There have been many low points in our country’s history, but none come close to slavery. The era of American slavery has produced deep-rooted beliefs of racism and bigotry that have presented themselves in numerous aspects in all of our lives. While there has been a general trend for equality over time, not everyone feels the same today. When it comes to remembering famous figures throughout history, many have been represented as statues or somewhat vague monuments.
Recently, many of the monuments “honoring” confederate leaders have been defaced, torn down, damaged, and legally removed as well due to the protests for black equality. Most examples were not met with total support. A monument of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond was vandalized, however, I don’t like that word in this context because it has a negative connotation as it is the label of an actual legal charge. It is clearly wrong to vandalize city property, city art in general, but how wrong is it if the statue stands for crimes themselves? It is also without question that the crimes committed by these leaders are much worse than anyone could do damaging property because they were crimes against humanity and heinous concerning specific treatments. I find it very interesting, and a sign of how far we still have to go, that someone who sprays paints stone in a park will be arrested or punished in some way, but the person who enslaved other human beings is shown off as a symbol of our history. The governor of Virginia issued the removal of the statue, but a judge passed an injunction due to complaints from supporters of the statue. Yes, supporters.
George Floyd, the man tragically murdered by Derek Chauvin, a Minnesota police officer, became the leading symbol of the modern movement for equality. He was honored through a memorial statue as well in New York. His representation stood for freedom and the continued fight for equality for everyone, not just black people. What’s upsetting is that his monument was already defaced twice. Remember those supporters of the prior statues? They felt the need to vandalize the memorial of a man murdered in cold blood due to the racism created/furthered by the people in those other statues. I find this a compelling juxtaposition of the dynamic alive in today’s world.
Are each of those actions seen equal in the eyes of the law? The intent behind each was evidently morally different. Should representations of racist leaders remain standing they portray their wrongdoings? Or is it wrong to remember them in any way?