White Privilege

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  • what dreamswhat dreams Posts: 1,459
    mace1229 said:
    All this talk about "learning history from statues." Serious question (maybe it should be a poll):  Who actually learned their history from a statue? I mean, I learn history from reading books, from taking classes, from attending lectures. Occasionally I'll go to museum to learn some history of a place while traveling, like a few times in my life, but who in the world can claim they've learned *anything* of deep historical value from walking past a statue? I've always been perplexed by this argument. If America is learning its history from freaking statues, we have a bigger problem than we think.
    You’ve never once walked by a statue and thought “who’s this guy?” And read the plaque under it? 
    Granted, I didn’t learn who the first president was or who wrote the Declaration of Independence from a statue, but many smaller, often local, historical figures.  But I never lived in a city with monuments to national figures either. A few months ago I went to Dallas for the first time and even as an adult I learned a lot about the JFK assassination just by visiting the location and seeing where it happened in person. I know that’s not a statue, but same concept I think.

    I also think more than just learning from a statue, it’s a bigger reminder and taking point. I’m willing to guess most high school kids have no idea who Grant was. If they walked by his statue on a regular basis they’d be more likely to remember. Or give an opportunity to bring him up in discussion.
    If I visit a new place and want to learn about its people, I read plaques on statues if I'm out for a stroll.

    In my hometown, Manassas freaking VA, site of Civil War memorials everywhere, no, I don't need to read the statues. We have schools and streets and neighborhoods named after all these confederate people, whom we learned about ad nauseam my entire K12 years. The actual Manassas museum is a pathetic one-room memorial full of uniforms and weapons. Boring.

    In DC, 30 miles from home where I do stuff on a regular basis, I walk (or drive) by statues all the time and no, I'm usually too focused on my destination to stop and read a plaque. I've lived in this area for 40 of my 50 years, and I have never once been to the top of the Washington Monument. Last school year we took our students on the monuments walking tour offered by the the park service, and 4 of the 7 of them (major ones including the MLK one) were first looks for me. In a city with a monument on every corner, it's easy to think of them as mere decoration. The major ones on the Mall you can't miss, but I couldn't tell you who the guy is on Logan Circle, or any of the other circles, or the smaller statues tucked on lawns in front of buildings.

    There is the part of George Orwell's Animal Farm where things start to go wrong, and one of the first ways readers notice it is Napoleon tells all the other animals it's time to build a statue, to him of course. That's what I think of statues. They are ways that people in power remind everybody else who is in control. 
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 23,905
    mace1229 said:
    All this talk about "learning history from statues." Serious question (maybe it should be a poll):  Who actually learned their history from a statue? I mean, I learn history from reading books, from taking classes, from attending lectures. Occasionally I'll go to museum to learn some history of a place while traveling, like a few times in my life, but who in the world can claim they've learned *anything* of deep historical value from walking past a statue? I've always been perplexed by this argument. If America is learning its history from freaking statues, we have a bigger problem than we think.
    You’ve never once walked by a statue and thought “who’s this guy?” And read the plaque under it? 
    Granted, I didn’t learn who the first president was or who wrote the Declaration of Independence from a statue, but many smaller, often local, historical figures.  But I never lived in a city with monuments to national figures either. A few months ago I went to Dallas for the first time and even as an adult I learned a lot about the JFK assassination just by visiting the location and seeing where it happened in person. I know that’s not a statue, but same concept I think.

    I also think more than just learning from a statue, it’s a bigger reminder and taking point. I’m willing to guess most high school kids have no idea who Grant was. If they walked by his statue on a regular basis they’d be more likely to remember. Or give an opportunity to bring him up in discussion.
    If I visit a new place and want to learn about its people, I read plaques on statues if I'm out for a stroll.

    In my hometown, Manassas freaking VA, site of Civil War memorials everywhere, no, I don't need to read the statues. We have schools and streets and neighborhoods named after all these confederate people, whom we learned about ad nauseam my entire K12 years. The actual Manassas museum is a pathetic one-room memorial full of uniforms and weapons. Boring.

    In DC, 30 miles from home where I do stuff on a regular basis, I walk (or drive) by statues all the time and no, I'm usually too focused on my destination to stop and read a plaque. I've lived in this area for 40 of my 50 years, and I have never once been to the top of the Washington Monument. Last school year we took our students on the monuments walking tour offered by the the park service, and 4 of the 7 of them (major ones including the MLK one) were first looks for me. In a city with a monument on every corner, it's easy to think of them as mere decoration. The major ones on the Mall you can't miss, but I couldn't tell you who the guy is on Logan Circle, or any of the other circles, or the smaller statues tucked on lawns in front of buildings.

    There is the part of George Orwell's Animal Farm where things start to go wrong, and one of the first ways readers notice it is Napoleon tells all the other animals it's time to build a statue, to him of course. That's what I think of statues. They are ways that people in power remind everybody else who is in control. 
    it's time to build a statue, to him of course

    This is in an episode of The Twilight zone too!

    As for statues I would read them and was curious about them.  Good plaques have a history of what the person did.  Bad ones will just have a name.
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 13,117
    “Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East — to know who built them. For my part, I should like to know who in those days did not build them — who were above such trifling.”
    –Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 18,128
    as seen in response to comment (basically pinko commies finally forced this vote)on an article about Mississippi voting to change it flag.....

    the reply

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 23,347
    mickeyrat said:
    as seen in response to comment (basically pinko commies finally forced this vote)on an article about Mississippi voting to change it flag.....

    the reply

    Sherman was a baaaaaad dude.  Scorched earth policy.  
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 18,128
    Reenactment of an 1852 speech from Fredrick Douglas about July 4th. Speaks very well to white privilege among other things.....



    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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