For the past couple of months, the debate in America remains whether or not the confederate statues should remain as a way of commemorating American history and culture. The debate is kindled by the move by nationalist to defend the monument of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville and the removal of confederate soldiers' monument in Durham (Cox 2017). Whereas a fraction of the Americans believe that such statues are essential part of the American past, a majority believe that the monuments are instead reminding America of its dark past. The irony in this is the belief by none other than the US President, Donald Trump, that these statues are indeed a special part of our history. In a tweet, Trump appeared to believe that the removal of the monuments would tear apart the American history and culture (Eric 2017). In this, I stand with the opinion of the majority. History has it that contrary to the belief that they would symbolize the American history and culture, they actually don't. In this paper, I will discuss why I think these monuments are not a special component of our history and therefore we should not continue to commemorate our confederate past in these forms.
By way of beginning, the monuments are symbols of white supremacy as opposed to being that of history and culture. It is a fact, as argued by many, that you cannot change history but learn from it. The question that troubles my mind anytime I think about the confederate statues is, what history do we learn from them? Whereas a small percentage of these symbols of the confederate past were erected during the civil right era of early 1960s, majority were put up between 1895 and World War I (Cox 2017). It should not leave our memory that it is during this period that the white nationalist ran a campaign to support slavery and civil war. It is also during this period that violence and oppression against African Americans was on the rise. It is also during this time that the racism was on the rise and the South Americans perfected the act of lynching the blacks. The talk about preserving these monuments is thus a talk of advancing white supremacy.
As a young adult and a frequent reader of history, I second the words of Benjamin Dueholm(2017) that putting up these statues is indeed what will erase history as opposed to pulling them down. If you are a visitor of monuments, you will be surprised at what those keen at preserving them celebrate. In South Carolina state house is a monument of one the governors, Benjamin Tillman who was very violent during his time. Benjamin advanced populist policies and was one of the worst crusaders of racial discrimination. Benjamin initiated policies that reduced the civil rights of the Black Americans and rendered them more of casual labourers with no right to vote. I know someone would argue that a monument of him reminds us of where we have come from as a people. But the question is, why do a monument of him and not those who resisted him? Why the discrimination? So what part of history do we want to remember. Why leave out the most crucial part of history. I dare say that putting up monuments would erase history rather than preserve it.
More to that, these monuments have negative impact on the victims of history. Like I have already said, most of these statues were erected during the racial discrimination and World War I error. It is obvious that the Black Americans, specifically the African Americans were the worst victims. The monuments will remind such victims of the grave effects of slavery and racial discrimination advanced on them by the white supremacist. The impact of that will be erosion of the values and principles that America has achieved over time. You appreciate just like I too do, that America has made several steps towards preserving human dignity and upholding equality of all races. It is therefore apparent that anyone supporting the preservation of the monument, whether white or black is a white supremacist. Back to what I intended to make known, the erection of these monuments would do more harm than good. They will make the blacks feel somehow inferior. They will inflate the egos of the white supremacist and will add salt to the-already gaping wounds of victims of slavery and racial discrimination.
By way of concluding, I am persuaded beyond any reasonable doubt that America should not continue to commemorate confederate past in form of public statues. If America is to do this, then it will be advancing white supremacy, it will be reminding the victims of history of their dreadful past and will also make Black Americans feel inferior. We are better without them than with them. They add no value yet will take away our hard-earned values and principles. If we are to preserve the values we have fought for, then we must do away with such monuments. Like Dueholm (2017) said, we don't erase history by pulling statues down. We erase it by putting up statues. Thank you.
Cox, K 2017, 'The Whole Point of Confederate monuments is to Celebrate White', Supremacy. Washington. The Washington Post. 16 August 2017.
Dueholm, J 2017, ' We don't erase history by pulling statues down. We do it by putting them up', Washington. The Washington Post. 23 August 2017.
Eric, F 2017, 'Confederate Statues and 'Our' History', The New York Times. 20 August 2017.
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