Confederate Monuments Are Everywhere in the South. Why?

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132 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    To terrorize and humiliate African-Americans.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    I deeply appreciate this piece, and I thank you for writing it. This means so much more than anything I could say. I’m not a complete stranger to the South, I lived in Tidewater, VA for 6 years. But I wasn’t born and bred there, I wasn’t subject to the kinds of things you write about.

    It’s a great example of how fish don’t normally notice the water they are swimming in, and how they might become aware of it, and how it might be different.Report

  3. The carving should be updated to feature the most eminent sons of Stone Mountain: and

  4. George Turner says:

    Well, times have moved on, and now protesters are defacing statues and monuments of black Union soldiers.

    news article

    They put on the blue uniform and are pigs just like the rest of ’em!

    We’ve come such a long way in our thinking.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

      Hey, let’s play ‘What are we being misled about today?’.

      Here is the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial:

      You may notice what was actually vandalized is the back of the plaza the statue is on. Not the memorial, which is the bit sticking up, or the statue, which is in the stick-up part facing the other way. I guess if you want to try really hard, the memorial does have a tiny bit of paint on the bottom…not obscuring any of it.

      I do feel there is a distinct difference between ‘Writing a slogan near a statue’ and ‘Hauling the statue down and throwing it into the harbor’.

      Now, there’s suddenly been a lot of revisionist history to make that base (Which, again, you can walk around on.) into the part of the memorial, but…it’s not. That’s the thing holding the memorial up, not the memorial, and certainly not the statue. They actually have plans pull the memorial off and rebuild the base this year, which is why the actual statue part is currently blocked off with plywood…plywood which protestors did put a tiny of graffiti on also. But I really feel that…if protestors were willing haul down heavy statues, a little bit of plywood would not have been a deterrent, if they wanted to actually attack the statue.

      Perhaps you think this graffiti is out-of-bounds, but it is not a defacement of a statue, and no one is objecting to the statue. They are writing things next to the statue. I suspect black civil war soldiers would be all for something honoring them would be used as a platform protesting ‘police need to stop killing black people’, but what do I know.

      Incidentally, the statue _has_ been vandalized several times. A woman threw paint on it in 2012, and a sword was broken off in 2015 and 2017.Report

    • statue_of_george_turner in reply to George Turner says:

      I’ll give the benefit of doubt to George Turner, and not call this post dishonest, lazy, careless or petty. So, instead, I’ll ask George to think over,

      (1) whether the statue or monument itself was defaced
      (2) whether the people allegedly doing it were aware of the meaning of the monument
      (3) whether the people who allegedly did it are actually representativeReport

      • George Turner in reply to statue_of_george_turner says:

        (4) They didn’t care because they’re part of a moral panic. They also threw a Christopher Columbus statue in the water after having set it on fire.

        Who were they disrespecting?

        1) Hispanics
        2) Spanish
        3) Italians
        4) All Europeans
        5) ThemselvesReport

        • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          Hey look, George doesn’t know of any issues anyone might have with Christopher Columbus.

          Spain…literally imprisoned Columbus (and his brothers) for their horrific misgovernance of Santo Domingo and his brutality there. Spain was, it should be noted, in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition at the time.

          And yet they somehow had problems with his brutality. Things like…parading dismembered corpses through the street.

          Yes, the king and queen interceded after three weeks and let him back out, and even funded another voyage, but…sure as hell didn’t let him run Santo Domingo anymore.Report

      • JS in reply to statue_of_george_turner says:

        That’s an awful lot of nuance for a guy who went with “Kneeling on someone’s neck is medical treatment for seizures”.Report

    • Truth in reply to George Turner says:

      Oh. It’s a lying propaganda site.

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    They are idols erected in honor of the losers in the war of treason in defense of slavery.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This really feels to me like a criticism of me for not being, I don’t know, emphatic enough in my denunciation of the statues.

      This is because when I ask myself, “why did Saul post this comment?” that’s the best I can come up with. I’d love some clarification before I respond.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        How is my comment any different than Chip or Lee’s. These are monuments in defense of slavery. There is no reason to keep them up. I don’t see why we need to show endless deference to the white South.Report

        • CJColucci in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Saul, for whatever reason, Dr. Jay “really feels” that your comment was a criticism of him. There’s no arguing with feelings, but it didn’t seem so to me — it’s not all about him — and it would clear the air if you squarely addressed the question.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to CJColucci says:

            There was nothing directed at Dr. Jay though I admit to being critical of the school of thought that believes love and understanding can conquer all. The old joke about the Civil War is this:

            “People who know nothing about the Civil War think it was about slavery. People who know a little about the Civil War will go on and on about how it was about a wide variety of factors. People with Ph.D.s on the Civil War think it is about slavery.”

            The Civil War was a war of treason in defense of slavery. I see little reason to constantly indulge Confederacy apologists who basically engage in nothing but special pleading at best and bad faith argumentation (see below) at worse. There is nothing to be gained from it. The stance is clearly that they want the monuments and names to remain. This is not an issue where there is compromise. Chip is right, “this is something that refuses to die and needs constant battle.”Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          For one thing, when I wrote the comment, neither Chip nor Lee’s comment were here, but yours was.

          For another, Chip’s, for example, strikes a very different note. Chip notes, like Merrie does in the OP, what his old attitude was, and how it has changed. I’ve had a similar journey.

          I’m in no position to demand you say anything or tell us anything or open up or whatever. But the remarks fall on me, and I think others, very differently. I would like to know what your journey was like, though.

          I’ve written on other posts that we white people need to stop understanding racism as something those other people do. My hands aren’t clean. Chip’s hands aren’t clean. I didn’t put up Confederate statues, but I participated. I have learned that being compassionate with myself is necessary for change:

          When the white man learns to love himself, there will be no race problem. – James Baldwin

          Love may not conquer all, but without it, we’re going to go nowhere at all.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            I’ve written on other posts that we white people need to stop understanding racism as something those other people do.

            It is possible to lower the bar for “racism” low enough that I do it. Examples would be my schooling choices I’ve made for my children, or my wife’s view that some school systems are too dangerous for her to work in.

            I’d make the same choices for my behavior irrespective of the skin color of whoever it affects, so imho that’s too low a bar but whatever. If everyone is racist then no one is.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              If everyone is racist then no one is.
              If everyone is unkind then no one is.
              If everyone is foolish then no one is.

              These statements are all false and for the same reason.
              Racism, unkindness, and foolishness aren’t fixed identifiers. They are actions or thoughts we have, which come and go at various times.

              And yeah, they are completely universal, common to all of us.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Sure, but at what point does it become a problem for society?

                I can be foolish and up to a point, that’s only a problem for me.
                I can be unkind, and up to a point, that’s only a problem for those in my immediate circle.
                I can be racist, and up to a point, that’s only a problem for the occasional interaction with ‘the other’.

                So the bar Dark Matter is talking about it, when does our racism become a problem the rest of us have to deal with?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m not sure there is a point at which lets say, unkindness is not a problem for society.

                I mean, we all accept that a family marked by cruelty and unkindness produces members who replicate that behavior, leading to suboptimal outcomes in work, relationships and politics.

                Instead of looking at things like a binary (you’re racist or not racist) its better to look at it as just part of the human condition that we all need to struggle against, every day, forever.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Sure, but it’s my struggle, no one else gets to have an opinion on how I struggle (or don’t) with it until it begins to impact enough people.

                My struggle with my racism is largely insignificant to society as a whole. Joe Biden*, his is more important.

                *I thought for a second to say Trump, but it’s clear that his struggle with racism involves whether or not autocorrect is suggesting the correct spelling, or if it’s part of a leftist media conspiracy to make him look bad.Report

              • Truth in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Statistically if enough people are foolish, that becomes a problem for the society at large that has to handle things like emergency room visits, fire department calls or ambulance calls, and other emergency services. So we try to minimize the foolishness as best we can while knowing we probably can’t eliminate it entirely and that true accidents do happen.

                If you are frequently unkind that’s not only a problem for those in your immediate circle. You don’t just interact with those in your immediate circle, and enough toxic people running around causes problems for a lot more than just your immediate circle. Plus, the damage you do to your immediate circle gets replicated in them, because you likely cause them to be tired and emotionally exhausted in dealing with your abuse and then lash out unkindly against others.

                If enough people are racist and act on it all at once that is not just a problem for your ‘occasional interaction with the other’. That’s how we got Jim Crow and we started having to publish books like the Negro Motorist Green Book or we saw even worse harms to the groups that are targeted for harm. So we have civil rights laws and hate crime laws and we tried, for a while, to get it right only to backslide over and over again because this shit isn’t easy and the racists really don’t want to let go of power.

                At the end of the day when you say “but that’s only a problem for me” you are engaging in the Fallacy of Composition and assuming that there aren’t enough people in society doing it at once that it becomes a problem for all of us.

                If you stuck your head in the sand about police abuses in this country and the systematic racism that exists, please pull your head out of the sand. It is no longer allowable to ignore the real harms or to plead ignorance.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Truth says:

                Echoing my reply to Chip, personal struggles are personal.

                This is the point I am trying to make, we should agree on a bar that separates when an individuals character flaw is relevant to public discussion. If you set the bar at ‘everyone is always racist and we need to examine every little thing for evidence of racism’, that’s going to be a mess.

                So maybe Dark is a bit ‘racist’ as he makes his choices regarding schools for his kids. I say no, his choices are not significant enough. Now if Dark is the school district superintendent and is allowing his racism to color his choices regarding school finding, that’s a more significant problem.

                I get your concern that aggregate choices can have a real impact, but the answer to that is not to try and limit individual choices, but to attack the structural issues that make such choices damaging.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I say no, his choices are not significant enough.

                There are a lot of people like me. When we all make the same choice in lockstep, areas with poverty get concentrated poverty. Kids with problems end up all in the same classroom.

                And then we have various activists proclaiming that being against restructuring the economy is an act of racism.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

                That’s the rub, though, isn’t it?

                You can’t realistically go up to every person and say, “you are racist and your choices are perpetuating racism”, because my choice might have nothing to do with race, and now you’ve just pissed me off.

                Likewise, instituting a policy that forces a choice upon me just creates and incentive for me to work around that choice (e.g. forced busing).

                People need to look at why such choices (which are not necessarily racially motivated) perpetuate racism and deal with that.

                If your default is, ‘that choice perpetuates racism, hence it must be motivated by racism’, you will never really get anywhere.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                If your default is, ‘that choice perpetuates racism, hence it must be motivated by racism’, you will never really get anywhere.

                If you view the world through the lens of “racism”, then they’re already there. No matter what I claim my motivations are, my real motivations are racism.

                To be fair, the current video of a white cop killing a black man may lead to serious police reform. That would be a good thing even if it doesn’t move the needle much for inequality.

                People need to look at why such choices (which are not necessarily racially motivated) perpetuate racism and deal with that.

                Maybe. I’m comfortable with my priorities and my choices. If they want my kids in their school, then it needs to be the best option for my kids.

                I’m not sure what that leaves them. Take that choice away from me? Present a lot of happy talk on how it’s to my kids advantage to be disadvantaged? Scream the word “racist” until I change my mind about valuing my kids more than others?

                The best idea I can come up with is serious tracking, i.e. my kids’ needs WILL be put first. That at least means I don’t need to move away from the entire school system and take my tax dollars and misc leadership activities with me.

                Thing is I’m not sure others would view that as “good” when they’ve got “perfect” in their heads and view anything less than that as evil racism.Report

              • Truth in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                As long as your argument relies entirely on the fallacy of composition and ignores the fact that aggregate actions can cause negative effects overall even if they were “optimal” for the individual when that individual was the only one making that choice, your argument is based on a fallacy and therefore invalid.

                It is also right to point out that the choices and systems in question have a history in racism. The conservative strawman of “school choice” and the shell game of laundering public monies into private or private-ish schools like “charter schools” historically deriving from the phenomenon of Segregation Academies as the Jim Crow South resisted school integration, just as the rhetoric of “forced busing” was really about white parents not wanting to see their kids side by side with black kids.

                And it is entirely acceptable for a society to say that enough is enough, a group of people making “personally optimal” choices that in the aggregate harm others is cause for action and corrective regulation.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Truth says:

                I’m not the one making a composition fallacy. I’m specifically saying that people who see racism behind every decision they don’t like are doing that.

                And I also wholly acknowledge that aggregate choices, even if made for the ‘right’ reasons, can be harmful.

                That said, your attitude regarding school choice pretty much tells me we are no longer going to have a productive discussion here, because you are committing the fallacy of composition.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Truth says:

                It is also right to point out that the choices and systems in question have a history in racism.

                If racism isn’t what’s current motivating people then it’s probably not all that useful a paradigm. The original min wage was pretty racist in its origin, the Dems who insist it’s a good idea now probably aren’t doing so out of racism.

                At the moment a Dem enclave who voted overwhelmingly for Obama can have areas of concentrated poverty because the (mostly white) middle/upper class parents don’t want their kids learning with (mostly black) poor kids.

                And it is entirely acceptable for a society to say that enough is enough, a group of people making “personally optimal” choices that in the aggregate harm others is cause for action and corrective regulation.

                My father moved his family before I was born 1000+ miles away in no small part to be separate from relatives with problematic behavior. I have a very low tolerance for efforts to interfere with my kids’ education. I have the resources to move (and I have, several times) or even home-school. We go public school now because they do a good job.

                I want my kids to be learning next to high functioning students that add to my kids’ educational experience. I don’t want them to be learning next to low functioning students that are sucking resources (like the teacher’s time) away from my kids. The ideal number of disruptive students (of any color) in my kids’ class is zero.

                So with all that, what is the “corrective regulation” that is going to get me to accept situations and problems from minorities that I wouldn’t tolerate from whites or even my relatives?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And yeah, they are completely universal, common to all of us.

                I.e. everyone is doing it. If the plan is to get me to care more about other people’s kids than I do my own, then you need a better plan.

                If you’re going to call everyone racist until they do that, then what you’re really doing is telling us racism isn’t a bad thing.

                So if you’re wondering why calling Trump a racist didn’t stop people from voting for him, that’s why.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Belgium can take down monuments to Leopold II. There is no great conversation needed about why those were put up in the first place. Just a recognition that now is not the time to keep them up because of his actions in the Congo. It is here we need endless debate and politese.Report

  6. Chip Daniels says:

    When I was a teenager in the 70’s, in Southern California I viewed Confederate symbols like the Dukes of Hazzard car as funny harmless quirks, since the Civil Rights battles seemed like they were ancient history. Certainly the only people who were openly racist were tired old men who lived on the margins of society and they would be gone soon and we would never have to think about it again.

    So it was a slow and dawning realization as I got older that, just as they refused to accept the outcome of the Civil War, many people refused to accept the outcome of the Civil Rights War.

    I remember having a friend at church, a kindly older gentlemen from Mississippi who spoke all the right liberal words and behaved with utmost decency and respect to people of color here in So Cal.

    Yet when I once used that phrase to describe the Confederate flag- “treason in defense of slavery” he reacted like I had poked him a red hot needle. His pain was palpable, even after all the years of being immersed in ostensibly liberal community the idea that someone would describe it that was seemed like some terribly vulgar and outrageous thing in his eyes.

    It really does seem like this is something that refuses to die and needs constant battle.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Yet when I once used that phrase to describe the Confederate flag- “treason in defense of slavery” he reacted like I had poked him a red hot needle.

      I prefer to call them ‘participation trophies’. But I am a troll.

      Actually, I’ve been wanting to set something up for years, where we all agree to call the National Guard whenever we see them. Just keep calling it in, demand someone come out and investigate them.

      I mean…it’s a bit worrying, people flying enemy battle flags. We probably should report those enemy troop positions! And they’re not even in uniform! They’re spies! They just forgot to take their flag down, so we caught them.

      I know we’re not _technically_ at war with the Confederacy anymore, but…that’s only because the Confederacy doesn’t technically exist anymore. The Confederacy didn’t surrender to the US…various military units did, but the Confederacy itself was just dissolved May 5, 1865, which is what legally ended ‘the war’.

      If they’re still flying the battle flag of that country, they clearly don’t know that it doesn’t exist. I mean, they still could hypothetically belong to a military unit that surrendered, so not actually be an enemy soldier even if they are unaware, but we can’t tell what unit they’re in because they’re not wearing uniforms! (And…I don’t think they should still be flying the flag anyway?)

      So…we need some sort of nationwide project, where we all agree…we will report enemy soldiers who don’t seem to know a war is over.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

        I guess my sweet Dodge Charger with the ISIS flag on the roof is really out of line.Report

      • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

        Can we also arrest people who fly the Mexican flag?Report

        • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

          We already do . . . but mexico is still a sovereign country, and wasn’t created by secession through treason from the US.Report

          • Damon in reply to Philip H says:

            Funny…I thought that that’s how America was founded….Treason from the British crown. They the treasonous rebels won. The confederacy lost.Report

            • Pihlip H in reply to Damon says:

              exactly. Had the confederacy won then they (presuming they were still an independent nation) could lionize anyone they wanted to.

              Note for the record there are no statues to America’s founder in Great Britain.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pihlip H says:

                In my experience, the Venn diagram set of people can’t understand why Confederate statues are objectionable and the set of those who objected with frothing rage over the “Ground Zero mosque” is very nearly a perfect circle.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Pihlip H says:

                Nor is an American naval base in, say, Hawaii, named after Admiral Yamamoto, despite his excellence as a naval commander.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Pihlip H says:

                George Washington’s statue stands in Trafalgar Square, London. Abraham Lincoln’s statue stands across from Parliament. FDR, Ike, JFK, and Reagan also have prominent statues there.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          We signed a peace treaty with Mexico, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico is now an ally.

          We didn’t sign a peace treaty with the Confederacy. The only reason we’re not actively fighting them is that they supposedly don’t exist anymore. They signed some papers and dissolved themselves.

          People flying their flag apparently think they do still do exist, and thus are presumably a threat still.

          Or, alternately, they’ve existed in secret this entire time,and the dissolution of the Confederacy was a trick. At which case, we are still at war with them!

          But that’s really unlikely. What has really happened is the people flying the Confederate flag just haven’t gotten the memo their country no longer exists, and thus I _seriously oppose_ people shooting them immediately, despite this being a completely logical reaction to finding enemy soldiers walking around.

          They are probably just very misguided, and maybe, they have dementia or something…they’ve got be over 160 years old. Assuming they are still armed with their standard issue gear, we can capture them easily, and…uh, I’m sure what we should do…they’d sorta be POWs, but…the war is over and we need to repatriate them. (Some of them appear to have upgraded their guns, though.)Report

  7. Aaron David says:

    When I see civil war memorials and civil rights memorials I am reminded of the painted kerbs of Shankill and Falls roads, and the painted “peace” walls in the contested areas of the city of Belfast. Both the ones we like and the ones we dislike are there to remind the losers of a culture war exactly what their place is.

    Taking down the statues can be a good thing, if and only if it is done democratically, for at this late date the emotions have set themselves in the stones.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

      They weren’t put up democratically, so why do they deserve that treatment coming down?Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

        Do you want the world to get better?

        Yes? No?Report

        • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

          Yes I want the world to get better. My definition and yours are well known to be divergent in the extreme.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

            So, slamming your boot in the face of people with divergent opinions will make the world a better place? That it will convince them you are a reasonable ruler?

            Or will it be like a beaten spouse, who passes the violence on the ones they profess to love? And those loved ones in turn pass that violence further down the line?

            No, I don’t think you want a better world, I think you want a world where you are on top, no matter the rubble.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

              Fine. See it that way.

              The rubble in this case is people who were taught to lionize traitors and look longingly on bigots. They prefer a world where they are superiors to others based on a genetic trait, not based on any actual work or effort or moral merit. They have made their position abundantly clear, and they oppose democratic debate and discussion on this and many other issues of equity. And they are scared of the well documented shifting demographics in the US that are making us a majority-minority country. They do not grant liberals, much less black Americans equal status in this discussion. So this isn’t a debate about opinions . . . its the next battle in the long simmering cold version of the civil war.

              And in battle there are indeed winners and losers. I’m going to pull any punches for people who want to remain “winners” by oppressing their fellow citizens. Nor will I apologize for that position either.

              Those statues were an affront to black Americans when they were put up. They remain an affront now. They need to go.

              Its also worth pointing out that when they have been removed after a democratic process (which I assume you mean some sort of public debate and vote), their “defenders” have still threatened the lives of the government officials and contractors involved.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

                No, you want dead people to line your fantasy.

                If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

                George Orwell


              • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

                Now you are just being a jerk. Removing statues of people who committed treason in the name of preserving slavery isn’t something that justifies debate, in as much as preserving those statues is not a matter of opinion. Desiring to increase bigotry, oppress others, and lionize traitors is no a matter of opinion. Belief perhaps, but not opinion. Bigots are not moral actors. They do not deserve a seat at the table, and have repeatedly rejected it anyway because they will not agree to the basic humanity of all the players anyway.

                They tried to preserve their way of thinking and feeling 160 ish years ago be declaring war on the US. They LOST. We don’t debate the wisdom of preserving Nazi statues because of someones opinion – we dynamited them and Germany has wisely refused to allow their reemergence. This is no different just because it occurred on our soil.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

                Remember Rwanda? The Balkans? Ever been to North Ireland?

                No, it isn’t me being a jerk.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                I am not confident in the ability of the Woke to correctly discern who is and who is not a bigot (and, thus, who is not a moral actor and can then be treated as such).Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                You clearly haven’t spent enough time meditating on your whiteness and how racism influences everything you say and do.Report

              • greginak in reply to InMD says:

                “woke” is mostly a meaningless term now. The people is truly applies to a are small but loud group of very on line types. Other then that it is thrown out as broad stereotype of people we’re supposed to hate or to insult people it doesn’t apply to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Wasn’t it a lot more fun when “Woke” was a strawman?Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Pretty much is now. Sure you can find examples on the twitters. Woke is yet another word, like Antifa, that exists in the world but has been blown up and maximized by the RW media to the point where it is either bs or wildly beyond reality.

                Ex: People have been against various confed ( traitors in the name of slavery) monuments for decades. Some were protested when they were erected in the early 1900’s. But now if you want them down it is “woke( cue scary music).

                Now i guess this is the part where you find some stupid wokism from the wokest woke. Fair enough. They i find examples showing that libertarians are FYIGM or all trump supporters are proud and loud racists who think the murder of George Floyd was a hoot.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                “Sure, you can find examples, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a strawman!”

                You’re heading down a slippery slope, Greg.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

                You may have meant that sarcastically (or not) but I think it is very true, for all of us here.

                We, even us who think of ourselves as liberal and broadminded, live in the Star Trek world of multiculturalism where the Man in Authority is the white guy from Iowa, and he is tolerant and magnanimous to all his exotic friends arrayed around him.Report

              • InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Rest assured it was sarcasm.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Trust me I have long peered into the depths of my own soul and found it wanting.

                That said, the fact that I disagree with a person regarding racism does not imply I need to spend more time peering into my soul. It just means I think they are wrong.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                one of my earliest opportunities to vote was in a governors election in Louisiana where many of use had bumper stickers that said “Vote for the crook its important” because the crook’s opponent was David Duke. That a man ultimately convicted of bribery and racketeering was considered less harmful to the state then a former Grand WIzard of the KKK is telling. Its not hard to find the bigots if you want to look for them.

                @Aron David – I do remember Rwanda and the Balkans. And both of those places came to the head they did because of the unwillingness of minority groups to share power, much less humanity with others. That’s the same attitude and belief system that we that those defending the statues bring to the table. Its morally bankrupt on a good day. And again – we fought a hot war and that view lost. that view has been trying to fight a cold war to change that outcome ever since.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

                No, those actions (mass murder, bombings, death) came about because various groups stopped being able to reason, and convinced themselves of their rightousness. Which we are starting to see. Indeed, it shows up in this very comment thread. The fact that you cannot roll your eyes at a dissenting comment tells me that, no, there is no consensus on this topic, not by a long shot.

                And yet, even without that consensus you would gleefully pull down something, anything, that does not reflect your views. Not withstanding that your views are not in a majority yet, though they certainly could be with patience. Getting this right is a long and arduous path to get right and have it be lasting and meaningful, but you are too short sighted for that.

                No, you want vengance. An eye for an eye. And that is how Rwanda, the Balkans and North Ireland came about.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                Tearing down statues and argumentative internet threads lead to genocide. Not really sure about that.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’ve mentioned this before, how the driving force behind the conservative freakout is the growing realization that the whip hand of power is slipping our of their grasp, and they foresee a future where they are treated the way minorities have always been treated.

                Not that this is actually happening. Its not like straight people are being forcibly given electroshock therapy to convert them, or that white people are being forced to sit at the back of the bus.

                No, I think its because when your entire worldview sees only hierarchy, there are only two possibilities- Domination or Submission.

                Not for nothing did Trump use that language in urging the police to dominate the protesters.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, one of the questions I might ask is “should people who support police unions be considered bigots?”

                I can find plenty of examples of you arguing for police unions, for example. To what extent should we use these statements of yours as examples of your embracing the white supremacist structural racism embodied by police unions?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I mean, one thing that we learned with the cops recently is that the most important offensive tool and defensive tool they have is recognized moral authority.

                And they LOST it in the last few weeks. You saw what happened with how they treated not only George Floyd but the peaceful protesters, right?

                You think that the Woke have more moral authority?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                You’d be in good company.

                I’ve been accused by various people from across the spectrum of bigotry based on my support for or against capitalism, the Democratic Party, the New Deal, and the Great Society.

                Like I’ve said, since my Reagan Youth days I’ve had to re-evaluate plenty of my world views, so make your case and I will listen.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                But bigots don’t listen, Chip.

                They only pretend to listen.Report

              • Truth in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m much less confident in the “ability to correctly discern who is and who is not a bigot” of those who venerate white supremacist traitors, slaveowners, and terrorists who enforced Jim Crow, and who try to push us back to those times today through things like the blatant voter suppression and discrimination we just saw in Georgia and other states, before we even get to the patterns of active racism and murders by cops under color of “law”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Truth says:

                Truth, out of curiosity, if I asked if you knew who I was talking about if I mentioned “ACIS”, would you know who I was talking about?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                An educational tour company? A handsome shepherd who came to a bad end?Report

              • veronica d in reply to Philip H says:

                The thing about Aaron is, like pretty much everyone, he is very selective about what bothers him. This shows through in which examples he presents. In the abstract he, like most people, can make a sensible argument. However, it’s the selection of topics that reveals his underlying attitude.

                As I said, this is true for everyone. You can tell who I am by what I care about. I don’t hide that fact.

                Random story I encountered today:

                Summary: donut shot owner stopped offering discounts to police and military. Employees receiving death threats. Employees staying home. Owner manning the shop alone.

                It’s a common enough story. You would never in a million years hear about it from Aaron. Instead, you’ll hear about an endless parade of the terrible things leftists do. It’s the Quillette formula.

                It’s simple: where you shine your spotlight shows what you care about.

                Aaron doesn’t care about the abuse black people experience. He cares a great deal when privileged men suffer potential damage to their social lives and career. He believes strongly in due process, but is focussed on the type of due process that will ensure that sexist men can act with impunity, guarded by a system they can manipulate. By contrast, when a minority fucks up in small ways, and in turn gets crushed by the system — well he’ll never talk about that, unless forced to.

                As I said the other day, people reveal themselves by their preoccupations.

                A racist statue gets torn down — that’s terrible (in his mind). When a racist white electorate subjects its black residents to officially sanctioned symbols of hate — well we have to work inside the system. The onus is on black residents to convince white residents to take down the symbol of hate. Until then, just bask in it, I guess.

                Massive voter suppression of minority voters in Georgia — that seems like a pretty fucking big deal to me. Something like that should enrage libertarians. They should be talking about “second amendment solutions,” right? Should we just accept voter suppression? Should be be angry about that? Should we be hopping mad?

                Well, I dunno. Some group just tore down a racist statue. That’s obviously more important.Report

              • George Turner in reply to veronica d says:

                They’re tearing down statutes of Democrats, while not touching statues of Republicans. There’s a deep a fundamental reason for that.

                Why are Democrats still allowed to vote if they’re so hated and despised, aside from abiding by the letter of the Constitution?

                If you join cancel culture, be aware that it will soon come for you.Report

              • Damon in reply to George Turner says:

                That indeed is the issue. Right now the trend line is toward “how can you support those people, they are cockroaches” (semi quote from Hotel Rawanda). Once a group is demonized so much that “extermination” is a topic of conversation it’s too late.

                Why do you think the folks are lining up to buy guns, even in blue areas? The stats are skyrocketing. The cops never could protect you–that was always a fiction.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Why do you think the folks are lining up to buy guns, even in blue areas?

                Shorter Damon: If we compel cops and courts take their knee off the neck of black Americans they’ll kill us all.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                *Obama is elected* White people rush out to buy guns

                *Obama puts his feet on his desk* White people rush out to buy guns

                *A transwoman goes to the bathroom* White people rush out to buy guns

                *Cops TV show is cancelled* White people rush out to buy guns

                *Grandpa Simpson raves about busloads of Antifa coming to Springfield* White people rush out to buy guns

                *A twig snaps* White people rush out to buy gunsReport

              • veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Honestly, the “busloads of antifa” thing was pure cringe. It reminds me a lot of the whole “down with cis bus” thing that hit Tumblr a few years back.

                People will believe the dumbest shit.

                No one is immune by the way. I know folks who are seasoned leftist protestors. I see them constantly trying to quell dumb rumors spreading among our side. “This is not verified” gets posted a lot.

                That said, what happened in that one small town in Washington was pretty fucked up. I hope the folks who got suckered by the rumor learn from their mistake. They ended up terrorizing an innocent family.

                More specifically, I hope that at least some of them learn from their mistake. Moreover, I hope they stop trusting their fellow townsfolk who stubbornly refuse to learn.Report

              • Ridiculous comment Chip…you left out the tan suit. Shame on you.Report

              • Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Please don’t insert words into my mouth. When groups are devalued enough, then eventually that group is considered subhuman and it’s easy think about “extermination”. Reference my comments about Hotel Rwanda. So now we have groups devaluing the cops in addition to other groups devaluing various ethnic groups, with the cops pulling out and not maintaining order. I’m just saying we’re on a path for “the killing fields”. No good will come of that.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Damon, black people have been dehumanized since the inception of this country. The people who you’re defending here are the one’s who’ve done the demonizing: the confederate Generals and KKK founders and the folks who actively *support* their legacy.

                Tearing down the Confederate, pro-Slavery monuments is a no brainer except – as you note! – for the fact that angry white people will take offense. But isn’t that the entire problem to begin with? That angry white people keep knees on the necks of black Americans by demanding that these monuments to slavery remain in place?Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                During the Civil War the Democrats were largely pro-slavery. Republicans were not. That has changed over the years.

                The statues being pulled down are of traitors who lost the war. Their party affiliation never enters the equation.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                Uh no. Democrats are still wildly pro-slavery. That’s why they build ghettos, gleefully destroyed the black family, and then passed laws to keep them locked up (that effort was led by Joe Biden).

                Democrats tell themselves that the parties flipped because they want to dodge any guilt for what they’ve done and what they continue to do. Right now they’re trying to make sure that hundreds of thousands of blacks get arrested for looting over the coming year when the police review all the video footage, and they’re making sure that black neighborhoods burn down so that any blacks who don’t die of Covid also don’t accumulate any capital for the next twenty years. It’s who they are. It’s what they do.

                As I said, when you turn everything into a moral panic, you might get run over in the stampede. It might be your ox that gets gored. One of the warning signs is if you’re part of a movement that says “We must burn X!” where X might be statues, paintings, flags, library books, neighborhoods, businesses, or people.

                Every single time that happens, the people burning X are absolutely convinced that they have the most righteous cause in the history of mankind. That thought is another big warning sign that you’re part of a mindless outrage mob bent on destruction.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Today In Blackness, with your host, George “Nat” Turner.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                It’s not ‘Democrats’ who are pro-slavery.

                It’s _conservatives_. It’s _always_ been conservatives.

                Politics are not defined by political parties, and political parties deserve neither blame nor credit. Politics are defined by ideology.

                I can actually prove that you, personally, along with all conservatives, believe this. Because whenever anyone talks about Marxism, conservatives instantly leaps into talking about what implementing communism has resulted in in other countries. (Ignoring those aren’t exactly the same thing, that’s not my point.)

                Except…no Marxist in the US is a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which I believe literally doesn’t exist anymore. And thus, according to your logic about ‘Democrats’, you can’t use that example against them. That was a different party, and the party is the important thing.

                But you know that’s wrong, and the problem is the ideology, not the party name.You, and other conservatives, constantly talk about how Democrats are ‘socialists’ and ‘communism’. You accept the problem is the ideology there.

                But you instantly forget that when talking about US history and race relations. And pretend the parties are the only things that matters.

                There is a specific ideology supported slavery, then it supposed sharecropping, and then it supported the ‘this is actually slavery’ prison labor systems set up in the South. And it put up those statues, and then it fought against civil rights, and it put up more statues, and now it is upset they’re coming down.

                It is called conservationism.Report

              • Truth in reply to George Turner says:

                If you’re so historically illiterate as to not understand that the “democrats” in question were just conservative racists, George Turner, no wonder this discussion has been so bizarre. You literally have no clue what you’re talking about as you play quarterback for what is TODAY the party of racism, the republicans of Nixon and Atwater’s “Southern Strategy”.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to veronica d says:

                Yes, how dare he have opinions that derive from his priors!


              • Truth in reply to veronica d says:

                “Massive voter suppression of minority voters in Georgia — that seems like a pretty fucking big deal to me. Something like that should enrage libertarians.”

                You’d think that until you remember libertarians are just the party of “racists who like weed.”Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Truth says:

                Maybe this one is for DavidTC, but regarding GA:

                I know the Gov is GOP, but the Mayor, et. al of Atlanta (where I understand the problem is) is a Democrat, and TTBOMK, polling places are set by the local government, not the state government (state handles the counting, etc, but doesn’t tell the counties and cities where to have people vote), and the closing of polls was in response to Covid?

                Do I have that right?Report

              • Truth in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                No you don’t have that right. The election was administered by the Secretary of State. The issues that occurred were the same issues that occurred when Kemp had his thumb on the scales to cheat in the gubernatorial election, but actually worse this time under his successor-or-lackey.

                There is currently a lawsuit against Georgia since 2018 on this very topic. Hopefully these problems become evidence in the case.

              • Georgia seems to have the relatively common pattern of splitting responsibility between state and counties, excluding cities entirely.

                Nevada has the same kind of split. Their in-person problems on Tuesday were in Clark County (Las Vegas). Nevada counties mailed ballots to every registered voter. Clark County’s problem was grossly underestimating the number of people who would still vote in person.Report

              • Truth in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Georgia also has a common pattern of relatively blue cities being overwhelmed or split by county borders, designed to make it so that the county governments which carry some control of election organization and resources are much more reliably republican.

                And a nasty habit on the Georgia Secretary of State’s office of sabotaging counties and withholding necessary support in cases where the county government isn’t also republican-held.

                And a nasty habit of republican-held counties putting most of the election resources in republican-stronghold suburbs and rural areas while under-resourcing urban areas to suppress voter turnout.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I’m so happy I live in a state with vote by mail.Report

              • Me too. And in a state that committed to doing the things to make it work. This November there are going to be some states that try it at the last minute, or half-assed, and it’s going to be a disaster in those places.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Truth is mostly right, but let me explain, step by step, how the voter supression con works in Georgia. (And possibly other places, I don’t know.)

                So under Georgia law the number of polling locations in each area is set by state law…or something, I’ve never been able to find it. However, it apparently considers _distance_ and population. Like, when I grew up in Northeast Georgia, I was fairly far out in the middle nowhere, and we had a poll place that I, literally, could have walked to…which was pure luck it was _that_ close, but…like, in a rural area where everyone owns a car, because they have to own a car because there’s no mass transit and literally no food sold nearby (I don’t mean ‘just convience stores’ like cities sometimes are, I mean literally no place that sells food.) for miles…for some reason had polling places everywhere!

                Now, weird caveat: The state legislature has passed rules recently requiring voting places to be more ADA , which has shut down a lot of polling places…both in urban areas, and in some very rural areas! Every single polling spot but one in the county I used to live in was shut down! Urban and rural those tended to vote at weird old places that aren’t accessible. Suburban areas, which have people voting at modern community centers, or churches, are much less impacted by these rules. (I’m convinced some of the rural closures were an accidental side effect.)

                But that’s just the first part of voter suppression. The second part is to build incredibly bad systems. Like, Georgia finally replaced all our voting machines…with also crappy voting machines that no one knew how to use. And then they make sure not to send enough paper ballots for the _large_ precincts, which, again, are the urban ones.

                But wait…why did only Atlanta had a problem? Well….they didn’t. Everywhere had a problem. Precinct after precinct had a problem. All over the state.

                But, and this is key: Because rural areas have more machines (due to the consideration of distance making more precinct) and suburban areas have more polling places (due to them just having more intrastructure to use as polling places, especially since a lot of the older places aren’t allowed), they both have a lot more _slack_.

                Thus, if everywhere takes five times as long to vote, only the urban places fail.(1)

                And then, after election goes _disastery_ for yet another year (Like, it’s literally every election) the news stands around showing mile long lines in the cities, and asking ‘What did Atlanta do wrong!?’.

                1) Addition: Technically, some rural places fail, too, but that’s like six people sitting around. And some suburban places fail, so, there’s like incredibly long lines in all of Atlanta, and like _one place_ in the suburbs that no one notices. Even if other places fail, Atlanta fails worse, so everyone looks at it.

                A better question, and one that makes it extremely clear as to what is going on: Why does the state of Georgia _constantly_ fail to print enough paper ballots. Literally every single election has precincts that run out. (Specifically, the ones with broken machines.) In any sane government that wanted people to vote, at this point, considering that has a constant failure point for _decades_, you would think…they’d just print off a number of ballots that equaled the registered voters at each location and ship them there.

                At some point, that clearly stops being an accident. This is like if we’d built _five_ Titanics that had all gone down, and they still weren’t putting enough lifeboats on them. At some point it becomes clear they want people to drown…or, take forever to vote, which means rural people can vote, suburban people can mostly vote, and urban people can’t vote.

                Or, as I should make clear: white people can vote, and black people can’t.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                This, if everywhere takes five times as long to vote, only the urban places fail.

                As far as I can tell, with some odd exceptions (Alaska, Delaware, and four states situationally), election machines are a county expense and are county run (i.e. a local thing).

                At some point it becomes clear they want people to drown

                The people who are drowning on those boats are the same people building them, running them, and funding them.

                The issue seems to be more one of incompitence and corruption than malice.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                As far as I can tell, with some odd exceptions (Alaska, Delaware, and four states situationally), election machines are a county expense and are county run (i.e. a local thing).

                Uh…no. The state government buys the machines. It is a state-wide contract. I’m not sure if the states bills countries for this or not, or who legally owns the machines, but I promise you, county government in Georgia cannot, under any circumstances, just go buy more machines. Nor can they stop using them. It is not legal to. Here, have a link:

                Incidentally, Alaska is one of the few states where the entire election is, from top to bottom, appear to be _entirely_ run by the state, so I’m not sure where you are getting your information from.

                In most states, including Georgia, counties do at least hire the election officials and collect poll workers. Which nicely allowed for wealthier (Aka, suburban) counties to provide more training. But the state also provides some training, especially in the new machines. In fact, that was the only place you could get trained. So everything is fine, they trained people and…oh, wait.

                The state of Georgia had been notified, multiple times, that a bunch of poll workers had dropped out thanks to Covid, and while local governments had found more, the state needed to provide another round of training. It failed provide any addition training.

                That is why no one knew how to use the new machines. (This completely coincidentally also affected places more the more that area was concerned about Covid…aka, Atlanta. Both for political reasons and for simple communicability.)

                And, again, this wasn’t just something that effected specific counties. It just _only caused problems_ at specific counties, because urban countries have something like one machine per 250 registered voters (the legal limit) and rural counties have something like one machine per 100 registered voters. (Because they have minimum machine per precincts rules and minimum polling place distance rules, etc.)

                And the 250 voters per machine would be perfectly fine if the election ran well. However…the state of Georgia is really, really good at doings that make it not run well. And halving the speed of voting means long lines in 250/per person places, and does nothing at all in 100/per person places.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                I would like to mention that the first time I voted, I was in Cobb county, which is still ‘urban’…ish. (Well, the south part is.)

                I had a three hour wait…admittedly, it was 2000 election, so big turnout. It was a huge line, because there were hundreds of people voting. I think there were three hundred people in front of me when I got there. It was a crazy. I didn’t think anything of it, it was my first election. And I was a student, and could stay in line.

                Now, this before out voting machines, so…that wasn’t the issue. In fact, the line moved _really_ fast. Even so, people had to drop out of line.

                The next time I voted, I had moved in with my mother in northeast Georgia…extremely rural…and I voted in a small community building attached to a church, and…literally walked in and there was no one there. It also was the first election with voting machines. Two of the three machines there apparently didn’t work. Hmm. I wonder how Cobb county managed that election if 2/3rds of _their_ machines didn’t work.

                Now, this would have 2002, so less turnout…but I did the same in 2004 and…I think there was one person ahead of me, although that wasn’t the same precinct. By 2008, I had moved into the ‘city’ of the county and…there the line was more like 20 people. Again…some of the machines didn’t work. Because, again, the machines not working is a consistent problem. That the _state_ refuses to fix or let anyone use anything else.

                I’ve actually voted in Georgia. All my life. I’ve seen the difference in how different parts of the state vote. There are places where a person is showing up every twenty seconds, and places where someone shows up every twenty minutes. This isn’t by accident. And neither is the fact that the Republicans in the government seem perfectly fine with doing things that can possibly screw up the voting so it takes five times longer…which affects the second group not at all.Report

              • Truth in reply to DavidTC says:

                DavidTC’s explanation here should be turned into its own article. It deserves to be seen.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                Update: Guess what other cities had problems voting, which the media mostly ignored in favor of Atlanta, because that’s where the media is. (Literally, that’s where CNN is if people don’t know.)

                The other cities were Savannah and Columbus. The second and fourth largest cities, respectively. Augusta, the third-largest, seemed to be fine for some reason.

                Savannah is in mostly in Chatham County, which is also the most populated county outside Metro Atlanta. It’s not a consolidated city-county, so I’m not going to bother counting elected officials to figure out officially which party is in charge, but it’s 40% black, so I’m assuming Democratic.

                However, Columbus is a consolidated city-county, with a _Republican_ mayor. Again, it had problems. Meanwhile, Augusta is a consolidated city-county, with a _Democratic_ mayor, and no problems.

                It’s…almost as if it’s not a party issue, but a size issue. Populated counties in Georgia do really bad in elections…statistically. In every election there will be one or two that get it right, and if Atlanta gets it right it often doesn’t even make the news.

                But…there’s always a failure. Large counties repeatedly fail at elections, in this state. Over and over and over.

                What’s my point there? It’s that counties don’t actually exist.

                The Federal government does, in theory, have things it can’t do to states. But local government are basically just imaginary constructs of states, they have no sovereignty at all. Counties and cities have literally no rights, states can do anything they want.

                Which means, even if we pretend what is happening is just a failure of local counties…that sounds like a place that the _state_ should step in and fix. It can literally order the elections run however it wants!

                It has not done this.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Alaska is one of the few states where the entire election is, from top to bottom, appear to be _entirely_ run by the state,

                That was my point. They do that but that approach is rare.

                As for the rest, it’s remarkably easy to picture Georgia doing things poorly by design. On the other hand we did a deep dive with similar issues in Florida during Bush v Gore and discovered that team blue was responsible for the confusion on the ballot which eventually led to team blue losing.

                My general impression is that running large urban polling places is harder than running small suburban ones. That doesn’t mean this state isn’t also doing it deliberately, but it may be a thing.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                Thank you, David.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Should I go out of my way to not see this sort of thing as Iconoclasm?

    Because if I see it as Iconoclasm, I find myself asking “what happened, historically, after other Iconoclastic movements?” and I’m not sure I want to start googling that.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      An Egyptologist in Alabama Tweeted advice to protesters on how to topple obelisks, which had been erected to commemorate the war. The odd thing is, all Egyptian monuments in Egypt celebrate tyrannical rule, slavery, conquest, and murder, and by her logic, every Egyptian relic should be destroyed and every Egyptian archaeological site should be dynamited and bulldozed over. Then we can move on to the Louvre, where every piece of art depicting a person is a naked insult to Islam.

      Both Europe, the US, and Canada have countless memorials to the Great War. Finding someone clean in that conflict is impossible because they were all either oppressive colonial empires, autocratic nations or empires, countries seeking to rewrite the map through conquest so they could establish empires, or gleefully allied with such countries.Report

      • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        You keep missing the point:

        all Egyptian monuments in Egypt celebrate tyrannical rule, slavery, conquest, and murder, and by her logic, every Egyptian relic should be destroyed and every Egyptian archaeological site should be dynamited and bulldozed over

        Its not JUST the tyranny or slavery that’s objectionable – its that the Confederacy LOST the war. Lee Surrendered to Grant. Slavery ended. These statues and monuments were a part of reimposing oppression on African Americans in the Jim Crow south. These statues were designed to remind blacks they were no good in their own country, and to remind whites it was OK to defame, subjugate and oppress black people.

        Thats not the same thing dude, and your unwillingness to actually argue the case on the merits is both unsurprising and totally expected.Report

      • Truth in reply to George Turner says:

        “Then we can move on to the Louvre, where every piece of art depicting a person is a naked insult to Islam.”

        I believe this is known as the “reductio ad absurdum” fallacy. Never a sign of good faith.

        • Truth in reply to Truth says:

          “In case you didn’t notice, the first things Muslims do when they move to a town”

          Is this kind of bigoted, xenophobic, racist ranting really acceptable here? I think the mask has slipped far enough now. I live pretty near a mosque, I have Muslim friends, and spreading this idea that they are some kind of violent mob is just plain unacceptable bigotry.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

      Why is iconoclasm necessarily bad, Jay? It might be, it might not be. Or, some iconoclasm might be good and other iconoclasm might be bad and still other iconoclasm might be more or less neutral.

      Should the Iraqis have left statutes of Saddam Hussein standing? Should the Russians have left statues of Lenin and Stalin standing? The answers to those questions may be different than whether the Byzantines or the Florentines should have burned up all their religious symbols, which may be different than whether the Taliban should have blown up the Buddhas. And which might be different than whether the Italians are right to have left certain Mussolini-era buildings, decorated with fascist iconography, standing and in regular use today, or whether the French are right to maintain the massive tomb of Napoleon.

      ALL of which may be different than whether or not Americans should maintain or tear down statues of traitors to our country who fought to defend a state’s “right” to maintain chattel slavery of human beings, and for their own reasons. Because each of those questions relates to a particular culture’s imperatives, ideals, and internal conflicts at the moments that the various works of art were created, and at the moments when the various works of art were (or were not) destroyed.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It’s not bad if you’re destroying bad things (or, actually, things that represent bad things).

        It can even be good if you’re destroying bad things! I mean, things that represent bad things.

        But my question involved wondering what followed, historically, after iconoclastic movements did their thing. Because my intuition is that iconoclastic movements are harbingers of bad things.

        Maybe this time is different, of course.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

          I think my resistance to this argument is coming from the correlation-causation argument. Bad things ALWAYS happen in history. It’s not clear that iconoclasm was a cause of subsequent civil strife.

          The two episodes of Byzantine history from which the practice takes its name, let’s not forget, were caused by Byzantine military defeats, and Imperial immersion in religious doctrine so deep that it was sincerely believed that those military defeats were God’s judgment on the Empire for evil conduct. To modern eyes, the problem was most certainly not the manner of worship so much as the proliferation of military technology and tactics from Byzantium to her enemies, leveling the odds on the battlefield. The iconocludes triumphed with Justinian and Theodora’s ascent to power — but “iconoclast” and “iconoclude” were really just labels that competing factions of the nobility used, the way the Yorkists and Lancastrians used different colors of roses, or the way European nobles used “Protestant” or “Catholic” as tentpoles for different sides of the Thirty Years’ War to rally about, without ever either side demonstrating very much Christianity in their conduct.

          IOW, I suspect you’re confusing symptom with disease.Report

  9. Michael Cain says:

    When I first visited and lived in the South, the thing that struck me about many of the Confederate memorials was the sheer scale. I was a kid in Iowa and Nebraska, and there were Civil War memorials in some cemeteries in both states*, but they were modest. A cannon with a plaque, or a life-size statue of a foot solder, neither one with plinths of any size. I seem to recall thinking the first time, “Guess you don’t have to brag when you win.”

    * Memorials seem to date from the point where enough Union veterans who survived the war were dying, and the locals decided to do something. Nebraska wasn’t a state during the war, but many of the men who relocated there after the war were veterans. TTBOMK, Nebraska has no Confederate memorials, and Iowa has two erected in 2005 and 2007.Report

    • JS in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Well, as noted, the size was there to remind blacks in the 1920s that while they might be “free”, they still weren’t real people.

      They weren’t there for subtlety. They weren’t there to honor Confederate generals. They were there for intimidation.Report

      • Truth in reply to JS says:

        Nobody puts a 20 foot tall statue of a white guy with a gun and sword in the middle of a black neighborhood to “honor” the white guy.Report

  10. Fish says:

    Thanks for writing this and giving us your perspective, and you’re spot-on about the quality of history education.Report

  11. Truth says:

    ” It was all swept under the rug and the emphasis was placed on Martin Luther King Jr. and how great his message was”

    You mean, the whitewashed version of history where King never defended riots as “the voice of the unheard”, where he never spoke uncomfortable truths to power, and where supposedly he did one speech one time and magically all racisms were never done again?

    Southern versions of “history” being totally misrepresented if not outright fabricated didn’t just stop when white supremacists within the FBI who had previously put agents provocateur in his march crowds to justify police brutality against protesters assassinated MLK.Report

  12. Truth says:

    Stone Mountain needs to be blasted off, period. You can’t “contextualize” something like that intended to be seen for miles to glorify hate.Report

  13. Burt Likko says:

    Monuments are in large part statements to the future. “This is a person we really admire and we think you future people should too.” It’s up to those future people to decide if they agree with us enough to maintain the monument, or if they disagree with us enough to take it down.Report

  14. Jaybird says:

    Imagine that he’s not talking about buildings but talking about statues:


  15. Slade the Leveller says:

    Thank you, Merrie, for this essay.

    My dad got transferred from Chicago to Atlanta when I was 6, in 1969. I attended 1st and 2nd grade there, and then we moved back to Chicago. In one of those 2 years, one of which my teacher was a black woman, the whole school took a field trip to Stone Mountain. Imagine being a black woman being made to bring out her 7 year old charges to see that.

    I was too young then to consider what that carving meant, but 50 years have elapsed between now and then. I’m a different, and I hope more thoughtful, person now. Memorializing 3 men who rebelled against the legitimate government of their country has no place in the 21st century. We should follow the example of the Red Army.