Why White Southern Conservatives Need to Defend Confederate Monuments

Calhoun SC

John Calhoun monument in South Carolina

From Black Perspectives by Professor William Sturkey

Modern debates over Confederate monuments are not merely concerned with culture, historical memory, or racism. For many monument defenders, there is also a pragmatic political motivation deeply rooted in the defense of race-based inequality and privilege in contemporary America.

Many American students never learn about Jim Crow; just segregation. This distinction matters. When Jim Crow is taught merely as racial separation, the Southern system of racial apartheid that existed for nearly a century appears as an occasional minor inconvenience: a seat in the back of the bus, a poorly functioning water fountain, or balcony-level seating in a movie theatre.

Segregation was just one aspect of Jim Crow, which encompassed everything from wealth, education, employment, sex, safety, health, and criminal justice, to monuments erected in public spaces. Southern Jim Crow was fashioned to establish and maintain white supremacy over African Americans. It changed over time, and Black people persistently resisted, but Jim Crow at its core was totalizing by design.

Read the rest of the article at Black Perspectives

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