Art, Philosophy, History, Critical Thought, and Gender Studies

Daniel Louis Duncan
4 min readJul 11, 2020
Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

While statues, most people ignored, are toppling let us reflect on the big picture. This is happening because we have ignored too much for way too long. Will it go too far? Will it actually go far enough? The good news is they are only statues erected to honor a façade of a deeper truth that is hard to bear. Toppling the statues is only the first step, just like ending the Civil War was the first step to change that did not occur because the cause of the strife was not merely slavery, but racism.

The United States of America has put on a show of exceptionalism to the world that is now crumpling around our feet. HOW we respond and react will be the ONLY thing that matters. HOW people responded to the aftermath of the Civil War IS our litmus test!! I cannot stress this enough. HOW people responded to change is WHAT we must analyze in depth to learn a path worthy of our blood, sweat, and tears. We have countless examples to learn from, and learn we must, IF we are to carve a meaningful future for us all, especially our youth. AND the close minded will fight back with every barrel of their imagined exceptionalism.

Here me out….

The title of this article will turn many a white privileged nose up in disgust. Closing your mind is OUR collective problem and it is an emergency. YOUR fear is a blazing fire out of control, and you are running in the street yelling “FIRE!” in your personal hazmat suit, expecting us all to acknowledge your unsafety while WE burn to the ground.

Statues don’t matter, people do. Statues don’t matter, people do. Statues represent dead people who we choose to put on pedestals without regard for their humanness. That lack of acknowledgement of their fallibility is what creates STATUES unworthy of building. Ultimately, they are dead people we cannot insult by dismantling and choosing better, more vibrant examples. Historical artifacts and written analysis should be kept and supported where they are most viable. Not, on a pedestal for adoration, but valued and supported in libraries and repositories that are open and visible without charge, with government investment, for the people to study and know deeply. We can build statues and we can tear down statues giving sculptors of today resources for their livelihood.

We, as a country, are in desperate need for EDUCATION. Meaningful education requires investment in teachers at all levels. Hugh investments. It means investment in the NEW discoveries of the Americas. Much like the manifest destiny of early America, there was a manifest destiny of exploration before white “America” came into a fabricated existence. Maybe this is part of the problem. We have taken the imaged monuments (actually there is one that is spectacular in Lisbon jutting out of the port) of the discoveries and left the discovered out of the dialog because of our distaste for the barbarianism on the side we erect monuments to.

So, why Art, Philosophy, History, Critical Thought, and “oh, boy!” (deep pun intended) Gender Studies?? Yes, all of this is an opinion piece, so I will scream my opinion into the void as loud as I can if it awakens the denialism in one person for self-reflection. No one is an expert in anything. You are devoted, educated and more knowledgeable than most about a subject. I’m good at many things. You are good at many things. BUT I know and respect that scholars probably know more, BUT they are human and fallible. What I’m screaming about is an awakening to all of our possibilities as humans. I am wrong as much as I am right, and it’s very hard to admit when I’m wrong. My heart hurts in embarrassment when I’m wrong. BUT I and you must start to be ok with this crappy place to wallow, listen, learn and correct course.

Yes, STEM matters! But, STEM without Art, Philosophy, History, Critical Thought, and Gender Studies is a barren, uninhabitable existence no matter your level of intelligence. Get your friggin mind out of the extremes!! I hear you! BUT, look at Romans and Greeks wallowing around in their Art, Philosophy, History, Critical Thought, and….whoops, no Gender Studies (’cause men ruled dominantly). They were not who you think they were! They had a very guttonist, elitist, and human bondaged society. To not see this is the problem. To discount the contributions of great minds of this time is a problem as well. We are being asked to be uncertain, and to be desirous of asking questions without answers. Personally, I have spent a lifetime realizing that my life’s purpose has always been to ask the question “WHY?” and spend every moment looking for answers. I spent way too much of my life being shut down for asking and living in this question. No more. Yes, that pursuit will most likely never pay my bills. So, work and balance of that pursuit is my quest.

This is mucky! This is where we MUST live in order to have a society we claim to deserve. We MUST ask our collective “What is valuable to us? What is fair to most? How do we value our collective without diminishing individuality? How do we create LAWS that are not so rigid and unjust? How do we all just get along?” These are not questions that can be answered easily or ever definitively. They MUST be mutable, changeable, and adaptable to growth of mind, body, and soul AND in the transformation of a society. The value of the questions is more important than answers.

THAT uncertainty is petrifying.

So….the important question we must ask is…. “HOW do we change?”

Discuss amongst yourselves. Go….



Daniel Louis Duncan

Writer, researcher, lover of history, philosophy, politics and critical thought