In the wake of the racist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia last week, many places in the South are considering removing statues honoring confederate leaders. As a result the right wing is crying foul. “You’re attempting to rewrite history!” they charge.
But let’s be honest. This accusation is just another right wing talking point. And it’s baseless. Removing statues honoring people who fought to subjugate minorities is ultimately a winning argument, and it’s not about changing historical accounts. This is an argument about whether or not we should be honoring these people in the first place.
No one on the left is attempting to whitewash history. In fact, quite the opposite. If anyone has anything to gain by rewriting history, it’s the ruling whites in the South who, as a group, were responsible for administering and maintaining the institution of slavery. They would have the most to gain rewriting history while the left would have the most to gain by shining a bright light on what actually went on during that period. So not only is it an incorrect argument, but it’s something of an oxymoron.
So don’t let anyone tell you this fight over statues is about rewriting history, because it’s not. No one is advocating for that. It’s just a feeble attempt to keep repressive statues that honor people who fought for racial inequality. Those days and those people are gone, and those ideas should be gone with them. Let’s agree there are better choices for who we can honor.