North Texas Daily

Confederate history is un-American

Confederate history is un-American

Confederate history is un-American
July 10
12:00 2020

We have all borne witness to a literal change in history recently. Images of Confederate statues and monuments being taken down in different states have flooded media since the death of George Floyd which caused a re-ignition to the Black Lives Matter movement. From the removal of the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond, Virginia to calls for Mount Rushmore to also be taken down, the presence of the movement was felt on our front yard when the Denton County Confederate soldier monument was removed from the Square.

Public opinion is mixed with some citizens criticizing the removal of the confederate statues as “defacement” to public property. On the other side of the fence, protestors claim that the removal of the statues is directly eliminating the celebration of historical figures who were well-documented racists. There is not much of a grey area as General Jackson received three slaves as part of a dowry before his marrying his second wife Mary Anna, so why is there a problem for him to be canceled long after his death? Naturally, there would be some outcry for the removal of the confederate soldiers because they died fighting for their country but we need to take into consideration what they were fighting for.

The Confederacy was un-American at its core. America was founded with several values in mind such as independence, equality and optimism which is everything the Confederacy was against. The confederacy valued states’ rights, a more religious constitution and the legality of slavery. Slavery negates American values because it is the antithesis of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Confederacy wasn’t built on freedom from oppression, it was founded on fighting to keep people oppressed.

It was founded on separating from the Union as an act of rebellion against an incoming president because their way of life was threatened. The South relied on slavery for mass cotton production so much, they believed they could force diplomacy between European countries and the Federal government due to cotton from the South comprising more than half of U.S. exports. Though this isn’t the sole reason why southern states began succeeding from the union, it’s undeniably one of the biggest factors. Confederate soldiers fought to protect flawed values which is why the Confederate flag is seen as a symbol of hate and any form of artifact relating to the Confederacy is almost certainly deemed guilty by association.

Why is the defacement of Confederate monuments striking a nerve with certain groups of individuals? People are undoubtedly influenced by political leaders because with power comes so whenever President Donald Trump opens his mouth then you better believe people are going to listen even if it isn’t for the better. What is Trump’s stance on the removal of confederate statues? Trump has voiced his displeasure at the idea and called a group of white nationalists in defense of Confederate statues being “very fine people,” according to an article by the Washington Post.

Trump has also stated his desire to push forward an executive order that will imprison people who remove Confederate statues for a very long time. Trump has denounced these protestors as “hoodlums” and “anarchists” who don’t love the country since they are taking down “our” monuments. By name and appearance, I am a person of color. I’m proud of my Mexican American heritage and wouldn’t change any aspect of my experience because it’s modeled me into the person I am. Without any interest in vilifying white Americans, the experience of a minority in America differs from their own as minorities have a long rap sheet of discrimination in our own country.

Jim Crow laws prevented the full freedom of Black Americans for 100 years after slavery. Millions of Mexican Americans were illegally deported back to Mexico during the Great Depression since then-President Herbert Hoover wanted “real” Americans to get jobs. As a reaction to Pearl Harbor, the government placed Japanese-Americans in internment camps which is just a lighter word for concentration camps.

We may be from the South but those monuments are not our heritage. Those monuments do not tell our story nor does the Confederate flag. They tell a story of separation and human rights violations. They serve as grim reminders of America’s past and are not to be celebrated by being up for display. It happened and we cannot change the past but we can change the future. We can begin again by celebrating heroic Americans who fought for unity like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X or Dolores Huerta. Unity is a value which should be the priority of every American at this moment, not defending statues that commemorate a past that rebelled against the values and justices we seek today.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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