The right Confederate memorial: a brutalized slave, not Robert E. Lee

on Aug19

To the editor: If we really want to memorialize the Civil War, let’s have statues that show the truth, not generals mounted on magnificent horses. (“Why would Charlottesville racists do so much to protect a Robert E. Lee statue?” Opinion, Aug. 14)

Let’s have bronze memorials that depict blacks standing at the auction block and being torn away from their families. Let’s show blacks being raped or beaten to death. Let’s have a tree with a black person hanging from it.

That’s what it is about. One can say the Civil War was an “economic” conflict, but in reality it was a war about white superiority. It is a war we are still fighting.

Wendy Averill, Culver City

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To the editor: More than 2 million people visited the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in 2016.

Did they go to honor the dead? To gloat over the killings? To contemplate a monumental historical event? I don’t know the answer as, clearly, there is no one answer. Each person brings his or her context to the site, reacts individually and takes away what he or she will — an adjustment, a confirmation or a repudiation of previously held views.

Is a statue of Lee a paean to a Confederate hero or a piece of history to be reflected upon? Again, I don’t know, but I respectfully raise the question and offer the possibility that there is more than one answer.

Linda Shahinian, Culver City

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To the editor: President Trump asks where we draw the line when deciding which statues to take down. Line drawing can be difficult sometimes, but it is one of the things governments are called upon to do.

So how about this: If you took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, then took up arms against your country, killed American soldiers and tried to destroy the union in order to keep slavery in place, you don’t get to have a statue on American soil.

Does that work?

Russell Kussman, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: There’s much talk about statues these days as white supremacists try to prevent the removal of a Robert E. Lee monument from a park in Charlottesville, Va. Trump voiced his concern, wondering if after the monuments to Lee and others are removed, statues of slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will be next.

No matter your opinion on this issue, what cannot continue is the denial of the evils that were built into this country and the evils of the men that signed off on them and fought to put them in place. The good they did does not cancel out the bad.

Jefferson had hundreds of slaves. How many Native Americans did Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal campaign kill? Are we to ignore these facts about our American “heroes”?

White supremacy thrives because of this kind of denial. If you continue to deny these facts, then you are propping up an institutional and societal structure that continues to promote white supremacy. If you are not in denial, then speak up — for to be silent is to be complicit in those wrongdoings that continue to poison our country today.

Donnell Adair, Vancouver, Wash.

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To the editor: Those who say the Confederate statues should not be taken down because they are a part of our history should imagine what it would be like if there were statues of Adolf Hitler and swastikas in Germany.

History should not be forgotten or denied, but should we have painful reminders of past atrocities thrown in our faces every time we go to the park?

If these hateful symbols must be preserved for the sake of history, they should be in a museum, not out in public.

Wilma Escalante, Torrance

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