Moving Confederate Statues - A Distraction and A Waste


So the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has moved a step closer to removing the obelisk that honors the Confederacy from Decatur Square. Last week, the commission established by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to explore what to do about the numerous monuments, markers and streets bearing Confederate names…held its first meeting. Now what? Just imagine the time, energy and resources that are being spent on what is essentially a fool’s errand. That’s because you cannot erase history. You just can’t. You can tear down all visual vestiges of the Confederacy, and there still will have been a Civil War. Slavery will still have existed and the lingering maladies of slavery’s brutalization—especially of black men—is still with us. That would be a more proper focus for remediation than tearing down stones, bricks and signs.The forces that have sought to keep black folks and white folks at each other’s throats since the late 1990s, I believe, are responsible for pushing this non-issue to the forefront. It had not been on any African-American agenda that I’d heard of. Now, we’re rabid about obliterating the Confederacy! Okay, so you tear down the statues, then what?How will we explain the history of the Civil Rights movement to future generations? They’ll see statues, murals, street signs and buildings named for Dr. King, Ambassador Young, Congressman Lewis and Dr. Joseph Lowery and ask, “What or who were they fighting against, Mommy?” And there won’t be anything to show them outside of a museum. Dr. King’s statues, Barack Obama’s presidency and our hard-won liberties are the counterpoint to Confederate mementos. The former exist because of the latter. The reminders of the “war between the states” haven’t stopped our march onward and upward. Why, in the name of the Creator, are we letting them distract and alienate us again now?

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