After the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, there’s been a new push from liberals and progressives around the country to remove statues and tributes to the Confederacy. However, a predominantly black group in Dallas, Texas are fighting back to keep the Confederate monuments standing.
Former Dallas city council member Sandra Crenshaw, who’s African American, told CBS News that removing statues that pay tribute to the Confederacy won’t help.
“I’m not intimidated by Robert E. Lee’s statue. I’m not intimidated by it. It doesn’t scare me,” Crenshaw said. “We don’t want America to think that all African Americans are supportive of this.”
She continued. “Some people think that by taking a statue down, that’s going to erase racism. It’s misguided.”
Saturday’s rally in Charlottesville was intended to protest the decision of the city council to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park (formerly known as Lee Park).
On Monday, protesters in Durham, North Carolina, in response to the violence in Charlottesville, toppled a bronze Confederate statue outside the old Durham County Court House by strapping a rope around the statue’s neck.
Crenshaw is part of a group that includes some Buffalo Soldier historians and Sons of Confederate Veterans to put a stop to the movement. And she brings up a good point about erasing racism.
One can make an argument against the Confederacy getting participation trophies in a war that they lost. However, to borrow a quote from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
In 2015, when former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol in light of the Charleston massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church by a white supremacist, it was praised from all sides. However, it didn’t do anything to heal the wounds created by Dylann Roof.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in March, worries about race relations among Americans is at an all-time high. In 2014, only 17 percent of Americans worried a “great deal” about race relations. In 2017, 42 percent of Americans now feel that same sentiment.
Confederate statues may be a symbol of a time when racism was more integrated into our society, but those days are over. Confederate monuments have next to no power and influence today.
Former President Barack Obama tweeted a quote from the late Nelson Mandela in reaction to the violence in Charlottesville in which he said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Americans need to be more worried about their own behavior and what they teach their children about the racial hatred that exists in this country (e.g. slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, etc.). By keeping Confederate statues and monuments standing, we can teach our children about the very real evil that exists in this country. And by learning how evil some people are from our history, we can teach our children how to love and respect their fellow human being, so that they’re not doomed to repeat it.