A blind man could have seen this coming. It’s always the same story, every time, and it’s like…these officials never seem to get the picture. Or maybe they do. Maybe they’re a big part of it themselves. But if you ever feel like saying, “Well, just give them this one and then things can be peaceful,” what’s happening in New Orleans right now is Example #554 why that’s a foolish thing to believe.
In case you missed it, the New Orleans city council – with plenty of prodding from the mayor – just had four Confederate memorial monuments removed from public view. Over the protests of Confederate history groups and preservationist societies like the Monumental Task Committee, the city scrapped the statues of heroic figures like Robert E. Lee, supposedly because they represented the country’s racist, slavery-ridden past.
Okay, so it happened. Everyone’s ready to move on now, right?
Nope. You give an inch and they take a mile. Just listen to Malcolm Suber, the spokesman for Take Em Down NOLA, the activist group that fought for the removal of the original four statues. Suber says the city’s leaders shouldn’t stop at the Confederate monuments.
“We’re issuing an invitation to the mayor to finish the job. He has already begun the job, and we want him to finish the job,” said Suber at a news conference on Thursday.
The activist group said the city should remove additional statues, such as the one celebrating former President Andrew Jackson.
“What we would like to see in their place is people who stood for people and liberation,” he said. “For instance, we think since Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. We don’t understand why we can’t turn Jackson Square into Harriet Tubman Square. At Lee Circle, we don’t understand why we can’t turn Lee Circle into Dorothy Mae Taylor Circle. Dorothy Mae Taylor was one of the most courageous black leaders in this city. She led the effort to desegregate Mardi Gras.”
Oh wow, the effort to desegregate Mardi Gras. That’s a much bigger deal than anything Robert E. Lee or Andrew Jackson ever did…
But really, we don’t even have a problem with honoring Tubman or Taylor or any other historic black figure. That’s fine. That’s GREAT. But why do those honors have to come at the expense of heroic men whose stories are so integral to the rich heritage of the South and the United States as a whole? Why does this have to be an Us vs. Them scenario?
And of course the answer is that these people don’t give a DAMN about Harriet Tubman Square. They just want to cause division and trouble. They just want to have something to complain about. And no matter how many monuments New Orleans removes, they’ll find something else.