US era to reinforce racial inequalities and

US HISTORY FINALPrompt:  What do you think should happen with the hundreds of Confederate statues that have been erected throughout the U.S.? Are these monuments symbols of history or  were they symbols that reinforced who was in charge during the jim crow era? Thesis: Although Confederate monuments were initially created to reinforce racial inequalities throughout the Jim Crow South, they now serve as a painful, yet important reminder of the history and people behind them; therefore, because the benefits of monument removal are remote and indirect, the government should focus on educating the public about the statues rather than removing them. Many of the remaining confederate monuments were not erected immediately after the civil war, but rather during the Jim Crow era to reinforce racial inequalities and rewrite history. During the Jim Crow era many of the men who had fought for the confederacy were beginning to die, and in order to ensure their father’s were not forgotten the United daughters of the Confederacy took the responsibility of erecting confederate monuments to honor them (PBS). However, the monuments began to do much more than to honor the men for whom they were erected, and began to be used as instruments to sanitize history. For example, the monuments in New Orleans dedicated to Robert E.

Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard were erected as part of a movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause (Dessem). The Cult sought to rewrite history and paint the men as patriots who denounced the tyranny of the union, rather than traitors who fought to uphold slavery (Dessem). This effort to sanitize the civil war and hide the terror, racism, and bigotry behind it completely ignores those who were victimized and terrorized by the very men who the monuments were erected to honor.

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To claim that the Confederacies’ true goals laid outside of slavery is pure folly, “when men such as the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy” (Dessem). Even many years after the surrender of the Confederate army, the monuments still serve as strong reminder that the ideals of the Confederacy, white supremacy and racism, still persist in America. While the argument for the widespread removal of confederate monuments does hold some value, much more value can be found in utilizing the monuments as a reminder of the past. Quote. Turning a blind eye towards the inconvenient truths held within confederate monuments may seem like an easier or even more just option; however, this conscious decision to ignore the truths and reality of racism only perpetuates a vicious cycle of injustice, which is bound to repeat if individuals can not learn from the past.

One prime example of a nation that has learned from it’s troubled past can be found in Germany. Germany’s behavior over the past 70 years following the holocaust have truly shown its repentance and commitment to change, for example they, “have taken full responsibility for the Holocaust, issued formal apologies, paid over 66 billion euros in reparations payments, built memorials to the victims of atrocities..

. and are committed to being different, now” (Ruttenberg). While many of the symbols of the cruelty and atrocities associated with the Nazi regime such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen still stand today, their meanings have changed. Rather than standing as monuments to a brutal regime and the ideals of a government based in hate and bigotry, the camps now stand as a testament to the cruelties that those who entered the camps were forced to endure. America should now follow Germany’s lead and showcase Confederate statues as monuments to those victimized by the confederacy, rather than as monuments to those who fought to defend it. Individuals who the Confederate monuments could be rededicated to include, “the women of the Civil War era, the African Americans both free and enslaved who fought for the Union and the Confederacy, and the Native Americans who fought on both sides of the war” (Lanktree). By recognizing and denouncing the bigoted views of the Confederacy: white supremacy and racism, the monuments can stand as evidence, that despite those who sought to divide America, justice and morality prevailed. Additionally the debate surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments is one of morality, as any benefits of statue removal to black individuals are largely remote and indirect.

Even after the removal of every Confederate statue, the problems plaguing Black communities nationwide would still persist. For example, Black Americans would still face an alarmingly high unemployment rate of 7.4% , while  22% of Blacks would continue to live at or below the poverty line, and 1/3 of all Black students would not complete high school (Murdock). Similarly after all statues were removed Black people would still account for 78% of all crimes committed and still make up the majority of America’s prison population (Murdock). Due to a lack of direct correlation between the challenges faced by black people and the Confederate monuments, said monuments should no longer be held accountable for the systematic and widespread oppression of black people. Removing Confederate monuments would be like placing a Band-AId on a bullet wound, as the problems the Black community face extend far beyond the influence of Confederate monuments, and simply removing monuments will do little to fix them. Rather than calling for the needless removal of Confederate monuments a much more impactful and direct solution is to educate the public about the troubled history of the monuments and to advocate for meaningful policy change that would positively affect black communities.Dessem, Matthew.

“New Orleans Mayor Denounces Confederate Nostalgia in Speech Defending Monument Removal.” Slate Magazine, 22 May 2017,

Lanktree, Graham. “How Can America Reckon with Its Confederate Monuments?” Newsweek, 13 Sept. 2017,, Deroy. “The Unbearable Lightness of Confederate-Statue Removal.

” National Review, 24 Aug. 2017,

“The Shifting History of Confederate Monuments.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 14 Aug. 2017,, Danya. “Perspective | We Still Have Time to Repent for American Racism.

” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Sept. 2017, Are we living in a “post-racial” society, where we have solved the issues of race, or have the issues and problems connected to race stayed the same? Thesis: Despite the decline of individual racism, institutionalized racism is still prevalent and widespread throughout government welfare policies and within the criminal justice system.

One of the greatest examples of systemic racism within American policy can be found in the stark differences between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) and Pell Grants. Food Stamps is an essential program that serves low income families, and provides them with a small stipend to pay for food (Leong). However since the 1930s the food stamp program has been highly controversial with many lawmakers often attacking the program’s efficiency and effectiveness. There have been countless attempts to defund the program and many use the image of the “welfare queen”, a black women with many children who is too lazy to work, to discredit the program (Leong). This image of “welfare queen” is problematic because it racializes the image of poverty and laziness and in turn racializes politics. Comparatively, Pell Grants are grants that provide much needed financial aid to families in need. While both programs are need based, Pell Grants primarily serve middle class white Americans, whereas Food Stamps primarily serve Black Americans living below the poverty line.

Despite being a much less efficient program Pell Grants have never been targeted or debated by politicians. The contrasting policies surrounding the programs can further be seen in the requirements to become a recipient of either program. For example, politicians in 15 states have tried to require drug testing in order to become a recipient of Food Stamps. (Leong). Conversely, Pell Grant recipients have never been required to complete drug testing in order to be a recipient. Despite Pell Grant recipients using drugs at a much higher rate to that of Food Stamp recipients, politicians have deemed it unnecessary to test Pell Grant recipients for drugs, while constantly advocating for drug testing amongst food stamp recipients (Leong).

Although, the disparity between the two programs may seem like only a small piece in the larger picture of racism. It is these small, microaggressions that pile up and make combatting institutionalized racism such a difficult task.  Furthermore, the startling disparity in arrest rates amongst whites and blacks within American Cities is further evidence of the institutionalized racism plaguing America.

In many communities both rural and urban alike large disparities between the arrest rates of blacks and whites are being seen (Heath). While the reasons behind these staggering disparities are highly disputed, they are an undeniable fact. One prime example of a city with large evidence of this arrest disparity is Dearborn, Michigan. In 2011 and 2012 more than half of those arrested by Dearborn police were black, despite blacks only making up 4% of the city’s population (Heath). Many view these statistics as irrefutable evidence of racial profiling within Dearborn, and some black individuals actively go out of their way to avoid the city and its police.

The battle for diversity in Dearborn, Michigan has come along way from the time when Police vehicles were emblazoned with the phrase “Keep Dearborn Clean”, but much of that progress has been slowed by institutionalized racism and the barriers it creates (Heath). Although arrests disparity is highlighted in Dearborn, it is a national issue, as nationwide, blacks are stopped, searched, arrested and imprisoned at rates higher than people of other races (Heath). In an FBI police department report of 2011 and 2012 it was found that 95% of police departments across America still face problems related to racial inequality. More than 152 after the civil black’s still face persecution at the hands of police. In addition, institutionalized racism extends not only throughout the police station but into the courthouse as well. The work of non-violent civil rights activists has made great strides in combating institutionalized racism within the justice system, but there is still much work to be done. Minorities still face a government who actively creates policies set to disenfranchise them (Lewis).

These policies allow for minorities, especially black men to face harsh sentences for petty crimes, while their white counterparts get off with little if any consequences. A poll taken in 2015 revealed that 76% of blacks believed the country’s criminal justice system favors whites (Struyk). Moreover, for young black men, the “crime” of talking back, looking suspicious, or putting their hands in their pockets can mean a death sentence with cops playing judge, jury, and executioner (Lewis). Within and outside the courtroom people will often try to justify a black man’s death, by bringing up their petty crimes, such as stealing cigarettes in the case of Eric Garner. This method proves effective because, by distorting homicide with the crime of robbery, it is much harder to find sympathy for black men such as Eric Garner (Lewis). Systemic and institutionalized racism allows for police to kill of hundreds of unarmed black men and teenagers, without facing any consequences or accountability for their consequences. The claim of protesters that while wearing a badge police officers are free of from justice and consequences, should not hold true after the hard work of peaceful protests throughout the 19th and 20th century. Heath, Brad.

“Racial Gap in U.S. Arrest Rates: ‘Staggering Disparity’.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 19 Nov. 2014,, Anne Day.

“The Not-so-Subtle Racism in American Politics.” TheHill, 12 July 2016,, John. “Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the ‘Other America’.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 15 Dec. 2014,

Struyk, Ryan. “Blacks and Whites See Racism in the United States Very, Very Differently.”CNN, Cable News Network, 18 Aug. 2017,


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