Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the dearth of reactions to the arrest of three white teenagers for the recent vandalism of a Confederate statue in Montgomery, Alabama. The rush to judgment sheds light on our assumptions about how race ought to determine how we remember the past. From the Florida Times-Union:
“Well, I was dead wrong in my perception that they were black,. The fact that they were (white) makes it even more less forgivable because it enabled people to jump to false conclusions.” — John Napier, former member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
“I could have betted $100 million that they weren’t black. Black people don’t do things like that. I knew they were white and they were educated whites because of the Nat Turner reference.” — State Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery (African American)
“I tend not to be surprised at anything in this day and time. I haven’t tried to analyze that little scribbling they did. If indeed that was a reference to Nat Turner, it seems quite strange that high school students would know about that and not about their own history. There might be some left-wing bozo they’ve been teaching history with.” — Leonard Wilson, division commander of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Hey Mr. Wilson, maybe these kids do consider Nat Turner to be part of their history. Maybe they don’t draw artificial distinctions around what is worth remembering.