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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Foundation of racism persists in American society
    2017-September-5  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Paul Kay

paulkaylc@live.com

IN the Aug. 21 issue of Shenzhen Daily, under “From ‘West First’ to ‘White Supremacy,’” the author, Winton Dong, gave a comprehensive analysis of the Aug. 12 events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the United States. He skillfully described the groups involved, their backgrounds and intentions, followed by a touch of history and an overview of the current U.S. president’s contributions to fueling the controversy. I would like to offer my input on this issue.

First, let’s analyze the following statement: “... gathered in Charlottesville to protest against the city’s decision to remove the statue of pro-slavery Confederate General Robert Lee...” The keywords here are “remove” and “pro-slavery.”

During the American Civil War, half of the country rose up in rebellion to defend slavery. General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander, was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as “property” because “they are black.” Soldiers under Lee’s command at the Battle of the Crater in 1864 even massacred black Union soldiers who were going to surrender.

General Lee’s devotion to white supremacy superseded his loyalty to his country. White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions. In contrast, James Longstreet, a Union warrior and hero during the Civil War, fought against white supremacist paramilitaries.

Considering this, it is baffling that while General Lee’s tall statue was placed atop the largest Confederate monument at Gettysburg in 1917, James Longstreet’s statue was not erected until 1998, and that at a much smaller scale, placed in the woods hidden by trees. General Lee’s acts of violence and aggression throughout the war are numerous and various, while James Longstreet’s fights were to establish freedom and equality for all people.

About the keywords “remove” and “pro-slavery,” why should General Robert E. Lee’s statue have been made, to begin with, making him displayed, cherished, and remembered as a war hero, when the result of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery? And why would it take 150 years for Americans to take notice and remove it? This is the core issue of this article: the mentality demonstrated by many Americans who, even after President Lincoln’s efforts to end slavery and the Thirteenth Amendment’s adoption on Dec. 18, 1865, giving freedom and equality to slaves, still tolerate and commemorate racism in the United States of America.

For over 150 years, a statue that reminded us of the darkest age in American history has stood on a pedestal and has served as a representation of the true mentality of a nation. And now, in the process of being rightfully removed, the removal of it has been protested in an unruly and violent way. One wonders about the true state of such a nation.

After the shameful event at Charlottesville and its deadly outcome, the U.S. president acknowledged to the whole world that “the violence should be blamed on both sides,” and that “there are some good people among Neo Nazis and White Nationalists.” These thoughtless and almost “criminal” comments outraged half of the nation, and raised the world’s eyebrows. The other half of the nation, Donald Trump’s surrogates and almost all of his 63 million supporters, applauded him. But most admiration and praise came from neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists, the very same group who have exercised violence repeatedly against non-whites. The dark history was 1861 and before, and this is now, 2017! Racism persists, and is now supported by the Divider-in-Chief, Trump.

In trying to digest the existence and reality of this level of inhumanity, inequality, and prejudice, Americans should focus on wholesome family upbringing rather than the social interactions and influences. Aware, prudent, and caring parents, educated or not, would raise their children with a high standard of morals, integrity, and fairness, teaching them equality and respect for all humankind. But what if the parents themselves are prejudiced and recognize the color of skin as a means for judgment? That’s when prejudices carry over from one generation to the other, supported by the display of the statues of those who defended and promoted prejudice. In time, the government and the president have both become propagators of division. The existing culture is “White First,” regardless if our president is an honorable and fit black man, Barack Obama. To be fair, there are many Americans who do welcome non-whites with open arms, however, they’re at extreme minority, insignificant numbers.

For the past two years since the most recent U.S. presidential campaign began, Trump’s messages have been focusing on division. Mexicans, blacks, Chinese, Europeans, Muslims, and even white Americans, those who had not agreed with him and his nonsense views, have all been targeted, humiliated, bad-mouthed, ridiculed, insulted, and bashed. The outcome is totally and forcefully expected. Even if there were no divisions among people in the country, his repeated comments and harsh consistent opinion would have generated hatred, prejudice and division. The Charlottesville tragedy is the tip of the iceberg, especially as long as this president is president.

Freedom, when given with no barriers and promoted without limits, supported by lack of appropriate education, affirmed by lawmakers, and fueled by an uninformed and highly prejudiced and unfit president, would provide this result, none other.

(The author is a retired American educator with a Ph.D. in business administration residing in Shenzhen.)

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