John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia University and one of our leading public intellectuals, offers this metric:
- Was the person’s or cultural artifact’s historical impact exclusively focused on slavery and racism?
- Did the person insist on their support of segregation and racism even in the face of vigorous arguments otherwise?
- Is the monument an ever-present part of experience?
Read how he develops these points here. There is much to commend here. But even if we accept the metrics that McWhorter proposes I imagine that there will still be debate over how to parse their phrasing. For example, what defines an “ever-present part of experience?” What qualifies as “vigorous arguments otherwise?”