North Texas Daily

Let’s talk about those photoshopped Confederate monument pictures

Let’s talk about those photoshopped Confederate monument pictures

Let’s talk about those photoshopped Confederate monument pictures
February 27
16:51 2018

A photoshopped smiling black boy can be found in photos for the sample design modifications of the Confederate monument on The Square.

Apart from the bizarre nature of this, hoping this action will somehow make the refusal to remove the statue better is insulting. It is contradictory to keep a Confederate statue in an effort to show how “far” Denton has come.

Continuing to give voice, thought and physical space to an image representing a terrible time in American history, plagued by hateful dehumanizing rhetoric, does not serve the larger purpose those who decided to keep the monument claim it does — even if there are modifications to show how bad slavery was.

Keeping the Confederate statue will always stand for the Confederate cause. No matter how people try to frame it, a monument of that kind, particularly one with such strong connotations like that of a Confederate soldier, will always be overshadowed by its original message: slavery.

What historical significance does it really have? The first thing most people think of when they see any sort of Confederate memorabilia is slavery, no matter what an individual believe it stands for. It’s about responsibility and seeing the full picture.

The strongest historical argument is that slavery was not the true reason it was initially erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and it’s argued the statue is meant to honor America’s veterans. However, research shows that these statues were put up during times in American history when African-Americans were attempting to assert their civil rights.

Considering the Confederate statue in Denton was erected in 1918 — a full 53 years after the war had ended, but during which Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan were terrorizing black people — the “honoring veterans” assertion is iffy. Why weren’t these statues erected immediately after the war? Why did veterans suddenly become so interesting at this time, as opposed to right after the war, when the effects were so apparent?

There are better ways to honor veterans — like caring for them physically, emotionally and psychologically after they’ve served. But that’s a whole other issue.

Including the picture of the black boy is a half-hearted attempt at compensating for the lack of amends the monument decision itself actually makes.

Better ways to show how far America has come and the work we still need to do would be honoring civil rights activists, popularly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or perhaps someone from Denton or the DFW area. It’s strange to want to continue voicing the wrongs committed through the voices of those who orchestrated them.

There is no one better to tell this story than those who overcame the hardships presented to them. Including the image of a black boy is not doing the work. It is putting an offensive patch over the fact that no real effort is being made to truly right history’s wrongs.

A statue of someone who fought tirelessly for the rights of black people in America, who showed excellence and humanity, will always be 100 times better for a black child to see than a Confederate statue somehow meant to “disparage” or “caution” America’s racist legacy by, reversely, bringing attention to it and not the people who overcame it.

It is time for another voice to be given a stage, one that historically has been silenced and underappreciated. This statue does not do this, even with its photoshopped black child.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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