Editor, the Advocate:
Like many Americans pondering our country’s recent human rights and social upheaval, it is apparent that racism, prejudice and discrimination must finally join the ranks of bomb shelters, Ford Pintos and Lost Cause monuments as anachronistic and nonbeneficial. The collective protests are signaling time for a meaningful shift. And, if we are to go forward, every rock cluttering the road leading to equal rights for all must be uncovered and demolished.
The shift is happening. Sooner or later the removal of all public representations of toxic oppression and oppressors, including those of the Lost Cause, will be destroyed or relocated. Yet, the white privilege mindset is still very real and has flourished for an embarrassingly long time in our relatively young union. Why must so many lifetimes and lives continue to be sacrificed in pursuit of what seems to have been so plainly spelled out in our Declaration of Independence?
Striving to eradicate systematic racism should be a priority for anyone who cares about our country. Our brothers and sisters continue living in fear. Between weaponized citizens and sadly, some peace officers, people of color cannot catch a break. When will it end? Disassembling institutionalized hatred requires everyone to stand up to all human rights’ violations, racist beliefs and practices.
Since their historical narratives were filtered through a lens espousing institutionalized hate, Lost Cause monuments have little historic or public value except perhaps to Lost Cause groups. Why they consider their alignment with hate a part of their “heritage” confounds me. It seems great-great grandma’s peach cobbler recipe covers that better.
Removing glaringly insensitive monuments is an opportunity toward healing I urge us to take. Let us use the momentum before we slip back into an Old South complacency. Sorry to say, but retreating is highly possible in many crumbling feudal bastions like Victoria. The late John Lewis summed up what I wish for all in saying, “When you lose your sense of fear, you’re free.” And, freedom is for all Americans.
Claudia McCarty, Victoria