Thursday August 31, 2017
I disagree with letter writer Frank Simek, who doesn't want the removal or relocation of statutes honoring the Confederacy ("Artifacts of history should be left alone," Reading Eagle, Aug. 26).
Confederate monuments have always been symbols of white supremacy. The heyday of monument building, between 1890 and 1920, was also a time of extreme racial violence. Southern whites pushed back against what little progress had been made by African-Americans in the decades following the Civil War.
As monuments went up, so did the bodies of black men, women and children during a long rash of lynching.
In the civil rights era, segregationists again sought to push back any attempt to challenge white male supremacy. Today this battle has expanded in scope. It is nativist, anti-feminist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. As always, it is racist.
Confederate "heritage," as a unifying theme for the white South, also obscures the way that white elites use the white working class to do their bidding by pitting them against those with whom they have more in common economically than those in power.
The recent events in Charlottesville, Va., made clear that Confederate monuments have assisted the cause of white supremacy. If they are removed, these artifacts of hate will be lost, but their history and meaning will not.
Richard A. Weiherer
Confederate statues are artifacts of hate