Statues Have Feelings Too

Justin D. Henderson, PhD
7 min readJul 29, 2020

Humanizing metal and stone while dehumanizing flesh and bone

Christopher Columbus statue torn down at Minnesota State Capitol — Tony Webster | Wikimedia Commons

A giant crane looms over a towering medal figure — a man riding horseback mounted onto a stone pedestal. It’s the middle of the summer on the first of July and city workers of Richmond, Virginia work to remove the statue of Stonewall Jackson from Monument Avenue.

The removal of the statue is one among many Confederate statues that have come down either by the government or the people in recent years. Hundreds of these types of statues are still standing through the United States.

Watching how some white people have responded to these statues coming down, either by a government authority or the result of protesters, would give the impression that there is an all-out-war on the history of this nation. From their perspective, the issue of history and ‘heritage’ is the issue, not racial injustice, that deserves attention.

In fact, it is interesting to note that while George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Aumuad Arbery, and Elijah McClain’s deaths were coming into the mainstream media’s awareness, these same statue guardians fell notably quiet.

But as soon as the statues got graffitied or torn down — you bet their social media feeds were blowing up with vitriol. Statues must have feelings, then. Federal courthouses must also have feelings. Why else would they garner so much compassion and care from people?

George Floyd’s murder — nothing

Breonna Taylor’s murder — nothing

Elijah ‘s murder — nothing

Statue coming down — “What an outrage!”

This isn’t a new story. The United States has been down this road for years now.

In 2017, Trump defended white nationalists protesting in Charlottesville. Within days of stating that there were some fine people in the crowd, Trump sent out a series of Twitter posts aimed at defending Confederate statues.

He stated,

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that…

Justin D. Henderson, PhD

Dr. Justin D. Henderson is a psychologist, professor of counseling, and organizational consultant. He’s a Medium Top Writer in Leadership and Business.