I am still wrestling in my mind with my own posts concerning what I called cultural cleansing because I do understand that reminders of an ugly history remind those at whom the ugliness was directed of the offensive acts and of the attitudes and belief systems that inspired those acts. But then, to be reminded and remain angry is important if the attitudes and beliefs are still alive and the acts against those offended and affected still occur though usually in a more covert manner. Racism still exists and those who are its target continue to suffer. American society is far from rid of racism and overt symbols of it do remind some not to get too comfortable with the “progress we have made” because to do so would ignore those who still are harmed by it.
Perhaps what should be done is to do what Oliver suggested, not in museums but on the monuments where they currently sit, put one them placards that explain the acts of those depicted, their attitudes and beliefs and what acceptance by large numbers of Americans of their attitudes, beliefs, and actions means for America, its past, present, and future. The fact that these monuments were erected, that they were placed where they stand, that they were built to show appreciation for those beliefs and attitudes and actions, such aspects of their existence explained just might cause those encountering them to feel a proper degree of shame.