Preserve History and Reject Racism

I read with horror today about the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is incredible to me to see this in 2017. I know racism has always existed and always will, but it is still difficult to see. I do not know what groups were involved in the initial protest, but the media indicates they were ‘white nationalists’.  I’ll go with that for now as I have no way to independently verify it.  It also seems that Black Lives Matter and Antifa were represented, so there were all sorts of racist idiots in Charlottesville today.  Supposedly, all of this started over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. I have written about this recently, as I feel very strongly the removal of all things “Confederate” is very disrespectful to those of us with Southern roots and shows a profound level of ignorance.  I think proposing to take down the statue was a mistake, but I do not believe all of this violence is about a statue.

No, I think this was an excuse for racist groups to start trouble. They wanted a fight and they wanted the press coverage they knew would come with it. The media was only too happy oblige, somehow lumping white nationalists with conservatives.  They act like racism began right after the election in November, but I digress.  In my opinion, the proper reaction to the planned protest would have been to ignore it. They want attention? Well, let’s give them none. I remember seeing two Klan idiots on the steps of the courthouse in my home town in Georgia. There was not one reporter, counter-protestor, or onlooker.  Everyone just went about their business like the pointy hat-wearers weren’t there.  Unfortunately, the maturity level required for that response is sadly lacking in the modern world, so enter Antifa and BLM, two groups every bit as hateful as the white nationalists.  The resulting chaos was sadly predictable and resulted in the murder of one person and injury to many others.  To be clear, I understand that none of this would have happened if the white nationalists had stayed home. The responsibility for the murder of one person, the deaths of two Virginia State Patrolmen, injuries to dozens, and the general pain in the butt created for the citizens of Charlottesville lies squarely on the shoulders of the white supremacists. Personally, I’d be fine if we could lock all these groups into an arena and let them fight it out.  It is time for this country to get past letting these irresponsible, hateful children drive the conversation. My history and the unity of this nation is more important than all of them.

For those of us who are proud of our Southern heritage and feel it is worthy of remembrance, we must reject those who persist in hateful rhetoric and actions.  They are not our allies. We must speak out against them whenever they rear their ugly heads. We need to fight against the erasure of our history using intelligence, logic, and facts, not violence. We must acknowledge that our ancestors were flawed human beings, just like every human in history. In spite of their flaws, they deserve to be remembered and in many cases, honored. Trying to erase my history is disrespectful and offensive.  It is time for everyone to accept that we can disagree and still respect each other.  To do otherwise is to expand the ever-growing divide between people which could actually threaten our culture.  There is simply no room for racism in the conversation. If the racists become the representatives of Southern history, we will most assuredly lose it.  How long will it be, then, before we repeat it?

Wallace Conrath

Just a couple of questions about heritage. When were the statues built and erected? The answer to those questions may provide real insight to why they are there in the first place. My question is not rhetorical. I would really like to know. I have always struggled with the “heritage” point of view.


Sorry to just be responding to your question. Busy!

To my knowledge, most of them were erected from the late 19th century through the early 20th century, about the time that most of the veterans were passing away. I can’t speak for those that erected the statues since it was 100 years ago. For those of us here, today, that are proud of our Southern heritage, those statues are reminders of our past. That includes the noble aspects and the terrible.

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