In Ukraine there was a huge drive to topple the Lenin statues and rename the streets that still had names of Soviet leaders. I’m all for getting rid of Lenin and Co but if that were the only thing being done to de-Sovietize, I’d say fuck that shit. If I didn’t see any efforts to improve public services, start local businesses, change the ludicrous tax code, eradicate corruption, build roads, etc, I wouldn’t care about the symbolism of removing the darn statues. But all these crucial things are being done in Ukraine, so it’s not just an empty gesture.
It’s the same with the statues commemorating the Confederacy. I’m obviously not attached to the statues. Not a single one I’ve seen has artistic merit, so I say, get rid of the motherfuckers. Grind them to dust. But only if this is something that’s done on the margins of less symbolic and more practical things. The ridiculous jail terms for minor drug offences aren’t going away with the statues. The incarceration rates for African Americans are not dropping. Job discrimination is brutal and it’s not even being discussed.
I don’t want the statues to be the whole story. I want them to be a little blip on the margins of something much bigger. I’m bothered by how much they are discussed crowding out everything else. I think that’s the reason why African Americans are not overwhelmingly supporting the removal of the statues. I have a feeling they might have other concerns that might actually be more pressing than this.