Confederate Statues: Symbol of Cultural Art or Racism?
The history of America has been preserved in different artistic materials such as the Confederate statues. These statues have particular expressed America's violent history and had celebrated it as such from one generation to another. However, there has been a wave of violence sparked by the debate surrounding these confederate statues due to their racial history and violence related to them. Different racial groups in the US have also identified themselves with such statues hence seen as a disrespected to the people whose rights were violated by the events and people commemorated by the statues. For example, the violence which broke out in Charlottesville Virginia resulted from a clash between protesters who were planning to remove Confederate statues from one of the city park and another group who still though the statue had greater meaning in their lives. This incidence created a new series of race-related debates facing the current US administration.
The violence and protests in Virginia have prompted different communities to silently remove the statues without waiting for violence this trend has spread from large cities such as Baltimore to even smaller ones like Franklin in Ohio. In some situation, the authorities opt to remove the statues while in different scenarios the people topple the statues themselves. However, the removal of the confederate statues has received a backlash from the monument supporters. Evidently, the society is sharply divided on the role of these artistic monuments in the parks and cities in different US communities with President Trump leading the park. In his response to the Virginia violence, the president registered his displeasure at how the history and culture of America were being ripped by the removal of the Confederate statues. He was therefore considered to be supporting the protestors at Charlottesville.
The views expressed by President Trump increased the debate around racism and the Confederate statues since he was not perceived as being neutral in the whole matter. In as much as the history and culture are being ripped by taking down the statues, the presidents and other groups such as the white supremacists should not ignore the motives behind such aggravations by such people. The people against the statues understand and appreciate the value of these pieces of history. However, the double standards applied in dealing with matters of racism have ignited the wave of the statue’s removal. Most people of color feel that racial discrimination and intolerance has tremendously increased with the Trumps administration.
The arguments of the people opposing the confederate statures acknowledge the important dark history of the country they carry such as slavery, civil and the Jim Crow. However, their concern which has led to the removal debate revolves around the fact that these statures are also a representation of the modern-day racism in America which according to them President Trump’s administration has failed to conclusively address. The government is not giving proper attention to issues of police shooting black men such as those witnessed in Ferguson and Charleston. The debate about the Confederate statues according to the Black Lives activist should go deeper than just ripping off the country of its rich history and culture to include modern-day racism and ways of addressing inequality and discriminations in the current societies.
The debate on the Confederacy is deeply rooted on white supremacy which extends to the statues and symbols dedicated to it. They confederate statues are just disguised as representing America’s history, but in the real sense, it promotes the cultural heritage of the white people. Most of the American societies are coming to terms with this fact hence sparking protests to remove them from areas where they carry the dark sins of the past.
The argument on whether the removal of the confederate statues erase white history does not hold since the original intentions of building them were to honor slavery, racism and white supremacy. As the discussion about these issues gain momentum and become open so is the agitation to ultimately take down those statues. The statues in New Orleans commemorated the insurgency of white supremacist against the state's police force and militia which were racially integrated. It is also apparent that most of the Confederate statues in the South were built during the Jim Crow era as a clear response to the civil rights movement. This is a clear sign that they represented the views of the white supremacists at the South.
In the current American society, the underlying battle waged against the Confederate statues should be broadened to discuss the issues about race in the society. The push for racial justice has been an ongoing process over the years with some instances of a push backs from the white supremacists that have a feeling of more entitlement. Organizations like the Black Lives Matter have expressed how minority groups in the US societies are still disadvantages. The increase in racial bias in the society especially from the white supremacists who support the Confederate statues has been given a fresh life by the rhetoric of president Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. He constantly used racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements during his campaigns which gave the white Americans a new beginning since they felt that the rise in civil right movements and diversity had left them lagging.
The Confederate statues represented an excellent case on how arts are useful in representing various issues in the society. However, it is apparent that the motive behind erecting such statues was to anchor the idea of white supremacy which promoted slavery and other violations of civil liberties such as racism and discrimination. Removing the statues is, therefore, a right step in achieving unity and tolerance in a highly diverse society.