by G. Brown
The Confederate flag, Robert E. Lee statues, relics of the civil war guard the entries to court houses, municipal offices and parks throughout the country but especially in the south. According to the Southern Law Poverty Center there are an estimated 1503 of these monuments that dot landscapes across the U.S. To some they are sacred reminders of the heroes of a lost war…to others they are like shards of glass reflecting painful memories of a time when the ‘Land of the free’ refrain did not apply to people of color.
This chasm of opinion over Confederate monuments was the backdrop to another racial uprising…one of the worst since the 60’s. When Charlottesville Virginia decided to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, white nationalists showed up in mobs to protect the symbol of White power. Just Confederates were on the losing side of the Civil War, Confederate lovers may be on a losing side of the war over monuments.
Other cities like Baltimore, Lexington Kentucky, Durham North Carolina and Gainesville Florida have already removed or voted to remove similar monuments. Statues like “Old Joe” dredge up old resentments and painful memories of slavery and savagery inflicted on Blacks who were regarded as property-not people.
On YouTube, The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur sat down with Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage rapper Chuck D and guitarist Tom Morell to talk about what happened in Charlottesville and why the monuments should come down. Chuck D says of those monuments, “The fact that it stands up is like holding onto like this is what we have left to remind you that you ain’t sh*t.” The rapper continued saying, “You know symbols and statues…these things have been institutionalized, they’ve been protected… But what you have different is you have new generations. So when people say, ‘why have we changed?’…because the system of it has not been examined and eradicated to the point where it’s overhauled completely.”
The “Fight the Power” and “Rebel Without a Pause” rapper explained that these monuments and statues are a way to keep that racial hatred alive. It’s a way to pass down hatred from the Civil War to younger generations like the 20 year old accused of killing a woman when he drove his car into the counter protesters. Chuck D says these younger generations don’t see themselves as racist because their behavior is being backed by the White House.
Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello offered some insight on Charlottesville and says the counter protesters who went head to head with the white supremacists and nationalists are heroes. Morello says, “The word antifascist began in Berlin in 1932. The first antifascists were those who were standing up to to the rising Nazi movements in Germany in ’32. And those antifascists on the streets in Charlottesville and around the globe, those are heroes….standing up [against] a repugnant fascist evil that has grown in the White House.”
Morello added the reason they (the protesters) have their hoods off is because they’ve got their hoods off in the Oval Office. Morello added, “They’re emboldened by that White nationalism and that racism which has been coddled by the White House.” Morello’s point was proven just yesterday when Trump held a news conference that left most logical people speechless. Trump walked back his earlier denouncement of the White supremacist and instead went back to his both sides are to blame as part of his whitesplaining defense of the white nationalist. Former KKK leader and White supremacist David Duke tweeted a thank you to Trump following the news conference.
The interviewer then interjected a thought we’d like to leave you with. Uygur says most “younger White men want equality, they’re for freedom…for America. What you you’re seeing in the White House now is the last gasp of the angry White man“. That “angry White man” may be gasping for his last Battle of Bull Run, but he’s going to find just as many angry Black men and women ready to fight their Battle of Appomattox.
You can watch that entire clip from TYT with Chuck D and Morello below.