Anthony “offensive” statues. The fact that the
Anthony TorresProfessor HitchEnglish 10005 December 2017The Monument Effect The importance of history is to always show the roots of a nation. A great representation of history that is shown to the world and public are usually monuments. The Statue of Liberty, represents the endless possibilities one has of freedom, however a statue of a general who murdered and supported the idea of slavery does not. Recently in the United States, many people have begun rioting about the removal of “offensive” statues. The fact that the this creates a national divide , brings up numerous questions.
Are the people of the United States simply just too sensitive? Why can’t the United States overcome its dark history, since Germany has been able to? How can we solve this issue? In my way of thinking, many leaders during the Civil War acted out of enlightened self-interest, they also operated from bad intentions, corrupted religion, and a heightened sense of politics. However, their ongoing effects on the country, such as racism, segregation, and discrimination are offensive and detrimental to the nation. Consequently, just as all negative figures should be diminished by contemporary leaders, the removal of these monuments should, in my opinion, push our nation forward. In the grand scheme of things, this is not enough. We still see numerous places honoring some of the confederate leaders. These places consist of schools, streets, and even highways attributed to the Confederate army. They are seen daily by locals and visitors due to the fact that they are placed in places where it is most noticed by all sorts of people including children. While the removal of these monuments will never erase a dark part of our history, the fact that their prominence is no longer displayed , should lead our nation into a degree of healing.
In January of 2017, Donald Trump took charge of office, resulting in one of the least attended presidential inauguration speeches ever. In addition to the lack of attendance, racism began to spark because of the multiple racial slurs said by the president to various groups of people. A rise of hateful groups began to emerge in the South, causing panic to all of the minorities who inhabit within those cities. Minorities felt afraid and pressured to find a way of calming and resolving these issues. Many minorities began to form an activist group in order to show the whole country that this is a serious problem. Activists felt that by removing the confederate monuments, a decline in racism will occur because the confederate monuments would no longer be seen as a form of support for all the racial hate groups. Many of the monuments that are placed in open areas have a bigger message than what they actually represent. Robert E.
Lee’s monument in Charlottesville, Virginia, has him on top of a horse. Many times people do not realize the metaphoric meaning behind this monument. It is said that “a man on top of a horse represents power”, now in this case, it displays Robert E.Lee as a powerful man than any other person. His stance on the horse also has a military metaphor because it also signifies that he is ready to kill anyone who stands his way. Now imagine if you were an African American, without a doubt you would feel offended and afraid that the city in which you live in, praises a man who murdered and owned slaves. As a result, confederate and many other monuments that represent racism, should be placed in an appropriate location.
Virginia’s mayor advised the council to place these monuments in a museum where it is appropriate for everyone. That way any type of supporter on each side can still see the monuments. Although this may sound like a great way of starting a positive movement of bringing people together in America, many southerners will disagree with this act.
Many confederate supporters have argued that it is not right to remove America’s history. They have also argued about how this can possibly lead to “insignificant” changes to the constitution. Confederate supporters also feel that the american people are simply just too sensitive, however praising a murderer is not something one can take in lightly. In addition to the confederate monuments, many programs and groups took formation around the time of the civil war, such as The United Daughters of the Confederacy. The United Daughters program consist of yearly meetings and gatherings to honor their confederate fathers. According to VICE NEWS, “There was a really big systematic push to promote the history of the Confederacy and the so-called ”lost cause’ that was largely engineered by women’s groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which had a very overt and systematic plan to rewrite textbooks, to erect public monuments that would establish the ‘true’ history of the war,”They have made numerous monuments in honor to their loved ones who participated in the “Lost Cause”. The “Lost Cause” is a term used to represent the United States untold history. Their untold history is fabricated into an aryan utopia, where the white man is more powerful than any other man.
The daughters of the confederacy in 1864 created books and banned any book that distorted the truth of the confederate army. Their prominence and fame led them to become one of the most powerful women organizations to ever emerge in the south. Their power was displayed through their books and teachings that were strictly taught in schools, through the use of textbooks that were altered to favor and praise white supremacists. As a result of their version of the civil war, people in the south began growing up with the idea that any white person is more superior than a colored person. The UDC made their version of the history into a teaching guideline to all the schools in the south in order to promote white supremacy and pay tribute to the fallen confederate soldiers. Most of the schools in the south, displayed pro-southern textbooks and banned any book that mentioned or inferred any defiance towards the confederate army. As a result of the UDC’s impact in the south, activists have begun arguing and suing against many state and city officials.
They feel that they are equally responsible for allowing the teachings of the UDC. They claim that the UDC and it’s supporters are the cause of the racism that still occurs within the United States. The UDC’s effect on the country has led the nation to split by brainwashing and commemorating all racist figures from the south. The UDC is also responsible for the majority of confederate monuments in the south.
As all these pro-confederate upcomings begin to take formation, more Americans become afraid of history repeating itself. Americans are taking the removal of monuments as a serious and effective way of putting an end to racism. If the promotion of confederacy continues, the United States can possible relapse into another civil war. As a way of resolving these issues, the United States should foremost continue to remove all monuments that displays any tribute to any offensive group or person. They should begin by passing a law that restricts the act of display of inappropriate monuments.
According to the New York Times, “Many government officials, including Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, have called to remove statues, markers and other monuments that celebrate controversial Civil War era figures from public grounds. There are likely hundreds of such monuments in the United States.” The government is starting to show importance in the case, thus creating a sense of hope in removing racist monuments. Putting monuments that represent America’s dark history in museums is the best place to store them. In a museum, people are open and free minded thus preventing conflict with the monuments. Without the offensive monuments in the open, many people from different types of races will begin to freely walk in their local park, now that their park no longer supports an dark figure. Putting an end to programs that are in favor of the confederate can cause a major change in this situation. This will change the way people see the civil war in the south.
The UDC brainwashed many americans by altering the history of the civil war. By undoing this, people in the South can possible stop becoming racist and instead become an open minded state like California. With new and appropriate teachings of the civil war in the south and removing any confederate monument should in fact, cause a positive impact. People will begin to accept others as well as work together, leading our nation to unite as one again.
While we have made many strides in the fight to stop racism, time and time again, it has been proven that we have so much more to go. Many can make the argument that the Constitution, while effective, is a bit archaic. It doesn’t address the many fundamental issues we face today.
As a result, we live in a nation that is stuck between living to the laws set forth by our founding fathers, and the ineffectiveness as to it relates in present time. The United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. How true is this today? Today in 2017?