Essay on Confederate Statures and Historical Racism

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1516 Words
Date:  2022-04-28


There is a heated discussion on how to deal with the so-called ghosts of our past which comes in the wake of Charlottesville's violent as well as despicable demonstrations (Holland 1). It is worth noting that the white extremists that camped in Charlottesville to protest against the imminent toppling of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert Lee did it in the name of history while having other reasons. However, they claimed that for them the monument is a historical symbol for present and future generations. While Baltimore is doing away with its Confederate monuments and other protesters are destroying other such monuments in Durham a question we should be asking ourselves is what position that the objects held in America's life (Chan 1). Confederate symbols which include monuments of the past leaders more specifically, the battle flag is now a topic of discussion with the detractors claiming that they promote white supremacy, as well as, racial profiling and discrimination while people from the South regard them as representations of history (Williams). Although the discussion on the moral legality of the Confederate shrines can be an essential device for mobilizing public participation and cultural education, a historical perspective will be handy in deciding if the pillars ought to be considered as ethically harmless history or convicted as racist publicity.

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A particular school of thought opines that a monument is not just commemorative, but it preserves and provides honor. Therefore, a public statue upholds its object in the literal sense. Now, in a community which is struggling with profound racial discord and high tension, do we a have a reason to maintain such figures? Instead, other historical data that are worthy of commemorating should be erected (Gilbert 38). However, the current Confederate statistics should not be destroyed but taken to a museum where they can get context but not in a lofty position of a public square.

Amidst, this debate is the question of what the Civil War was all about. Individuals campaigning against the destruction Confederate Statues argue that it revolved around States' rights while those on the other divisions have it that Civil War was all about slavery (Schragger 58). However, according to the American history, Civil war is about slavery in the sense that people fought over slaves. Additionally, to the level that it was all about States' rights at all, it was about the power of states to maintain slavery. According to Ta-Nehisi Coates, the first state to break free from the Union recorded a statement that it considered its efforts to stop slavery and provide people of color their rights as being hostile to the South and against its long-standing beliefs and safety. Louisiana Commissioner Gorge Williamson wrote a letter to Texas trying to convince them to remain a Confederate state saying that they share an everyday necessity and determination to maintain African slavery (Gilbert 39). Notably, different other countries have made the same sentiments echoing slavery and white supremacy in their efforts of secession. Therefore, the South fought during the Civil war to maintain ideologies of white power and servitude.

A majority of the monuments that we are holding debates about were built in 1890 and 1930, and it is necessary to note that they were intended to adore what is popularly known as "Lost Cause" which was an age of pragmatic past. This crusade aimed to blind us from the fact that the South departed as of the Union to promote slavery (Gilbert 38). This story whose basis is not sound enough goes in line with the efforts of the South in the 20th century a period when a system of local and federal laws was put in place which promoted segregation and denied African Americans a right to vote and access to quality education (Gilbert 38). Besides, during the better part of the 20th century, "states' rights "paved the way for local efforts for discrimination popularly termed as Jim Crow Laws to take place.

Consequently, in the same period, the appearance of a solemn Confederate soldier holding a rifle with a hand in front of multiple court halls at the South represented more of a political statement than war monument. Anybody can imagine the anger and hatred that an African American walking into the courtrooms will have upon seeing the larger-than-life gaze of a Confederate soldier standing in front of them. It is essential to bear in mind that during the 20th century, women had no right of voting and the poll taxes and literacy tests segregated people of the color and peasant farmers belonging to any race. As a result, it is an uphill task to considering the local and federal government decisions of the period as being democratic. Therefore, the statues only remind people of the dark days when discrimination against minority groups of people was at its peak.

Schedler asserts that even monuments that arouse racist stereotypes have cultural value inherent in them. He goes as far as quoting the famous utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill who wrote the book "On Liberty" making his point clear on suppression who states that the strange evil of silencing the expression of an idea is that it is stealing from humankind. Schedler continues to reiterate that Mill went on saying that there is no excuse for the government to cultivate the seedlings of racism but giving all the citizens a right to choose on propagating it and the benefits of suppression pale when compared to those of debate (Schedler). On top of that, the Confederates are protected in the First Amendment which provides for the freedom of expression (Foner). Therefore, to attain government suppression, the affected parties must have a proof that the message passed by the monuments violates any of their essential liberties including equal protection under the law which cannot work bearing in mind the Supreme Court's acceptance of the weaknesses for supporting free public expression. Schedler is offering a better option by coming up with an interpretive material that leads to less racist conclusions. Consequently, he opines that it is a long-lasting solution rather than destroying a whole monument which is not subject to arousing feelings of racial disparity and white supremacy (Schedler).

However, any Statue that was made during and supporting the Lost Cause and Jim Crow period are more disturbing. According to the book "Between the World and Me" which was written by Coates, the history of destruction of the country's heritage dates back to not only slavery but also battles of Civil War, the suppressive Jim Crow laws, police brutality, as well as racial stereotyping and development and cultivation of the Dream (Coates). It is worth noting that the dream is one of the themes of the works of Coates. Accordingly, white people are not aware of racism as African Americans and tend to turn a blind eye to anything that is not pleasing and has never recognized themselves as being racists Coates). The Statue can be a nightmare to people like Coates who is going through trauma after losing a fellow African American Friend called Prince Jones. The boy is killed by white Police under very unclear circumstances. According to utilitarianism laws, it is worth doing something for the benefit of the majority of the population, and since the statues directly affect psychologically African Americans, they should be eliminated and instead monuments of people that are worthy of commemorating, for example, Martin Luther King should be erected.


Consequently, what can we say of the city of Richmond? The latest ethicists consider the Confederate monuments as a recipe for more significant issues of racial discrimination in future that are still imminent in Richmond. Although the most prominent section of detractors has it that fighting over Confederate symbolism is not crucial since removing the monuments will have no impact, this discussion has practical implications. Statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, are clear symbols of white supremacy and therefore should be brought to their knees.

Work Cited

Williams, Michael P. "It's Time for Confederate Monuments to Come Down." Richmond Times-Dispatch, 25 June 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Reilly, Katie. "University of Texas Sued for Removing Confederate Statues from Campus After Charlottesville." Fortune.Com, 26 Aug. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

Holland, Jesse J. "Deadly Charlottesville Protests Accelerate Efforts to Remove Confederate Statues." Time.Com, 15 Aug. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

Chan, Melissa. "'It's Done.' Baltimore Removes Its Confederate Statues." Time.Com, 16 Aug. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

Schragger, Richard C. "When White Supremacists Invade a City." Va. L. Rev. Online 104 (2018): 58.

Foner, Eric. "Confederate Statues and 'Our'History." New York Times A 25 (2017).

Schedler, George. "Are Confederate Monuments Racist?" International Journal of Applied Philosophy 15.2 (2001): 287-308. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Gilbert, Paul. "A MONUMENTAL Decision: What to Do with Confederate Monuments?." Parks & Recreation, vol. 52, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 36-39. EBSCOhost,

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. , 2015. Internet resource.

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