In response to an ideologically driven attack on a statue of Christopher Columbus in Providence on Columbus Day, this is a terrible idea, as reported by the Associated Press:
Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza told WPRO he’d entertain the idea of moving the statue from the city’s Elmwood neighborhood to the Federal Hill neighborhood, which is known for its Italian American community and Italian restaurants. His spokeswoman later said that any move would require input from the community.
If it isn’t immediately clear why moving the statue to an ethnic enclave would be the wrong response, consider this commentary from Italo-American Club of Rhode Island President Anthony Napolitano, appearing in a WPRI article by Nancy Krause:
While moving the statue may not guarantee it won’t be vandalized, Napolitano said the plan would include putting security cameras in place.
“We’ll watch the statue,” he said.
Because the city apparently can’t, the Italians will defend their statue from the assault of others.
Dividing the city into fortified neighborhoods based on demographic identity would be a disaster waiting to happen. It would declare a retrogression of our community toward a less-enlightened time. It would be an acknowledgement that, as a society, we are incapable of the maturity necessary to take a balanced view of history and handle each other as individuals and as peers in the modern world.
We face a lot of work undoing the deterioration of our shared culture, but the easy accommodation of moving statues would be a marker of a step too far.