In the wake of George Floyd’s death by way of police brutality, race relations in the United States have suffered. Many have speculated that the George Floyd murder was racially motivated, prompting many worldwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality. Floyd’s murder has also sparked calls for the renaming of various streets and buildings and the removal of statues and monuments.
Americans are asking that tributes to the Confederacy and notorious racists be taken down, such as statutes of those who strongly opposed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
There is one way to mend the racial divide. If America wants to heal and show respect for its citizens, it must answer this call and remove any and all tributes to these people.
There have been calls to remove these types of statues in the past, but they’ve always fizzled out after a while. The murder of George Floyd served as the last straw for many black Americans and also as an awakening for an increasing number of white Americans. Many of those who didn’t understand the idea of white privilege, or ridiculed other forms of protest against police brutality, are now opening themselves up to understanding.
As white Americans gain perspective on this subject, many have come to understand how hurtful monuments to the Confederacy and other racists are. Confederate soldiers and leaders fought to keep black Americans in chains.
Some make the argument that we use historical statues and monuments to remember our history, both good and bad. This argument seems pretty convincing at first, but then we can look to Germany and see the absence of monuments to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. You begin to wonder, “How did I learn the history of the Holocaust?”
We learned about the Holocaust extensively. We remember it so that we can avoid something of that nature ever happening again. We don’t need Nazi memorials in order to do so. The truth is, statues aren’t responsible for teaching history, and they generally aren’t a common tool used by educators. We have textbooks, primary sources, and museums that cover that. There is no educational need to leave these tributes up.
A college building named for an enemy of Civil Rights offers no educational gain to its students. A structure being aesthetically pleasing is also not a reason to keep reminders of racism and discrimination.
We might enjoy the artistry of a statue, but, if it represents a stain on our history, it should not be commemorated.
When we’re discussing Confederate statues, another reason for their removal is the sheer anti-American nature of the Confederacy. The Confederates attacked the United States and sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives to continue owning and abusing other human beings. These men were traitors, racists, and all-around evil and ungodly. They should not be celebrated. We should be taught about them, but they should only be remembered in the negative light they deserve.
When we prop these people up, with the honor of a building bearing their name or a statue, we send a message that these men should be respected and honored. With messaging like that, it’s not surprising that racism is alive and well. Change has to start somewhere.
How can institutions of higher education claim to care about their students and equality while naming buildings after confederate officers and notorious enemies of the Civil Rights Movement?
Colleges can fund their office of diversity and condemn racist acts, but until they recognize the message that the continued celebration of these people presents, they won’t be able to fulfill their promises to students. Many areas of American history aren’t commemorated with statues and monuments and there is no shortage of history to pluck new statue ideas from.
Let’s celebrate what warrants celebration and learn the dark parts of our past without honoring them.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.