The statues you’re defending are of men who erased my history. –Kevin S. Aldridge, opinion editor, Cincinnati Enquirer
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Rick Borden said of his son, Daniel Borden, who (along with others) beat up an unarmed black man, “I absolutely don’t think my son did anything wrong.” Daniel’s mother called reports of her son’s actions “fake news” (sound familiar?). The beating victim was left with a concussion, eight staples in his head, a broken wrist, and other injuries. And we wonder why the son of such a father and mother grows up with moral blinders.
That beating wasn’t the only violent act committed in Charlottesville, Virginia, during that white supremacist rally in August 2017. An avowed neo-Nazi deliberately drove his car into rally-protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year old protester Heather Heyer. Her offense: actively opposing the alt-right’s racism. In her last Facebook post before her death, she had said of her activism: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
Last month, Heyer’s killer was sentenced to life in prison. As for Daniel Borden, he was sentenced last week. The particulars? In the words of the old idiom, “Read ’em and weep”:
Around the time of the Charlottesville madness, the opinion editor (a black man) who was quoted at the beginning of this post, wrote an editorial titled YOUR HERITAGE BEING ERASED? WELCOME TO THE CLUB. It included these words:
“There’s been a lot of consternation among some folks about this growing movement to take down Confederate statues and monuments across the United States. Even President Trump has joined the chorus of laments that removing these monuments is an attempt to erase or rewrite history and rob certain people of their Southern culture and heritage.”
“But here’s the thing that some people don’t seem to get or want to acknowledge: These monuments pay tribute to individuals who took away and erased the history of Africans through slavery, through the killing and slaughtering of innocents, through the destruction of black families by way of rape and separation – all in the name of cruelty, white supremacy, exploitation and greed.”
“How would I like my history taken away?”
“Been there and done that, sir.”
“Most African-Americans in this country will never know the true history of our ancestors. Much of our heritage was lost when our forefathers were densely packed into slave ships and transported across the Atlantic to be sold like common goods. Many of them died and their individual histories along with them. And those who survived….had their native, ancestral names stripped from them and replaced with the ones slave masters wanted them to have.”
“Much of our African heritage has been irretrievably lost to the ravages and ruthlessness of callous individuals and traitors to this nation, such as General Lee, who fought to maintain the deplorable and murderous system of slavery. Now there are some who want to romanticize, revere and commemorate them as heroes.”
“Well, excuse me if I’m not willing to buy that brand. Forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for your loss. Sorry if it ruins some quaint childhood memory.”
“All I can say is, welcome to the club.”
Are YOU paying attention?