More public institutions should take after UT statue removal decision

In the wake of recent tragedies, the University of Texas is doing away with Confederate commemorative statues, figures and symbols and all other public grounds need to follow suit.

On August 13 University of Texas at Austin officials announced that they would be removing the statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, foolishly located in the middle of campus for everyone to bear witness.

For all the Confederate lovers out there, they are not taking away the statue entirely, but they are relocating it to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History—a place where such a statue belongs.

Too long students of color—specifically those of African ancestry—have had to endure the lasting, taunting figure of a man that would have them in chains instead of at an institution of higher learning. The fact that any institution would memorialize a figure like Jefferson Davis sheds light on America’s culture of indifference to its large, enduring population of non-white inhabitants.

Aside from the issue of race, the statue is a clear celebration of American antagonism, as the Confederacy Davis represents was in obvious opposition to the very union existing today. In Germany, no matter how historically significant, they would never have a large statue of Adolf Hitler for everyone to bear witness to.

The Confederacy is a dark part of our history and the Civil War cost over half of a million Americans their lives—it is a part of history. Therefore, as a part of history, it should be preserved in the proper historical setting of a museum or history building as UT has decided to finally do. Immortalizing Davis as an honorable person in the face of people Davis thought he was superior to is the epitome of insensitivity.

Yes, these people died in a war on home soil, but they were not fighting for America, but against America. Also, they fought to own people—that is not a commendable stance, nor should it ever be. More places need to take the precedent now set by UT and rename schools honoring these American criminals while dismantling the undue honor placed on these figures of racial and cultural animus.

While it is noteworthy that UT has decided to relocate the statue of Jefferson Davis, their refusal to budge on their statue of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders is reminiscent of a culture bent on offense and antagonism. It shows that many institutions will sell the minority body of their constituents down the river before they take a stance in dismantling pervasive ideas of supremacy and bigotry.

The removal of Davis, while stalled for the time being, is a step in the right direction. But this is not a sprint—it is a marathon. So, while it is a great step, there are still a thousand more that need to be removed before everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. It has been 150 years since the Confederate States of America was destroyed, so it is high time the Confederacy and its lingering culture is permanently dismantled.