Opposing Views on the Removal of Confederate Symbols Essay Example
I chose to explore the opposing views on the removal of confederate symbols because it is both a controversial topic in society and an area of interest. Confederate symbols, such as the flag, monuments, and memorials, as I’ve come to learn, mean different things to different people. For example, to a supporter of the display of these symbols, they could signify freedom and remembrance, while on the other hand, to someone who ardently pushes for their removal, they could represent bondage and suffering.
This difference of perceptions between these two groups greatly demonstrate the tremendous role history plays in our identity and beliefs, which interests me greatly. The specific event that sparked this interest and the choosing of this topic is the vote to remove the Confederate statue that resides on the campus of the University of Mississippi. This is a situation that truly hit home because it essentially took place in my own backyard. The controversy surrounding this event not only shed light on the still present wounds inflicted by the Civil War, but also caused me to reevaluate my opinions about Confederate symbols. Prior to this class, and that event, I thought Confederate symbols were a representation of either insensitivity, ignorance, or racism. Now I understand that the situation can be, and oftentimes is, much deeper than just black and white, which is why I chose to further explore it.
In his article, Daniel Mallock discusses the educational impact and significance of Confederate symbols. He begins by mentioning the removal of Confederate symbols, specifically, the memorials in New Orleans. He uses this to both establish the mixed response this act generated and introduce the ultimate reason behind it. In order to further introduce this reason, he mentions tragedy, precisely, the South Carolina church shooting. He does this because the person responsible for this horrific event had Confederate symbols, such as the flag, adorning his social media.
Mallock immediately asserts that this situation was used to target all things Confederate and slavery-associated, starting with the statues. The author urges that this marks the beginning of taking down crucial historical figures. He proposes that, although it may have started with Robert E. Lee and others, it will most certainly continue until significant historical figures, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, are given the same treatment due to their association with slavery. Mallock declares that if this happens the history of America will be reduced for upcoming generations because “Confederate history is America history”, which is why he proclaims the statues and other Confederate symbols should not be removed.
Relation to Class
This article certainly relates to our class discussions. It demonstrates how the Intercultural Communication is a Technological Imperative by showing the vast impact it had on this event. It also serves as a prime example of some of the characteristics of Culture. This article adamantly displays how culture involves perception, values, and feelings by representing cultural tension based on those influences.
I chose this article because it assumes a different position on the topic than I would have previously thought of. Mallock attacks this issue from a long-term orientated standpoint. He discusses the negative effects imposed upon a generation’s historical education that will be generated from the domino effect, he proposes, this event will cause.
In her article, Sally Kohn, takes an opposite position on the subject at hand than the aforementioned article by discussing both the removal of the Confederate flag and its offensive associations. She begins by showing relief over the call of the symbol’s removal. She does this to establish a sense of beginning as she hastily asserts that taking it down “is just the first small step”. The real battle, she implies, is against that of racism. Kohn specifically mentions South Carolina, to demonstrate how the birth of the flag occurred due to the desire to secede.
The desire for, and act of, succession was viewed as a way for the South to preserve the institution of slavery and cruel mistreatment of African Americans. She continues on to saying that taking down a symbol is “easy”, but doing the same to decades of prejudice and discrimination is harder. She concludes by mentioning the Carolina church shooting, along with several quotes that prove African Americans are subject to racial bias and racism frequently in today’s society. On a final note, she has a call to action. She demands for change, and urges for other to not only condemn “overt racists” or call for the removal of Confederate symbols, but also be aware of the disconnection in society stimulated by discrimination.
Relation to Class
This article relates to our class lectures tremendously. It connects to the barriers of Intercultural Communication in a major way. It discusses prejudice and discrimination, which are brought on by Ethnocentrism and racial bias. It explores what happens when these barriers are not transcended, and that, despite a conviction and the removal of what is viewed discriminatory symbol, these barriers still run deep. It also proves that Intercultural communication is a Self-Awareness Imperative because the statements made and call to action generates provoking thoughts about one’s position in society and the demographic scale.
I chose this article because it sheds light on a different perspective. It not only calls for the removal of Confederate symbols, specifically the flag, but also goes beyond that. Kohn addresses the associations of that symbol, which includes systematic racism, and demands that it be corrected.
Kohn, Sally. “Taking down Confederate flag is not enough.” CNN Wire, 23 June 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A430228260/OVIC?u=clin01466&sid=OVIC&xid=0 6c17816. Accessed 16 May 2019.
Mallock, Daniel. “Removing Confederate Monuments and Other Reminders of Slavery Hides Valuable History.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/YGJPQS317630804/OVIC?u=clin01466&sid=OVIC &xid=539086c9. Accessed on 16 May 2019. Originally published as “Attacking the Past: The Removal of the Confederate Monuments,” American Thinker, 30 May 2017.