In a blog post on the subject, Obama Cultural Property Advisory Committee Appointee Prof. Rosemary Joyce justifies her views based on the assumption that
When you remove these statues to men who fought for slavery, you’re not destroying history – you’re making it.
Surprisingly, this 180 degree departure from archeology's mantra of preservation of objects in context appears to be based on little more than reductionist reasoning, i.e., the statues must be symbols of "white supremacy" because they were produced in a racist South. Indeed, efforts to draw attention to the fact that their iconography is virtually identical to monuments erected in the North at around the same time when the politically powerful Civil War generation was passing from the scene elicited little more than condenscending responses. It seems furthering "white supremacy" not commemoration of sacrifices on the battlefield must be the prime motivator in the South, but not the North (despite similar racist sentiments there at the time).
In any event, justifying the removal or even destruction of historical monuments by designating them as "racist" should be even more troubling given recent events in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, there are distinct parallels between ISIS destroying "idolatrous" statues and monuments and efforts here to topple "racist" ones, not the least the motivation to deprive certain groups of artifacts deemed important to their culture (there Shia, Assyrian Christians and Yazhdis and here poor White people (who must be racist!)). At least here, we have processes in place to allow localities and States to make the decision what to do with our Confederate monuments. What must be avoided at all costs is another Durham, N.C., where a mob was allowed to take matters into its own hands.