Some people seem to think that the movements to remove Confederate statues from city parks or change brand names and images (like Uncle Ben’s Rice) is going too far.
Well, it’s not going too far. And it’s not changing history either.
It’s about being honest about the past and striving to make things better for all.
Let’s go back in time for a bit.
Since the founding of the United States, slavery had been a festering issue that was creating frustration, anger, and division. During the 1800s, as territories became states, there were bitter arguments and clashes over whether they would be a free or slave state. The South was worried that if too many states became free, the balance of power could shift in that direction, eventually threatening slavery itself.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was part of the effort by the American government to maintain a balance of power between the free vs slave states by admitting Missouri into the Union as a slave state and Maine as free. This was done to try to prevent war.
But the slavery issue continued bleeding and dividing the nation.
When Abraham Lincoln, who was against slavery, became president, tensions boiled over. Southern states’ rights advocates decided to secede creating the Confederacy. They clearly did this in order to preserve the disgusting institution of slavery.
So even though a Southern soldier might have gone to war with the idea that he was fighting for his home, he was also fighting to preserve slavery.
A horrible institution treating human beings as property. That is ultimately what Confederate soldiers were fighting for.
Something else to consider with regards to Confederate statues. Many were erected by white Americans with white supremacist attitudes as part of their efforts to quash Black Civil Rights movements. This is also why the Confederate flag was included in multiple Southern state flags. It was part of the campaigns by racist white Americans to oppress the African American population. To keep Black people “in their place.” That is truly sick when you think about it.
Now, think about this: statues in city parks should honor people, movements, or organizations that the majority of the current population can agree deserve such treatment. Considering this country’s history, that is certainly not Confederate soldiers or the Confederate flag.
That is why it is definitely time for change.
A city park is not the place for a Confederate statue, and no state flag should include the Confederate flag. It’s the 21st Century folks!
As to brand names and images like Uncle Ben’s Rice or Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, they need to be changed too because they are based on grossly demeaning, racist stereotypes that were used by white Americans with racist attitudes in their desire to keep themselves in charge.
It is time for positive change.
Let’s learn from the past so as not to repeat the wrongs that have been done.
We must embrace our diversity and be more accepting, understanding, tolerant, and supportive of everyone.