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Opinion: Confederate Statues Should be Taken Down

A+Statue+of+Jefferson+Davis+being+removed+from+University+of+Texas+-Austin%27s+campus+in+2015.+Photo+by+Jay+Janner%2FAMERICAN-STATESMAN.
A Statue of Jefferson Davis being removed from University of Texas -Austin's campus in 2015. Photo by Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

A Statue of Jefferson Davis being removed from University of Texas -Austin's campus in 2015. Photo by Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

Jay Janner

Jay Janner

A Statue of Jefferson Davis being removed from University of Texas -Austin's campus in 2015. Photo by Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

Michael Baldocchi, Reporter

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In February of 1861, 11 southern states each seceded from the Union, an action which led to the American Civil War.  The United States was awash with bloodshed as both the Union and the Confederacy fought to preserve their respective values.  On April 9, 1865, the Confederacy surrendered to the Union and was reinstated after they reluctantly agreed to the abolition of slavery.  As time progressed, landmarks upon landmarks were built to honor Confederate Soldiers, the majority of them coming between 1910-1915.  Now as we near the end of 2017, a raging debate has been brought to the attention of the American people on whether the monuments of Confederate soldiers should remain up or be taken down.  Though these monuments represent America’s history and an important part of it, I believe they should be removed, not only because they are very obviously offensive to many people, but because they also provide an outlet for racism and oppression of Black people that this country has worked so hard to get rid of.  

 

Those who are pushing for the removal of Confederate statues throughout the South and other parts of the country believe these monuments idolize a disgraceful period of American history and perversely celebrate those who fought to preserve slavery and uphold a system of white supremacy.  The statues are symbols of hatred and bigotry which are  directly associated with oppression, Jim Crow and violent white resistance to the civil rights movement.

 

“Personally I don’t understand how people are still accepting of these landmarks,” said  San Marino High School junior Morgan Wong. “To me they represent something that is very morally incorrect and to keep them up is to almost support what they believed in.”

Defenders of these monuments, though, say these statues are benign markers that embody both Southern heritage and culture, while also paying tribute to the hundreds of thousands Confederate soldiers who were killed while fighting for a cause in which they were passionate about.

“I feel people are being too sensitive about the issue,” said junior Andrew Quach.  “I honestly do not mind them being up.  It is important to remember our nation’s history.”

Many people also feel that the statues should not be demolished but instead removed from public areas and preserved in museums.  Their reason for this is the statues represent a time in America that is generally frowned upon, but it is important to remember this country’s history so we are able to learn from our mistakes and not make the same ones in the future.

“It is definitely important to remember our country’s history and everything that came with it,” said Junior Alyssa Escamilla. “But I don’t think they should remain in public places because obviously they can be very offensive.”

According to an August poll by Reuters, 54 percent of Americans believe monuments involving the Confederacy should be left up, while 27 percent believe these monuments should be demolished.  The other 19 percent don’t know where they stand on the issue.

San Marino Students who are taking Peter Paccone’s honors U.S. History course also had a chance to do a poll on whether the monuments should be taken down or left up.  In their poll, 66 percent of people believed that the monuments should remain, 24 percent said they should be removed, and 10 percent said they don’t know how to feel about the issue.

What will happen to confederate statues in the future is unknown, and only time will tell how we as a country figure out how to deal with this issue.  But while these statues remain, America is unable to move forward in a progressive direction and will always have a source of racism and oppression in our nation.

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Opinion: Confederate Statues Should be Taken Down