Long rant below. Scroll past this post if you don’t want to be annoyed by my opinions
Turn away now
If you are at all interested in Civil War American history, take a looky-see at this awesome half-hour documentary about statues honoring the Confederate States and the context of how these statues are memorialized.
Two things about it:
- Listen closely to how Mr. Cotton describes his name, and
- I will *never* forget being in Charleston for work-related training.
Let me just tell you the story of my Clinical Instructor. She grew up close to Charleston and was part of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. During that week of training, we somehow got on the topic of the Civil War. That instructor pointedly stated, “It wasn’t a war about slavery” and “We don’t call it the Civil War. We call it The War of Northern Aggression.” Now imagine this person saying it in a southern drawl.” I was left speechless.
I get honoring your ancestors to remember your past, but you should also see it in the eyes of someone whose family were destroyed because of it. So yes, burn them down! But … I believe that art is art and these statues should be appreciated for what they are: An important part of our country’s history. But provide context as to why it was built and the part of *American* History it honors, for Pete’s sake!
With that said, please ALSO watch the this other video before reading the rest of this rant. It’s a great lecture about “heritage.” I’ve learned something new in the wee hours of the morning (Thanks A LOT, Kurt! )
And now the rest of my rant.
What a GREAT video that outlines what use those statues / monuments served during that time in history. It recognizes that – when they were built, they serviced that town or city’s need to feel “superior” to others. It celebrates their “Heritage,” so to speak, at a time when these cities and towns felt threatened by someone else that didn’t look like them or sound like them.
THAT’S the narrative and context I was talking about up above. This is why I believe that, rather than defacing a monument / statue, they should be “displayed” somewhere else where it can be observed and discussed of American History.
That said, I truly believe that statues of “Southern Pride” (including that d*mn Confederate flag) do NOT belong in ANY public space. Because yes, they are a symbol of White Supremacy. Rather than destroy or deface these statues or monuments, some of them (not all) should be displayed in a place where people WANT to learn about why many of the other statues / monuments were torn down during our period in time.
Clearly I am a #BlackLivesMatter person. I’m just saying that those “symbols” are part of our history, whether we like it or not. Seeing them on display (at a history or art museum) could serve as a talking point to discuss racism both now and then. It could serve as an explanation of how we got to where we are right now; the Tipping point, as is mentioned in that second video.
This person is spot on in saying that at this moment in time, there has been more support and understanding of racism. And more of an understanding of what it’s like to be judged by the color of your skin, or what you look like from the outside.
Take me, for example. I can name *several* instances growing up in a relatively blue collar neighborhood of experiencing little micro-aggression because I was Asian:
How the manager of my first job called me Connie Chung, implying that because I’m Asian, I was smart like “All Asians” are. (Psst …Not true. I came very close to failing chemistry and microbiology at Oakland University.)
Or how I’ve been called an “Oriental Doll” or, better yet – a “Shogun Princess. ” By a classmate’s dad, nonetheless.
I’m ashamed of myself for not being brave enough to correct them, but I was only a kid. How do you tell a grown adult that you are NOT Chinese OR Japanese when you’re 9 or 10?
Then there was the time when I was 16, I was referred to (by a teacher, nonetheless, as “Oriental.” It’s as if I were just an object on display or a particular design style (Oriental rug, vase, painting, etc). To me, that term is one of the most, if not the number one thing that gets to this 1st generation Filipino-American.
I now tell people that I hate the term “Oriental” because it sounds like I’m being lumped into ALL Asian ethnicities, as if we were all one in the same.
Now that I’m assertive enough to say something, it’s surprising how people react: angry for being called out, remorse for not realizing how “Oriental” is considered offensive by most Asian-Americans.
I use my experiences as a talking point for those who might not realize that there’s more to being Asian than the “Model Minority” we’ve been labeled as.
- No, we’re NOT automatically smart.
- No, not all of us become doctors, nurses, engineers, or accountants.
- No, we’re NOT automatically smart. No, not all of us become doctors, nurses, or accountants.
- Yes, I can speak perfectly clear English, so stop telling me you don’t understand what I’m saying because of my “accent.”
My point is that we shouldn’t forget how we got here. And having CLEAR examples of racism can help more people to understand why it’s horrible and sickening.
Okay. Off soapbox for now.