After You Remove All The Christopher Columbus Statues, What Good Will Will It Do?
Posted on: 10/10/2017 07:04 PM

A little something the author here wouldn't dare broach: Statues of Christopher Columbus (and Confederate icons) was never an issue when the US population was almost entirely of European extraction.


by Ross Baker

As we proceed with the process of cleansing our landscape of the heroes of the Confederacy, we are already embarked on a campaign to dethrone another tainted historical figure, Christopher Columbus.

Recently, in New York, two statues of him have been vandalized and, as we observe Columbus Day on Monday, a national holiday that for most Americans is just an excuse to take a three-day weekend, some cities have used the occasion to officially rename it “Indigenous Peoples' Day” in atonement for the many wrongs inflicted upon Native Americans.

Perhaps this also is an opportunity to ask ourselves how the removal or destruction of statues that few people ever noticed benefits the African Americans and Native Americans who are disproportionately poor, sick and lacking in opportunity.

Progressives delight in dealing out symbols, such as pressuring high school sports teams to drop mascots that are deemed offensive to Native Americans. They have also been successful in prevailing on towns and cities to rename streets in black neighborhoods after civil rights heroes, despite the dirty little secret that one effect of renaming a road Martin Luther King Boulevard is that it is apt to discourage white motorists from taking that exit.


After You Remove All The Christopher Columbus Statues, What Good Will Will It Do?






These symbolic changes are a cheap and easy way to compensate people for centuries of mistreatment, and they might make us feel momentarily virtuous when a plaque comes down or a street sign is changed. But the exhilaration of racial expiation can degenerate into ordinary vandalism — as is the case of the statue of the Confederate soldier in Columbus, Ohio, recently beheaded.

It is time to ask ourselves whether we have gone too far with this iconoclasm and accomplished too little.

One paradoxical result of this effort to exorcise the demons of the past could be only to anger people who may have some vague tie to these symbols but probably didn’t spend a lot of time or emotion venerating them until someone came along and branded them as racist. Perhaps their resistance to change might simply have come from the fact that they just liked their town square the way it was. People will fiercely defend even something that they never especially valued if you threaten to take it away.

Five decades ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan caught hell for suggesting that the issue of race in America had become so contentious that it might benefit from what he referred to as “benign neglect." Perhaps he meant that there may be a limit to how much force-feeding of racial awareness people can absorb before they begin to resent it.

When I listen to the endless racial consciousness raising on national news media, I wonder how many people like me are just tuning out this moral indoctrination because it does nothing more than make us feel powerless in the face of monumental wrongs that seem never to be addressed. The record of white America is full of blemishes we could atone endlessly, but there is a point at which remorse mutates into self-flagellation.

One thing is sure: The effort to obliterate every trace of the ignoble chapters of our racial history will do little for those who suffered the most, except perhaps some fleeting satisfaction that will inevitably give way to the enormity of the struggle that they must wage every day.

As for those Americans who have seen those symbols removed, we should not expect deeper racial sensitivity.

Ross K. Baker is a distinguished professor of political science at Rutgers University and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors.

See source for links, HERE....



Printed from Western Voices World News (http://www.wvwnews.net/content/index.php?/news_story/after_you_remove_all_the_christopher_columbus_statueswhat_good_will_will_it_do.html)