To those who still support Confederate symbols, please have an open mind and heart and deeply consider, with empathy and thoughtful prayer, the full brutality of slavery and how the descendants of the victims of that slavery might feel. No analogy is perfect, but I recently heard someone suggest this analogy, and here I expand on that analogy. Try to imagine the following:

A man today kidnaps your young teenage daughter. He systematically rapes her, beats her when she refuses, and sells her resulting baby girl (your new granddaughter) for profit on the human trafficking market. Then this man murders your daughter when one day she tries to fight him off while she is trying to escape. He is finally caught, but since he is heavily armed, he also shoots and murders several police officers during his apprehension. Your granddaughter is never found.

Now, how would you feel if your town then builds a statue honoring this man? Or names a local school after him where your remaining children attend? Or names the street where you live after him? Or decides to fly a flag the man had designed and flown while he was resisting arrest? And all while your town fails to remember his victims?

Now, also imagine that you then try to point out to your neighbors how abominable this man was, how appalling it is that any such man would be revered, how painful it is for you to see him honored in any way, let alone through continual public recognition, and that honoring him in any way so grossly dishonors his victims. You ask not that he be forgotten, but simply that glorification of him end.

Yet, these are your neighbors’ responses to you: “But he’s my relative.” “But he donated to charity.” “But his statue is art.” “But he provided food and shelter for your daughter.” “But he fought courageously when he resisted arrest.” “But he’s part of our town’s heritage.” “But that would erase history.” “You’re attacking our town’s culture.” “You need to get over it.” “You’re just causing trouble.” “If you don’t like it, go back to where you came from.”

Now, what would you think of your neighbors’ responses? And, what would you think of your neighbors?

RICK SWANSON

teacher

Lafayette