Removing Confederate Statues is Not Hating “White Culture”

During the last couple weeks, there has been controversy over the removal of Confederate statues out of city centers. There is no reason why white people should be offended. Many of the Confederate statues and names were created to promote Jim Crow laws in the South. From the 1870s-2000s hundreds of memorials, monuments, schools, and municipalities have been created to honor the Confederacy and help subdue minorities and change the culture to normalize Confederate values.

Charlottesville catalyzed the important issue about the removal of names and monuments related to the Confederacy. People rallied to keep up a statue of General Robert E. Lee, a slave owner who has become the face of the “Lost Dream” of the Confederacy.  The issue here is that white supremacists and neo-nazis have been insisting that taking down statues of Lee somehow degrades “White Culture” but I can assure you it does not. “White Culture” is a loose term that is mainly used when regarding white nationalists’ feelings about having Confederate statues taken away, this has been created to “take back” the spotlight from minorities attempting to overcome adversity.

Just because people are working on getting equal rights for minority groups doesn’t mean the so-called “White Culture” is under attack.

What people do not realize is that the “Alt-right” title is just a euphemistic name for white nationalists who promote hate and violence against minority groups. This in no way is a type of culture, but rather a movement fueled by hate. The KKK has been classified a “hate group” in many towns and in the late 1800’s Senate passed a bill that would allow Klan members to be prosecuted and prohibited groups of people to go around terrorizing people. Yet almost 150 years later they are being protected by police officers and still terrorizing minorities.

That kind of hate and bigotry does not relate to any type of “White Culture” because in no way are white people being attacked by removing names of people who are being seen as idols to people who embrace racism in their daily lives. This is giving people an excuse to feel sorry for themselves and put their personal values above the lives of others. Having other people succeed and not feel attacked for being themselves doesn’t suddenly make the lives of the white Americans worth any less, but it gives them a chance to use their privilege to help people who do not have equal rights.

The first step is to recognize the privileges that you have, no matter how hard it may be, this can help you begin to see things from a different perspective. It is possible to actively help the cause by donating to the Black Lives Matter chapter in Charlottesville or getting involved with Showing Up For Racial Justice and supporting businesses that affiliate with these organizations. Talking to your community and calling people out who say things that are offensive in real life and online, because if nobody tells them that it is wrong nothing will change. Lastly, realize that Confederate names and statues were only put there to terrorize minorities and they do not impact “White Culture” or your own personal well being and deserve to be taken down.

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Dominique Maderal
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Dominique Maderal is from Arlington, VA currently studying engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She works with survivors of sexual assault and is a facilitator in high schools about the topic. Follow her on social media at dom_madz.

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