Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

Having lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and having attended both de-facto segregated schools (grades 4, 7-8.5,10-12) and integrated/de-segregted schools (grades 1-3, 5-6,8.5-9), and having worked in environments that included multicultural settings, I’m going to offer my $0.02 on race relations and confederate statues and monuments.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Albany, Georgia. That May, we did what we had always done: we took Memorial Day off from school. But at that school, they didn’t take that day off.

Other than the accents, that was the first serious difference I noticed about the South. We hadn’t been taught much about the Civil War at that time, but we would get quite the education in the coming years.

In 7th grade, when we moved to Nashville, I attended a private Christian (fundamentalist) school for the first half, and then transitioned to a public school when we moved to nearby Hendersonville. In the former, we learned Tennessee history, and the coverage was fair. We had not, however, reached the coverage of the Civil War. When I moved, we had just covered Andrew Jackson. At the public school–where I finished 7th grade and the first part of 8th grade–nothing was ever addressed. The Civil War was not covered, pro or con.

However, over the years, we traveled between Ohio and Florida. Oftentimes, we would stop in Lookout Mountain. We got to see different perspectives on the Civil War. It was covered fairly.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of memorials and monuments. Each tells a story. Sometimes those memorials can represent unsavory times in our history; sometimes those memorials celebrate great victories; some of them–Vietnam in particular–represent a painful testament to very bad choices by our leaders.

In America, we have a tendency to memorialize our history for both better and worse. Sometimes we over-romanticize the accounts; other times, we tell the sobering truth. But monuments and memorials provide an opportunity for reflection regarding the person, the event, and the outcomes.

This is why, as much as I HATE the KKK, I have no problem with a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps one of the most enigmatic military figures in American history. Yes, he was a founder of the KKK. But you know what? If you study about him, you will find that, near the end of his life, he provided the following remarks in a speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.
I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don’t believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.
I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.
Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

Does a statue tell me all of that? No. But statues often leave me wondering about individuals, and give me a note to look that person up and check out the balance of his or her life. I often do the same thing regarding monuments to battles.

Monuments and memorials represent a story. Sometimes that story is sordid and bitter, as every great nation in history has had sordid and bitter periods in their histories. Sometimes that story is glorious. But those are about who we were and how they have shaped who we are today.

Almost every year, MrsLarijani and I flock to Dayton for the Air Force Marathon, which is held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was a place I frequented during my grade-school days, it is where I did my first marathon. We always tour the museum the day before.

In that museum are aircraft of all types, going back to attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers. It includes aircraft of all types throughout every era of aviation, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, and even the era since the Cold War.

Those aircraft include German WWI aircraft and WWII aircraft, Japanese aircraft from WWII, and even Soviet aircraft from the Cold War era. Among the aircraft on display is a North Korean MiG-15 that was flown by a professor of mine who defected at the end of the Korean War.

The Germans and Japanese–and dare I say the North Koreans in collusion with China and the Soviet Union during the Korean War–killed thousands of Americans. Ditto for North Vietnamese who flew Soviet aircraft.

I have no problem including those in the museum, as they provide a forum that one may learn (a) the history of flight, (b) the history that drove the development of such aircraft, and (c) the state of flight today, for both better and worse, as a result of those factors.

I once believed that the equitable solution here with respect to statues and monuments was to create museums for their inclusion, while opposing their destruction. Having seen what is going on today, however, I am opposed to moving them. Leave the statues and monuments as they are.

Today’s leftist fixation on monuments and memorials is a recent thing and is being driven by mostly Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who have nothing in common with the movers and shakers of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I cannot help but question the SJW preoccupation on statues and monuments at this time, given that (a) that war has been over for 150 years and (b) not even the iconoclastic movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement targeted them. While some could argue that MLK had other irons in the fire at the time, many years have passed between then and now. Race relations had been improving greatly until the push for reparations began circulating in the late 1990s.

The cynic in me suggests that there is a more insidious agenda going on here, and it isn’t simply about race relations, but rather something more totalitarian in nature, with the lure of reparations in the form of “social justice” as bait, as an endgame.

I have some good friends who are totally on-board with removing Confederate statues; at the same time, from what I see from the SJWs, it won’t stop there. In fact, they’re already aiming for statues of our Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and–ironically enough–even Lincoln.

To that point, those who ask, “When will it end?”, indeed have a legitimate question.

One thing we must remember: SJWs, at their core, are cultural Marxists. The authors of their playbooks are Marx, Mao, and Alinsky, their leanings Communist, and their appeal to the Christian is merely to recruit useful idiots.

And when understanding Communists, we must remember that it is not a political or an economic ideology but rather a militant Atheist religion that seeks to impose itself through political , military, and economic means. They have killed more of their own people in peacetime alone than any system on earth.

There are radical totalitarian groups in the Middle East who are destroying statues and monuments: they are ISIS.

The only difference between ISIS and our SJWs is that the former is motivated by Islam and the latter by communism.

Are SJWs seeking to kill you? I doubt it. They do, however, seek to rule over you and impose their system of law and justice on you. And to do that, they must gaslight you into accepting their narrative about history.

But for that to happen, they must make it more difficult for you to identify with the truth.

What you must remember, however, is this: even if you are a minority, the SJW is not your friend. You are just a means to his end, just as the laborer was to Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.

13 thoughts on “Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

    • Yes! I said exactly that to a friend of mine the other day.

      And they are a lot like ISIS, only without the beheadings. For now…

      • We must not forget what the Bolsheviks did to Imperial Russia and the Romanov family. The same sort of savagery is in danger of being repeated.

  1. This debate hits home for me in more ways than one. I grew up just outside Richmond, VA, the former capital of the Confederacy. The city’s most famous street is Monument Avenue, which contains monuments to several Confederate figures, including Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. In the 1990’s the city erected a statue of tennis great Arthur Ashe, which seems out of place. Removing the Confederate monuments would forever change the street’s character. It might also be illegal as the section of Monument Avenue containing the Confederate monuments is listed on both federal and state historic registers. Nonetheless, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney asked a city commission to look into the possibility of removing the monuments as well as considering other options. And Gov. Terry McAuliffe banned rallies and demonstrations at the Lee monument for the time being.

    I also graduated from a high school which used Confederate symbols such as the battle flag when I was a student in the mid-1970’s. The symbols have long since been jettisoned, although the school’s athletic teams still use the Rebels moniker. I wonder if there will be a discussion about this at our upcoming 40-year class reunion.

    I fail to see how tearing down statues and monuments will do anything useful to address our country’s deep divisions. It also seems to me a waste of tax dollars which could be used more effectively on other purposes. I wonder how many New Orleans residents, for example, are wishing the city had used tax monies to fix water pumps rather than take down Confederate monuments in the wake of recent flooding.

    • The war on monuments and statues has nothing to do with race relations and is an SJW ploy to further divide America and terrorize anyone who opposes SJWs.

      Their agenda is very much a totalitarian one; you can think of them as the communist version of ISIS.

  2. I have been concerned about this issue as well. I am amazed at how many mainstream leftists have refused to condemn both the white supremacists as well as Antifa. It is like it is contradictory in their minds to do so. Worse than that, they have tried to expand everything out to make it look like everyone on the right is a neo-confederate or neo-NAZI. What is so dangerous about that is that any speech now designated as “hate speech” or “racist” can now be met with violence, and the person who made the speech will be blamed, not the people who reacted in violence. In essence, saying anything not sanctioned by the leftist elites will get you beaten up, and possibly even killed. That is the danger of this idea that speech can incite someone to violence. Speech doesn’t incite anyone to violence. People who have no self-control incite themselves to violence out of an inzbility to control their anger, as violence is a moral problem.

    Sadly, this connection of groups on the basis of left or right voting patterns reminds me a whole lot of the French Revolution, where anyone in the aristocracy was connected with the evils of the past aristocracy, no matter how much they may have disavowed and even worked to help the common people. That kind of thinking lead to blood flowing in the strrets, and heads rolling from the guillotine. That is why groups like Antifa and the left’s refusal to condemn their actions is so dangerous. I don’t want to see a French Revolution on our soil, but, if this keeps up, we will. It is dangerous, dangerous stuff.

    • That’s exactly where this is heading if cooler heads don’t prevail. The problem is that, as Vox Day often points out, SJWs (a) always lie, (b) always double down, and (c) always project.

      What makes that dynamic especially problematic is that SJWs don’t really care about facts. This is why, in their minds, anyone who opposes their agenda is a “Nazi”, and also why they fail to see the irony in their support of communism–as they fly the Soviet flag–while ostensibly opposing fascism, even though communism and national socialism, as government models, are variants of fascism.

      This is also why the MSM, which is aligned with the SJWs, prefers to flagrantly ignore the facts when they “report” the news.

      • That earlier video about victimhood by Jordan Peterson explains accurately the psychology of those leftist types who end up doing evil.

        This oppressor/victimhood narrative(feminists and all those who abuse “abuse” and ”domestic violence”) allows evil to be committed without any semblance of guilt and opens the way for horrific crimes like genocide.

        Without respect for truth and an anchoring in God can easily spiral into the horrors of the 20th century

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