The Statue of Liberty is a ‘meaningless symbol of hypocrisy’ because of America’s history of racism, sexism and anti-immigrant sentiment, according to the Washington Post’s art and architecture critic.
Philip Kennicott, a Pulitzer Prize winner, argued in an essay Saturday that the monument – which has stood for a century as one of the most iconic examples of American freedom – represented ‘unfulfilled promises’.
He added that the statue was irrelevant to non-white Americans, using as evidence the absence of representations of the statue when he visited a Chicano art exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington.
Many Twitter users disagreed vehemently with the attempt to drag Liberty into the culture wars, with one describing the piece as ‘woke cr*p’ and another calling Kennicott a ‘snobbish little scold’.
Kennicott’s essay, entitled, ‘Maybe it’s time to admit that the Statue of Liberty has never quite measured up,’ was accompanied by an illustration of the New York-based statue resting on someone’s fingertip.
He claimed that although the statue is as ‘familiar to some Americans as the flag, the statue is just as meaningless or foreign to others, a sign without significance, or worse, a symbol of hypocrisy or unfulfilled promises.’
Further on, he suggested that rather than representing freedom, the statue actually does the opposite due to America’s history of racism and sexism.
‘If the statue has had any kind of stable meaning over its lifetime, it is not as a symbol of liberty, but as a symbol of the misuse of liberty — as a hollow promise, unequally distributed and limited in its application to certain groups.’
Continuing his argument, he noted that the statue’s ‘ironies’ include it depicting a woman at a time when they did not have the right to vote.