Heritage & History. An Argument Against Confederate Statues On Public Land
I love having grown up in the South. I love living in the South. But some days I encounter people that demonstrate a level of self indulgent ignorance that just blows my mind. I usually just ignore it...but sometimes I can't help responding. So, to those of you who are whining and waxing philosophical about how the statues and symbols of the confederacy being taken down is ruining southern history and culture:
I think you are missing the fact that those who are calling to have these statues and symbols removed from public spaces (like parks) are also saying they should be placed in museums, so the history is preserved. As to the argument that some people make that they pass by these statues all the time and do not experience 'feelings of racism or slavery'...and that it is 'your choice' to just pass by, and that you give them 'no power'....what you are missing is that it's not about how those statues make YOU feel. You are not the descendant of a slave as far as I know...it's about how these symbols make a huge group of Americans who ARE the direct descendants of salves feel.
The very fact that our municipalities have hoisted them in public spaces gives them power, regardless of whether or not you feel that you give them power. I can't believe you are discounting that. There is absolutely no rational argument that can be made for having flags or statues, or any landmark in a taxpayer funded, public space, that puts slavery and those who fought for it on the same level as those who put forth contributions to either form, preserve ,or improve upon (I'm thinking civil rights activists here) the vision of the United States.
I think your argument about the statues is offensive, and perfectly illustrates the way most Americans ignore the continued lack of equality for African Americans in this country. And let's remember, those statues were not erected directly following the civil war, as a way to honor troops who fought bravely in the conflict...they were all put up during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era as a way for white America to intimidate black citizens in their communities. You simply cannot defend their presence on government land and at the same time wash your hands of complicity with racist and white supremacist ideals.