Let’s F*ck Up Statues Of Slave Owners Every Juneteenth!
During the recent protests following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor ... honestly, just way too many Black people ... protesters have targeted statues of gross white supremacists. There aren't just one or two. They're like Woody Allen movies spread across the nation.
Friday night, protesters in DC toppled a statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike. It's the only outdoor Confederate memorial in the district, but the bigger question is why are there memorials to Confederate traitors in the US capital? Pike wrote the secession-era diddy “Dixie to Arms," which features the lyrics “Fear no danger! Shun no labor!" That's a little hypocritical considering the Confederacy was all about white people shunning labor. Pike himself might've feared danger when he fled to Arkansas after he was charged with inciting "war atrocities." (Soldiers under his command mutilated the bodies of American soldiers, which is almost as bad as kneeling during the National Anthem.)
And protesters just toppled the Albert Pike statue in DC https://t.co/gEzJm0OYjd— Perry Stein (@Perry Stein) 1592623034.0
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting member of the House of Representatives, tried to have Pike's statue removed last year on account of all the racism and treason. Demonstrators took matters into their own hands Friday. They wrapped two ropes around the statues, yanked it down, and set it on fire. Police officers stood and watched, as if a fellow cop was killing a black man in front of them.
Donald Trump was incensed. He is also a white supremacist who has likes to incite violence and enjoys behavior some might call treasonous, so he can't help but take it personally. Trump probably thinks the police's primary duties are beating up protesters and defending statues. He didn't give a damn when Buffalo police toppled an old white man, who was still alive at the time.
The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn. These people should be immedi… https://t.co/k9Vr0ICNuM— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1592623756.0
Black people have politely asked for years if we could please just remove statues from public spaces that honor white supremacists, many of whom were actual traitors. After a hard week, we just want to enjoy a nice family cookout in the park. Do we have to look at a statue of Confederate Gen. Negro Asskicker while we're grilling burgers?
Conservatives have consistently said, “Yes! Black people must live with these statues and memorials on account of HISTORY!" The problem with this argument is that Black people don't need statues of racists to remember racism. The physical and emotional scars are more than enough. Besides, the educational benefit of these white supremacy mementos are questionable when most white people didn't know about the Tulsa massacre until HBO's “Watchmen" series. A lot of white people are even clueless about Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery. This might explain all the rampant Karen-ing. These people really don't know we're free.
Angels in America (2003) - Belize and America youtu.be
Protesters so far have taken out statues of George Washington, who owned people, and Francis Scott Key, “the white cracker," as Tony Kushner called him, who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner." Key didn't just own people. He prosecuted a man in New York for possession of abolitionist pamphlets and tried to have him hanged. He argued whether the "property rights of slaveholders outweighed the free speech rights of those arguing for slavery's abolishment." It horrified him that abolitionists wished to "associate and amalgamate with the Negro," which my wife has freely done for 13 years.
It's weird that so few people know this about Key, despite all the statues and football games.
Protesters in San Francisco tore down a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, former president and the general who humiliated Robert E. Lee. Even godless Democrats thought this went too far, and Republicans mocked protesters for not knowing their history. However, Grant did own a person at one point, and conservatives frequently claim Lyndon B. Johnson is a racist because he said the n-word. I probably wouldn't personally tear down a Grant statue but I'm also not likely to defend one. My ancestral memory demands I go in the opposite direction when I see a crowd of people with ropes.
Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies -- an anti-immigration “think-tank" -- believes protesters' next target is the Statue of Liberty. Although a recent documentary (or a “Doctor Who" episode, I forget) implied Lady Liberty is an alien monster, there's no evidence she ever owned people like actual historical monsters did. The statue was intended to celebrate slavery's abolition, though it later came to symbolize America as a welcoming destination for immigrants. So, I'm not sure I agree 100 percent with Krikorian's police work there.
This statue was given to commemorate the end of slavery in America. Nice try, tho. https://t.co/Fy5h6almS9— Ida Bae Wells (@Ida Bae Wells) 1592708416.0
When Iraqis tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein, they weren't condemned as history-erasing zealots. Republican officials such as Donald Rumsfeld defended their actions as an expression of true liberty. Even US Marines got in on the action.
"It was kind of like the statues of Lenin coming down, or the swastikas being blown up in Berlin," [Staff Sergeant Dave Sutherland said.] "Pulling down the statue was kind of like a coup de grace to show that it was over."
Conservatives aren't afraid of protesters or liberals “erasing history." They're afraid that we'll create a new and better future.
Saddam Hussein statue and pictures destroyed 2003 www.youtube.com
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."