The fleeting satisfaction of pulling down Confederate monuments

The Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va. (iStock/jcarillet) The Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va. (iStock/jcarillet)

Who would have thought that Robert E. Lee, dead and in his grave since 1870, would be making news today? The furor over efforts to remove monuments to him and other Confederate leaders proves Faulkner’s adage that “The past isn’t dead. It’s not even past.”

The controversy has stirred protests, lawsuits, vandalism and violence.The mix of contemporary identity politics and Civil War history is both riveting and risky.At the heart of the polarizing debate is a fair question: Should we continue to honor leaders who took up arms against the federal government to preserve a way of life built on slavery? The immediate, obvious response is no, but the question cuts so deeply and across so many fault lines there may not be an easy answer.

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Twenty-five years ago I took a job at a small liberal arts college in the South. I will never forget talking to the mother of its new president. She was Southern, elderly and stunned me by speaking sorrowfully of “that terrible, terrible war” as if it had occurred just yesterday. The War Between the States, as she alluded to it, was dead and distant history to me, but not to her. That conversation was my first introduction to a region distant not just geographically but culturally from my own. Later that year a visiting professor from Germany remarked that he had found the one issue that could animate his students was the Civil War. They all wanted to refight it.

Did his students condone slavery and regard blacks as inferior? Were they all racists? I doubt it. I do think they had a romanticized view of the past. They were from a region of the country that had waged war and been defeated. Imbued with a consciousness of history, those students smarted from the loss more than a century later.

The War Between the States, as she alluded to it, was dead and distant history to me, but not to her.

We are in some key respects a binational country. Blacks and whites’ perspectives are shaped by different experiences of a common past. Negotiating the symbols of our shared history is fraught with danger. Emblems of brutal oppression to one group are perceived sentimentally by another. The symbols are the same, but the meanings attached to them are very different.In retrospect, probably most Americans can agree that, as Lee himself said, Confederate monuments should never have been erected. But dismantling them is a different story for many citizens. They hold no affection for the Confederacy but argue that dismantling monuments is erasing history, comparable to cutting out the photos of family members you dislike from family scrapbooks. Their answer to Americans who want tributes to the Confederacy taken down is: It is history. It happened.

Discarding—or sometimes smashing—the icons of an immoral past is what change agents do, whether Orthodox Christians, Protestant reformers, Muslim Islamists or secular revolutionaries. Today’s monument movers have the the confidence and dynamism, and in some cases the self-righteous zeal, that frequently goes with a moral cause. That cause is all the purer for being divorced from quotidian reality.

Emblems of brutal oppression to one group are perceived sentimentally by another.

The bitterness of symbolic battles lies in inverse proportion to their substance. Dismantling a Confederate monument will not do anything about curbing police brutality or reforming a criminal justice system riddled with racism or reducing bias in the workplace. It is an unproductive debate. Whatever satisfaction comes from purging Confederate monuments from public spaces will be fleeting, and possibly counterproductive if it stokes resentments among white Americans that, however specious, fuel racial bigotry.

Under pressure, local communities are making rapid changes. Let us hope they make decisions about historical monuments thoughtfully and on a case-by-case base. They may want to take down some; they may want to take down all. They may want to erect new monuments in the vicinity of offending old ones to commemorate the sufferings of slaves or to honor those who worked for racial justice. Those new memorials could offer a fuller picture of our history, without eliminating the relics of the past that some Americans want preserved.

New memorials could offer a fuller picture of our history, without eliminating the relics of the past that some Americans want preserved.

Such a solution might edge us away from a divisive debate blurring past and present. Hearing liberals today attack Robert E. Lee as a traitor is a surreal return to the politics of the 1860s. But the animosities of the Civil War persist; efforts to remove the vestiges of the Confederacy have fanned them.

In his recent trip to Colombia, Pope Francis addressed that country’s decades-long civil war and the need to build peace through personal encounters, one-on-one dialogue, forgiveness. We need our own such efforts at peace and reconciliation here at home. Without it, the ghosts of the Confederacy will still haunt us long after their images in bronze and marble are banished to museums.

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J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Dismantling a Confederate monument will not do anything about curbing police brutality or reforming a criminal justice system riddled with racism or reducing bias in the workplace.

This sentence illustrates the problem. Part of it is right and part of it is wrong.

The part that is right - Dismantling monuments will do nothing but give someone the satisfaction similar to sticking up their middle finger to others. Just as the finger never solves anything neither will the dismantling of statues. It does not get at the root cause of the problems.

The part that is wrong - But the more egregious part of the sentence is the supposition that the problems lie with police brutality (proven just the opposite) and the criminal justice system and race place bias. The real problem lies elsewhere and until people address the root causes nothing good will ever happen.

With these wrong perceptions all one is doing is sticking up their middle finger and as a result no problems will be solved..

Lonnie Barone
2 months 3 weeks ago

Speaking of wrong: many of the statues commemorating the antebellum South were erected during the rise of Jim Crow and later during the recent civil rights era. They were the "middle finger," now, weren't they?

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

I believe a large percentage of the statues were put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the 20th century. Whatever their origin, taking them down will do little to solve anything. For that one has to look elsewhere in places where a lot of people do not want to look because it is too uncomfortable

Lonnie Barone
2 months 3 weeks ago

I sense "uncomfortable" refers to your belief that the root problem as you see it exists in minority communities, and we blending hearts are not comfortable admitting it. If that's what you are driving at, then, yes, you make me quite uncomfortable. A little disgusted, too. If you mean something else, my apologies. Please set me straight.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The primary problem in the black community is the percentage of children born out of marriage and essentially without an attendant father and functional unit family. The cause of this is policies enacted by white liberals in the 1960's and not repealed. .

If that makes you disgusted so be it but it should not be with me. You might ask why is the obvious ignored?

I use the word "uncomfortable" because the ones crying racism all the time may be the real racists. Crying racism is done for political reasons and not because they care for blacks or think it will help them. If they did care, they would do very different things.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

You truly need enlightenment, for you have bought the right wing smear job that removes all guilt from the majority community and lays all the guilt on the minority.

Then you ascribe the cause to efforts to alleviate great poverty among the minority community that existed before 1960. Have you ever looked at the numbers? I do not speak of the numbers presented by the right wingers, but the actual historical records? If you want them I can tell you where to find an awful lot of them. You can look for yourself.

I am disgusted by the continual recitation of the accusations against black people and those whites who, at least, want to try to improve the situation. Unless you know the reality of this country before 1960 you will have no idea what the problems are or how to fix them.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

It will solve the discomfort, and pain, of the descendants of slaves having to look at monuments to those who fought to keep their ancestors slaves.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Your "The part that is right" seems rather shallow. Dismantling the monuments will remove a celebration of slavery. Keeping the monuments is truly sticking up the middle finger to those whose ancestors were slaves. In the real world that is the only reason to do it. Removing them will accomplish one great thing, it will eliminate the experience of the descendants of slaves being subjected to reminders, very often multiple times a day, that their ancestors were slaves to their neighbors. That alone is a very good thing.

Your "The part that is wrong" is filled with statements that demand both explanation and proof.
Please tell, what are the root causes?

With these thin air claims no problems will be solve in any case.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 3 weeks ago

"Cry bigotry and havoc! ...let slip the dogs of Political Correctness"........

The Chinese Great Cultural Revolution launched its iconoclasts tearing down and destroying any possible reminder of a pre Mao past.
We are now watching our own new generation of little red book waving iconoclasts spouting all manner of politically correct phrases as justification for rampant erasure of the past deemed offensive to their sensibilities. Underreported in these pages are the expunging/defacing of Junipero Serra and Christopher Columbus memorials as symbols of racist conquerors; Thomas Jefferson statue defaced on the campus he founded; Washington under assault and all manner of past personalities' personal short comings being re-laundered as justification for all manner of reparations and public confessions being demanded
As the Maoists discovered there will be consequences as their excesses create ever deeper divisions.
The question for these politically correct people is : "Just how far back do you need to go?". When you get "there" will you just discover that a new group will insist that the Iroquois Artifacts and mounds be destroyed to appease the champions of the Mohegan and Pawtucket ....etc etc etc

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Anyone who uses any form of the phrase "Politically Correct" in a serious discussion for any reason other than to denounce the use of the phrase should be taken out and flogged.

Politically correct is a term used by the right to try to silence discussion of truly important and harmful issues.

It is also a cover for giving offense.

There is one hell of a difference between trying to wipe out the memory of the past, and trying to whitewash the evil of that past by celebrating the leaders of the battle to preserve that evil. Can you think of a single thing Robert E Lee did to deserve such accolades other than fight to retain slavery?

Christopher Columbus didn't conquer anything, nor was he seeking the Americas, but a route to India. It seems he did not even know where he was when he got here.

Washington and Jefferson did a lot more than own slaves, but the fact that the did own slaves is a deep shadow on their memories.

In China it was the Maoists who held power, in the US the side that was enslaved has very little power. The real power comes from the fact that a huge segment of the majority does see that the statues are wrong and should come down. No amount of protest by the minority would remove one monument without the support of a very large segment of the majority.

The very fact that you resort to such diversions to avoid the real issue is evidence that you have not made any real attempt to understand the issue at all.

Anne Chapman
2 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you very much, Mr. Klahn, for this and your other comments.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 3 weeks ago

Robert
You might consider that anywhere from 70 to 100 years passed without these statues being a burning issue that requires immediate removal.Just what has suddenly changed to compel this iconoclasm?
I understand your objection to the label of Political Correctness ......your unwillingness to accept any narrative except the socially acceptable position of the left which comports with the left's version of appropriate social justice remedies. You simply cannot handle the concept of disagreement without resorting to accusations or inferences of "racism" or its evil twin ..."indifference".

As for my avoiding looking into the real issues I suggest that you might look into President Gerald Ford's warm comments about Robert E Lee when he formally pardoned Lee after it was discovered in 1970 that Secretary Seward had "pocket vetoed" Lee's pardon by Andrew Johnson by refusing to deliver it to the President. Senator Harry F Byrd (Democrat Virginia) rectified this by presenting a bill passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Ford.
At a celebratory ceremony at the Custis Lee Mansion in Arlington Cemetery President Ford said:
"General Lee's character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride"

You might also look into the Confederate Memorial in Arlington Cemetery , established in a singular Confederate Burial Section authorized by an act of Congress and President McKinley which now contains a 32ft Statue in bronze in memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy who died in the Civil War. This towering memorial (2nd tallest at Arlington) was dedicated by that progressive paragon President Woodrow Wilson in June 1914. Generally a wreath is sent to that Memorial by the President of the United States on Memorial Day......a tradition continued by President Obama.

In short ....there is a 100 year history of healing which has suddenly been ripped open. I suggest it is up to you to explain this sudden change in direction.

Michael Painter
2 months 3 weeks ago

"Hearing liberals today attack Robert E. Lee as a traitor is a surreal return to the politics of the 1860s."
-------
Robert E. Lee was originally a general in the United States Army. He became the leader of the Confederate Army, taking up arms against the United States. Calling him that has nothing to do with being a liberal, but rather with understanding the definition of the word.

John Patton
2 months 3 weeks ago

So one is saying " take down the white man's statues and put up the black man statue's". I don't see how that fixes this problem. Why not just put up another statue in the same area expressing the opinion of how the slaves were treated. ? If they take down the white man's history and replace it with a black man's history. Than things are only going to get worse. I frankly do not see destroying hysterical monuments fixing these racially motivated arguments. Why can we not just use these monuments to teach what we should never allow to happen again. America doesn't need another civil war. But it's coming.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Are we to take it your idea of what should never be allowed to happen again is the Civil War?

It is slavery that should never be allowed to happen again, slavery and so much more derived from slavery.

If you want to keep a statue of a confederate general, don't put one of the slaves next to it, have the horse rearing with the slaves under it's hooves.

Lisa Weber
2 months 3 weeks ago

I would suggest adding monuments right next to the Confederate generals' statues. An auction block featuring Negro slaves being sold would illuminate what the generals fought for. Or perhaps a statue of a slave who had been whipped and whose back is a mass of crisscrossed scars. Or perhaps a scene of the forcible parting of families as some members were sold to owners far away. The statues of Confederate generals may be part of history, but the history depicted is not complete, therefore it is a lie. Those who are fond of statues of Confederate generals would probably be outraged at the idea of putting statues of slaves right next to them, but that would provide some truth in the discussion.

Rudolph Koser
2 months 3 weeks ago

I think the author unduly simplifies the issue of racism in these monuments. A few points need to be understood. These statues were erected not right after the war but in the late teens and twenties of the last century during the concurrent rise of the KKK in the US, much like the use of the Confederate Flag (really the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia) came into common use during the 50's and 60's during desegregation and the Civil Rights movement. Some will say that the Daughters of the Confederacy paid for many of these. How does who pays for it absolve anyone from the context of these monuments telling people of color during Jim Crow that whites are still in charge? Context is very important. For instance the statue of Lee at Gettysburg stands where he was during the significant parts of the battle. That's fine. Lee never wanted statues. Finally these men were defending slavery and everything that went with it and they took up arms against the United States. They were by every definition traitors, including by the US Constitution, regardless of their prior history. I would also point out that from time immemorial losers' symbols are removed or destroyed after a war. I've yet to see a statue of Benedict Arnold in the US or Hitler in Germany. Many of these "cultural" defenders fear loss of position and privilege to brown folk and want to hold onto it for dear life. I would refer readers to Ta-Nehisi Coates' article in "The Atlantic" , Donald Trump is the First White President. He does a good job analyzing the phenomenon. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-pr…
We need as Christians to stop defending racism and its persistent symbols in this country by in anyway defending these symbols of hate. Racism is the Original Sin of the United States that many do not want to admit to or do anything about it.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Nice diversion, but not much effect in reality. Quotes from your source make that clear.

"Explaining to their white counterparts that the battleflag had only one meaning to them," Michel writes, several "black activists stressed that no matter how SSOC altered the flag's image, African Americans forever would see it as a symbol of racial oppression."
And
"Some schmo is bound to read the above as a "defense" of Confederate iconography, so let me be clear: When the battle flag made a comeback in the middle of the 20th century, the number one reason for its return was its popularity among the partisans of Jim Crow. The number two reason was the centennial of the Civil War. If you scraped together a list of additional reasons, I doubt that anti-racist radicals détourning the symbols of white supremacy would crack the top ten. This is a historical byway."

It didn't last long.

Anne Chapman
2 months 3 weeks ago

After WWII, the Germans pulled down monuments to Hitler and other Nazi leaders. When our troops went into Baghdad, the first thing they did was pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein.

Statues that are in public places - parks etc - are symbols, and the implication is that we are honoring the people represented by the statues. In honoring them with a statue, with a monument, by naming schools or buildings after them, we are essentially saying that what they did in their lives was praiseworthy, worthy of emulation.

The statues of confederate leaders should be removed because of the symbolism, not because of a hope that it will reduce racism or police brutality. Although it may have an impact on those evils of our time also, Eventually a generation will grow up that was not raised with parks and schools and other public places whose names or symbolic images are those of men who were traitors to the United States, led to become traitors so that they could defend an economic system and way of life that was built on the enslavement of other human beings.

These statues represent people who fought to retain a system that was evil - pure mortal sin for the CCC types. The descendants of those who suffered from the extreme cruelty of this evil should be honored, not the symbols of the men who attempted to perpetuate it.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

You said that very well, I had the statue of Saddam in mind also.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

The presence of Confederate monuments and their tearing down

is a faux issue done solely for political purposes

Tearing them down will solve nothing.

Liberals live on false but emotional issues and racism is one of them. First, I am not saying that racism doesn't exist but it is only a minor cause at best let alone the major cause of problems within the Black community.

Nor am I defending the presence of the Confederate statutes. But they have not been a problem till a month ago so how could they be even an insignificant cause of anything. What they are is a chance to raise emotions on something that is irrelevant and will not matter.

Most blacks face severe disadvantages growing up and trying to live a fruitful life, Tearing down the statues is just the latest way of avoiding the truth, that is dealing with the root causes of problems within the Black community.

Maybe some day the editors and authors here at America will want to address the real causes. Nothing will change till we address the causes of these disadvantages. But people find ways to not talk about it. Two recent examples are Nazis and statues.

Anne Chapman
2 months 3 weeks ago

It is clear that you understand very little about what racism really is, nor any real understanding of the many ways racism has so strongly contributed to the very conditions you deplore in the black community. Try some deep reading (beyond your usual sources) and some prayer and some reflection. Pray that you, a white person who has never had to deal with racism, can open your eyes to what millions of your fellow Americans have dealt with all their lives, generally with grace and without returning the hate that they so often experience. I too was very ignorant - not willfully, but simply because I am white, and I never had much in the way of personal experience with racism. I thought it was mostly behind us. It's not, as the news reminds us every day. I have a better understanding now because I have a wonderful African-American daughter-in-law, as well as the cutest grandson in the world - who is bi-racial - black in the eyes of racists and white supremacists and in the eyes of white Americans in general. Racism in our country is less than 50 years ago, but it still exists. Trump's rhetoric and racist dog-whistles gave new life to racism, making it "acceptable" again. Most whites are living in a privileged white bubble, but don't realize it. I didn't. I do now. But people can change if they are willing, even without welcoming into the family a new member of a different race. My extended family, through my children's marriages, now has three races. We are blessed beyond belief. BUT, our eyes have been opened.

Tearing down statues will not, as you observe, solve the many challenges facing the black community. But as SYMBOL of good will among the white majority, it is what we need to do, just as Germans took down the symbols of Nazism. I visited Poland two years ago. and visited Auschwitz while there. Where three million Jews once lived there are now about 10,000. Pulling down statues after the war may have helped the Jewish remnant begin to have a little hope that no all christian Europeans hate Jews, that not all christians who live in Europe are evil. Let's tell black Americans that we in the majority support them, that we know that the sins committed against them for most of their history in the US have had long-lasting consequences, consequences that impact their lives to this very day. Taking down statues and renaming public buildings and parks is the VERY LEAST we can do. It's a symbol only, but a positive symbol.

As a Catholic, you are immersed in symbol in your faith. I have seen many statues of saints in Catholic churches and schools, but never a statue of Judas. Keeping these Confederate statues up sends a message that what they did is OK, it was "good", yet the same people would probably thing it not OK to honor Judas in Catholic art in churches and schools.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

First, it is always nice to be lectured to by someone who is your better but does not seem to understand what they are talking about. And who accuses the other person of ignorance or bad faith. I am always willing to learn but nothing you have said offers anything relevant and will certainly not help blacks.

Second, Blacks have a very difficult time in our society but it is not due to what you are describing which by the way is real. I maintain the real racism is due to the people who cry racism all the time and refuse to acknowledge or address the circumstances, policies etc that have led to the severe problems in the Black community. And these people are the same ones responsible for supporting the policies that have led to the dysfunctional environment that Blacks have to endure.

I would look to the high percentage of children raised without a father as the primary cause of their problems. There are certainly others but they pale in comparison to almost four generations of children raised without an attendant father. Tearing down statues will have no effect but will make some people feel better and self righteous. I have no problem with taking most of them down but don't expect anything to change. It is just another dodge.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Won't help blacks? Pretending the problems of black people are the fault of black people will most certainly not help blacks.

The real racism is due to the people who cry racism suggests there is no real racism, just a racism image with no substance. That is so obviously absurd it's hard to believe you actually submitted it.

Everything you claim as the real problems requires you first show, black people did not have those problems before 1960, and then explain why white people don't have the same problems.

Or do you believe Jim Crow was NOT a dysfunctional environment for black people? Oh, and remember, there are 6 times as many white people as black in this country, so percentages calculate out to 6 times higher numbers for whites.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

I share your connection of a tri-racial family, with the addition that my current wife is black. My late wife and I adopted twice.

Your comment about a statue of Judas is wonderful, and will be my "goto" response to a great extent.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 3 weeks ago

Anne
See: " Godwin's law......the person who first resorts to a Nazi comparison loses the argument"!!!!!!

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

Labels are so lovely aren't they? Racism is an emotional but false issue? Racism is a minor cause of problems in the black community? No, racism is the ONLY cause of black problems. Black people would have the same problems as white people, not worse, if it were not for race.

Confederate statues were not a problem until a month ago? Maybe not to you, but you are not the one who has to pass one or more almost every day, often multiple times a day, and see a reminder that your ancestors used to be owned by your neighbor's ancestors. If it's irrelevant it will blow over soon enough, but the pain they cause will not.

The very fact that you say black people face sever disadvantages itself is evidence, if white people don't suffer those disadvantages you will have to produce a wondrous mystical explanation why it's only black people who suffer those disadvantages.

Oh, wait, Hispanics do also. Native Americans suffer them perhaps more. Actually, you got it backwards.

White Americans do not suffer the disadvantages black, Hispanic and Native Americas suffer. That, sir, defines white privilege.

The root causes of problems in the black community are based in poverty and discrimination. Those statues are symbols of the discrimination and Nazis are the defenders of those symbols and that discrimination, along with the KKK and similar groups.

Tim Donovan
2 months 3 weeks ago

Ms. Patterson believes, and I agree, that "most Americans can agree that, as Lee himself said, Confederate monuments should never have been created." But she in my view rightly observes that for many white Americans, dismantling monuments is "comparable to cutting out photos of family members you dislike from family scrapbooks." I readily admit that as a white man, I can't possibly understand the great pain experienced by many black Americans regarding our nation's brutal history of enslaving blacks. But as Ms. Patterson believes, I think we can find a compromise solution to this difficult matter that most Americans, regardless of race, will favor. She suggests that we remove some Confederate monuments entirely . Also, we could erect "new memorials (which) could offer a fuller picture of our history, without eliminating relics of the past that some Americans want preserved." Local communities may want to honor the brutal sufferings of black slaves, and honor with monuments those who worked for racial justice .
This may seem off-topic, but I believe it has some relevance. As a retired Special Education teacher for over 20 years I worked in different capacities with people with disabilities. At the agency where I worked, the great majority of staff were black, some of them immigrants from African nations. Many of the immigrants were from Liberia, whom at the time had fled to our nation to escape a brutal civil war. I can truly say that with very few exceptions, I got along well and had respectful relationships with my co-workers, regardless of their race.

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

How many descendants of Nazi War Criminals, Death camp commanders, close associates of Hitler do you believe support statues honoring their ancestors?

Do your co-workers support statues honoring the criminals of their countries who were the reason they fled?

That you got along with them is nice, but do they ever talk to you about discrimination they face in this country? Do they trust you enough?

And no, them saying it was so much worse in their country is NOT a real discussion of what happens in this country.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Since the new software for America makes it difficult to post links, I suggest everyone watch these two videos at prageru on the problems within the Black community

prageru.com/courses/race-relations/top-5-issues-facing-black-americans

prageru.com/courses/race-relations/black-fathers-matter

Just paste the link into your browser

Robert Klahn
2 months 3 weeks ago

I watched the videos. Shallow and insufficient.

I an not familiar with the speaker in one video, but Larry Elder is a well known right wing excuser of prejudice as a significant cause of black problems.

Nothing of real substance in the videos, but most of all, they require the answer to one question before they can be taken seriously.

Why does white society not suffer from all the ills of black society if it is due to government policies intended to fight poverty?

See if you can find an answer that does not translate into "Black people are inherently inferior".

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 2 weeks ago

Robert

You ask "why white society dies not suffer from the same ills as black society if government policies to fight poverty are to blame?"
I think if you start checking the rates out of wedlock births, wage stagnation, welfare dependency , absentee fathers and drug addiction of poor white Americans in areas like Appalachia, they are quite similar to those of poor black Americans. Both are are the direct "beneficiaries of government administered programs for the poor.

J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

Mr. Meisenzahl,

A few relevant things

First, whites are also succumbing to the problem of births out of wedlock. It is now almost 30% Charles Murray in his book "Coming Apart" discusses the differences between different sub populations of whites developing in the US. He calls them Belmont and Fishtown. Belmont is a suburb of Boston and is where Mitt Romney lives and Fishtown is a white section of Philadelphia that has high percentage of children with out fathers. Everybody should read this book.

Second,, blacks were signaled out from whites in the mid 1960's during the War on Poverty and were told they had no responsibility for their plight since it was all due to white racism and the remnants of slavery. In other words it was not their fault and they were owed. Whether this is true or not it had a catastrophic effect on the Black community. They essentially were told they did not have any responsibility to remedy their plight. As a result, they developed a victim mentality that is prevalent to this day amongst a large percentage of the black population. It is not hard to find industrious, intelligent. hard working blacks, I meet them every day in my business and community. But apparently there is a large percentage that do not accept this viewpoint.

This attitude owes its origins to social scientists in the 1940's -1960's who inculcated this attitude into the community. They did it with the best of intentions not realizing what the long term effects would be.

Third - another do gooder policy that happened at the same time as the War on Poverty or Great Society was the change in immigration laws. It too had some unforeseen outcomes. Starting in 1965 there was a change in who was allowed to immigrate into the US and the new immigrants were mostly low skilled males from Mexico and other Latin American countries. They were competing with many of the unskilled black male population for jobs. Until 1965 poverty had been dropping year after year but it suddenly stopped in the mid 60's just as the War on Poverty started. It began to rise in the late 60's and early 70's. Wages for non supervisory labor peaked in 1973 and today is less than it was 40 years ago.

None of these are the subject of discussion at America the magazine as I mention in more than one article on race. Does that mean the true racists are those that espoused/endorsed these policies but fail to acknowledge the negative effects they have had. And will then turn around and accuse others of racism.

I think there are terms to describe this behavior.

J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

We have to get rid of the name "New York." The duke of York was one the main organizers of the slave trade in the 1600's.

Prior to about 1800 80% of the world were slaves or serfs We should get rid of all historicsl documents/artifacts prior to that time and about half of them afterwards.

We live in the “Crazy Years," when rapid changes in technology, together with the disruption those changes cause in mores and economics, cause society to go crazy. The "craziness” comes when beliefs don’t match facts. (Based on Heinlein's view of the future written in the 1950's.)

So we react to fictional racism events by tearing down statues. Yes, these are the crazy years.

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