Why Do We Still Like Andrew Jackson Here In South Carolina?

Why Do We Still Like Andrew Jackson Here In South Carolina?

Old Hickory sure made his mark.
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Okay, I’ve lived down south for most of my life, so I know the deal. I get it, we are proud and supportive of history, even a bloody/racist/oppressive one because it’s history.

Blah blah blah.

I have no issue with people exercising their right to freedom of speech. In fact, I’m a firm proponent as a supporter of the rights of human beings. Obviously.

So if you want to be a little hypocritical and exercise your freedoms to endorse the history that suppressed others' go ahead. Really.

But the level of exhibitionism in this state admittedly gets to me sometimes, especially as I start my new year driving behind a car with a Confederate flag stuck onto the bumper.

There is a float for the “Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy” that is allowed in our yearly parade in Mt. Pleasant. A gigantic statue of John C. Calhoun stands posed over the city in Marion Square in downtown Charleston. Confederate flags are so common down here, I really don’t take the time to get even a little bit worked up when I see one anymore.

But one of the real questions I ask myself every year when I pass by a school titled with him as a namesake is this:

Why in the world do we still like Andrew Jackson?

While his birthplace is disputed as being from either North or South Carolina, I do understand a documentation and acknowledgment of a historical figure’s origins. But if I’m being quite honest, the veneration for him as a person is not at all uncommon down here.

Until I took a real U.S. history class for the first time and did my own research into his presidency, I thought him to be a decent bloke as I passed by signs and schools with his name plastered on in big letters. And I guess I can’t speak to his character outside of his actions, documented words and entire presidency from what I’ve seen, but due to those slight imperfections, I really do not see him as a good role model for children.

I mean, for goodness sake, there are at least five elementary, middle and high schools as well as a state park in his name just in the county/area where he is supposedly from.

When kids attend a school that is named after someone, more often than not, they would reasonably suppose that this is because this is a figure that is worthy to become a namesake. And in the future, the installations of racist or dated beliefs and ideals are so much more easily born when there is a figurehead to the cause that has been there since childhood.

So when I ask why we still like Andrew Jackson here in South Carolina, it isn’t questioning his place as a historical figure. After all, the mistakes of human history aren’t learned to be not repeated by remembering only the good.

Hurrah, he was a war hero! That got him a presidency. We don’t need to contribute any more celebration or honor on that end.

“Old Hickory” for some, “King Andrew I” for others, spent his presidency advocating the spread of slavery into newly developing areas and states in the U.S., coining the Indian Removal Act and ignoring states bullying Natives into leaving their lands on what became known as the Trail of Tears. These acts alone null and void him for being a good character to be honored.

Nonetheless, he left office a popular president, leaving his successor, a member of his own party, to deal with the fallout.

So no, I do not support this public display of Andrew Jackson as a worthy, venerable figure. And I really do wonder why it is that some still do.

Cover Image Credit: PresidentsUSA.net

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Starbucks Corrects Its Wrongs In Light Of Recent Racial Bias Issue

All stores in the U.S. will be closed on May 29th to perform racial bias training.
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Recently, a video of two African-American men being arrested in their local Starbucks for simply standing and waiting for their friends in the lobby/seating area surfaced on the internet. Since this situation was brought to light, there has been an uproar of public outrage focused on the blatant racial bias these men were faced with. Even Starbucks itself had something to say about it.

For many African-American citizens, this situation is all too common. Being racially profiled is not a thing of the past and more than just these two men have experienced it. The ACLU writes about the experiences of citizens being racially profiled, stating,

"We rely on the police to protect us from harm and promote fairness and justice in our communities. But racial profiling has led countless people to live in fear, casting entire communities as suspect simply because of what they look like, where they come from, or what religion they adhere to."

In light of the recent incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks, many fans expressed outrage in the comments section of this post, but Starbucks responded to almost every viral, angry comment:

However, in the midst all of the outraged comments were fans who appreciated the message that Starbucks was trying to send:

Despite the mixed reviews on Starbucks' course of action, the company is standing strong in their choice to address the issue and correct it.

People come to Starbucks stores to drink coffee, hang out, talk with their friends, and have a good time. It is absurd that these two men were escorted out and arrested for doing just that. I, personally, have done that same thing and have never once been asked to leave.

As a country, we need to think about the way we treat people of color and other minorities. It is a shame that this kind of public outcry had to happen to bring racial profiling to our attention. People are treated unfairly for no reason other than the color of their skin every day.

Way to go, Starbucks.

Thank you for recognizing that this was not an isolated incident and that racial profiling happens all the time. Thank you for taking the time to publicly announce that you are willing to go through the proper training with your employees to ensure that it doesn't happen ever again. But most of all, thank you for making a statement to the rest of the nation and the world about what kind of company you are, what kind of people you represent, and that racial injustice will not be tolerated.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Why Earth Day Is Underrated, And What You Can Do

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” –The Lorax
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April 22 may be just another day to most, but with climate change on the rise and wildlife becoming extinct, it’s more important now than ever to recognize Earth Day and understand what it entails. Our society as a whole cannot let this day pass with nothing done. It has to serve as a reminder of the action that must be taken.

Late January of 1969 would come to be a turning point for our nation. At the time, the worst oil spill in history occurred in Santa Barbara, California. Founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson was horrified, yet inspired. Soon after, he announced his idea to teach the nation about the environment and built a staff to promote events across the country.

Earth Day brought thousands of colleges and universities together to fight for the cause. It became a sense of unity for everyone. No matter who you were, what race you were, where you came from, Earth Day was able to empower these people and help them realize they all wanted the same thing for the home we share. This kind of behavior is exactly what we need today, and should enable us to see that we’re all on the same side.

By the time 1990 came, Earth Day became a global event. 200 million people were involved to fight for environmental issues.

Today, Earth Day and the environment face many challenges. With those who deny climate change, deforestation, oil lobbyists, fracking, dying animal life, politicians dividing our nation on these issues, and much more, Earth Day astoundingly continues to prevail through the obstacles. With over 190 counties participating in the event each year, and more than 1 billion people, it’s never too late to do your part and contribute to the day.

Here are some basic things that anyone can do to make a change. Every day counts, and anything you do matters.

1. Join a local outdoors cleanup


Rivers, forests, beaches, whatever is near you. Help clean up litter and debris.

2. Carpool

This is probably the simplest thing you and your friends or family can do. If you’re going to the same place, drive together. For every mile you don’t drive- you’re reducing your carbon footprint by 1 pound.

3. Bring reusable bags when you shop

They’re cheap, cute, and save an abundance on plastic.

4. Use a reusable water bottle

Save on wasting plastic bottles every day.

5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products

Typical cleaning products are high in chemicals and toxicity.

6. Always recycle!

Paper, plastic, cans, anything you can. Every individual thing recycled makes a difference.

7. Use LED lightbulbs

This can reduce your footprint 450 pounds per year.

8. Volunteer at local environmental groups

See if your school has an environmental club, or anything local in your town. See how many people you can get to do it with you and make a day out of it.

9. Donate your clothes and check out thrift stores


Instead of throwing them out, give them to somewhere they will be of use. Also, thrift shopping is inexpensive and you can find some really unexpectedly great items!

10. Don’t wait until Earth Day to do all of these things


Keep up the green behavior year-round.

Do your part, and do what you can today.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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