I have shared my thoughts about the ongoing debate concerning Confederate monuments in numerous blog posts, published articles, in the classroom and on the speaking circuit. My ideas have evolved over time, which I hope reflects my willingness to consider new perspectives and place my own working assumptions in check.
With that in mind you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I read through a column today at theGrio by David Love titled, “Why are Hundreds of Confederate Monuments Still Standing?” and learned that my views about the removal of Confederate monuments fall on the same side and are even worse than those expressed by white supremacists and neo-Confederates.
Mr. Love chose to talk with Edward Sebesta, who as many of you know, I have had disagreements with concerning a number of topics in the past. I am not for a minute going to try to explain Sebesta’s comments.
Here is the passage in question that I find troubling:
According to Edward H. Sebesta, an author and expert on the neo-Confederate movement, the removal of the Confederate monuments is exposing the banal white nationalist mindset of white America. He says people such as Signer will become the obstacle to blocking the removal of the statues.
“I think everyone needs to know that the most serious opposition that those who want to remove Confederate monuments face, isn’t white supremacists, neo-Confederates, or the Republican Party. It is a faction of public historians of which Kevin M. Levin, though he declares himself emphatically to be a neutral on the topic, is, I believe, the leading figure,” Sebesta told theGrio.
I am not quoted. No reference is offered for any of my recent publications on this issue and no hyperlink is included back to my website to give the reader even a cursory understanding of my position and background. Two days ago I started a crowdsourcing project called #NOLASyllabus to help teachers, students, and the general public better understand the situation in New Orleans and across the country.
Let me be as clear as I possibly can. I have never stated that I am opposed to the removal of Confederate or any monuments. As best as I can remember, I have never even used the word “neutral” to describe my position.
This is nothing less than sloppy and irresponsible journalism on the part of Mr. David Love and theGrio.