and “Ooooh yeah, that’s gotta go!”


Just to ask, it’s possible to saw the statue in three pieces?


Exact same reaction.


Plus, Teddy gets his time in “A Night at the Museum”. I can’t remember if he’s in the sequel.

But, natural history museums are important, even if the contents are dated now. They reveal a time when the world was opening up to Europeans. Maybe not a goid thing for some, but it freezes that time.

I loved going to the local one when I was a kid, especially the dioramas about prehistoric time (which were still there the last time I checked).

That museum is actually in my will, also kind of an acknowledgement to my mother.


Just because someone’s ancestors decided that a statue should be created, doesn’t mean the statue needs to stand forever. I like your idea of a museum of obsolete sculpture, though digital scans should be enough. Less real estate cost, and the collection could be browsed from the internet. Melting the statue down for scrap is a legitimate piece of performance art.

One of my favorite bits of public art at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is a plaque that tells the story of the Warren G Harding memorial that was broken up and buried under the African Savannah exhibit. It evokes in me an image of composting monuments over time.


Even just him mounted without the other two men thrust in as appendages of white greatness would have been absolutely fine. I was always mystified by the composition.


I disagree about the internet bit. This statue is about 2 blocks from where I live (Downtown St. Paul).

Looking at that picture does not even begin to do it justice. I am not aware whether there is a controversy surrounding it (the wikipedia page doesn’t mention one, but that doesn’t mean anything). And I could see the point of destroying it if it was a giant statue of Hitler. Like most things, it’s complicated. It’s a truly stunning lobby.


Like this one:


A friend of mine has a picture she throws up as profile on the Book of Faces occasionally that shows her getting…friendly with Mr Roosevelt. Hand on his knee, curled up tight against him, eyes cast upward and staring at him with (frankly) uncomfortable levels of desire… Yeah, it’s a great pic.