Quick Hit: New Orleans Takes White Supremacist Confederate Monuments Down

April 24th is Confederate Memorial Day, when some Southern states officially celebrate the Confederacy as though it was not fundamentally dedicated to the enslavement and abuse of black people (…it was). So it was a fitting day, in an incredibly exhausting year, for the city of New Orleans to take down several monuments to white supremacists.

In a move reminiscent of (though less independently heroic than) Bree Newsome’s 2015 scaling of the South Carolina State Capitol, New Orleans city contractors began to dismantle the monuments on Monday. Facing death threats from white supremacist groups, the contractors worked while the city was still dark.

For the white folks wondering how to explain what this means to your uncle at next week’s first springtime cookout, German Lopez has written a useful summary over at Vox. Main point? Valorizing the Confederacy is racist; valorizing the Confederacy is racist; valorizing the Confederacy is racist.

Writes German, in reference to apologist white reactions to the white supremacist 2015 shootings by Dylan Roof,

Back then, people vigorously argued that the flag — just like these other Confederate monuments — was not meant to be racist, but rather attempted to honor Southern heritage. The problem is this heritage is mired in racism — as demonstrated by states’ justifications for seceding at the start of the Civil War.

Of course, as we saw demonstrated with awful clarity in Roof’s actions themselves, these histories are not distant, and they are not just about race–they are about material conditions and gender, too.

Finally, when fellow white northerners lend our solidarity to the destruction of evil symbolism, let’s not let ourselves get smug: “We”re not racist because we’re not the south” is not an excuse and it’s also dead incorrect. Historically, the North only got rich because it used the resources exploited from slave labor in the south (not to mention the slave trade itself). And today, the north witnesses no dearth of economic, state, and fatal police violence against black people.

Fellow white people, give the article a read and get ready to have those discussions.

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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