Silent Sam should have never gone up, let’s make that clear.
A statue designed to celebrate those who defended the purity of the “Anglo-Saxon” race is racist and doesn’t deserve a grain of American soil upon which to sit. Good riddance.
From a practical perspective, the toppling of Silent Sam does little. Those who claim that structural white supremacy exists at UNC (it probably doesn’t) will continue to cry out. Students will continue to make ridiculous demands similar to those made in 2015 at a University-held town hall. The administration will most likely be even less willing to listen to the student body even if students are making valid points. The police will be forced to make arrests and, in the process, will open themselves up to even more abuse and criticism. In short, a small band of protesters have managed to take an action that provides short-term catharsis but, due to a lack of pragmatic long-term goals, has deepened the rift between the student body and the administration.
Of course, some blame must also be placed at the feet of our administration. Chancellor Folt has performed the role of a politician and neglected her role as the real leader of UNC. The Board, in conjunction with Folt, have skillfully avoided doing anything of substance about Silent Sam. Their stance has frustrated everyone regardless of opinion.
Yet, this is where my view is perhaps controversial; Silent Sam is more valuable on his pedestal than off of it.