Confederate Symbols Should be Removed
I want to pose a position for everyone who feels Confederate symbols are a symbol of their history and heritage and for those who feel it is unfair to have their history be removed. I can’t help but consider that the single motivation for the organization of the Confederate states of America was to uphold and continue slavery. Slavery is the reason why I can only trace my heritage back to 1869. Literally, I have tried to go further than the year 1869 but I can’t even find my ancestors who were slaves here in the south, On the Census records, slaves were not even regarded as a person worthy of a recorded name. How disappointing was it to see F black, F black, M black, M black? Even with that, I can’t be 100% sure that was the slave owner for my family. A little cross referencing helped me to narrow it down a great deal and I was able to find the white slave holder, Robert Tripp, that gave me my last name and from there I can trace the history of my last name, which is of white origin, from Europe. Is it unfair that most whites can trace their bloodline history back much further than that and people of color (POC) who were brought here in slave ships cannot? When I consider what the Confederate army was fighting for, it’s not easy to separate the idea that anyone who is a supporter of Confederate preservation is also a supporter of preserving the ideology that the Confederacy fought for.
It can’t be about history for white people supporting the Confederacy because the Confederacy has a shared history for black and white people alike. This is why the Confederate symbols are offensive. It is a constant reminder that there are people who want to celebrate a heritage that completely obliterated my heritage. Even without these statues and flags and things, white America can still trace their heritage back to England, Germany, Ireland and other places that they originated from. For the most part, POC can’t.
I have many white friends. Some are empathetic and then some are completely indifferent as it concerns this. They have a right to their opinion, but I would invite those who are indifferent to this cause to truly consider what is so important about the Confederacy to them. I can acknowledge that yes, it is a part of their history, but it’s a small part and it adds no real value to who they are today. It is a part of black history as well but black people share a far more traumatic part of that history and the Confederacy reminds them of this. White people can take their shared portion of the history of the Confederacy and use it as a weapon today, for those who desire to. Black people cannot. I am afraid that a lot of Confederate supporters are caught up in rhetoric and being on one side rather than looking at the nuts and bolts and calling a thing a thing. It seems that identifying with the traditional culture of the antebellum south is more important to them. Celebrating the Confederacy and having pride in its historical presence is like celebrating Osama Bin Laden for his part in 9/11. We all know that Osama Bin Laden doesn’t deserve and will NEVER deserve any relevance other than his name being in the historical record, but I’d be damned if we ever see a statue of him up in Manhattan. Memorials to the Confederacy are tacky. It’s tacky to salute a killer in the face of his victim’s family. When you salute the Confederacy, you tell me and other black people that the deaths of our ancestors have no meaning. It’s tacky.
The truth of the matter is that if a person says they are not racist, do not agree with slavery, and believe in the equality of all people but not know how to acknowledge that the Confederacy aggressively represented all of those vices plus some, then they are struggling with inherent white supremacy that they cannot figure out is truly taking place. That’s the issue with our society and with the issue of white supremacy. It was so blatantly present in our fabric and culture as a country for so long that there are remnants of it that make it hard for even the best and most accepting white people to still not quite understand or be able to grasp the serious offensiveness that the Confederacy had to offer. Even after the war, the remnants of the Confederacy were so strong that it still took POC 100 more years to get civil rights laws. 50 years after that, POC are still struggling to get civil rights executed on the same level. All of this is a remnant of the Confederacy. As long as local governments continue to sanction symbols of the Confederacy, they give a secret slap on the shoulder for those white supremacists who consider that the remnants of the Confederacy still have a place in our society. Symbols of the Confederacy belong in a museum, not in the town square of my hometown. For any white person to say that removing Confederate symbols is the removal of their heritage is a slap in the face to my ancestors who were taken from their villages and packed like sardines in a ship and sold like cattle to never remember their origins again. Black people will never get restitution for slavery but at least give us this.