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Statues and monuments

I think we should build a statue for Roger Allies. As well as Bill Cosby. I think we should build a statue or monument for Harvey Weinstein. Or let’s go back to allowing statues or memorials that have Swastikas. There are so many other icons we should build monuments or statues for.

Why not? Roger Allies was a major part of history and was a cultural icon. He created a TV station from scratch. Whether you love or hate Fox News, he created the station from nothing and arguably started a cultural revolution. Whether you agree with that “cultural revolution or not” or whether you think it was “good for society or not”, there is no question that what he accomplished was impactful.

Why not use his Allies accomplishments as a talking point for the younger generation, both the negative or positive of Allies, right? Who cares that Allies sexually assaulted dozens of women. Lets go build some statues of him, maybe outside of Seneca Falls and the women’s suffrage museum. Lets see how white women react to building a status of a sexual predator, as the statue would be celebrate his “good”, right? On a side note, women’s “suffrage” (or the right to vote) was not given until 1919, or 150 years after Independence Day…yes women were not even close to be “equal” or given “liberty” on Independence Day from our founding fathers.

Harvey Weinstein deserves a statue too, rights? After all he received 81 Academy Awards. What a cultural Icon he was. He deserves a statue. Lets build a few statues and monuments of him outside some key women sites. Same thing for Bill Cosby. Why not use the history of a black man making it to TV as a talking point?

Who cares that these people raped, drugged, demeaned, assaulted, etc hundreds of women? After all they had some positives too? Swastikas are a talking point too. Why did we, for all intensive purposes, ban Swastikas? They are part of American History. We can use those Swastikas as a talking point. As once again, Roger Ailes and those others had some good qualities too (just like some of the horrible icons in US history had some good qualities).

Let white women walk under these statues and see them everyday. Maybe then, just maybe, they can get a tiny, tiny feel of what black people and Native Americans have felt like for decades.

Such a sad state – The lack of empathy and historical knowledge

Yes, all of these suggestions are of course ridiculous and outrageous. It is to make a point. The point being lets see how women (in particular white women) feel about building monuments and statutes to rapists and sexual predators. As these predators did have positive attributes too, right? As right now many of the statues in our country, those monuments represent individuals who raped black people, demeaned them, killed them (as well as Native Americans), kidnapped from them their homeland, and the monuments are off white supremacists.

It is incredible how little empathy as well as knowledge of history that the vast majority of Americans have on the horrible sides of the people who we have build statues for. Not only that, people do not even know the dates most of these statues were built, but I will give you a brief history below of those dates and the significance of them.

Now of course, I do not know the answer to whether statutes should or should not be taken down, moved to museums, be “redone” with huge disclaimers highlighting the monsters that many of these historical figures were, etc. I do not know, but what I do know that there is a huge level or ignorance as well as lack of empathy around this issue, and that lack of empathy and understanding is mostly from white people. The issue is super complicated.

High level history

Andrew Jackson – Ever hear about the “Trail of Tears”. Jackson forced 50,000 to 100,000 Native Americans to walk thousands of miles across the US to western states, as white people wanted the Native American land to farm. It is estimated up to 10,000 Native Americans died – that Andrew Jackson was responsible for killing thousands of Native Americans. This is maybe worse that what Saddam Hussein did when he gassed the Kurds. No American complained when Hussein statues were taken down. And of course that is just one example of Andrew Jackson’s horrible acts.

Woodrow Wilson – He reversed over 50 years of equal rights gained by black people (though the equal rights gained in the early 1900s were of course minuscule). He re-segregated the federal workforce. Imagine that, how horrible and racist that is. In the early 1900s some of the federal workforce was not segregated, and Wilson started to once again separate/segregate workers by race. He forced black workers to use separate lunchrooms, toilets, offices, etc. By his actions and his words, he considered black people barely human. And of course that is just one example of Wilson’s horror.

Robert E Lee Monument – The latest example is in Richmond. It was built in 1890, in midst of Jim Crow.  The goal of the statue was to remind black people of their place in a white society and drive home the point of white supremacy. Note this reinforcement of white supremacy was true of most of these statues and monuments.

There are so many examples. Christopher Columbus (who did not discover America (so why a statue?) much less he slaughtered Native Americans, Thomas Jefferson had over 600 slaves, John Calhoun who said Slavery was a great thing/raped slaves, etc. I can go on and on.

Other countries and statues or monuments

And for those that do not know about other countries, Americans did not complain when Iraqis took down Sadamm Hussein memorials. All of the Nazi monuments were removed from Germany (and Germany has laws in place that make it illegal for people to deny the holocaust), Lenin statues were removed in the old USSR, South Africa removed some statues of white supremacists, etc.

Many (but not all) countries have removed statues that demean segments of their population. But when they removed the memorials, they did not erase their past. Instead those countries have taken other less controversial and more “humane” actions (like Germany) to ensure their past is never forgotten.

Solutions?

Now should the statutes be torn down? I have no idea. Be I think it is a super complicated issue as many of these people in our past did horrible things. And sadly most people have no knowledge of that terrible past or the issue(s) at hand. People rush to judgement and share their opinions on topics they know nothing about. It is so common in America, people sharing their opinions and  “solutions” on topics they know nothing about. For some reason Americans can’t just say “I don’t know”, or “Let me look into the issue and get back to you”. This is another blog post on itself…why people can’t just say I don’t know. Unfortunately those ignorant people are often dangerous.

And another critical factor in the discussion is these statues were also built at a time of the peak of white supremacy (but then again male and white supremacy still exists today), in which a major goal of many/most of these statues was to make black people as well as Native Americans “know their place” in the world. Think how authoritarian governments build statues around the world to help “control” their populations (N Korea, Iran, China, etc.), that is the genesis of many/most of the American statues.

What I completely disagree with is thoughtless, uneducated people who do not know the horror of these so called “icons”, and post ignorant comments with no empathy saying “stop taking monuments down”. Sadly most of these people making these posts are white. They rarely have any context or knowledge of the history. They show total lack of empathy and understanding of the issue.

There is so little empathy it is so sad. This is why I think we should build a few monuments or statues for Harvey Wenstein and others around the country. Maybe then white women can feel how it looks like to look at rapists and predators every day – as that is what black people or Native Americans look at everyday when they see these monuments.

As many/most slave owners raped their slaves. They sold them like a piece of property, which is what a slave was to them; black people were not even humans. Or they made black people go to a separate bathroom or ride a separate bus (like Wilson did) as they said blacks were “10th class citizens” and not fit to associate with white people. I fully realize I can’t truly feel how a black person must feel seeing these statues, it must be horrible. But I try my best to understand. Lets see how some white privileged women reacts to walking by statues of modern day rapists like Roger Ailes, Weinsten, and others…as those men did some great things too, right? Those people were not all bad and had complicated pasts, right? And their raping and sexual assaults were much less that what some of the people from the countries past did.

I also completely disagree with the tiny minority of fringe groups who are tearing down statues or desecrating them. It is wrong. However sadly there is such as lack of leadership to approach this issue it in a thoughtful way to find a compromise. As the Republican party leadership is 95% white and there is zero chance of them having a thoughtful discussion or finding a solution. That being said, tearing them down is not the solution either.

joncmac

Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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