Removing Racist Monuments — Racism Sustainers
Imagine for awhile being a person of Jewish heritage living in Germany today, 2017. The war is now almost 70 years over, Germany is unified after decades of isolation, back on it’s feet, and a world-leading government.
Now imagine in every major city there were banners, flags, statues, monuments — all of Hitler and emboldened with the Nazi swastika. And most of these on public property, paid for by every citizen of every city.
How would you feel? What would you think of a society that taxes you, then spends that money taunting you — for your entire life, the life of your grandparents, parents, children, neighbors?
Although this might be an extreme example, it illustrates America’s white society — and how it treats it’s people of color. Native American, African-American, Hispanic, Asian — all Americans who deserve every single good and bad thing that might grace or befall any other American.
Yet, we’re not such an equal society. White Americans have done horrific things to people of color. After conquering Native Americans, we spent hundreds of years owning and exploiting millions of slaves, four million freed by the end of the Civil War, over 150 years ago.
Fast forward to today and America has thousands of memorials celebrating the states of the Union — and people from every state — that fought to the death to preserve their way of life — especially including buying, owning, exploiting, raping, murdering and torturing African American black citizens.
How would you feel if your entire society was based on the premise that whites were superior and blacks were treated like nothing more than taunted, invisible citizens?
Well, time’s up. Our current political situation has laid bare America’s racism. It’s past, present and future. It’s all right there, too brazen for anyone to deny. Well, anyone that wants to see.
Today too, there are literally tens of millions of American’s, many (but not enough) whites, that are becoming more aware of our structurally racist environment, and taking little and big steps to identify, confront and address remediation of our nation’s collective racist beliefs and practices.
The last 18 hours has been a whirlwind. I posted a petition to have one of these confederate memorials taken down locally after being in place for over 60 years. How many have ignored this monument to support a society where slavery was not only allowed but, morally justified? I’ll write more on how quickly this monument was removed but, won’t be celebrating much. This monument should have never been placed. Any citizen or leader that knew of it’s existence should have stood up and protested it’s display on public land, and the intent of it’s message — the glamorization of a hateful, racist past. Not ever placing that monument, or immediately demanding it’s removal is just a baseline. What we should have been doing for our fellow humans for centuries.
There’s a lot more to do, and I’m excited and scared but, I’ll never stop raising my hand and speaking up for what I believe is an injustice in our society. Racism is taught. We can become educated and change our hearts. But, not if we sustain relics that remind us on a daily basis that one race is better than the other.
Here’s a link to a masterful inventory of thousands more: Who’s Heritage? Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC)