Serious conversations about dismantling systemic racism
In recent days removing Confederate monuments and names of known racists from public spaces has dominated the national conversation. What have to ask ourselves, “What are we honoring when we memorialize Confederacy?”
South Carolina’s statement of secession reveals racist beliefs of southern states and their false claim of “white supremacy”:
“This sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons, who by the Supreme Law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens…”
The Supreme Law they are referring to is the Constitution, and their objection to the North was that in many northern states, African Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, and even Asians were being included in citizenship in violation of the Constitution. They make it clear that the US was created to be a white country, only for the English descendants.
Historically, the English were called “barbarians” by the Eastern European Christendom and the “civilized” eastern Mediterranean region, thus validating the Vatican’s colonization of British Isles. Through Magna Carta, the English claimed their “God-given ability” to self-govern and fought for their freedom from Popes, who claimed that since English lacked the ability to govern themselves, they needed to be ruled over, so to protect them from themselves.
English settlers in the US claimed that the “God-given ability” to self-rule was given only to them, and “equality of all men” in the Constitution applied only to white males of English heritage. In their belief, all others, including women, lacked the ability to govern civil society. Therefore, in the Constitution, African Americans were counted as only 3/5 of a person, and all other non-Western Europeans were completely excluded. The exclusion was predicated by labeling Native peoples as “savages” and Asians as “pagans” and Africans as “animals.” Thus the founding of the delusion of white supremacy.
The South intended to create a “white only america” (not capitalizing is intentional), and their rationale was based on the perverted idea that anyone who was not “white” lacked “capability” to be a US citizen. They claimed God as their witness. They also started a war to preserve the brutal slavery system that made them very wealthy.
The total casualties, military, and civilians of the Civil War is estimated around 1.2 million people, and that is twice the total number of American lives lost in all wars since the Civil War, combined.
Most of the Confederate monuments were put up during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights years and historian Jane Dailey from the University of Chicago states that “the purpose of the monuments was not to celebrate the past, but rather to promote a ‘white supremacist future.’” Since the 2015 Charleston attack, 114 Confederate statues have been removed, but 1,747 still stand in public squares, and many of these are protected by state laws of the former Confederate states. Their maintenance is paid by taxpayers.
The Confederacy was founded on the racist ideology of white supremacy, and Confederate monuments oppress, brutalize and traumatize people of color. Removal of racist names and graven images of hatred is a small act of repentance of national sin.