I am a Canadian, residing in Ottawa, Ontario.
When I was in school, I read Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams and other American authors. My music of choice was Louis Armstrong, ragtime and — dare I write it? — Dixieland.
I travel to New Orleans twice a year and like many Canadians, I enjoy the climate, food, history and music.
In Canada, we too are looking at our leaders from the past — our first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald — was the architect of assimilation policies toward Canada's Indigenous peoples. There is movement toward removing his statue from locations right across our country.
In the American South, Confederate leaders' statues and those who profited from slavery are being removed. I applaud these measures. As much as I can as a White person, I appreciate how painful it must be for African Americans to be reminded of the terrible history of slavery, on display in the public square.
We are all aware that words have meaning and associations; however, I can’t help feel some sadness with the term, “Dixie” being erased from Southern lexicon. What will be next: Cajun? Deep South? Mardi Gras? The very symbol of New Orleans, the fleur-de-lis, has a nefarious history that is entwined with Louisiana's past.
Let's not cast too wide a net in retelling the history of your beautiful city.