GOP Lawmakers Think Honoring Black Confederates Will ‘Unify People'

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Two South Carolina lawmakers want to build a monument recognizing black people who served in the Confederacy, despite the fact that most of them were slaves.

A statue of Robert E. Lee located in Dallas, Texas.

In an utterly racially insensitive move, two Republican lawmakers in South Carolina want to erect a monument honoring black people who served in the Confederacy.

According to The Associated Press, Reps. Bill Chumley and Mike Burns announced this week that they want to recognize African-Americans whose service in the Confederate military has been “purposely discounted in history books.”

“It’s a good time to honor people forgotten in this,” Chumley reportedly said. “We have a real good chance to unify people.”

However, putting up such a monument would actually do the complete opposite.

Chumley and Burns both opposed the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds back in 2015 following the Charleston Church shooting, with Burns claiming that his vote was a reflection of his foresight that taking the flag down would spiral into dismantling all of the Confederate monuments and symbols throughout the nation.

Burns, apparently, thinks the proposal he and Chumley are presenting to honor black Confederates will quell the national debate surrounding Civil War-era symbols.

“This is an effort to hopefully end all this foolishness,” Burns said.

He said believes South Carolina can act as an example for the country “if we can successfully mitigate all this monument stuff and come together with something common we can honor.”

The biggest — and arguably most offensive — drawback of Burns’ logic is the fact that historical archives indicate most black Confederates were slaves and had no choice but to serve the Confederacy, which fought to maintain a system that would keep them as slaves.

Furthermore, many of these people contributed only in positions of service, such as cooks, laborers, and personal handlers — basically, as glorified slaves.

Building some monument that will, undoubtedly, be lacking that important context would be a slap in the face to the entire black community. Painting a false picture of these black Confederates as proud patriots who shared the same anti-black goals as their white counterparts would be egregious, to say the least.

The bottom line is that the Confederacy — as a whole — fought to continue slavery, which was a disgusting and inhumane practice. While this ugly truth can’t be erased from our history altogether, it certainly shouldn’t be praised and memorialized in the form of statues and flags.

Additionally, this effort comes across rather disingenuous. It seems very much like a calculated ploy to justify keeping up all of the monuments that honor the likes of Robert E. Lee and other white Confederate leaders.

Despite all the years that have passed since the Civil War, these lawmakers conveniently decide that black Confederates should be honored amid nationwide controversy surrounding the stripping of all Confederate symbols and monuments from public spaces. Needless to say, we aren’t convinced.

Burns and Chumley’s proposal did not go over well with the Twittersphere either, as several users criticized the two lawmakers for trying to use black people to scrub white supremacy from the history of the Confederacy. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, Brian Snyder

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