Thursday, June 18, 2020

John Oliver and Vox explain why most Confederate monuments exist in the first place, a serious and silly blast from the past

I told my readers to "stay tuned" at the end of Noah, Meyers, and 'Tooning Out The News' on removing Confederate symbols and renaming military bases because "I might have more on the topic of Confederate monuments and their role in rewriting history [today]." I'm following through on that with two videos from 2017 that explain why most of those Confederate monuments exist in the first place, beginning with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's Confederacy.

Confederate symbols are still celebrated despite the ugly history they symbolize. John Oliver suggests some representations of southern pride that involve less racism and more Stephen Colbert.
Like Oliver's segments about police accountability and police militarization, this video is just as timely now as when it was created. It's also a recommendation by the YouTube algorithm, which also recommended the next video, Vox's How Southern socialites rewrote Civil War history.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy altered the South's memory of the Civil War.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy was a significant leader of the “Lost Cause,” an intellectual movement that revised history to look more favorably on the South after the American Civil War. They were women from elite antebellum families that used their social and political clout to fundraise and pressure local governments to erect monuments that memorialized Confederate heroes. They also formed textbook review committees that monitored what Southern schoolchildren learned about the war. Their influential work with children created a lasting memory of the Confederate cause, and those generations grew up to be the segregationists of the Jim Crow Era in the South.
Vox, being a serious news site and not just a comedy program, went into much greater depth about when, how, and why most of the Confederate monuments were erected and shows that they were just the tip of the iceberg. The United Daughters of the Confederacy's infiltration of education, especially its influence on history textbooks, was almost certainly more important than installing statues. As George Orwell wrote in "1984," “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” Through the minds of their children, the United Daughters of the Confederacy certainly did. Here's to breaking the chains of the created past on the minds of people today and tomorrow.

Enough, for now, on the thread I started with I haven't seen this many statues fall since the end of the Cold War. Tomorrow is Juneteenth, so stay tuned for a celebration of that holiday.

No comments:

Post a Comment