What is the value of a monument? Is it honor, or celebration, or the dishonest idolization of compartmentalized memory?
For those looking to understand why African-Americans are looking to tear down Confederate Statues, you have to compartmentalize too. You have to separate your respect for history from your indignation toward the growing PC (politically correct) culture. There are African-Americans in Fredericksburg that walk by a tiny-little monument in Fredericksburg, indicating where the slaves were bought and sold. To white-people, this is history. To blacks, well… those folks getting bought and sold could have been their grandparents or great-grandparents.
If we are to be honest (and we never are), all this talk of statues and “place names” is nothing more than a culture war – but I don’t think we’re 100% clear about why this war exists.
When the KKK and White Nationalists rear their ugly heads, it reminds minorities of a world they have no desire to return to – they remember. It is true, that when the KKK and the White Nationalists rally in Virginia, the vast majority of them come from out of state, but that doesn’t comfort Jews who still mourn loved-ones lost in Germany, or Blacks who will never have a clear picture of their 17th or 18th century genealogies.
These reminders are painful to them, especially when white-folks appear to honor the monuments more than they honor their own friends and neighbors.
I still don’t believe that getting rid of monuments makes any sense. Pretending like evil didn’t happen won’t cleanse history of its bloody stains. Yet, history doesn’t pain me or remind me of the present. I’m English and Scottish, I’m German and Irish, and I’m French and Haitian.
I share a last name with Chris Tucker and Justin Tucker. God knows what that means…
This hatred for Robert E. Lee is painful. I grew up in Baltimore. I learned that Robert E. Lee didn’t want Virginia to leave the Union. I learned that Robert E. Lee didn’t like his family’s business with slaves. It doesn’t matter.
What is taking place today has nothing to do with reality or history – it’s about vengeance. Robert E. Lee fought for Virginia, therefore he deserves to be buried in shame – apparently.
I suppose this is the same reason that White children are allowed to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr but not Malcolm X.
White people fear the “angry black man”, as much as Black people fear the thoughtful White confederate.
I think we’ve come to a place here, where our hatred or suspicion of the past, is devalued. We love what was, is, and will be. We don’t bow to monuments or relics.
Caroline County needs to get a few things straight: First, we have more in common than we do with history. Second, we have more in common than we do in resentment. Third, we have more in common with each other than we do with a bunch of white men who run the RNC and DNC in Richmond and Washington, D.C.