At the time same-sex marriage becomes legalized the Alabama Legislature passes a law denying such couples the right to adopt children from some adoption agencies.
At the same time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled North Carolina’s Republican controlled legislature improperly redrew Congressional districts based on race, the Alabama Legislature was redrawing legislative districts for the same reason.
At the same time my 10-year old daughter sat in her classroom studying Alabama history, the Alabama Legislature was dealing with a racist email forwarded by a white lawmaker to his colleagues.
The same Alabama Legislature that pride themselves on passing every ‘economic incentive’ known to lure companies to locate in Alabama, somehow always still manages to screw it up with their racist ways, passing laws glorifying the ugly side of our state’s history and protecting what I like to refer to as ‘participation monuments’, because the fact is, most controversial monuments portray losers not winners, which is odd in itself.
There appears to be a pattern here and it is because racism remains alive and well.
And when I refer to the ugly side of history, I’m not referring to just the Civil War, but to the war on civil rights and the continued divide between black and white America.
Because let us not kid ourselves, most confederate monuments and the like, appeared during the 20th Century, long after the Confederacy was defeated. And it wasn’t done to remember the fallen, but in support of segregation and a push against the civil rights movement.
History should be taught and preserved, but there is a difference in preserving and teaching history and glorifying it by building monuments and naming buildings for those who fought against the United States and for slavery.
Last week, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu publicly addressed the removal of four confederate monuments in his city.
And to the naysayers who want to argue the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, I say go sit in a corner and argue with the wall.
In his address Mayor Landrieu says, “A friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?
Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?
We all know the answer to these very simple questions.
When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth.”
Landrieu goes on to say, “We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.
And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people.
In our blessed land we all come to the table of democracy as equals…
Because we are one nation, not two; indivisible with liberty and justice for all, not some. We all are part of one nation, all pledging allegiance to one flag, the flag of the United States of America.”
So if you still believe it’s all about history and not hate next time you see someone waving the confederate flag or defending a confederate monument, ask them why. It’s doubtful they could even tell you when the Civil War took place or who Jefferson Davis was. It’s just hate and ignorance.