Actually, Erasing History Does Not Rewrite It

Actually, Erasing History Does Not Rewrite It

America does not have the best history, we all know that.

Confederate symbols have been in the news a lot in the last few years. With outcry over the the state flag of Mississippi (which features the former flag of the Confederacy in the top left corner) and the recent removal of statues of prominent Confederate figures in cities like Charlottesville, New York, and Lexington, KY, this is still a heated issue in American society right now. Removal of these statues as received both praise and backlash, most notably the recent protest, by white nationalists, of the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., which resulted in the injury of 35 civilians, and the death of 3.

But is the removal of these Confederate symbols necessary?

The Civil War is one of the most important moments in our country's history. About 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War, half of the total American deaths in ALL of the wars the country has been involved in since the Revolutionary War. These statues and symbols of the Confederacy, though being exploited by hate groups and supremacists, are, in my opinion, meant to stand as a reminder of what happened, not to be symbols of hate and discrimination, though recently it may seem that we've only been undoing all the progress that we've made.

By removing these symbols, it's almost as though, we as a nation are choosing to ignore what happened back then. We do not need to ignore the past, we need to learn from it to better prepare ourselves for the future. Do I believe that these hate groups are right in their protests? Not a single bit. But I do believe that these states governments that are electing to remove these memorials is a mistake. Not only do they serve as a reminder of one the darkest periods in our nation's history, but they also serve as a reminder of how far we've come as a nation since then.

So lets not choose to ignore our past. Lets choose to learn from it. Lets not choose hate. Choose to stand up against those who want to tear us apart. Stand up to those who believe that they are better just because they happen to have less melanin in their body. Choose to stand up and fight for those people who may not be able to stand up for themselves for fear of being beaten or killed. Lets stop worrying about these symbols, and start standing up against hate, discrimination, and supremacy, because no one deserves to be judged based on their sex, race, sexual orientation, or anything other than their actions.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.

Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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Analyzing The Situation In South Africa

South Africa is in a tenuous position after President Jacob Zuma resigns from office.

Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.

As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?

Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.

Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”

Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.

South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.

It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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