Black youth as change agents

Protesters taking pictures around the fallen Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina (MGN Online)

A Black high school student circulated a petition to remove a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee, which prompted the city of Charlottesville to remove it. That decision ignited the fury of extreme militant White supremacist groups who responded to the call of White Nationalist Richard Spencer to the “Unite the Right” march.

Black student activists on campuses across the nation have initiated protests against the display of statues and plaques honoring White racists who have oppressed people of color.

Shea Howell reported that over the last few months, several cities have engaged in fierce debates about historical monuments and racial oppression. In St. Louis, after intense controversy, workers removed a confederate monument from Forest Park in June 2017.

In Frederick, Maryland, a bust of Roger B. Taney, the chief justice of the United States who wrote the notorious 1857 Dred Scott decision denying the humanity of African Americans, was removed on May 2017 from its spot near City Hall. In New Orleans 2017, four confederate statues were taken down, the last under the dark of night, because of the intensity of the protests.

These statues honored anti-Black, White racists. She correctly asserted that “these statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.”

Extreme militant White supremacist groups that sought violence in Charlottesville have always been with us. The KKK, the American Nazi Party, the Christian Identity Movement, Birchers and militias have consistently organized to stop the efforts of people to move toward justice and peace.

They depend on violence and fear. The election of Donald Trump has given them renewed energy and license to accelerate their efforts. He has supported and encouraged their violence. They and their allies are in the halls of power, their enablers and apologists appear across the media, and their symbols dot our country.

The most powerful White supremacists are the political and economic elites who actually rule the country. Wall Street, the federal government, and the Pentagon are the real centers of White power.

We should be proud of our educated politically conscious youth of all colors who are demonstrating courage in the struggles against all forms of oppression.

 

Dr. Tripp welcomes readers’ responses to lstripp@stcloudstate.edu.