What is interesting about new information is that it forces us to change the way we co-exist with others. Watching protesters work together to destroy monuments of slave-owners’ shows that change is happening in the world. I saw the collaborative efforts of the protesters who agreed that these monuments do not align with the change that is in the works. It took a collective effort to remove the statues of individuals who participated in the complete destruction of Natives and Afro-descent people to implement European ideologies. We cannot tolerate these statues but we also have to destroy their imprints in our educational and geo-political arenas.
Slave-owners were presidents and politicians, and business professionals who influenced the history that is still being taught in institutions. As a result, their legacies are being questioned by the descendants of slaves who are still oppressed because those of Euro-descent continue to carry the privileges of their ancestors’ imperialism. The acquisition of land, destruction of other cultures’ identities, and the resources on land are all reasons for different protests in the United States, Cameroon, and even South Africa. Those protests are linked to the actions of the past and depict the social effects of an oppressor-oppressed relationship.
Conservatives claim that we should learn from that history instead of removing the lessons and statues, but it’s after learning examples of history that the act of removing the statues’ becomes the effect. There will be more revelation that will ignite more examination and decision-making as the lessons of history are taught to different generations. As I watched statutes being thrown down; I ask myself what else should be destroyed? The Constitution? Cecil Rhodes scholars program? What about European languages which are taught predominantly in schools? Also, the distorted image of the white Jesus? The rule-of-law?
Those ideas originated from Eurocentrism and are continuing to force European ideas onto non-European groups. This system of oppression goes on as many black males are being released from prisons and many times having been wrongfully accused. The re-visiting of black history, for example, shows the demise of black males such as Fred Hampton, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela and their families and communities. The pattern of destruction toward non-European families is the reason for the organization, Black Lives Matter. BLM came to prominence because they connected the history of the rule-of-law and its abusive manner toward Indigenous people.
Many historians, educators, and psychologists of Afro-descent continue to present the evidence of trauma that is inflicted on black people because of the strategic wrongdoing by their white counterparts. It is in the form of racist socio-economic strategies, which have historically confined African-Americans to decrepit neighborhoods and service jobs. Those conditions are relevant examples of how wealth inequality and racism are intertwined.
Watching the different protests took me back to my middle-school history class. I remember sitting in my fifth-grade class with an African-American history teacher who expressed frustration with the history book he had to teach us with. He visibly expressed the mis-truths in the book and would tell me and my classmates that the book had many lies. I still think of that teacher and how instrumental he was in teaching me that the concepts in history books are one-sided. The oppressor wrote the history books to validate their crimes and to maintain power.