Quick to forgive
With respect to the opinions of Bette McCall Miller and Jay McMillen regarding the removal of statues, buildings, etc. of people who owned slaves [Sunday’s Trib], I’d like to offer another viewpoint.
Of course these men whom they so highly praise as having done amazing things, well, would have done amazing things. It’s easy to accumulate wealth and resources when you don’t pay for the labor to build it. The real heroes are the ones who kept these institutions going, who made changes here and there that allowed these institutions to prosper and grow inclusively over the years. Slavery is such an abstract idea to many of us, hard to comprehend even when you think you can. To wake up day in and day out a slave, to be used as another sees fit, to be ripped from your family, to be seen as a thing rather than a human. How nice it must be that we can easily forgive men who did such things, celebrate them in fact, and completely ignore the memory of those who never had the chance to live a full life under these men. Slavery was just as horrid then as it is now, and we know there were people who opposed it even then. So “forgiveness” due to the era is inexcusable. They knew what they were doing, but it was profitable for them. The American way!
God bless those souls so easily forgotten because their master was “a man of God” in other areas. History should never be forgotten, but it most certainly does not have to be openly celebrated to understand it. Scholarships are a much better use of money than watching an expensive statue decay over time, anyway.
Jacob Mendoza, Waco
Lots of ink has been spilled in an effort to indict the American policing system as inherently racist on the back of the Derek Chauvin verdict. I am skeptical that an individual case with no racial factor identified can support such a weighty claim.
That criticism is better directed at legitimately egregious outgrowths of America’s white supremacist past. Confederate memorials, for instance, serve as a horrific reminder to Black citizens that our country still respects the legacy of racist traitors and defenders of chattel slavery. Opponents of removing these statues, mostly conservatives like myself, would say that historical monuments are only meant to teach history, honor our heritage, and remind us of the countless human lives sacrificed during the Civil War. I certainly understand their perspective, but the notion that most Confederate monuments deserve to remain standing is a weak proposition. Put simply, the cost of these memorials far outweighs their benefit to modern society.
The reality is most of these relics were created to advance a pseudo-historical, “lost cause” interpretation of the Civil War wherein the Confederacy is said to have fought for admirable reasons. While some of them are dedicated to honoring human sacrifice and deserve to remain standing, the majority extol the glories of the Confederacy and its leaders by their very nature. In Texas, for example, we still celebrate Confederate Heroes Day every year.
Americans can still gain a deep understanding of the Civil War even after these memorials are relocated to museums or battlefields, through the proper channels, which is the appropriate response. They may be a part of our heritage, but we need not pretend like they are worthy of our honor.
Tanner Daniels, Hewitt